November 9, 2012

Reunion Cycles: The Emotions Behind the Madness

© Photographer: Dip2000 | Agency:

I was recently reading an amazing blog post from a fellow adoptee about "dealing with rejection" in adoption reunions and it really made me think. 

I have been reunited with my first families for over 20 years now.  At the beginning of the reunion, I was emotionally numb and unable to truly connect ~ still worried about "pleasing" everyone and so fearful of what others thought of me.  Even though my ENTIRE family of birth welcomed me with huge family parties and open arms, I couldn't receive it internally. 

The entire time, I was convinced they were just "being nice" because I had found them and they felt obligated.  I didn't think it was for me, or that they truly loved or wanted me in the family.  It wasn't until YEARS later that I was able to grieve over the losses I felt inside from being separated and adopted, that I was able to become "real" and READY to connect on a human level. 

I think the key to connecting in reunion is allowing ourselves the time and the permission to grieve.  If we don't, both sides try to "dance" around each other unaware ~ many toes are stepped on and feelings hurt. 

I'm so thankful for the MANY adoptee and first Mother friends I have met over the years.  Sharing their truths, their feelings, and their stories are what has helped me face my own inner issues surrounding adoption.  THIS is what brings wholeness and connection. 

Once I allowed myself the freedom to grieve it opened me to realness and relationships on an entirely new level.  But it wasn't and still isn't, easy.  It is a journey

My first Father once told me during a very tough time during our reunion, when we just couldn't seem to stay connected or in close contact that he felt and hoped that "our time would come" when we could build the relationship we both wanted.  I felt very rejected during this season of "reunion".  I could have easily given up. 

But he had also acknowleded years earlier that adoption had hurt us both.  These acknowledgements alone helped heal my heart and validate what was inside.  Just in the last few months, it feels as if "our time" is on the horizon.  Life circumstances change and people open up.  Even years down the road. 

NEVER GIVE UP.  Don't stop reaching out. 

I wanted to share the last letter I ever received from my Uncle Rick (my First Mother's youngest brother). 

My First Mother had passed away while searching for me, and Rick was a precious link I had to her and my family.

In one of our conversations, when we were discussing why it seemed so hard to "stay in touch" after reunion, my Uncle Rick so wisely said that he "possibly reminded me of a past that is very painful and that I also reminded him of a past he had lost and was very hard to work through emotionally". 

Here is the last email I received from Uncle Rick. We kept saying we were going to "get together" again, but he passed away before we had the chance.  He lovingly wrote...

"...about my health, as Terrell's always do, I "cowboyed up" and got back on the "bull." You do have a Texas Ranger that they named a town and county in Texas after in your blood line. Also Knights, as I traced us back. We are each other's link to our heritage and we need to remember and share that with our kids. About your Mom - she was a stand up lady that fought for the underdog; if something was wrong she called them on it (watch the movie Silkwood). She was a lady who loved the world she lived in, and everyone around her. You really couldn't ask for a better Mother.

You know, she did what she thought was right at the time. There were not alot of single Moms back then; it's very normal now ~ but back then you wanted your child to have the best and a single Mom was actually a disadvantage for the child. I will always consider it to be an honor to say I was her baby brother and to call you my Niece. You are a part of her I still have.

About Dad (your Grandfather), well, all I can say is he was "Buster" Terrell ~ a man that would pull over to help a turtle cross the road. I saw him do that when I was little and it impacted my life more than anything. I saw him let the biggest catfish I ever saw go, because he snagged it on the face. I asked him why he let it go and he said, "I didn't catch it fair and square." He was a man of compassion and honor.

I would say I am proud of the Terrell name, and I'm proud to say that you carry it also. We are Terrell's.

"Loch Moy" is the family motto = the Lake by a Glenn.
We do have an Ambassador to Austria in our past. Some ancestors made peace with guns and some with words. But mostly our family were "peacemakers" as our family motto suggests.

I think now we can grow together as a family ~ what's left of it, and prove to the world great things come from the Terrell's and the Franklin's. You have the Terrell blood and your adopted family's nurturing to help you carve your mark on this world and pass both on to your son. I am proud of both of you. Let's plan on getting together real soon."

Love, Uncle Rick


Laura Dennis said...

Thanks so much for sharing the stories from your birth uncle. It's clear that he loved you all those years. You know, I've heard similar stories about my b-extended family, and I love these insights into the life I missed growing up adopted. For me, though, when I hear what a great guy my birth (maternal) grandfather was, how much he love(s) my birth mother, and me, then I think (but never say aloud) WTF. You know? Like, you're such a great guy, you love us so much, well, how come you didn't help to keep me then? Sorry, it's one of those things I just wonder, but can never ask!


Lynn said...

thank you for sharing the beautiful letter . . what a wise and awesome guy, your uncle Rick!

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