Still adopted after all these years.

3 Sep

I received an email from my grandfather’s wife, asking about meeting for lunch when they are down this way.

My biological grandfather. The family I can’t seem to break free of.

Part of me wants to ignore all emails or letters, leave checks uncashed, walk away.

Part of me yells that they owe me this much.

Part of me doesn’t want to deny my daughters the ability to see where they came from, years from now.

I’m just so sick of dealing with all of this. With the sudden surprises of these contacts, but then I also like the thought that they ARE thinking of me. I’m so conflicted it’s not even funny.

What really gets me, is that my grandfather’s wife is always initiating contact. Not him. Not my birth mother. Someone who has never met me, and who had no stake in the decision to give me up for adoption 30 years ago. That hurts. The constant wondering of “is this my only worth” is grating at best as well.

One Response to “Still adopted after all these years.”

  1. Gabriel... September 4, 2007 at 8:45 am #

    I wasn’t adopted, but I was abandoned… I think the two might have some similarities. After the divorce — when I was ten — the only contact I had with my father’s side of the family was the annual Christmas presents my grandparents sent, but they stopped after a few years. When I was fifteen I travelled to visit my father’s parents for two days, then my father for two hours. I went back again when I was thirty and met the rest of that side of the family for the first time. Cousins, aunts, uncles I hadn’t seen since I was a child.

    I don’t know exactly how to put it, but it seemed as though the people who had been brought into the family, mostly the wives and ex-wives, and who had been told some of the stories about why the divorce had happened — it was those people who were most welcoming. The people who hadn’t been there, who hadn’t lived through all the shit were the ones who gave me the biggest hugs and seemed the most sympathetic. It seems to me that with the direct-blood relations, the people who had watched the abuse, the people who never supported my mother or me or my brother, the people who dropped off the face of the earth, with those people there was always an implied “Where the fuck were you?” in my voice. Which, unfortunately, bled over into my generation of blood-ties. There has always been a part of me that wants or wanted a father and cousins and aunts and uncles and to have known all of my brothers and sisters from birth, but I’ve got who I’ve got.

    All of that to say, there’s no “where the fuck were you?” with your grandfather’s wife, but there is the guilt — I assume — on her part that he hasn’t been there for you. At least that’s how I’d feel if my wife suddenly turned to me and said “I have this whole other family that was ignored.”

    Sweetheart, they do owe you more than what they’ve given you. I don’t know how you found out about them, but if they know you and you know them then there should be some responsibility there. But it’s not entirely something you can force. When I was thirty and I went down to meet my sisters for the first time I did my best to let them know how much I wanted to have them in my life. The oldest of whom and I continue to email and visit regularly. The youngest of my sisters and I don’t, and that’s her choice. I represent something broken with our/her father. While I was down there I also met six or eight cousins and I did the same thing, but none of us have kept in touch. My father, in a lot of ways, owes me a life. He’s responsible for a lot of injuries, but it took me until just a few years ago to understand there’s no way to collect if he’s not willing to pay.

    And after all of that… the only advice I can offer is: don’t bend yourself around them. If they continue to initiate random contacts, you can still set the terms. They say something like “we’ll be in town next weekend, can we see the grandkids?” you say “nope, we’re not around but we’re having a picnic in four weeks, care to join us?” And cash the cheques.

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