What is Real?
by Kris Downey
Jigsaw Pieces, Adoption Jigsaw, WA
"It seems the losses resulting from adoption blur the distinction between real and unreal in a lot of areas in teh lives of those affected. The one thing that's certain is that we are all REAL people forcing REAL issues to the surface."
We’ve all heard, “You don’t know what you have until you lose it.” But what about those of us who don’t know what we have lost because we never had it?
In many ways my experience as a birth mother has put me in the latter category. I lost the right to be a mother to my first born. That loss is obvious. But what about the loss of joy at being a grandmother? Now that I’m a grandmother – twice – I have this hollow feeling, like a hole waiting to be filled. It’s the same hole I lived with about motherhood until I became a real mother (in society’s eyes) when I had my daughter. Is that when I’ll become a real grandmother too; when my daughter has children? What does that make me now? There are no easy answers.
I cannot speak for other triad members but it seems they are also caught up in this reality blur. When do adoptive parents become real parent? The day they sign the papers, or is it after years of living as parents? Do they earn parenthood or is it bestowed upon them? Are birthparents sometimes a threat because they may not feel real enough deep down?
And what about adoptees? Do they feel they are a real part of their adoptive families? Or are their real families out there somewhere? If they accept or don’t accept their birth families, does that make them any less their real family?
It seems the losses resulting from adoption blur the distinction between real and unreal in a lot of areas in the lives of those affected. The one thing that’s certain is that we are all REAL people forcing REAL issues to the surface.
That doesn’t mean we have solutions, just hope.