Monday, November 30, 2009

ABC Adoption Reunion: Episode One

For me, it was not unlike a video version of reading reunion stories on email lists.

The focus of the show is, as expected, the emotional aspects of not knowing, seeking, longing, wondering...and then finding.

For me, as a mother, there was also pain in the questions left unasked by Ashley. Was she harboring anger for her birthparents who let her go and kept her older and younger siblings?  Or was she too afraid of hurting her adoptive parents to dare to include them in the reunion? It was obviously safe for her to openly admit that having a sibling - which she did not have growing up in her adoptive family - was something she felt she missed and wanted.  Wanting to meet her birth parents - that's different.

Did her brother David and sister Daniel ask if she wanted to know anything about them - even to see a photo - but they didn't show it? And if so, was it excluded because her answer was no?

That was upsetting for me, as was the joy of the siblings. My sons never showed any interest to know anything about their eldest sister, but my other daughter would have oved to have had those hugs!

As for the public, I do think the depth of emotion and the long wait these people have to put up with to ever reunite might help the public realize the utter stupidity of denying people this simple opportunity.  There are plenty of siblings and mothers and kids raised together who chose not to have a relationship or to have cool, distant relationships, or not  talk at all. These are things we should all be able to arrange personally.

I think it shows the abusdity of discriminating laws.


maybe said...

I suspect some unconsicous anger at the parents for giving her up. The emotions on both stories last night were incredible...they belie the general belief that adoptees have no need to connect with bio-family, are happy about adoption, etc.

The letter written by the daughter in the second story where she wrote that she would have searched forever, even if she only ended up finding a gravesite, she would never give up, was truly heartbreaking.

Angelle said...

I wondered about the parents and what kind of help as a young couple in need they got from Catholic "Charities" in 1985. Certainly not to keep their family together. Not knowing their circumstances I can only imagine the denial they must have had to suffer.

The second story made my heart ache. I too had nurses in the hospital keep me from my baby because he was going to be adopted. I too had zero opportunity to keep him.

How do I explain that to my son? I hope that someone in his extended adoptive family watches the show and has compaasion for us.

AdoptAuthor said...

Yes, obviously the family who placed one out of three children was suffering some TEMPORARY problem. It is possible that the child was not the fathers. They may have split up and gotten back together - or just had very hard financial times. Any number of things, but whatever it was, they could have been helped to remain as a family.

Ashley seemed to me to hold her as superior to her to sibs and was very GRATEFUL she had gotten a "better life" though under that mask of superiority was a very confused and angry woman.

Daniel, the sister, IMMEDIATELY raised the issue of whether Ashley would resent her for being kept. Because that would be the most NATURAL reaction....especially given the surprise of her having this younger sib and the ramifications of that. But Ashley immediately assured her it never entered her mind. BULL S%*T!

Angelle - how old is your son? You have a relationship with him, or an open adoption??

Angelle said...

My son is 42, we are two years in a good reunion except for his amom who is being difficult. I knew all those years ago that I left information so he could find me.

Anyway, when he turned 18 I didn't hear from him, when he turned 21 I didn't hear from him....and so life went on. I thought he was probably happy and did not want to find me.

As it turns out he "found" me when he was 23 through a family connection but did not want to upset his aparents so he did not pursue the link. He began looking again when he had children but by then the connection had passed away so he was stuck in the state system. So there is "story" in between the years.

One year into our reunion I got his OBC from the confidential intermediary who connected us. She was terminally ill and I think this was a sheer act of kindness.

Lo and behold there on his OBC was my address at the time when he was born. My family's home that we still own today. I could have been found in the phone book in 5 minutes at any time in those 40 years. What a case for open records!

AdoptAuthor said...


In my experience adult-child relations are difficult in any case. Reunited families separated by adoption have extra added "shit" to deal with: feelings of being rejected; feelings of being grateful to and not wanting to hurt their adopters.

He is 42 and will have to work these issues. You can suggest that he find some adoptee support groups online....

As for the OBC, it could also be used as an argument by those who want to keep records sealed to "protect" a mother who would not want to be found!

Anonymous said...

I left a message on their boards:

Andrea said...

Maybe Ashley met her parents but they did not want to be on the TV show. The show said so little about them that I wondered if they declined to be interviewed or discussed at all. But it doesn't necessarily mean she did not meet them.

AdoptAuthor said...

Anything is possible, but it seems to me the show would simply have stated that fact.

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