January 3, 2012

Careful What You Wish For

As parents we all just want our children to be happy.  Whenever someone asks my mom what makes her happy, she usually responds, "when my kids are all happy."  I tease her and say, "then you really shouldn't have had four kids!."   I can really relate to this now as a parent and maybe that is why I am content with having two kids.  :-)   It is so hard to see your kids hurting.  When Christian turned 14, I noticed that all the unanswered questions of his past were suddenly interfering with being a normal, happy kid.  He was haunted by memories- some good and some not so good.  He became depressed and lost interest in things he normally enjoyed.  He began isolating himself from others.  When your child is hurting and asks for help, you just do it.  You don't think about yourself and you can't even think that far into the future because you are worried about their emotional state right now. 

The search for Christian's birth family was the easiest piece of this story.  He wanted answers and finding his birth family was the only way to get them, so that's what we did.  I did my best to prepare him for many different scenarios, including that his family may have never abandoned him at all and that they might want him back.  This was really not a concern for either of us because at 17, he was almost an adult and soon could choose wherever he wanted to go. 

The reunion itself was also a positive experience.  Although emotionally hard, it wasn't nearly as hard as the year following the reunion.  The family accepted Christian with open arms and they also accepted this single mom who had raised him.  It was like our family had grown and now spanned two great nations.  Although Christian remembered them and never doubted they were his birth family, his feelings for them were not instantaneous.  Imagine having spent the past eleven years feeling resentment and anger towards someone, and then suddenly learning everything you thought was true wasn't, and then having to change those feelings.   It just doesn't happen that easily.  It is a process...so we've learned.

I believe once we returned home from the reunion Christian finally grieved the loss of his birth family.  He went through a very angry stage and a very depressed stage-both typical stages of grief.  

I even went through a depressed stage myself over all that had happened.  Even today I still struggle with some feelings of guilt.  I wish there was another word besides "guilt" to explain it because it is not as if I felt I did something wrong.  Maybe "survivor's guilt" is a better way to describe it.  I find myself avoiding those Skype or QQ calls to China because it is just so painful to see how much his family misses him. 

Despite the pain there is a peace that comes with finally having the answers.  It gives you a chance to accept what happened and move on with your life.  Christian has reached a point where he not only accepts his past but he wants to use it to help others.  That is when the true healing occurs.     

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for continuing to share this journey with others Julia.

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  2. Hi Julia, thanks for sharing. I can totally relate to the guilt you feel and the depressive feelings after finding the birth family. I went through a similar phase when we found my daughter's birth family (who had NOT abandoned her). Very difficult emotions although it does get better along the way. Getting to know the family, being in touch with them and visiting them has been very healing!

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