Updated: Sep 24, 2020
No matter the geography, culture, economic status, era in time, ethnicity, religion, or gender identity, all adoptees and foundlings have one thing in common - the desire to know their personal truth. Not just "truth", but their truth. Some can look the other way when their political representatives withhold the truth, some expect to be in the dark about executive-level decisions at work, and many accept that there are simply some things in life that we're not meant to know. But for one group of people, there is near unanimity over the right of human beings to know their genetic origins. They share a curiosity that can be muted but never extinguished. Learning that I was adopted set me on a 40-year odyssey which at times was severely attenuated and later became all-consuming.
The ups, downs, ebbs and flows of the search can be as exhilarating as they are at times frustrating. There's an entire subculture of people looking for and helping one another find their origins. Some have experienced tremendous challenges and hope that they will find better, if not idyllic, circumstances among their birth family. "If only I hadn't been adopted...if my parents had been able to adequately care for me....things could have been so much better," they imagine. Some who have had warm, loving childhoods look forward to meeting one or both parents to show them how well they've done and perhaps relieve them of any guilt or worry they may have carried since making such a difficult decision so many years ago. It's healthy and protective of our sanity to hope for the best outcome. Doing so motivates and inspires us to keep searching and moving forward.
Preparing for the best is easy, preparing for the worst is difficult, and preparing for the unknown requires a seat belt. Not preparing at all can be emotionally dangerous. We can imagine a beautiful, loving reunion in which both of our parents are still living and have been searching for us all our lives. They welcome us into their family and our siblings embrace us and tears of euphoria stream down everyone's faces. It takes courage to keep moving if you suspect or expect one or both parents to be deceased or living and unwilling to acknowledge you. There are far worse scenarios that I've witnessed and read, so I have never been more certain that it takes a foundation of faith and loving, healthy relationships to deal most resiliently with the unexpected twists, hairpin turns, and head-on collisions this journey can take.
This begins a series of posts that will explore real stories, the nature of the adoptee or foundling's preparedness, and the effect of faith and love on their search and their results. I welcome comments, questions and all perspectives. You want to know the truth, do you? Let's prepare wisely for the journey!