Sunny sky for our fair weather daughter

So, in the spirit of being honest, I'd like to share a recent search event. For the record, being honest is something I take seriously whereas fun and interesting I'm aware is a matter of personal taste. Call me boring, but don't accuse me of being dishonest.

So in another rare moment of being alone in my home Monday I decided to try calling my biological mother's phone number again. It wasn't quite as frightening this time, mainly I think because I didn't expect her to answer. She did. It went quite smoothly actually. She let me know she was on the other line to which I replied I wouldn't keep her long, that I was just wondering if she'd received any of my messages. Turns out she had received my very first Christmas card and note and had replied via email, back in January. For whatever reason, who ever really knows what happens in cyberspace sometimes, I didn't receive the email.

To my surprise, she told me that she was planning a trip in the fall and had been considering stopping in my city, if it could work out that way. Huh...what?!?!? To say this surprised me would be an understatement. I replied that although that might be interesting, wow, she didn't HAVE to do that, meeting her wasn't what I was after, that I really just wanted to have some communication and some questions answered, to let her know I had no intention of outing her to her family or of showing up some day on her doorstep, that I'd done quite a bit of digging around on the internet and had found pictures, obituaries and other various online morsels of information about her and her family. Having not really expected her to even answer the phone you can imagine how the mention of meeting up out of the blue would be freaky...yes, *blush*, I think I used that word on the phone...sigh.

Ironically, I thinks it's irony, when I said I'd let her get back to her call, she told me it had been her daughter on the other line and that she'd hung up now. I gave her my email address again and she said she'd try it and I could mail her back if I got her email, which I quickly did saying I'd send another longer one shortly.

I wrote a mail outlining my attitude toward our whole situation, relayed some of the things I'd be interested in knowing, thanked her for making contact and described what a relief it was to me to no longer worry that she was worrying about me disrupting her life. I was happy to have been given the opportunity to explain my motive in initiating contact. I explained in a bit more detail what I'd found out about her on my own and told her that although I was surprised at the possibility of meeting her so soon, I think it's something I'd be ok doing.

So, there are the facts. I'd like to add a couple of things to this post, the first being she made it clear again in her short mail that nobody ever knew about me except for her deceased husband and she would like to keep it that way for now, although if her husband were still alive, things might be different. I reassured her that I have no problem with this and told her I have genuine compassion for her situation.

The second thing I'd like to mention is that when I sent her the second, longer email, I didn't hear back immediately. This left me wondering if she'd gotten either reply email. I waited two days to see if I'd hear back and when I didn't I sent a very short mail asking her to please let me know if she'd received them when she had a minute. I heard back almost immediately that she had and that's all her email said.

I see much written about mis-communication between reuniting biological parents and their grown children. I think it's important to give each other the benefit of the doubt. It's important to realize methods of communication (email, voice mail, snail mail) can fail and that we don't know each other in the slightest. We don't know each others habits or thought processes, each others moods or life experiences.

My plan is to remain patient, respectful, compassionate, realistic and honest. Is that interesting or fun? Not so much, I know, but hopefully it will serve me well in my journey as an adopted person who's possibly been given the opportunity to have my curiosity satisfied and perhaps meet the person who gave birth to me.


  1. Wow. I'm consistently impressed by how rare it is to encounter a genuine devotion to honesty. I'm even more consistently surprised by how often you show your dedication to honesty, respect, and the call for them in return. You'd think I'd have learned by now, but it's still a pleasant surprise every time. I can't begin to understand what this enterprise is like, but thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing it.

  2. @Campbell, good. I can only say I hope that whatever happens is something that will be positive for both of you.

    @I am, there are a lot more people out there that are the same way. While I don't always agree with someone, I do respect them and honesty is the only way to communicate effectively. The rest, just wind.

  3. What strikes me in reading the stories of others is not so much lack of honesty but clash of expectations. Or the idea that somebody might not be entitled to feel some way. Somebody's too pushy; somebody shouldn't hold back--okay, one guy practically said, "why should she NOT have an interest in knowing us?" Conversely, I know someone who on the passage of the new records law ran right out and slapped a veto on her n-mom. That was her sum reaction. End of story. "Don't bother me." Could totally break someone's heart and maybe it will. I guess that meeting was stopped before it could ever take place.

