Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who Are You?

My friend Krista emailed me with some exciting news yesterday that many in her situation would be thrilled to receive.

But first let me tell you about the news she learned almost four years ago while cleaning out her then recently deceased father's home. Krista was going through a musty box of expired agreements, warranties and receipts for major house repairs when she discovered adoption papers. They were her adoption papers.

Krista was 36 years old when she learned for the first time she had been adopted. The world as she knew it completely evaporated in the matter of thirty seconds as she scanned the documents. She felt so disoriented that it was necessary to sit for an hour as so much ran through her mind. Krista had been an only child so there was not a sibling to quiz. The mother who raised her died several years before.

The next 72 hours were the most painful of her life. Krista's rage and indignation that such a thing would be kept from her compelled everyone she asked to provide any tidbit of information. She even tracked down her mother's younger brother, Scott, whom Krista had not seen in almost twenty years and asked him question.

Krista knew that her mother and Scott had not been close hence his absence from most of Krista's life. The reason for the schism became clear: Scott did not approve of Krista's parents keeping her adoption a secret from her. He thought it was detrimental and, down the road, if she ever found the revelation would be psychologically damaging. Scott didn't buy the reason for the choice to keep the adoption a secret: Krista might feel as if she had been abandoned and that could be a long term, devastating issue for a child to come to terms with if she ever could dome to terms with it.

I have always suspected that most adopted children feel some sense of abandonment even if they came to know the reasons they were given up for adoption was for their own good. Intellectually you can understand something but your soul feels the pain and doubt your intellect tries to rationalize. I also believe that sense of abadonment is something you never get over: the pain of it can drive one to success or failure. How it fuels the life of the adopted child is up to that individual.

Krista felt that at least if she had known from the start she had been adopted, that would at least have been an identity of some sort for her that was tangible. She could not rail against those who elected to keep this very personal detail from her as they were now dead.

The one way to come to terms with this situation for Krista was to launch a search for one or both of her parents. This she did and in the four years she engaged in that search, little by little information was gathered. It made Krista feel more grounded - re-rooted, if you will, in the world.

Finally, Krista located the woman she believed was her birth mother. Krista didn't know whether to call or write. The last thing anyone who feels abandoned by their birth mother wants to do is to get rejected face to face, even over the telephone. Through her presence in support groups, Krista knew that some birth parents were not happy to have been found and told the adult child to take a hike. Krista decided to write a letter. That way, if she didn't ever hear back from the woman it would not be as sharp a slap as getting the rejection in person.

Krista heard back. In fact, the woman called the number Krista provided. They both cried as soon as each acknowledged the other. Krista said it took almost ten minutes for the two of them to get enough composure together to continue the conversation.

I don't want to give out any more details than that about this wonderful reunion other than Krista learned her birth father had died in a car accident soon after Krista was given up for adoption.

Krista and her birth mother met in person over Easter for the first time.

2 comments:

Bruce said...

WOW... Great story. I hope it all turns out ok for her in the near future. I'm sure she won't get fooled again!

Alondra said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us Nancy. I'm glad that though Krista learned about her adoption in such a painful way, she is now able to establish a relationship with her birth mother. I wish them both well.

Alondra