I realize now, Michael's parents must had given him "The Facts of Life" talk. I never did get that talk - my mother thought an information pamphlet from the medical clinic would be sufficient. But not to worry, I figured it all out eventually.
But truthfully, I was never one of those curious kids that pester their parents with questions about how they got here and where babies come from. I knew where I came from - I was a chosen baby. At least, that's how my mother explained it to me when, as a young child, she sat me down on her knee and attempted to explain adoption to me. I was chosen.
My mom tried to explain it in terms a young child can understand - I was born in a nursing home for unwed mothers and my mother was unable to look after me. My parents wanted another child, so they "chose" me. That sounds straight-forward, right? Except that I knew nursing homes were where old people lived, so for years, whenever other kids asked me why I was adopted, I'd reply, "because my mother was too old." But I eventually figured out the "unwed" part and put two and two together.
Isn't that an old-fashioned term - "unwed mother"? And here's another - "born out of wedlock". And there's a worse one that springs to mind! I much prefer today's straight-forward approach - "a pregnant teen". My birth mother was a pregnant teen. But times were much different then. An "unwed mother" was someone to be scorned or pitied. Adoption was the common choice made by good, well-intentioned families. It was the correct way to handle the situation, a neat and tidy win-win for everyone involved - except I doubt it was that easy for my birth mother, and I know it wasn't that easy for me.
You see, being adopted leaves you with missing pieces in the puzzle that makes you whole. No matter how loving their parents are, adoptees always feel a little different, and a little alone. For me, this feeling was most extreme during my adolescence when all girls are struggling to understand themselves. I would search faces in crowds to see if any face resembled my own. I'd wonder over things such as where did I get my love of music, why am I left-handed, and why is no one else in my family shy?
Well. . . I am filled with joy to announce I have recently reunited with my biological family. The other weekend, I met my maternal grandmother who is 97 and still as quick as can be. She is a warm and loving woman who welcomed me with open arms. Also present was a cousin and an uncle and aunt - all wonderful people. Last weekend, I met with another aunt (another warm-hearted woman) and her family, who took me to visit my birth mother's grave. Since then, the rest of my aunts have befriended me on Facebook and hopefully I'll get to meet with them too.
Although I hide it better now, I'm still a shy person and am uncomfortable meeting new people. But oddly, I felt right at ease with these people. I think we share similar temperaments, and I know we share a similar sense in humour - we laugh in unison with the same laugh! So finally, after a lifetime of wondering, I've found my missing pieces. It feels wonderful.
|My grandmother & her daughters. My mother is second from left.|