OBG Editors Note: We’re so lucky to have us some Redefining Elizabeth over here! Today she shares some of the joys- big and small- that she’s experiences as a result of reunion.
When reading about adoption reunions, you often hear about intense emotions such as fear and about the awkwardness of meetings and getting to know a “familiar” stranger. In this post, I’d like to instead focus on the joys I have experienced in this exhilarating time in my life.
When thinking of the highlights of my reunion experience, I have to begin with the first letter I ever received from my surrendered son. I marveled at his handwriting, which reminded me of his biological father’s and his sense of humor and compassion he displayed towards me. He sounded like someone who was confident and comfortable in his own skin, which is what all mothers want for their children. Prior to our reuniting in person, every letter or email communication I received from him gave me more insights into who he is. I had wondered for so long about him and to know something, anything, was thrilling.
The day we reunited in person was full of rich complexities and emotions. (I don’t say the day we met because I firmly believe we were already well acquainted, even if he has no conscious memories of his time with me.) To watch him walk towards me with his beautiful wide smile that day in the restaurant filled me with such happiness and joy. To be able to hear his voice and hug him for the first time since he was a month old was incredible. I sat across a table from my first-born and his fiancée and looked into his eyes and began getting to know a bit of who he has become and his life experiences. He was funny and sarcastic and compassionate. We compared familial food preferences and to learn he had some unique ones like my father made me marvel at the power of genetics.
I received a Mother’s Day card from him for the first time this past year and it is still displayed on my desk (and might stay there for the next 30 years). He celebrated his birthday with us in my home and his sisters and I made him a birthday cake and he blew out candles at my kitchen table after a rousing off-key version of “Happy Birthday”. I recently watched him walk across a stage to receive a degree and we were both beaming.
Some of my most joyful times have been when all of my children have spent time together. I’ve watched them shoot hoops, play video and board games, and tease each other. His little sisters love riding on his shoulders and I love to see it. I watch him in his role of big brother and he is a natural. It is as if he has always been with us. The times when we are all together is a miracle. It provides a sweetness to my life that I had never dared to hope for. Sometimes, a smile doesn’t leave my face for days and I think I might truly glow. My spirit has lightened and it shows on my face, my entire being. While I have had many moments of joy because of the blessings of my husband and subsequent children, it seems that only now I am joy-filled as a rule, not an exception.
What joys have you experienced in reunion or an open adoption?