March 21, 2016

Broadening the Circle...

It's March! And it's been two years since I met my son.

Waiting to be Told was created as my way of sharing my story with family and friends. Very few people in my life knew I'd had a baby in 1978 -- and how that managed to stay a "family secret" for so long may be a subject for another writing! But the truth is, hardly anyone knew about it. Then Matt and I reconnected in March 2014, and there was no question - I no longer needed this to remain a secret. Back in 1978, an unplanned pregnancy was something people kept quiet. I've grown up since then. The fear of judgment and criticism is gone. I know myself, and this is part of who I am. And, as I started getting to know Matt, I wanted others in my life to know him, too!

Early in our relationship, my husband Bruce knew I'd had a son. My kids, Jenna and Mike, were young adults, but they didn't yet know the story, so of course I shared this with them first. But then, how to share it with the others in my life all at once? Creating a blog seemed the easiest way, so I started writing this blog in July 2014 and shared it privately. And that's how Waiting to be Told came to be.

From the beginning, I considered the possibility of eventually making this blog public. The question I've asked myself all along is, "Why would anyone be interested in this story, my story, especially someone I don't know?"

Clearly, I didn't make a decision quickly! There were lots of reasons for that...

First of all, this is our story - the story of Matt and I being reunited after many years. Other birth parents and birth children reunite, and each experience will be unique. Our journey through this has gone really well, but there are no guarantees...other people won't know how their reunion will unfold by reading about ours. They'll need to experience it themselves. 

Then there's the fact that, for a blog, there are long stretches between my posts. I haven't written as often as I'd hoped, and my last post was last September -- a year and a half after Matt and I connected -- and that's when I finally wrote about the day we met! I love to write - but I'm a real person with a regular job. I write when I can.

And, have you noticed? The web is not always a kind and friendly place. Did I really want to share our personal story of adoption and reunion and open it up to those who are quick to criticize and don't even know us?

To share our story in the public venue of the web is to broaden our circle beyond family and friends. And, after much consideration, my decision is "yes" - I'm making this blog public. Why? Because there are other women like me. There are women who experienced this before I did, during years when girls were often sent away to have their babies - for many, the baby was taken away, and the young mother was sent back home with the expectation that she'd forget the child and go on with life. There are women who experienced this around the same time as I did, maybe in a similar situation, or perhaps completely different. Certainly there are women who've lived this experience more recently; this society may not be as harsh and judgmental as it was years ago, and the experience of an unplanned pregnancy may be different now than it was in 1978, but it's still not an easy road. Maybe sharing this story will help someone who, like me, has been down this road, or someone who is living it now and isn't sure what to do next, and who just needs some encouragement. 

There are adoptees, like Matt, who wonder about their birth parents, and struggle with the question of trying to find them; who worry about whether finding their birth parents will upset their adoptive family; who worry about rejection, or who are reluctant because they just don't know what to expect. There are birth parents who struggle with these same things. There are adoptive parents who may struggle with their adopted child's desire to search for his or her roots...some parents may be fully supportive of such a search, while others may feel threatened by a son or daughter's desire to search. No doubt there are many loving adoptive parents who worry that their beloved child's search for a birth parent may bring disappointment or hurt. So much emotion is wrapped around the reunion of a birth parent and child, or even the decision of whether or not to try to find that person.

The only definite thing I can offer is this: Matt, my "long ago son," decided to search for me. Two years ago he found me, and what a startling and intense and exciting and joyful time it was! For me, the year of his birth was a tough year filled with fear, shame, isolation, loss and grief. Yet, I feel I've been blessed, and my life in the years since then has been full. In my everyday life, I didn't feel as though something was missing...and then Matt and I connected. He became part of my life. And I felt somehow more complete. 

So, today is the day: with this writing, my blog becomes public. I'll never pretend to have all the answers, and our story is unique to us, but you never know - maybe reading it will make a difference for someone else.

If you're among the friends and family who've been following this blog, thank you - you've been a great source of encouragement along the way! And if you're new to this blog, please start here: The Very Beginning.

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