Anticipating Adoption Reunion With My Birth Sister

Sherrie's Bio

Anticipating a reunion with my newly-found sister is interesting.

There is a calm, unlike any other reunions in my past.

For sure, this certainly isn’t my first rodeo!

In the past, I’ve experienced:

  • The death of a dream. After a fairy-tale reunion with my birth mother 20 years ago, I experienced total rejection. Fellow adoptees must know that this is common. Prior to reunion, I believed all my struggles would dissipate and that resting in my birth mom’s arms would be the epitome of bliss. What thankfully happened instead is that I found myself in the arms of Jesus, the One whose hands are embedded with my name. (Isa. 49:15-16)
  • Discovery of birth history. When I met my Uncle Dave, he delighted in me, at the expense of losing any closeness with his mean-spirited sister. He was like the Good Shepherd, who leaves the 99 to go after the one that is lost. Every morning I opened up his email message that said, “Top of the morning, Sherrie.”
  • Discovery of my brother, Jon. I still remember landing in Reno and driving at night to meet him. He was extremely ill, but he rose to the occasion and we had a blast with him, his son, and daugher in law. We talked daily and he always ended the conversation, “I love you with all my heart, sis.” He died unexpectedly before we could meet again.
  • Meeting my aunt. Even though my first mom was so mean, I decided that I shouldn’t let her feelings interfere with my possible relationship with her sister, who was dying of cancer. This sent my birth mother ballistic, but my aunt and I had a sweet meeting.

And, so, I enter yet another reunion with my sister Candy.

We are both incredibly excited about it.

I will keep you posted on social media.

How Adoptive and Foster Mamas Can Discover Their Legacy

Where Is Your Legacy, Adoptive and Foster Mamas?

Recently, my husband and brother cleared their late parent’s dilapidated  work shed on the family farm.

After hours of sifting through cobwebs, rat droppings, and bat nests, they discovered two glass objects wrapped in yellow, moldy newspapers.

While wondering if they could be extremely rare pieces of Steuben glass, a memory of their late uncle popped into their consciousness, for he once collected such valuables.

Of course, they loved the glass, but many questions remained.

Imagine how meaningful it would have been for my husband and brother to find an accompanying journal, explaining where their uncle got these collectables and why they had such personal significance.

This is a lovely picture of what it means to leave a legacy.

Up until lately, whenever I heard the word “legacy,” I envisioned a family seated around a desk in a lawyers office, listening to the last wishes of a departed love one.

However, legacies aren’t just about funerals and caskets, but about living life to the fullest. 

Legacies are living, fresh, and active, encompassing everyday life in our memories, whether negative or positive.

Legacies are heirlooms, or gifts, passed on from one generation to the next.

Legacies are a wake-up call, reminding us of life’s brevity, for none of us know when we’ll exit.

Legacies can be positive or negative, teaching us that we learn what to do from some people and what not to do from others.

Legacy isn’t passive, but active, for we can proactively create our legacies now.

Now, don’t get nervous thinking legacy is something you must achieve or accomplish.

You need not rumble through grandpa’s old papers to find it, for it’s closer

than the air you breathe.

Could it be that you’re a beginner at this, like me?

Frankly, I get enthusiastic thinking that even though the first part of my legacy—my life lived now—is showing my legacy, I can do something else to create documents, gifts, and photos for my children and grandchildren.

Let me ask: Could your gift be hidden in an old shed of shame? Could it be wrapped with the yellowed, moldy newspapers of discouragement and exhaustion?

Would you come to the shed with me?

If I hold your hand, would you be willing to open the creaky door and push away the cobwebs?

Will you be willing to search for your legacy by stomping through mouse droppings and bat nests?

If so, you’ll discover your legacy, like my husband finding the multi-faceted valuables.

Now, you’re asking, “What am I looking for? What is my legacy gift?”

It’s YOU.

Yes, YOU.

For, YOU, dear one, are the gift, the heirloom to the next generation.

Yes, every single inch of you that lives the daily grind is part and parcel of your legacy. Your strengths and weaknesses, your challenges and failures, your dreams and goals.

Maybe you don’t feel like a gift?

Since when do feelings mean anything?

The solid fact is that you’re it.

Just think, as you enter the shed, you may discover you’re Steuben after all.

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Do Adoptees and Foster Kids Have A Right to Be Angry?

The Unwanted Adversarial Relationship

Hell, yes, we’re angry.

Excuse my French…I’m just a veteran adoptee, finally free from adoptee anger’s choking grip, and ready to hunt bear.

As you might have surmised from the opening statement, this will not be a feel-good read. No warm fuzzies or heart-shaped emojis. No steaming bedtime tea and cookies.

