February 9, 2015

When Adoptive Family Members Say They Support Your Search But Really Don't

Decades ago, I made it known that I was searching for my natural family. At the time, all of my adoptive  family with whom I had a conversation about it  said they were supportive.  In some cases, that was true. In others, it was not.

I heard: "I support you all the way" or "I support you 100%."

Regarding my search, they did appear to support me. As time went on, I realized that as long as I was searching for strangers who I would one day refer to as acquaintances, or friends – all was fine. But the moment I actually called them family, the support stopped. One adoptive family member in particular reiterated whether passive aggressively or outright, their "exclusive" position in my life. 

I’ve discovered, some are alright with you searching, as long as you don’t find family. As long as you don't find someone who is a motherfather, sister or brother…it’s okay. As long as your natural family referred to by their first names,  all is well. But as soon as you start referring to these folks as your family, as mom or dad -- or Lord forbid you start inviting them to your significant family events (birthdays, etc.) or sharing holidays -- look the heck out! Even Chuck Norris would be afraid.

My little sister, Kim, has just announced to the world that she is searching for her natural family. 

I can't help but wonder...has anything changed?

I am anticipating the future for her, and truly supportive of her in this by every definition possible. I will pray my guts out that she finds her natural family and they are receptive to her. 

She is already getting the declarations of support.  I am hopeful things will be different for her, regarding some adoptive family members. But I can’t help but wonder…do these declarations of support only extend to her search for acquaintances or new "friends"? Or is this "support" unqualified, 100% support for however she decides to relate and interact with her natural family? Will there be that same support from everyone when she may decide to refer to two individuals on the planet as, “Mom”? Will the declaration of support change if it means that things like Christmas or birthdays now involve people who were never there before, or (gasp!) the adoptive family has to actually learn to share???

My prayer is that this declared support is not just lip service, but truly without limitations. I hope she has freedom to call the shots without being called to task on anything or being asked to bend to someone else's desires. It’s her search, and her reunion to live out. I hope to God she can walk this journey in an atmosphere of true support and not one tainted by the insecurities and jealousies so often present when adoptees find family.
[Deanna drops the mic.]

*I received Kim's blessing prior to publishing this blog post. She loved it and also gave me the photos to post with it.