A Place of Healing

One Woman’s Journey to Reunion

Your feelings are valid, and you have EVERY right to feel how you feel. Whether we know it or not, when something or someone disrupts the balance of peace within us, we want to feel like we are not crazy when we push back with a reaction or feeling. This is the validation I needed after I met my birth mom. That’s when I began counseling specifically for adoption. Like many aspects of life, we can’t help but have expectations, whether they be subconscious or specifically thought out. I knew I would feel a rush of emotions after I met my birth mom, but I didn’t know I’d need help working through those emotions in the form of counseling. In a way, I plunged into the ocean, without any thought to how choppy the waves and water might be, and even though I’m an adept swimmer, my adoption reunion had a way of swallowing me; counseling brought me back to the surface, and made me an even stronger swimmer in a trans-formative sense.

On November 11, 2013, I hopped out of bed around 10:30am to start getting ready for my day. I was meeting my friends for brunch at our university’s cafeteria. I washed my face and stood in front of the mirror, thinking, ‘This is the day I’ve been anticipating my whole life.’ Not the day I would have brunch with my friends- although we had a very nice time- but the day I was meeting my birth mom for the first time. It was our reunion day.

I was adopted at just 3 days old to the most amazing and loving parents I could have ever dreamed or prayed for. So wanting to find my birth mom never came from feeling like I lacked something or was missing something, but purely out of curiosity and wanting to know where and who I came from. As just one of many adopted children around the world, I can only speak for myself, but hearing other stories, I have come to an educated conclusion that most adopted children have both curiosity and a feeling of hurt/sadness. Now, these aren’t always felt at the same time, and the percentage of one over the other can vary throughout a lifetime. From my perspective, I was always curious. I always wanted to know ‘where’; where I came from, where I got my hazel green eyes, where I got my curly light brown hair, where I got my singing voice, and where I got my heart shaped face. I never really felt pain when it came to my adoption, never felt abandoned, or not wanted. I owe a lot of that to my parents, who operated a very honest and warm household.

My adoption was never a secret, nor did I ever have to keep questions about my adoption to myself. I remember riding in the backseat of my mom’s car thinking about my birth mom, what she looked like, what she was doing at that very moment, was she happy? I asked my mom why my birth mom, “gave me away?” and what she said stuck with my whole childhood, and that was, “Angelea, your birth mom placing you for adoption was the greatest act of love she could have ever done. She wanted you to have a better life than at that time she could give. I know she thinks about you every day, because she misses and loves you so much.” From that point on, I never really had a bad thought about my birth mom; I always respected and loved this somewhat imaginary woman for being responsible for my wonderful circumstance.

The day we met was one of the HAPPIEST days of my life. I still remember every single detail; what I wore, what the room looked like, how I felt, and everything we talked about. She pulled out bags and bags full of baby stuff she had kept of me from our 3 days in the hospital. Photo albums of her children (she has 2), photo albums of her family, and a baby book of pictures she had taken of the 2 of us in the hospital. One picture was of these large brown hands, and lengthy fingers holding me; that was my birth dad. So many emotions flooded in on me, I was beyond happy; I was higher in the sky than on cloud 9. But as the saying goes, what goes up must come down.

Since then we’ve tried to have something like a blended family; our emotions sometimes have other ideas. It’s hard for me to go to her house and be around all the family. I don’t feel like I belong because I’ve missed too much, and she feels the same watching me interact with my family. Throughout our relationship we’ve gotten angry at one another when we didn’t want to attend functions because it hurt too much, whether it was guilt, or a sense of loss. You see, while my reunion was beautiful and amazing and what I wanted, it brought about pain I had never felt before when it came to my adoption.

As I stood in front of the mirror thinking about the day ahead on November 11th, 2013 and stood counting the hours until I would finally meet my birth mom, I never imagined we’d be where we are today. That was 5 years ago. If I were to go back to that girl standing in front of the mirror, knowing then what I know now, the pain, hurt, and yet, all the love I would feel, would I do it all again? Yes, yes I would. Because if it weren’t for the rocky waves in our lives, and the people (counselors) who help bring us to the surface when we feel like we’re drowning, we would never know how truly strong we are, and the potential we have inside.

My feelings are valid, and YOUR feelings are valid. You have EVERY right to feel how you feel. Own your feelings, accept your feelings, and share your feelings. Then, and only then, will you begin to HEAL.