Goodbye National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is over in less than an hour. I'm mostly thinking "sayonara!"

I don't write much about the young man I gave up for adoption 21 years ago, because there's not much to write. His once-open Facebook page is practically shuttered. He has almost no Internet presence, which is downright odd in this era of social media as collegiate oxygen. These things make me suspect he's either:
  1. Unaware that he's adopted and a techno-contrarian like his smart phone-rejecting biological mother, or 
  2. Very aware that he's adopted, possibly aware of me even -- but skeeved by my fitful biomom blogging and so staying offline and away from my Google-y clutches. 
The first is not that unlikely. His blondie-blonde non-Mexican aunt was adopted into his dark-skinned dark-haired Mexican family and never told she came from elsewhere -- she was loved, they are a tightly knit extended family, that's not the way they do things, it didn't matter. The young man himself is a ginger, he is well-loved by and adores his family -- and as I've written before, I have no wish to disrupt that scenario, distasteful as non-disclosure of adoption might be to me personally.

And if it's the second? Sigh. I just ... am sad he's missing out on knowing us. All the signs say he'd like our family. He is a devotee of Star Trek: TNG and a slightly humorless geek like me, he is an intense history-loving academic like my eldest brother (the one info point I've been able to find lately is that he's Phi Beta Kappa), he has my mom's and second brother's flaming hair. I grew up with lots of cousins and adore them all, I married into a large Portuguese family and adore them all -- more family to love and to love a person back is only a good thing, in my book. But, he's not reaching out like most adopted people his age do, according to BlogHer, and that makes me think the connection is increasingly unlikely to happen.

At this point, all I really want to know is whether or not he knows he's adopted, but there's no way to find that out that's not creepy or potentially disruptive.

So I guess there's really only one thing left for me to do, and then I'll have done everything I can: Tell Mali she has an older half-brother, as I told Iz six years ago. I'm not looking forward to it. Mali is a really -- really -- different girl than her older sister, so I will definitely discuss it with Seymour and may even enlist a professional family counselor for advice before having That Talk. Iz is sweet and sensitive, but she's an intellectualizer, she understands the logic behind an unprepared young woman giving up a child for adoption. Mali, whip-smart as she is, is all heart -- she's only going to hear that she has a big brother whom she cannot and may not ever meet. It's going to require finesse, that chat.

As always, opinions and advice welcome. I'll leave you with the video I'd so like to share with him.


  1. I can only imagine how heart wrenching this must be for you. You have all my love. And you are such a good biomom to care so much about how your actions would affect him and his family. Love you, Shan.

  2. Ah, such a puzzle. XOXO.

  3. The not-knowing must be so difficult, and I admire how maturely you are handling the situation. It's a hard path, but it's the one you're on, and you're walking it with a lot of grace.

    I think that Mali might benefit from ongoing therapy to help her process the whole situation. It may be a significant loss for her. It would have been for me at that age. In many ways, it parallels the sense of loss that some adopted children feel about the separation from their birthmothers. One of my closest friends adopted a child from Guatemala with her partner, and the child has always expressed a great deal of deep sadness about the separation from her birthmother, even though she is a very well-loved child and very happy in all other areas of her life. So it may be an ongoing process for Mali.

  4. The time will come when he will find out. I imagine it is an impossible secret to keep forever.
    What is amazing in this day of documentation and tec, is that you have left a virtual journal of thoughts and much love.
    I can attest that it is so much more than our family's birthmothers have ever done to connect ( and we have very open options for relationship).

    You are a most amazing momma: to the children you bore, the children you love, and the children you feel moved to advocate for.

    Unsettled is an OK place to be, if it keeps you writing to, thinking, and sending love out to your son.

  5. Thinking of Mali's previous school troubles, I suggest telling her in the summer when she is spending her days with you. Advice from a teacher...

  6. Love you friend. Not sure why you brought me meatballs, when clearly I should be bringing you fudge.
    Thank for the way you love us all.

  7. I always feel sad for you and lucky for me when I read your experience around adoption. I think I remember reading that many adoptees will start searching when they start having families of their own if they haven't been interested in searching for whatever reason before. So, it's not time to resign yourself yet.

    My mom always told me to think of my favourite doll (Amy) and to consider what I would do if there were some reason I couldn't take care of her anymore. Wouldn't I want some other little girl to take care of Amy if I couldn't? It made sense to me as a little girl and it not only explained what had happened but how hard it had been for my biological mother. Maybe the same story could help Mali understand what you chose and why.

    I know my biological mother told her other daughter at her 10th birthday. She had always wanted a sibling, and telling her about me was the best my biological mom could do. But, I don't really know how she felt about me before we met. I should ask.

    If you're interested, I can introduce you to a good friend of mine in Oakland who's involved in the adoption community. She would likely be able to help you find the right person for Mali to talk to if she has a hard time with the idea.

  8. You folks are the best. Awesmom, that's a definite thought. And Jo, I appreciate your offer.

  9. Tricia10:35 PM

    Shan-I somehow missed this post until now. It made me cry and think about our relationship to our kids' birthmoms. I keep trying to keep the connection alive; sending pictures, scrapbooks and FB messages. I also don't want to seem like a stalker, but I really really wish my kids could have some level of relationship with their birthmoms. Like you, I guess I'll just keep waiting and hope the relationships open up in the future.

  10. Tricia, we really need to go out and have a few beers together. Even if they're O'Doul's.


Respectful disagreement encouraged.