Here's the other little guy -- he's 17 months old.
The two oldest, Grace and Emma, are eight and seven.
Unlike many adoption bloggers, I am not in reunion with any of my original family. When I approached my natural mother ten years ago, she did not wish to meet, although she did share medical and some family history with me. Her decision hurt, but I've moved on. She is 87 now and lives in a continuing care facility. I have a great family, and I feel as if she has missed a great deal by not electing to meet them.
One of my daughters is a physician, and I am proud of all she has accomplished, but even prouder of the type of person she is -- compassionate and family-oriented, quick to laugh and fun to be with. My other daughter is a high school teacher at a city magnet school for talented kids. She too is a giving soul, sensitive and talented. Both daughters are happily married, and their children and families are the center of their lives.
My husband is my best friend. We have lived many years together now through happy and sad times, and we feel blessed to have each other. I believe that my original mother would have been proud of the person I've become, if she had been able to open herself up. But we are both adults, adoption is what it is, and I have to accept that she relinquished in a different era that presented different challenges.
I often think I am a good one to speak out about adoptee rights because there wasn't any Norman Rockwell-type reunion in my case. From my perspective, that's not the point. I had loving adoptive parents and a stable upbringing. For people looking in from the outside, I'm sure my adoption story looked like a total success.
What was always missing, however, is the fact that I had no control over the most basic elements of my life. I wasn't entitled to know who gave birth to me or how I spent my first few months. I never thought that this was a fair scenario, and I felt so much more empowered once I knew the truth about my life and history. Whether or not a reunion is successful has nothing whatever to do with a human being's civil right to know the truth about her own personhood.
In the future, I will have other decisions to make, but at least they are my decisions, and no one else's. My original mother had another daughter, five years old, when she relinquished me. For now, out of respect for my natural mother's wishes, I have elected not to contact this half-sister. My original mother is in fragile health and does not want to disrupt her life. She never told anyone else about me except for her own mother.
When my natural mother passes away, however, I may contact my half-sibling. She too has grandchildren, and we may have something in common. We may not. But I am proud of my family, and I think she has a right to know that they exist.