Green Eyed Monster

nov1906_dport_181b.jpg I wonder if there ever really is any getting over contact denial. Oh this is all SO tiring. I scream at myself on the inside to just get ON with life but it is always hanging there like a cobweb I can’t quite reach. Nobody else even notices the stupid cobweb but I do and it drives me batty.

Usually when I help someone search I end up trying to prepare them emotionally for what may surface during the process. It’s pretty simple really. I help them search, give them steps to take which they either do or don’t do. I think it’s important to be involved in your own search because it helps you prepare and also gives you a sense of control in a situation where you have very little, if any. Some people are totally on board with it and others really expect you to do everything, taking a more passive approach. I have had success finding and I have had failure and no matter how hard I try failure is always entirely frustrating.

Usually if searching meets with success I sort of silently celebrate, wish them well and that’s pretty much the end of my involvement. Recently however I began helping someone who over the course of several months has become a very good friend. Now I feel like I have a vested interest in the success of his reunion, it’s VERY personal and that is new territory for me. I became attached to him and his beautiful family and thus to the outcome of his search.

My friend did not have an accurate name to go by so after several weeks of searching I suggested he suck it up and go through the state run intermediary program at the whopping cost of 750.00. I get physically sick when people have to pay this kind of money for their OWN information but all avenues had been explored and there was nowhere else to go. As it turns out he had the wrong name to begin with so the intermediary program was the right choice. If you can call it a choice.

A short time later he was assigned an intermediary and with his records in hand she was able to locate his family in a matter of days. After the intermediary received the siblings consent form and sent it to the court (another absolutely rediculous step) she was able to give my friend the contact information. Two days ago he spoke to his siblings for the first time. As it turns out two of them live in the same state that he does and one lives only about 40 minutes away. It’s a miracle. He was supposed to be having dinner with one of his sisters last night!

Now comes the hard part. I have never really allowed myself to become completely emotionally involved with anyone I was searching for but this time around I definately was involved. We talked almost every day. He explained the emotions he was going through and I assured him that what he was feeling was quite normal. The thing is because he shared so much with me each step he took felt like I was going through the process all over again. And the worst part? Now that his search has met with success I am struggling with jealousy. I can’t tell you how horrible it makes me feel that I cannot bring myself to simply feel happy for him. I AM happy for him but it is cluttered with my own sense of loss.

I am not at all sure what to do with this. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my own failed reunion is reaching it’s sixth year anniversary, maybe it’s the holidays, I don’t know. All I know is that it is causing me to question my motives for helping others search. Initially I knew it was somewhat selfish. You see when I helped others it made me feel like there was a reason to the madness of the outcome of my own search, but even with the justification I was doing a good thing. It was a win-win situation. With this search though it FEELS like a win situation for him and all I am feeling is a huge sense of loss. I feel like a fake. When I talk to him on the phone I tell him how happy I am for him. He shares every success because I have stood by him since the beginning. He feels I deserve to be a part of the rewards of a lot of hard work. I wish I could feel the same. I really do. Instead I just feel cheated. As he is telling me about his sister crying on the phone because she is so entirely happy that he has found them I am experiencing this crushing pain in my chest. I am feeling that ugly sense of unworthiness that comes with being rejected by one’s own family.

Instead of celebrating my friends success I find myself thinking once again about whether or not to send Christmas cards to my mother and my siblings. Whether or not to include a photo of my beautiful children. Whether they will be received in the spirit for which they were given or looked upon as an intrusion where I am not wanted. It’s the same thing every year but this year it seems like the wound has been ripped open. It’s exposed and raw once again.

Does it ever truly heal? By helping others with their own searches am I inadvertantly ripping the wound open time and time again? Did I just feel it more this time because of the extent of my emotional involvement? If so would I have done things differently? Probably not.

Entitlement is tricky. I know I was not owed a relationship with my family of origin but sometimes the mind and the heart don’t necessarily work in tandem.

I am sorry my friend. I love you and there IS a part of me that is celebrating with you. I wish that’s all there was. You deserve this happiness and I promise to work on being a better friend.

Envy photo credit: Janice Dunn

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14 Comments

Filed under Adoptee Family, Natural Family

14 responses to “Green Eyed Monster

  1. J.

    Mia, I am sorry that your wounds are re-opened, and I pray for your healing and growth. You are going for something greater by acknowledging what you’ve missed. Your generosity of spirit sharing your journey helps us expand our world. Maybe the pain that blocks your natural family from communicating with you can break open as more of us tell our stories. They can become common knowledge. Then people won’t have to be so afraid. My relationships internally, in my family and with Joy are better because I’ve been able to learn and share here. I am wishing for you to feel whole and connected and loved. In peace —

  2. I soooooooooo get this. Right there with you, sis.

  3. suz

    wow. i could have written this post only from the other side. my own searching, helping others, my own lack of contact with my dd. yeah, i understand. different perspective but i totally get the feeling behind it.

