NAAM Word Prompt:
These two words go hand in hand when it comes to my adoption experience. Most recently they apply to my search for my birth family.
When I was searching for my birth mom I always said that I had “no expectations” – I said I’d be good with whatever happened with her and I, with my parents, and with myself. All I wanted was to find her, thank her and meet her if possible. Which was all true, but I found myself repeatedly saying that as if I was convincing myself.
The truth is, that was a huge lie that I didn’t even know I was telling, until I began feeling the sting of each let down I didn’t expect to be there.
Truth is, I had a plethora of these big and small unknown expectations that had built up within me over the years. But let’s be honest how could I not have them within a closed adoption? I spent 26 years imagining what life could look like if I was reunited. That’s a lot of years of what if’s. I had them for myself, for her and for my parents and reuniting brought disappointments by each. Each let down made me super aware of just how many expectations I’d stored up over my lifetime. These disappointments led to more tear filled days and nights than I ever expected going into this. This slap to the heart taught me that I needed to let go of the expectations, because if I didn’t I’d be continually heartbroken and disappointed.
The problem was… trying to let go of expectations. Have you tried it? Man, it is super hard! I mean I expected to find her one day. I expected to fill her void as much as I knew she’d fill mine. I expected my parents to support the way they said they would. I expected to be stronger through all of it and I expected the impact of all of the above to damage me less.
But trying to let go of all of these hopes seemed unrealistic.
So I decided to take a few steps back and away from the toll it was taking on me, and that’s when the baby steps to healing started to happen. I realized that for myself it’s less about letting go and more about recognizing when I need to step back to allow myself the time to heal and grow.
Reuniting is a beautiful & life changing thing. I wouldn’t trade it for a second. I finally had the answers and the opportunity to build a foundation for a relationship I only ever dreamt about, which was amazing. But once you reunite with birth family, everything is now a reality. There is no more wondering or assuming, no more dreaming up life stories or what if’s. It’s all real now. The highs and lows are both euphoric & crushing and honestly facing reality can be a bit rough too.
So if you’re searching for your birth family or if you are in a reunion yourself let me remind you that reunification is bound to disappoint you in some way and probably more than you thought, but don’t forget to take a step back every now and again to catch your breath, heal your heart and find your inner strength from the lesson its giving you.
You’ll get more out of the journey and the relationships if you can do!
But that’s just my take.