Monday, July 2, 2012

Vulnerable

I'm feeling vulnerable today. That's not a bad thing. I'm just aware that I'm soft and raw; I've let my guard down. Adoption reunion requires this of me. That may seem counterintuitive. It might seem to some that this would be at time, more than any other, when I should protect myself and shield my emotions. But if both people do that, there can be no connection. Imagine two knights in full armor trying to embrace each other.

I cherish each communication from my biological father. Each one -- even if it's just a short email … a line or two of text and a photo -- tells me something about him. And that's what I asked for. I wanted, quite simply, to know this person who is partially responsible for my existence and my "composition," my particular genetic makeup. The flip side of the coin is the desire to be known. To know one's biological parents and to be known by them. Such a simple desire. Such a basic human urge. It is so surprising to me at times that adoptees have to fight so hard to make people understand why this is something that we (or many of us, at least) need.

I cherish each communication, and I am also completely convinced, on some level, that each will be the last. He has given me no reason to believe this. To the contrary. His first email said "I will call you soon -- I promise!" Do you see what that is? It's an "I promise" with an exclamation point! That's a binding social contract, folks. And yet, I was absolutely convinced he would never call. And then he did call, and at the end of that conversation emphatically assured me that he would call again. I am certain he won't. This has nothing to do with him; he could email me every day saying “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere” and it wouldn’t make a difference. This is the old adoptee insecurity rising up. There has never been any glue binding me to this person. Why should there be now? The exact same thing happened at the beginning of my reunion with my biological mother. Having reconnected with her at last, I was sure I would lose her again.

I understand why some adoptees aren't willing to take that chance, and why others get a few steps into reunion and then retreat to a safer, less vulnerable position. But I'm okay. I'd rather be in this place, feeling just a little too sensitive and tender, than in than in the place of numbness I described in my last post. I'm vulnerable now because he could be the one to decide that this is all just too much and retreat. I am risking rejection. I could get hurt, and I know that. But to borrow the words of Lady Antebellem, "Guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all."

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

2 comments:

  1. I know that vulnerability exactly. Though I'm not in reunion as I'm not an adoptee, I'm in that same place with my daughter's parents. It's been two and a half years now, and every single time they send an email or we have a visit or anything, I'm convinced deep down it's the last time I'll hear anything from them. Despite the fact that I know they care and I also know that they want this relationship as much as I do. Same type of insecurity. Wonderful post....and I'm desperately hoping and praying he doesn't break the trust you have in him.

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  2. Thanks, Monika. Really appreciating your friendship and support as I navigate this! And you're right; it is similar. Now that you mention it, I can think of several open-adoption bmoms who've written about this type of insecurity.

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