    Very tricky territory. I liked how you covered the idea of simple miscommunication getting blown up in our minds as something worse than it really is. To be honest, it doesn't sound like your n-mom is going to roll up in your driveway and smother you with kisses any time soon . . . also sounds like you wouldn't be interested in that anyway. But I think your steady but considerate approach will pay off and you never know what the future may bring.

  4. Ooh, well, how exciting! I think I'm a fan of your honesty mostly because you're saying things I want to hear, so I wouldn't take my approval too seriously. I do hope you see her. I am really impressed by your compassion towards her - there really doesn't seem to be any anger, whereas all sorts of adoptees would be FURIOUS at pretty much everything happening here: that nobody knows about you, that she's not forthcoming with affection or communication. But it's like, there's probably so much stuff going on with her, first and foremost the pain that comes with placement. I know she never stopped loving you. I know that. You know that. But it IS complicated, a complicated love, and your recognition of that is a breath of fresh air.

  5. O Solo ... the honesty business I couldn't resist because of a quasi review of me and my blog I read recently. The person basically said I wasn't honest, interesting, or fun. The boring I can handle, but implying I'm not honest just pisses me off.

    I agree it can be a clash of expectations, really of perfect strangers. It's a shame about the veto. If people could just give each other a few minutes at least...but then, for some, I guess that wouldn't be enough anyway.

    Lia, it IS always easier to be a fan of what we want to hear. No doubt! Something though you may not want to hear is that I really don't think at this point there is "love", not in the sense I've ever experienced it.

    I think it's more a matter of curiosity, for sure on my part, and for her a matter of just doing the right thing in the capacity that she can do it.

  6. That is so exciting! Congratulations -- that's a big step... very happy for you :)

  7. Thanks Elaine, that's kind of you.

    Your latest hide n seek post was great, by the way. I resisted commenting then and don't want to say the wrong thing now, but it was really very good.

  8. Big things Campbell...bigs things. Good luck with it all!!

  9. I am so happy for you and love your honest attitude, and no, you are not boring. What is boring on adoption blogs is the same old "poor me" whine said over and over in slightly different words.

    I think my son thinks like you somewhat, and he is a fine person. I find a lot of instant emotion in reunion overblown and phony. The real thing takes time, because as you say you start as strangers. And yes, communication can misfire through nobody's fault. Emails can get lost, even more so snail mail. I had a brief fright when a card I sent was returned, no such address. I could have panicked but instead emailed my son and he said his mail was screwed up and things got lost all the time. End of drama.

    The best advice my friend in a very good reunion gave me was "remember, it is not always about you", and remember to breathe:-)

  10. Thanks Alex, hopefully the big things are good things, eh? I think it'll all be fine : )

    Thank you maryanne, for your kind words and for your honesty, always. I'll be very lucky if my bio mom thinks anything at all like you do and your friend's advice is perfect.

  11. I am so happy for you Campbell, this is exciting news! I hope you get all you want out of the reunion.

    I don't think you are dishonest, uninteresting or boring. Since you mostly blog about your feelings on things, how can someone accuse you of being dishonest? (Because you don't agree with them perhaps??)

  12. Good luck! Hope it goes well.

  13. "Poor me" whine? Wow, very compassionate. I think different adoptee voices are necessary, but if you're going to denigrate certain ones, then you're not really interested in listening at all. This is why when I read adoptee blogs like Campell's I'm never quite sure if that is their attitude, or whether they're holding things back because they don't want to be accused of "whining" or being "angry." Until people like you change their attitude and are open and accepting of all views, I'll always wonder. Thankfully there are APs who are more open and understanding out there.

  14. Hmm..Anonymous

    Not sure which AP you're referring to, but, as far as MY attitude goes, it's pretty much what you see. I don't hold back too much in the way of attitude here on my blog. I will admit I do hold back (now) quite a bit when reading other people's blogs and I'm tempted to comment.


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