  4. mia…you are reliving it all over and each time you do, it hurts. Through the hurt, you are discovering more about yourself. I see great depth and insight as you describe your feelings for your friend, his family and also the anguish in comparing/contrasting that with your own family. It is a process that for you, I wish did not have to hurt so much. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Mia why are you so hard on yourself?

    I think it is perfectly natural to feel jealousy. I know I would feel the same.

    You know I cringe whenever I hear someone say about “reunion” that “no one is owed a relationship.” If your co-worker who is a perfectly nice and decent person said to you “my mother refuses to speak to me, but then she doesn’t owe me a relationship” wouldn’t that strike you as strange?

    It strikes me as strange.

    The only time I ever hear the “no one is owed a relationship” line is regarding adoption.

    Fuck adoption.

    Your mother does owe you.

    She does. JMO.

  6. I agree elizabeth….once a parent, always a parent. I don’t really care what the legal system says. It can’t change biology nor the moral obligation of the person(s) who brought you into the world. I have always felt parenting is a one-way street named: Unconditional Love.

  7. Amy

    Lady – it is perfectly normal to feel jealous. Heck every time I hear about someone’s reunion or even chatting with a birth mother who has come out. It hurts. So I have come to the conclusion – all these women are my mothers. You my dear are my sister. One day they will both realize what they are missing in us girls.

  8. reunionwritings

    Mia, can you e-mail me your post address? I can’t find where I put it from the last time. I want to send you a season’s greetings card – A Buon Natale card.

    As alwasy you make perfect sense and help others to understand.

  9. I am almost in tears here. You were right, it’s uncanny how similar our posts were. Both of us happy for our friends who reunited, struggling with the fact our own searches are stalled. I noticed another similarity – both of us have been searching for 6 years.

    Glad to know I’m not alone in this . . .

  10. You all made very good points. Elizabeth that was an eye opening analogy but I remain on the fence about it. I tend to think free will supersedes all social/moral rules. I will have to give that more thought.

    Kim I will write you this weekend. I was looking for your address on the postcard (which is still taped on my desk) but it’s not on there. I was going to ask you for yours as well.

    Harlow I am very glad you stopped by. You are NOT alone. That is something you CAN count on as a constant. I hope everyone visits your “green eyed” post. I think the similarity in our posts really drives the point home that we are all connected in ways we cannot even imagine.

  11. Mia I understand and agree with you about free will. I value my freedom a great deal.

    But why would anyone want to be free from their family, given they are decent people?

    I’m betting you are a decent person.

    Your “birth” mother denying you contact is disgusting.

    Given that you are a decent person, she does owe you. JMO of course.

  12. I understand the jealousy….and it’s perfectly normal.

    When I was searching (for 4 long years) I would get absolutely infuriated with envy at the adoptees who found and were only interested in medical information. Or that woman who wrote the book Ithika—her bio parents found HER and she wrote a whinefest about it. I just wanted to shake them and shout, “do you know how many adoptees would love to be in your shoes right now you asshat?????”

    I know I’m fortunate in my reunion. I’m never going to take it for granted.

    I’m so sorry, my friend.

  13. Oh, Mia, this is one of the most heart-wrenching posts I’ve read in awhile. That sense of forsaken emptiness that never leaves. I know many of us here searched and found rejection all over again. I did too. I don’t know what to tell you about helping people search. I don’t think I’d be a big enough person to do it without getting tangled up in it and feeling absolutely depressed and devastated, no matter what the outcome. I don’t think people like you or me will ever heal when we can’t ever find that same closure. What we do with that gaping wound is still a painful mystery to me.

    BTW, not only should we not have to pay for our own information, but every state that has a CI rips off for a different amount. I only had to pay $150 from Wyoming. I think $750 is way over the top, a complete rape. But at least it brought your friend his closure. (I wish my sisters would have cried for joy when I found them. I’m the one who’s been doing the crying.)

  14. I think the jealousy is totally natural. It doesn’t mean you wish ill for your friend. Don’t feel guilty about it (that’s an order).

    As far as failed relationships go–it’s so hard to let go of them. I think we (adoptees) usually hope for a lot in a reunion. But there really aren’t any guarantees in life. Hopefully we can all move on and no longer give people the power to cause us pain. (note–haven’t found my birth-family, but I do have a failed relationship with my adoptive father.)

    Good luck and stop feeling bad! (ah, if only it were that easy…)

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