The Adoption Reunion with My Son; Making it Current

So to bring you all up to speed on where I am with my reunion with Max.

We continued to message back and forth. The first weeks were a blizzard of information and then it settled into a flurry. Still regular contact, but not as intense which is normal and common in adoption reunions.

Telling the Adoptee About the Biological Father

We did get into the BIG story of how he came to be..and I have to say, this kid has a great attitude with everything. Besides the fact that he thinks his natural father is Satan since he is a lawyer..not that I disagree really on that.

I just love his response:

“You coulda had me eliminated, or I could be living with you right now getting that big juicy 17 percent check every month. Neither of those things happened, and there’s no point in anyone living in the past. Looky here, I’m with this big square Italian-American family right now with two much money and not enough funk. Know what? They suck. My girlie-man little bro wouldn’t let me suplex him in the halls today. My jive-talking little sis is the stereotypical little girl. My dad’s never home, and my other mom is a nitwit. Life sucks, work with it. I got my music, I got my friends, and most importantly, I got myself. Mebbe things coulda been diff’rent. Could be dead, could be with you (which would be sweet), hell, a whole lotta things could be. Kid’s could be callin’ me Max instead of the G. I could have a bro that’s into skateboarding instead of freaking gymnastics. I could have a little sis who’s crazy instead of boring. I could have a baby bro with a disgusting mewmews. But ah don’t. And I really don’t know what I’m saying besides I don’t mind, I’m not mad, I’m not sad, I’m just me. And thats what matters. I’m ready for more. “

And again..for anyone feeling the need to tell me that he has typical teen issues regarding his folks..I KNOW.

So let’s not all get in a wad because he calls his mother a nitwit. I am pretty sure that my second child has some great words for me too. There’s is a lot more that went back and forth with us. Too much to copy and paste, too much that really is just none of your beeswax. You’ll have to get the book for all the details!

When an Adoption Reunion Means More Secrets

Now as much as I LOVED it all, I was feeling very badly for the fact that this was still secret from his folks. Didn’t like going behind their back. Didn’t like making him keep something from them either. Granted part of me was happy to be able to get to know him without any interference, but still I knew it would also have to come to an end.

I was happy that we had a good foundation together at this part and felt the need to make sure he wasn’t brushing the reality of it all under the rug:

“Listen, I hate to be a pain in the ass, but this is weighing heavy on my mind…I am worried about you folks not knowing. Like I gather they won’t be all too happy, but the longer they don’t know..the worse it might feel to them. And the one thing I have learned in my years is that avoiding a situation does not make it go away, but makes it worse. So I’m assuming that one day they will find out or you’ll want to tell them? Because really this is a kinda big life thing…like I am not going to go away ( unless you make me..and even then I’ll wait around..i’m good at that) and I doubt that they intend to drop out either..so not telling them puts you in a position of keeping lots of secrets. And secrets just have a way of biting you on the butt. Plus after a while, it’s just not fun anymore…but then a lot of damage can be done. I know this is a drag, but I think we need to deal with it..be proactive so it’s not damage control. Yes, it’s mostly something that you’ll get stuck dealing with now..but I am thinking of the long term big picture. It’s a bump in the road, but sometimes you got to get past the bump to get to where you want to be. Like this is going amazingly well…so much better than I ever could have dreamed…and, assuming again, maybe someday we want to take it to the next level? Hang out? group hugs? body slams? That bump is going to get in the way. So I don’t want to pressure you, but that deep thinking thing? Think about it ok? Think about how you’d idealistically like things to be in the long term..and let’s figure out how to get there. Talk to me!

His reply was basically that he knew he had to, but kept forgetting.

My thought on that was that he had also inherited the “avoid” conflict gene along with the love of all things pirate, punk music, the desire for a Mohawk, sneaking out and doing what one wanted, working hard, not having to study in school, a love of storms, Dr. Pepper, and prosciutto, weird spelling errors, an general brilliance. And I also knew that I wasn’t going to hound him to death..just nudge him here and there.

