Meeting His Bio-Family – Or Not

13 09 2010

When you adopt from Ethiopia in most cases you have the opportunity to meet your new child’s bio family.  You may meet his/her mother or father, and in other cases you may meet a grandparent, aunt or uncle.  This is amazing on so many levels.

Before I started researching adoption I didn’t know this was the case.  But once I learned about it, I was thrilled.  For one thing, family meetings have the potential to cut down on the corruption that is pervasive in international adoption.  Beyond that though are the important answers these meetings can provide for the children.

Adoption literature overflows with teenage and adult adoptees who want answers to the question “Why?”  “Why did my mother give me away (or, if your kid is already versed in the pc language of adoption…make an adoption plan for me)?”  And “Who?”  “Who do I take after? Who do I look like, act like, sound like?”  When adoptive parents have met bio-family members many of these answers are available to the children on one level or another.

I loved the Ethiopian adoption system for numerous reasons.  But the fact that I would get to meet his family, I carried that around like a 20-week sonogram.  “Yes, Ethiopia, and we will get to meet his living birth relatives.”  I was so proud, so happy for my son.  So happy for his family who would have some form of closure.  So happy for myself because I would have some of the answers he needed (and we all know as parents that we often don’t have the answers our kids need.)

Referral Photo Received February 2

Then we got our referral and we knew – there would be no meeting with his bio-family.  This alone made me think twice, three times, 1,000-times-a-day for three days while I wrestled with whether I was up for the challenge of not having the answers he will want, not having the answers that he will be sure he needs.  Teaching a young person to live with uncertainty… how do you do it?  I can’t stand living with uncertainty and no one confuses me with a young person.

I fought tooth-and-nail (like a Semi-Feral Mama) to get as many answers as I could for Little Dude.  And I have a few years to come to terms with the uncertainty I still feel.  And, I have a small inkling that my son might not be like me on this issue, he might not have the needs that I am anticipating (projecting? on him).  Most importantly, we both have my husband, a man who accepts uncertainty and gets on with living.  Hopefully Little Dude takes after his Dad… the Dad I am married to, the Dad who will be able to teach him the lessons of what is really important and why uncertainty doesn’t need to define you.




One response

14 09 2010

I’m a new reader to your blog and this post really hit me. We have two sons from Ethiopia – one we have the answers and the birth family meeting and one we have nothing. There is an awful lot of hand-wringing going on when I think of the future conversations. And my husband, thankfully sounds a lot like yours.

Also, and I sincerely hope I don’t weird you out with this, but your son is the spitting image of our first son who sadly died weeks before our court date. His eyes, his mouth, his mole. It’s uncanny. It warms my heart to look at your beautiful boy.

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