It’s Not ‘Adoptee Pull-Back.’ I’m Just A Flake!

September 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm (Uncategorized)

A few months ago, there was quite a bit of static on a few blogs/forums about the issue of ‘Adoptee Pullback.’ Since I’m not too keen on invading other’s personal spaces, even if it is ELECTRONIC space, I thought maybe I would discuss this issue here in my own space… as it pertains to my own life.

My reunion with my f-mother didn’t suffer from ‘adoptee pull-back.’ She is the one that failed to return my emails after our face-to-face meetings. She is the one that failed to return my calls. I suppose there is a part of me that could be really, super angry about this… but really, I don’t even see it as ‘maternal pull-back.’ I think I may just have inherited one of her personality flaws.

My reunion with my f-dad is a little bit different. I think that if he read some of the things that other first parents wrote about adoptee pull back, he would probably chime in and say that he has dealt with those issues in our reunion as well.

I am still in contact with my f-dad. I feel that our relationship is about as functional as it can be at the moment. We talk on the phone every once in awhile, email every once in awhile, but Facebook each other every day. Since this is pretty much the relationship I have with 90% of my friend-base and adoptive family right now, I don’t really see our lack of actual voice or face-to-face interaction as symptomatic of any deeper issues.

What it comes down to is this: I am a full time music student. I also have to work to put myself through school. I am also in a 4 year relationship that pretty much has all the problems of a marriage AND all the problems inherent in a long-term relationship without official commitment. In short – I’m busy. All the time. My f-dad has been absolutely AMAZING throughout this entire reunion. He has not only been incredibly accommodating, but also understanding, and has never made me feel guilty for not always driving 4 hours to come see him, or calling when I say I will, or not emailing him back right away.

I suspect that my f-mother, who is working two jobs and taking care of her family, is also pretty darn busy… And unlike my f-dad, I didn’t put as much effort into maintaining contact with her. When she stopped responding, I stopped writing. When I stop responding, my f-dad keeps writing anyway.

I guess I feel like I’m a flake… I forget things all the time, especially when it involves returning phone calls and emails. And while it may seem to my f-dad or other first parents that this is a case of ‘adoptee pull-back,’ it’s really not… It’s a case of “super busy college student who is also incredibly disorganized.”

That’s not to say that I don’t understand adoptee pull-back. Believe me, I do. But my feelings about pull back are that adoptees didn’t really get a choice in this whole adoption thing. We were just along for the ride. And reunion is terrifying because we never know what we’re going to find. There is no handbook for reunion and I know that I personally started my search without ever really pausing to consider the ramifications of searching. I didn’t have time to. I made the decision to search and three days later, someone on an adoptee forum that I frequent had found a possible match.

That someone was right. I had found my mother after only THREE DAYS of even seriously considering searching.

I can’t imagine the agony of dead-end after dead-end that some of my fellow adoptees have described. I also can’t imagine the absolute devastation of being denied. The only real ‘FOR SURE’ I can attach to reunion is that there is no way to plan it. Just as there is no handbook or ‘catch-all’ list of instructions to guarantee a successful bond with your relinquished child for f-parents, there is no handbook for adoptees either. When reunion occurs, there are multiple PEOPLE involved.

PEOPLE. Usually adults. Sometimes an adult and a teenager. But always people with free will and pasts and experiences that are different. With secrets and dreams and their own set of expectations concerning reunion. Before you start frothing at the mouth on a public blog about your adoptee’s ‘pull-back’ and how disrespectful/hurtful it is to you, remember that this adoptee had their own set of expectations and hopes and feelings concerning this reunion too. It’s perfectly okay to speak about how you feel, but remember that you are still talking about a human being who has also felt loss because of the adoption system in this country. A human being who, like you, has no handbook. A human being who, like you, is experiencing a bunch of crazy emotions that often times clash with each other.

A human being who is most likely trying to figure out where they fit into your life, while juggling two families AND all that wonderful judgment of society that is heaped upon adoptees who choose to search.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying that relinquishing parents don’t have to deal with society’s judgment. I am merely pointing out that adoptees, especially those who make the decision to search, do as well. I feel that this point is largely ignored by the other two sections of the adoption triad but that is something I will go into at a later date.

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