Thursday, March 14, 2013

Adoption Series Part 3: Reunion and Healing

Thank you all for returning for part 3 of a 4 part series. I am sorry this post is later than I would have liked. I am having some internet issues today. Today's post is once again from Sharon. She is going to share with us her re-connection story.

Sharon's Story Continues:

I will never forget the telephone call that came at 9:00 AM on 02/02/1995 when I was told my daughter, Lori wanted to meet me. Without any worry about what my friends, family or anyone else would think, I knew immediately I wanted to meet my daughter. 

Later that night when she called me, I learned she had one question. For years I had expected and prepared for  “Why?”  Instead, I heard, “Where did I get all of this hair?” I told her if she could see me or my nieces, she would understand. 



Nine days later, we met in person where I learned she also has my smile. One of the many fun experiences that first year was in learning all of the many ways in which we were alike. I got to attend her wedding a year after we met and saw the most beautiful bride I had ever seen walk down the aisle.

 My first Mother’s Day after meeting Lori was a little different than the year before: When the pastor asked the mothers to stand and be recognized, I was probably the first to stand and I am sure I had the biggest smile of them all, as I stood with all of the other mothers. Yes, I had tears in my eyes.

                                                 

Lori’s mom is a wonderful lady, and I have been privileged to get to know her. Lori and her Mom are close, just like a mother and daughter should be and just what I had always hoped and prayed for. Becoming a grandmother to Lori's children has been more exciting than I ever dreamed possible. Words cannot adequately describe those awesome emotions. Lori and her husband, celebrate Mother’s Day every year with a barbecue at their home for their three mothers. We are all truly blessed! Having attended Grandparents’ Days with Lori' children and now their band concerts, plays and other school activities, we eagerly are there to cheer them on. 
Mother's Day Celebration
Part of the transformation period after meeting Lori was offering and accepting forgiveness. I had to forgive Lori’s birth father for all of the bitterness I felt toward him. That bitterness was not hurting him; he wasn’t around to see it. I was only hurting myself. I had problems in getting close to anyone or letting anyone get close to me. I stayed inside that protective shell like a turtle and secretly blamed him for my problems in relationships. A burden was lifted when I was able to forgive him, not face-to-fact but deep in my heart. I also had to forgive myself for all of the shame and for not allowing myself to share my tears and pain with family and friends. Forgiveness is not something we do for others; we do it for ourselves – to get well and move forward. I thank God for breaking through my shell of protection and bringing me so much happiness amidst all of the darkness.

The last 18 years have been the best years of my life, including allowing one male to break through that shell of protection: After meeting My Husband in 1998, we got married seven years later in the presence of Lori and her family, as well as Roger’s two sons. In addition to Lori's children, I now have another grandchild:his nickname is R2, after my husband.

Today I am active in adoption reform. As Cofounder of the Adoption Triad of the Ozarks, I meet with other members of the adoption triad at our monthly meetings. I also meet with members of other support groups across the state trying to open the adoption records in my home state of Missouri, so adult adoptee can obtain his or her original birth certificate, a freedom that adoptees in several others states have. With medical history becoming even more of an urgent need for everyone to have, we want every adult adoptee to have access to his or her OBC. Lori was thrilled to be able to go to her doctor after meeting me and provide her medical history instead of continuing to say, “I don’t know, I was adopted.”

 I am a former staff member of the Pregnancy Care Center in my hometown and also a speaker at many events such as church services, mother-daughter banquets, high school FACS classes, conferences and other events that are mentioned at my web site. I try to keep in mind every time that I speak if I can touch just one person and help to bring about a change from the pain of the past, that is what life is all about. My husband is supportive of all of these activities and in fact has filled in for me on one occasion when I got laryngitis on the day I was supposed to speak later that night. Lori and I have both spoken together on five occasions which is such an awesome time for me.

A wise therapist told me that regrets are things that no matter what you do, you cannot go back and change them. All you can do is make the best of the decision you made, and go on from there. I have tried to follow that advice for many years because I learned that bitterness and guilt can ruin one’s health. 

While Lori and I have a special relationship, we do not have the same kind of a relationship that my sister, Evelyn, has with her daughter Kayleen. Evelyn was there for Kayleen every step of her life, just as Lori’s mom was there for her. My thoughts were there; I was just not there physically. (When I have been asked if I know anyone who has the perfect marriage/family, the name that first comes to my mind and has remained there through the years is my sister Evelyn.) Lori has that same mothering quality of sacrificing herself for her children, and I love her very much. She, too, had a great role model, her mom.When I see Lori and her husband with their children, I am reminded that Lori had a wonderful life with both a loving mother and a loving father.
 How can I regret any of that? Every mother should want the best possible life she can provide for her child. When I see Lori smile, I can be assured that she had the best possible life a child can have.


For more details about this story, please read I Choose This Day – Mournings and Miracles of Adoption by Sharon Fieker with contributions by Lori Smith. www.ichoosethisday.org

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