Mother’s Day isn’t all cards and flowers

My birthmother lives less than 100 miles from me. I know who she is, where she lives, and she know where I am, too. We’ve corresponded – almost 10 years ago – through an intermediary before we knew who the other was.

She doesn’t want to meet me, and has not contacted me since we stopped writing in 2009. I wrote to her a couple of years ago to inform her that my address and phone # had changed. I’m always hopeful that she’ll change her mind. I received no response.

She has 4 other children and other family in the area. I have 2 brothers, two sisters, several nieces and nephews, and an aunt that lives close by, as well. I don’t know any of them. My aunt showed up as a “Close Family” DNA match on Ancestry.com a few months ago, but she hasn’t contacted me. I don’t know if she knows who I am or not. My birthmother wrote that she hadn’t told anyone other than her current husband when they married in the 1960s. My aunt was probably too young to have been aware of what my bmom was going through then, so it’s entirely possible she didn’t know about me. Apparently she doesn’t want to know.

I don’t understand it. I just wanted to meet her. That’s all. I have a family, and honestly the whole idea of “mother” is fraught with peril for me. That’s not what I want or need, either. I just wanted to hear her voice, see the way she walks, the way she moves her hands when she talks. I wanted to know if I am like her.

I know I don’t look much like her. I have her coloring and that’s about it. My face is my birthfather’s almost exactly, and my guess is that’s why she doesn’t want anything to do with me. He hurt her, and I get that. I’m not him, but I’m sure I’m all wrapped up in those bad memories. Hard to process that I’m an adult with a life now; not the baby she had to leave behind. In our correspondence, I got the sense that she is not that self-aware, and that she put that experience out of her mind – quite literally – some time ago, and hasn’t looked back.

She doesn’t feel like she owes me anything, and I agree. I don’t imagine we have much in common – I know she’s very involved in her church, and she’s very conservative politically. Ditto my sisters, who are soccer moms and live near their mother. My brothers both live out of state, and I don’t know much about them. Thanks to the internet, I know where they all live and what they look like. I’m grateful for that.

My birthfather is dead. He died in 1999, after a shortened, difficult life. He never married or had other children. He died of alcoholism. I have been in touch with his oldest brother, who was very gracious and sent me my bdad’s senior picture. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, and my uncle said he was never right after he came back. Very sad.

All of my bgrandparents are dead. My birthmother’s mother died just a short time before we started writing. Her brother died a few years ago. He was old enough at the time of my birth to know what was going on, so bmom’s secret died with him and my bgrandparents, except for her husband, who I’m certain she didn’t tell about my recent contact.

So I know alot, and that has been a great thing. Just knowing that there were actual people involved in my birth made me feel more like I belong here, which I didn’t much as a kid. I’m a genealogy nut, so I’ve traced both families back as far as I can, and that’s been cool, too. The DNA thing was profoundly satisfying. As it turns out I really am the whitest white girl in America – 100% England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Knowing that meant a lot to me.

But it’s not enough. I want to meet her. I want to look in her eyes, smell her perfume, see her smile. That’s all. No one needs to know; just an hour or so, in a neutral town where no one knows either of us.

But she can’t do it. She has rejected me once again. This time it’s actually me she’s said “no” to. I’m a person now, not a baby she never saw or felt a connection to (her words).

On the shows like “Long Lost Family” and on the internet people get all dewy-eyed at the thought of a “reunion.” People hug and cry and express love to people they’ve just met and everyone feels all warm and fuzzy about it.

But this is the reality for most of us. No reunion, no happy ending. No cameras rolling.

Just the emptiness of rejection all over again.

 

 

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