|(c) 123RF Stock Photos|
I choose to be involved in the online adoption community. For the most part I find it healing to be connected to this community. It brings me into contact daily with people who “get” me, who understand my experience of being adopted in a way that others can’t. This is something that was missing for most of my life, and I soak it up now that I have it. But being in this community also brings me into daily contact with the collective pain of adoption. And there are days when that pain is almost more than I can bear. Failed reunions, those cases where the break is permanent and unrepairable, are a part of that collective pain.
I’m aware of the many pitfalls that can affect reunion attempts (and I have a post in mind on this topic for a future date), and I can’t say for sure how my original mother and I managed to avoid them except that we recognized the piece of our bond that was still intact (what I sometimes refer to as “the unbreakable thread”) and we kept our focus on that, strengthening it over time as we built a relationship in the present day. We are both aware of elements that are lost and unreclaimable – nothing can give us back the first 30 years of my life – but that’s not where our focus is. The past is past. Somehow we were both able to recognize that our only shot at relationship was to meet each other face to face in the present day. We took that chance, and we succeeded.
It is too early to know if my current relationship with my biological father will result in any measure of healing for me or for him, or whether ours will be one more story of a break that stayed broken. We are currently in that strange place of being strangers and yet not strangers. I recognized the unbreakable thread. It doesn’t matter that I have never met him in person, that I am a grown adult who has lived a full life without him being in it at all, or that our entire “relationship” to this point consists of a few emails, some photos, and one brief phone call. I recognize him. He is my father. Not my only father, but my father nevertheless. But the very keenness of this awareness only brings into sharper focus the way adoption has messed with the natural order of things. I wasn't supposed to meet him now. He was supposed to have been there all along. Reunion offers the possibility of a connection in the present day, but it also brings to the surface an awareness of what was lost. And what remains broken.
My immediate goal for this reunion is pretty simple. I just want to meet this person and to learn some things about who he is and the life he has led. I believe I am likely to meet this goal. He has agreed to my request, and in spite of the insecurities I mentioned in a recent post, I have no real reason to believe that he won’t follow through. For years he has been the final missing piece of the puzzle that is me. I want to know him so that I may better know myself, and I seem to be on track to get what I want in that respect. But I may also get something else.
Meeting him face to face could end up shining a brighter light on all that is broken and unrepairable. Maybe. Or maybe, as with my other reunion, we will somehow find a way to keep the focus on the unbroken part, and to meet each other face to face in the present moment. At this point, with only a few brief interactions to judge by, I really can’t tell. It could go either way.