You Can't Always Get What You Want

That's why we have to learn to appreciate what we have.

Relatively Speaking

Am I supposed to be a secret?

The subtitle of this blog is How Do I Fit In something I suppose I will be pondering until the day I die. People with nonverbal learning disorder (NLD) aren't supposed to react well to change yet my life is all about change.

Last summer my birth cousin contacted me to say that my birth mother had died. This led to me finding out my birth father's name. He died when I was about thirteen but left children, more children than I had suspected. Suddenly something that had always seemed abstract to me became real.

Was it abstract because I have NLD and couldn't process the information properly or was it abstract because the information is difficult for anybody to take in?

When you're adopted no matter how wonderful your adoptive or real family is; no matter how loved you have felt in life you're always left remembering how when you were a child you had questions your parents couldn't answer.

They would have loved to have answered all my questions; I have been told my father hired a private detective to find my birth family so he could answer all the questions he knew I would have. We didn't have much money when I was a child so that was an act of extreme generosity and love. My parents never told me this; an old family friend blurted it out.

I believe it as it's something I could see my father doing. When I was searching he offered to help anyway possible. I rejected the help as I felt it was my journey that I had to take alone. But my father was the person who had the original birth certificate. My father read about a lecture my birth cousin (of a very unique surname) was giving. I went to it and spoke to him afterwards. He gave me my birth mother's phone number.

Speaking to half-bio-bro last week shook me to my core. He was incredibly nice and willing to do anything to help me learn about my bio family with one caveat. His mother is still alive and thus he doesn't want my other half bio siblings knowing about me.

I was supposed to call him back with a list of questions. I haven't. Is it laziness on my part? Is it a vestige of NLD where I can't build on my experiences? I actually think both scenarios are wrong but am not sure what is right.

Joan Didion writes about her deceased adopted daughter Quintana Roo in her wonderful book Blue Nights. While I knew that the book was about Quintana Roo and that she had been adopted I hadn't expected to relate to both mother and daughter so much.

Quintana Roo asked questions, as a child, about what would have happened if her parents hadn't been home when the doctor called to say a beautiful baby was born....She was fixated on the very beginnings. I was adopted from an agency and also would have my parents tell the story of my adoption over and over again. I didn't worry about the same things Quintana Roo worried. I think that was because I expected if my parents hadn't been home when the agency called they would have called again and again.

I worried instead about relations with relatives. My sister was my sister because she had been born to my parents two years after I was adopted. My parents were my parents and my grandmothers were my grandmothers simply because I knew them. Were my grandfathers really my grandfathers? Did the relationship stop with great grandparents--I didn't know them but my parents did so I was confused. Was I related at all to my great great grandparents?

It was awfully confusing. First I didn't know how to put the questions into word. Then I realized my mother would say "of course they're your relatives," while my father would be confused and think about the question.

My parents, my father especially, wanted me to be in touch with my biological family, and I wish they were on this earth as I feel a bit guilty and a lot confused. This is one of the times I truly need my parents. But they're not here so it's up for me to make the decisions.

Quintana Roo's birth family found her. She was in touch with her siblings and her bio-mom for a time. I sense the relationship died a natural death. Nurture I believe is much stronger than nature. Especially when the family you're adopted into is "complicated," and I mean that in the most loving of ways.

If I get back in touch with half-bio-bro I would hope it would be for life.

When I met bio-mom she put so many restrictions and secrets into the relationship I couldn't have one at all with her. I had never thought about my bio-dad before I met her. He was the sperm donor (and I thought that a long time before the expression became popular.) After meeting her he began to be a real person.

This summer he became much more real to me. So did my (half) bio-siblings. They're very very real.

But I can't be a secret. I'm worth so much more than that.

 

You Can't Always Get What You Want