Family Reunion, Frederic Bazille, 1867, oil on canvas.
This looks like the idyllic reunion day. How nice to gather with family and celebrate that connection with each other. That's what a family reunion is - celebrating that we have connections. Unfortunately, for adoptees and their original families, those celebrations are few and far between.
Today, November 14 is the day I received "the call". It was the day I found out that my daughter had been found and she wanted to have contact with me. That was 9 years ago today. So, as you can see, November has quite the significance for me. It's not only National Adoption Awareness Month (grrrrrrr.... I hate the way it's used by so many in the industry to promote infant adoption) but it's also the month when I got my daughter back. It's the month of my first grandson's birthday too. Yesterday was J's 13 birthday. He turned 13 on the 13th. It was his golden birthday. I wasn't there when my daughter was pregnant with him, I wasn't there when he was born, I wasn't there during his first years. That makes me sad. Now that I'm watching my son's baby girl grow it really drives the point home that I missed out when my daughter was having her children. She has 3 boys. I wasn't there for the births of the first two. We didn't know each other then. I missed out on seeing my daughter become a mother. This is just another item on the long list of what adoption does to families.
One of my Facebook friends posted this article and it made me think about my grandchildren. So many people don't realize how much the rest of the family is affected when an adoptee doesn't know who they came from. That could have been my grandson, it could have been any adoptee's family. I've heard people say that records shouldn't be opened because an adoptee is just curious. What about life and death? Is that a good enough reason? Why should anyone have to jump through legal hoops to get their own information in order to save their child's life? Besides, what's wrong with being curious?
That day 9 years ago was one of the happiest days of my life - to find out that my daughter wanted to know me, that she was willing to be found. To all the legislators out there who hide behind the skirts of mothers like me - open the records! I was not promised anonymity, I didn't want anonymity, I wanted my daughter. Give people their family reunion. They have the right to know who they were before adoption. It's not your life, it's theirs.
Happy 9th reunion anniversary Liz, I love you.