This is a wake-up, hope-drenched, revolutionary strategy for healing the unwanted adversarial relationships between adoptees and mamas.

Okay, here we go.

Stick with me, okay?

Hold on tight, grip the saddle, and prepare for discomfort.

Adoptees Have the Right to Be Angry

We adoptees and foster kids have every right to be angry. (from now forward, I’ll simplify the addressee both adopted and foster kid by “adoptee.”)

We’ve been kicked around, abandoned, lied to, judged, misunderstood, labeled, shamed, pitied, abused, misrepresented, ignored, shunned, marginalized, orphaned and sent away with our few belongings in a black trash bag.

Up until now, our anger was the hot potato in the arena of adoption.

No one dared talk about it because the solution wasn’t in site.

Adoption agencies hide our anger in the bushes, hoping that eager, naive, prospective parents won’t  find it. After all, they’d lose clients and reputation, but most of all, money.

Truth be told, adoptive and foster parents, are probably terrified of adoptee anger, for they can’t spank it away, teach it away, woo it away, or love it away.

For adoptees, we fear our tiger-like anger originates from a hidden character flaw, possibly from a missing generation. If we hear others talking about “the bad gene,” we wonder if it’s us.

Our anger can’t be separated from the frail, cell-based, DNA-informed, providentially-placed essence of who we are.

And, without either desiring it, unresolved adoptee anger binds mamas and kids together, in a seemingly impossible situation.

However, each must learn to navigate individually, with the common goal of healing from our own part in an un-invited, adversarial relationship.

And, so, we are on a common journey through what we’ll call “the river of rage.”

Our Common Journey

There’s a river of rage rushing through our adoptee veins,

like freight trains.

Even though the raging river never stops, we adoptees aren’t aware of it because we’ve secured our Bose earbuds.

We’re far from understanding or even caring why our mamas say the raging river’s rip tide is sucking them under.

But, truth be known, it obliterates their trails, washes out bridges, and tosses dead logs to the bottom for them to slip on.

During times of drought, the raging river may appear dried up and mamas might have the courage to wade into it’s shallow waters.

But, then suddenly, it splashes them in the face, blocking their view of what lies around the bend—a huge waterfall, which can only be survived by treading water.

Gradually, if we adoptees get motivated to remove the ear buds, we’ll realize we’re in the  raging river along with our mamas.

Our Common Challenge

So, what’s the answer?

We need to focus on the other bank. The bank of hope that the adversarial relationship can be healed. That there’s a way we’ll be able to digest truth, not only in our heads but in our hearts.

For mamas, the other bank is believing that trying harder is not the answer and that you are enough for your child.

This focus will be your savior when faith disappears, like a morning mist. On days when you believe you can’t go on. On days when you wonder if you made a mistake adopting your child.

And, what about adoptees and foster kids?

Focusing on the other bank, we’ll adhere to the fact that we can successfully process our loss, grief, and anger.

But first, let’s talk turkey about our real enemy.

Our Common Reality

I lived a lifetime believing my adoptive mom was my enemy.

If not, why would I strut off, half-cocked to high school, wondering why she was crying puppy-dog tears? Why would her presence feel like long fingernails over a blackboard?

And, God knows how much she wanted to be a good mom for this beloved baby whom she’d waited a lifetime for.

Mom had no way of knowing the newborn me, who was angry as a spitfire at my first mom. Newborn me wondered why she kicked me to the side of the road and went on merrily.

It’s not difficult imagining what must have gone through mom’s head and heart when hearing my pre-adoption traumas of rejection in the womb, birth mother disappearance at birth, and ten days without human touch in an incubator.

If it were me, I’ve would have said, “I can parent a baby well, but a special needs baby?

Could she handle giving a frail 5-pound baby girl a bath? What if the baby slipped from her grip?  How could get the failure-to thrive status be removed when I refused to eat?

It’s important here that we understand the real enemy in our mama/child relationship.

Our Common Enemy

The real enemy is not adoptee anger, for anger is a gift from God and must be managed.

Misplaced adoptee anger is our common enemy.

Misplaced anger seeks to devour the relationship, to chew it up and spit it out. It’s from hell, not God. It’s from Satan, the arch enemy of God.

It loves lies and deception, such as:

    • Your mother is such a loser.
    • You should have been able to stay with your first mom.
    • Your life is a mistake.
    • Why not end it all now?
    • There’s something wrong with you.

You see, fellow adoptee, on the day you were born, Satan was there, saying, “I will destroy you no matter what.”

It was then that God said, “Oh, no you won’t. She’s mine.”

So, mamas and adoptees, focus on the other bank.