Monday, September 26, 2011

the search~

The search for my birth mother started in spring 2010 before I got pregnant. I had one of those "mega moments". You know the kind. I realized that the life growing inside of me would share my heritage and while I'd never obsessed over finding her, meeting her, having some deep connection with her, it was no longer just my story. Now, it's my son's story, too.
So I submitted the paperwork to the Pittsburgh Orphan's Court (um, wow, really?) and the social worker assigned to me became this amazing person in my life during the search. A woman of great ethic and compassion, Kathy Leahy is the perfect fit for her job. We shared many an email and a couple of phone calls as she attempted to contact my birth mother after finding her in a database she has access to. What a juicy-information work life Kathy leads, for sure! But she had the utmost respect for all parties involved and I could tell she really, truly cared about me as an adoptee.
So I'm going to be frank with you.
Adoption is not the be-all, end-all answer to unplanned, unwanted pregnancy that people think it is. It is so much more complicated than that.
This is not to say that it should not occur. I want to make that very clear. I had a lot in my environment growing up that I would have completely missed out on had I not been adopted.
The reason Kathy the Social Worker was so compassionate and well, protective was because both adoptees and birth parents often go on to experience great emotional turmoil in their lives. Some are better at adapting and evolving and coping with all these conflicting feelings than others. Many go on to develop major trust and commitment issues, build walls, become perfectionists or messes to close themselves off to everything they're feeling. Workaholics, addiction, low self-esteem---these are all common in both parties. Some people don't even make it out of all this alive. I'm not kidding.
In my case, I am a perfectionist. I'm not quite type A, but that's only because I don't have the ability to bully people into how I think 'everything should go'. I'm super hard on myself and have never been competitive with others because I was too busy competing with myself. I do pride myself on being a flexible person who can usually see all sides of a situation, but some of this stems from my over-concern with what people are thinking and if I'm hurting their feelings (but in an extreme way, like "are you mad at me?" nonsense that I can obsess over for absolutely no reason at all). Hence, I've had a terrible time of being an emotional doormat to certain people in my life, and only in the last 2 years can I honestly say I've learned how to let go of or even necessarily get rid of toxic people--- and not feel bad about it.
I also have a tendency to be a workaholic. Always busy, it can actually be hard for me to justify having fun (!) I kid you not. As in, maybe I'm not worthy of it and need to always be doing something "productive"---like it creates a value on my place in the world...and so now I matter. Adoptees after all, often feel like they somehow crashed somebody's party and had to be well, removed.
And so, taking a break to "just" be mum and have the luxury to be at home to raise my family for now has taught me to relax and have fun because that's how babies learn and grow into wonderfully unique, intelligent, trusting, loving human beings. Not because you did Baby Einstein.
In the most amazing journey, the last 7 months (since I had him) have been the most healing and exhilarating. They've also been 7 of the most simultaneously fast-paced and slow-paced months of my life. Wanna learn to live in the moment? Don't take that Buddhist meditation class, just have your first child.
Of course you can imagine how searching for my birthmother put me on this entirely new path that also felt like an old one. Old questions of self-worth, identity, disconnection---all these things bubbled up and surfaced again in a whole new way because not only was I facing something I'd never imagined dealing with in my life, it was when I was pregnant with my first child.
So, as I continue my story post by post, I'll stop there for today.
But let me just say this:
She was a hard woman to get a hold of.

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