Reaching the 18th Birthday in Adoption: a Milestone!

About 6 months into it, it suddenly hit me that we were really close to his 18th birthday..and that had a huge effect on me..but that is another post.

What I realized was that I really, really wanted to at least send him a card for his birthday. It was monumental for me so I asked him about it. Along with that, I also brought up his folks again. What I said was that since he would be 18, he could open up his records..if he desired. And if he did that, then he could “find” me and we could be “official” and then completely manage to avoid telling his folks that this has now been happening already for almost 7 months.

Really, at this point all I wanted to do was avoid getting them upset and get him out form the burden of secrets. To me, it was asking for interference and having to go back to playing the “good birthmom”, but worth it for them and mostly for him. He said that I could definitely send a card since his folks didn’t open his mail, but let’s avoid the NY post mark..so we decided that it would go though my brother who lives 20 minutes away from him.

“No, no, you’re not being a pest at all. Well, mebbe a little, but you’re my mom, you’re supposed to nag me. I’ve been starting to bring the mysterious “birth mom” (who isn’t as mysterious as they think) into conversations with the folks now and then, and they’ve already said how I can contact you when I turn 18 (which I already knew) and we can act all surprised like we never knew anything (and not like we’ve been writing back and forth the past 6 months”

And that was the grand plan to make it all good and no one would get hurt.

Now the one thing I have to add in here…when they told me in their update that they didn’t think it was time for him to know..it was because he wasn’t “interested” to them. I really really beleived in my heart, that IF he asked, they would speak the truth and let him know I had resurfaced. In fact, I use to just pray that he would ask something…before I found him myself..and then the truth would be told. I believed in that goodness. I believed that they were letting him call the shots and just didn’t know that frequently kids don’t ask for fear of seeming disloyal. I wanted to believe that their reasons had nothing to do with them or their needs, but they were just unaware.

So honestly, I was a bit taken aback that here he is saying that he has brought me up and asked about me, conversations have been made about him searching, and yet, they still sat on my letter to him. That really hurt, but I didn’t share that with him. I just made a note of it.

Sending the ‘Family Tree”

So in thinking about a card, I decided to send a little gift..something of great personal value to me. One of my most prized possessions..I want to send him this…stick I had. It’s really really cool actually…totally looks like a magic wand from Willow or Lord of the Ring. It’s actually the whole trunk of a full grown Bonsai tree and was given to me by a friend on my 21st birthday. I have kept it for years..its a prized possession..I adore it. Plus there is that whole family tree connotation attached..and so I did.

One big HUGE mistake on my part. I mailed the darn thing in a USPS Priority mail box so he would get it on his birthday..and I addressed it to his real name..with my brother’s MA return addy as planned…totally forgetting that he is named after his adoptive father. I didn’t put the JR. DUMB DUMB DUMB.

So his birthday is a Monday. And I am happy and excited, thinking that he will come home from school and get his perfectly timed gift from me. Yeah. Something I have actually physically touched! And I am working on stripping the old adhesive off the upstairs hallway floor and the phone rings.

The Adoption Agency Calls on His 18th Birthday

And it is the director of the agency.

And my first thought is “Wow, he really got on them. They are calling me to tell me that he is asking about me already” I mean, here I has spent so many years just thinking about what would happen on his 18th birthday and that it could end. And then I spent so long trying to wipe that fantasy out of my mind because the chances of it happening are really nil. And now it IS happening just like I had envisioned.

NOPE.

They got the Priority mailer addressed to…Dad. And mom opened it.

And even though I had not made it clear as day who it was from..ie didn’t sign it as mom nor elude that we had been talking, she knew and emailed the agency in a panic.

