A Suggested Gift for a Found Birthparent

Might I make a suggestion? If you find one of your birth parents and a reunion is planned I have an idea for a gift.

When I met my birthmother for the first time at Newark Airport in 1986, I gave her thirty-six red roses; one for each of the thirty-six years of the life she had given me. This is not the gift idea.

During the time of my search I began putting together a scrapbook. The book included pictures of years she had missed, news articles of some of the  accomplishments in my life and a letter about me, why I searched and that I was happy I located her. Photos I was able to share came from age 11 until present as at that time I had no photos of me prior to age 11; I received some only after she passed away. The photos I used was from old Boys Town Times and Boys Town Yearbooks. The news articles also were from the Times, Omaha World Herald, my college newspaper and New York City newspapers. She would be able to see and read of my life from age 11 until 36 when I met her for the first time.

I also made the same book during this time in the event I searched for and found my birthfather.

As I left her suite at the end of our first day together, I gave her “my book” so that she could view/read it privately after I left.

When I met her the next morning she greeted me with tears, a hug and a thank you. Despite how our relationship ended twelve years later, I believe that book is something she treasured for the rest of her life.

She passed away in October 2001.

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A Few Pointers When Searching for Birth Family

If you are considering a search for your birth family you may have fears as you search, but don’t let them stop you…even if you end up with a rejection or a negative reunion…you will end up a far stronger person…I know I did.

Hopefully, during your search, you will find that as you grow as an individual, you will also become stronger and develop realistic expectations for what you may discover during your journey.

If you have made the decision to search, please remember these few items of advise:

1. Think about the reasons you want to reunite with your parent, child or sibling.

Remember, they have a family and so do you. You can’t turn the clock back or expect to fill the role that you have not played all these years. You are adults, strangers with genetic ties, coming together to build a relationship. Be realistic about the role that you feel you can play in their life and vice versa.

2. You must go into the reunion with realistic expectancies, not fanciful hopes.

If you make someone out to be perfect, you are guaranteed to be disappointed. People get hurt when they have unrealistic expectations, and those expectancies are dashed. These unrealistic expectancies can set you up for failure. It is not what happens in people’s lives that upsets them, it’s whether or not what happens in their lives is what they expected that upsets them. Don’t allow yourself to think that everything in your life will suddenly be resolved overnight once you reunite, or you will be let down.

3. A reunion is an event, but the relationship is a process that needs time to unfold.

You have to really work to build a relationship and you have to be patient. Start out with the goal of finding something that is comfortable for everybody, and don’t put any pressure on yourself.

Allow a natural evolution of things to take place.

Like all relationships, expect your relationship with the person you have reunited to go up and down. Your best chance for having a good relationship long term is to take it slow and move at a measured pace. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Be patient and let it unfold naturally, so that it will be lasting. You don’t want to do anything that would cause this coming together to separate you again.

Here is a link to the blog I wrote almost four years ago which provides numerous tips for those who may chose to search for birth family members:

https://prairieguy.wordpress.com/2007/07/28/a-search-guide-for-birth-parentsadopteesfoster-youth/

25 Years Have Passed Since Finding Birthmother

I was sitting around doing nothing a few days ago and suddenly the thought came into my mind; today, March 25th would be the 25th anniversary since I found my birthmother. First I could not believe that 25 years had already passed. Secondly it caused me to reflect back on my 4 year search, 12 year relationship, the bitter end of our relationship and finally the almost 10 years since she passed away.

Today as I commemorate what was a momentous day in my life it is bitter sweet as I reflect all that passed in the 25 years that have gone by.

I began my search in early 1982 when there was no Internet to make searches somewhat easier for folks. It was a long, costly 4 years to reach this day in 1986. The cost was physical, mental as well as financial.

Shortly after beginning my search I sat down and wrote a letter to my birthmother which I would send if I found her; whether she ever agreed to a relationship or not. I gave her a copy of the letter when we first met but kept the original which later was published in my book:

1st Letter to Birthmother:

http://www.larrya.us/mother1.html

I also shared the story of my search/discovery which led to this day 25 years ago:

 

Search/Discovery:

http://www.larrya.us/discovery.html

Not quite two months after this date we were to meet for the very first time though I was already 36 years old. I was to find out the story I had longed to hear for many years…WHY? I would also learn much more, some I was did care to find out but never the less was part of the reunion experience. Her story, our relationship and the bitter end is shared below:

 Birthmother’s Story:

 

Below was to be the final letter ever written to my birthmother. There would be numerous attempts at a reconciliation on my part but it never was to be; as you read in the previous link. She would never read the letter but eventually I was able to read it to her whether she wanted to hear it or not.

 

Last Letter to Birthmother:

 

On October 23, 2001, my birthmother passed away.

In 1982 I began my search in the valley, never knowing if in the end it would result in my finding her. Today, 25 years ago I reached the mountaintop as I found her. This resulted in a stormy, strained 12 year relationship which ended with me back in the deep valley.

Though I stated my answer many times in the past several years I am still asked, Was the search worth it & do you regret having done it?

Yes, absolutely the search was worth it and I DO NOT regret having pursued it nor any of the things that passed in the years since.

I found out who I was, my heritage, answers to so many questions I had while growing up and most of all I was able to have a 12 year relationship with my birthmother. We were able to experience things we never would have if I had not taken the risk of searching for her. The search and all that followed made me a stronger person. I was in many ways able to put my childhood and most of its heartaches behind me, though at times the wounds do reopen for a period.

I thank God that my birthmother did not chose to have a back alley abortion, which is all that was available back in 1950. I am also thankful that she made the wise decision to give me up for adoption though that never came to be. I am thankful the she was a part of my life, even for a brief period and for the pain she caused.

Today as I commemorate this 25th anniversary I continue to pray that in death she found the peace she never was able to find in life and I raise a glass to her thankful that she gave me life!