It’s a Good Thing. Why do People Think It’s So Bad?

I’m tired.  Emotionally and physically.  I have a guest post today written by one of my best friends . . . she’s lived an exemplary life and want to be her when I grow up. A beautiful soul and a great writer.  We’ve been friends for a very long time.  We know each other’s stories.  She’s been following my blog.  Thank you, Catherine, for your kind and wise words.  

But first, as I usually like to do, I want to start with a quote:

“The baby explodes into an unknown world that is only knowable through some kind of a story – of course that is how we all live, it’s the narrative of our lives, but adoption drops you into the story after it has started. It’s like reading a book with the first few pages missing. It’s like arriving after curtain up. The feeling that something is missing never, ever leaves you – and it can’t, and it shouldn’t, because something IS missing. That isn’t of its nature negative. The missing part, the missing past, can be an opening, not a void. It can be an entry as well as an exit. It is the fossil record, the imprint of another life, and although you can never have that life, your fingers trace the space where it might have been, and your fingers learn a kind of Braille.”
― Jeanette WintersonWhy Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Adoptive Moms Know

By: Catherine Wilkinson

I have a few things to say about adoption and Laureen’s emotional and frustrating journey toward honest answers about herself and her birth family. Answers she deserves.
I am an adoptive Mom to two “kids”, now 26 and 29 years old. I gained two more children, ages 28 and 30, through my husband, when they were very small. I also am a Grandmother to 8, soon to be 9, two of whom I “inherited” through my son-in-law, who brought his two little ones into our family. So, I am familiar with the idea that families come together in many ways. Through adoption, surrogacy, inheritance and sometimes we gain family members by surprise, after many years of not even knowing they were there.

I do know that if either one of my adoptive children chose to pursue finding their birth parents or decided to include them in their lives, I would be the first one in line to welcome them. I would get down ON MY KNEES and thank them for my two precious kids, regardless of how they arrived at the hard and painful decision to give them up for adoption. I would never look upon their decision as anything other than a GIFT TO ME. There is no room for shame, guilt, regret, or anger. How can that even be? My kids are extraordinary and they are loved and lovable. That’s my gift TO THE BIRTH PARENTS. In my mind, if I was a birth parent who gave the opportunity to raise my child to another, I would feel such peace and relief knowing I did the right thing.

I have encouraged my kids (at appropriate times) throughout their lives to pursue a birth family search. One is interested, one is not. It’s their choice and their journey….I’m just there to help. They were born in Taiwan, and there are adequate records and it would be a fairly easy search. I’m as curious as Laureen….I want to know more about my children’s’ birth parents. And I selfishly want the opportunity to thank them. To tell them how wonderful their birth children turned out to be and what joy they have brought me.

Laureen’s adoptive parents have both passed on. But I know in my heart that they too would feel as I do even though I never met them. How do I know? Because I know Laureen and what kind of woman she is and they are the ones who raised her – a strong, compassionate, funny, talented, generous, intelligent person. They would thank her birth parents for giving them the opportunity to raise such a wonderful daughter. I would hope that every adoptive parent wants that chance. Sometimes they get it, sometimes not. It’s up to their child. Laureen is searching alone (well, her husband, her two sons, and her many friends are with her on this journey!) and my heart breaks that her Mom and Dad can’t be here for her, because I know they loved her so much, they would want her to find the answers, the peace, and the acceptance from her birth family. I know it.

So this brings me to addressing her birth family directly: there is no downside to being honest and helpful. If you think you are “protecting” those who have no idea that Laureen even exists, you are just denying an absolute and wonderful truth. If you think you are “protecting” those who don’t know they have two great-grandsons, or nephews, or niece, or whatever the relationship is, you are perpetuating the idea that adoption is shameful and a legacy that needs to remain secret. If you are afraid, ashamed or embarrassed, let me tell you, unreservedly, those are fearful reactions to a miracle. If you think are “protecting” someone, have you considered you are robbing them of a wonderful opportunity to at least acknowledge that something quite extraordinary came out of a difficult situation?

truth (1)“The truth shall set you free”. Truth ALWAYS trumps secrets and fear. It’s time for truth for Laureen. Since I have a lot of experience with “blending” families and Laureen and I are so close, I feel comfortable appointing myself as Laureen’s surrogate Mom during her journey.  I’m standing in for her loving parents and waiting for the chance to thank the birth family for Laureen. It may sting a few fearful people at first, but I promise every single one of you, there will be no regrets.

I mean, have you tasted her cooking?

21 thoughts on “It’s a Good Thing. Why do People Think It’s So Bad?

  1. Catherine, I am adopted also and your attitude and the way you talk adoption reminds me so much of my own adoptive mom. She died in 2007 and I miss her dreadfully.

    Anyway, Laureen and Catherine, you are both wonderful! Glad I discovered this blog. 🙂

  2. Catherine, your post brought me to tears. I hope your words are heard in the loving spirit in which you so clearly intended them.
    Laureen, you are so blessed to have such a phenomenal “surrogate” in your life. I hope her words are heard and heeded. You deserve these answers…secrets and lies are so destructive.

  3. Wow, what a wonderful, sweet gesture by your friend Catherine! I was really touched by her words…ones that I hope will bring a perspective to your situation that others may not have considered. Glad she was able to so eloquently express what many of us are feeling. XO

  4. Beautiful words Catherine and all so true. Everyone that knows Laureen agrees with what a special person she is and what an honor for her family to get to know her.

  5. Laureen and Catherine are clearly well adjusted adults. One sign of this is their understanding of this basic truth: Events considered “scandalous” several decades ago are now just “history.” Well adjusted adults can accept the facts of history, whatever they are. Continued denial in the face of absolute DNA evidence is childish. The people in Laureen’s biological family need to grow up and face the truth like adults.

  6. Love, love, love! Wonderfully written, uplifting, and spot-on! I wish Laureen all the best in her search and no matter the final results, one thing is for sure …. You are a wonderful loving and LOVED woman! And you’ve got one heck of a friend watching your back!

  7. I know Laureen personally and she is a wonderful person. Everything you said about her is true. I pray that her birth mom comes around before it is too late.

  8. I’m an adoptive parent myself. I love, love this post … Catherine you hit it dead center! Truth is BEST! Today adoption seems to get such a “bad” rap (attitudes formed from the “dark ages” of adoption) … But, all the a.families I know, including me, are just like this wonderful a.parent author … wanting the very best for their children & that includes the COMPLETE knowledge of their birth & early childhood history with their birth family. I have done birth family searches for both of my children & I do have contact with both birth families (both adoptions were intercountry adoptions therefore, closed adoptions). My children are still very young, but I slowly feed them information so they “know” & nothing is a shocked secret. I feel it is part of the a.parent’s obligation to help (in anyway) their child(ren) grow into their truthful adoption knowledge with a positive attitude. ADOPTION is amazing, wonderful & precious! 🙂

    • Thank you–I truly believe that adoption is a GOOD thing. There are just so many years of doing it wrong, or “half” wrong. Your children are lucky to have you!

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