What Adoption Agencies and Adoptive Parents Want to Believe

“HOW on God’s good earth did I know where and who they were”

So, Amy, the agency director very quickly starts asking me HOW I know where they are. And she is figuring that I had searched on my own..which I confirmed, but it was still rather like an interrogation and rather harsh.
I quickly told her how I had known about them for over a year and a half that before they had sent me word of the possible update, I knew. That I knew tons and how I had found them, but that she can be reassured that I have sat on it and not stepped foot in the state of Massachusetts.

I didn’t let them know that I had been in direct contact. She explained that they like everything to go thought the agency. And they would facilitate it all. That people don’t know how to go about doing it and there were so many emotions involved, etc.

I told her how I had spent the last four years researching and threw out some key reunion phrases to prove it. I said I was quite ready and that, yeah, they probably should talk to the folks and they should get ready.
She told me how his parents felt that he was not at all interested. (and this was a killer, because I KNEW he had talked to them..that he had “acted interested”) and I told her that “perhaps they are seeing what they would like to see” ..how adoptive parents sometimes infer a bit more onto what their desires might be.

She then explained how he probably wasn’t really interested yet to which I pretty much said “Trust me, he is ready”

Yes, it should happen soon. You need to get them on board.

I got off the phone. It was upsetting for many reasons.

  • One, I felt like I messed up his birthday and cause conflict which I had been trying to avoid.
  • Two, I felt angry for being interrogated like that.
  • Three they made me feel criminal for sending my son an 18th birthday present.
  • Four, I knew they were upset and I hated that and had not wanted that to happen.
  • Five, I was under the impression that they were going to now hide his present like my first letter and say nothing to him.
  • Six, I really felt that now it was confirmed that they had their own issues with contact.

The other thing that annoyed me, Amy didn’t even realize that she had called ON his birthday. It was momentous for me, but that hadn’t thought to look that up..she was surprised when I told her.

Also, I had asked her if there was a way to get a copy of the relinquishment as I never had what I had signed. She told that it was in storage and would cost me 50 dollars to get it out. So if I wanted what I should have had from the beginning, I could send a check.

I immediately sent him a cryptic message on MySpace..changed my picture and user name so I would look :not mom: if that contact was discovered. “package intercepted by parental units, agency notified..warning! Sorry, I fucked up your birthday!”

I was freaking OUT. I don’t know how it ended up going down at his house. I don’t know if they came out in the open and said what happened and he confessed all, or if he wanted his present and then they told all.

What I do know is that I was super relieved to get the following message the next day. It sounds to me, that he bought it up.

“If “fucked up your birthday” means I got your old majik wand, then yes, you did. I had a talk with the folks about you, and they got a little pissed. As I fully expected. They said they were gonna complain to the agency, and that you had broken the rules in contacting me. I totally agreed with them in that, but then again, I don’t really how many rules people break. Screw ’em, they’ll get over it. But seriously, that little bonzai tree thing is really cool. I love it. It’s got a special feel too it. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I’ll take good care of it. So don’t worry about anything. The package got here safely, and everything is out in the open. The folks are pissed and the agency is pissed, but overall I am very pleased with the way things turned out. No worries, and thanks for the… I don’t exactly know what to call it… lets say “wand.” love, Max “

And as in everything..as long as he is please…that’s all a mom needs.

I am sorry that they found out this way, but I am equally as sorry that they didn’t tell him when I first contacted them. I had really tried to be very open and understanding, maybe they had their reasons, but in the light of what did go down..I tend to think that their reasons were not really based completely on what he wanted, but what they needed, yet wouldn’t be so bold and say it. The way I look at it now, is they did something I didn’t like and I did something they didn’t like. I don’t have to prove a point or hold a grudge, it’s water under the bridge as far as I see it. I would love to be able to get past it and , for Max’s sake, make it all as good as possible. I can only hope that when they calm down a bit, maybe do some research, that they would see the same.

