When you meet your son and his family after more than forty years it isn’t quite as smooth and easy as it is in the imagination. When you gave up a child for adoption back in that far distant past you locked away the memory in some small part of the mind and moved forward. Your son has a family, parents, a life. You move forward and also have a life.
But when miraculously the curtain is lifted, a curtain that seemed to be until that very moment a solid wall you find strangers standing on the other side. A stranger who is family, who is literally, genetically my son grown into a man with a beautiful wife and six wonderful children. But still we move forward feeling our way. It takes time–time spent together to build family bonds. Last week we spent time together and because of those family bonds I very quickly felt at home. I felt an immediate attachment to the grandkids who reached out without reservation. My son’s wife who declared me her birth-mother-in-law is delightful and my son reminds me in different ways of each of my other children.
OK, it is odd, but it is also wonderful. When it came time to leave, to drive back to Arizona I understood that we have to continue to reach out, to spend time, to grow together as family and that distance will make it more difficult than it could otherwise be.
But we have started.
All those TV stories that bring tears to the eyes of the audience (not to mention the participants) don’t show the uncertainty, the baby steps forward to opening up and getting to know each other. The discovery and reunion are great, but family comes one step at a time, one word at a time as we get to know each other, learn to love and appreciate the newest additions to the family. We live miles apart, but you are no longer locked away in the back of my mind. You and your family now rest firmly in my heart.