I never did hear back from the agency on opening it up, or where to go from here, nor their complaint. And I haven’t heard directly from them either. (nor will I ever)

But from my son, he said that they haven’t mentioned it again and all is good for him. He tells me not to worry. Sweet boy. Like him, I am glad they know. I wish it didn’t feel like we were on opposite ends of the rope, pulling coz I will not pull, but I am not going to fall face first into the mud either. I wish that I didn’t have that feeling of disappointment..that they are not as open as I would have liked, not really welcoming me.
It makes me sad for all of us, but mostly for them. I am pretty much at a loss on how to “make it better” for them. And I guess, that maybe, I cannot.

So I concentrate on our boy and being what he needs me to be. I am pretty confident that he is happy he is found. He is happy to know us. He is feeling good knowing his past, his roots, his history, finding the “genetic mirrors” of his soul, knowing people who think like him, act like him.

He is applying to colleges now. One, I said “hey check this one out”, is 15 minutes from us and he has applied there on just one tiny suggestion.

I think he was ready. He was born ready.

Continue reading… the End of Procrastination 

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

7 Comments on "The Adoption Reunion with My Son; Making it Current"

  1. 1. The ad-parents lied to you they said he wasn’t interested.
    2. The ad-parents lied to him they didn’t tell him you had written a letter and wanted contact.
    3. At 18 he is an adult and nobody can speak on his behalf about you and him being in contact, that is between you and him.
    4. It sounds like you turned up just him time, he was obviously feeling like a fish out of water in that family, sorry, you are too gracious about it but it’s just the truth.
    5. Love the way you write, you are such a great writer!!

  2. Thank you…that’s pretty mcuh the way I feel now…
    the best example..before my update, the agency had said something along the lines that “he was very busy learning to play tennis”..ohlala
    So then I talk to him about tennis..and he HATES it. He says they all play it all the time..the rest of the family…mixed doubles together in the county club in their little whites..and he hates it. He won’t play. He goes on the river in makeship rafts and pretends to be a prirate. And I am like..ohhh ARGG yes..we all have prirate flags..we love pirates..and I have bootleggers and smugglers in both sides of my family.
    No tennis pros..no country clubbers.
    Funny how that works. I think they WANT him to be a good little tennis boy, but he is a pirate.

  3. Oh my GOD, Claud, like you, your son rox!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is that not so cool! Wow, it’s like, really cool. I’m stupified with glee and can write nothing other than, shit Claud, this is so cool!!!!!!!!!! Come write to me on my board, I haven’t written anything that isn’t lame in a while, I’m a little hit hard by Aaron leaving and my grandma dying, so come write something nice!!!!!!Oh pleeeeeeease……..

    PS….Claud your son is a pirate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  4. I find your story really fascinating, so thanks for posting it. The message that I am taking from it is that I am very lucky as an adoptive mom that I have good relationships with my kids’ birthparents. That there won’t be the need for any secrecy and upset, because it’s already all out in the open. That is good and I’m celebrating it right now. Also having it driven home to me yet again that I’m so lucky to be parenting my kids. I know you are not a “dangerous” birthmother, but it does chill me how easily minor children can be contacted due to too much identifying info on their webpages.

  5. He actually didn’t have enough info on his sight. If he did, I would have found him months earlier. Not his real name, not his real town, not even his real face was showing. It was only because I knew what to look for from my own research that I was able to find him. Also, it hpls that I am not a child molester (not that he really is a child, but his natural mother.

    Funny thing..not too long ago, my second son’s middle school sent out a warning about MySpace. I had to laugh as I had sent up myslef the page for my 2nd to communicate with his big brother. Course, I DO know his password and I do monitor him.

  6. Dangerous birthmothers?

  7. By “dangerous birthmothers,” I meant women who had their children taken away for good reason…severe mental illness, dangerous criminal behavior, etc. Unfortunately, not all birthmothers are stable and it is unnerving to consider that they could be seeking out their children through means like My Space where kids often give away too much personal information.

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