Thursday, June 14, 2012

Family Ties

For those of us in a closed adoption, birthparenting is a weird thing. Every time I talk to Katie, I’m aware of the fact that I don’t know her well. I missed 17 years. I don’t know her likes and dislikes. We don’t have many shared experiences together. I don’t know what she’s like when she’s sad, mad, or glad. I don’t know what she was like as a teen. And I don’t know if her faith is deep, wide, or nonexistent.

Yet somewhere down deep inside, I have this feeling like I should know. Like somehow because I carried her in my womb we are intimately connected and I am supposed to know these things about her. To me it feels like a pressing weight, like a pressure I feel to connect with her in a way that we aren’t connected. Our connection ends with our DNA. Our lives have been totally separate. And apart from our few visits and conversations, we really don’t know each other that well.

It’s very hard to put into words. Never did I feel this way before having my own children. Truthfully I didn’t know this was how a mother feels. With my own children, I know everything about them. With one look I can assess their mood, their hunger level and even the next words out of their mouth. It’s a mommy thing.
And I don’t have it with Katie because that thing only comes from knowing a child day in and day out over years and through every kind of circumstance.

Of course I’m the only one that feels this way. She knows I don’t know her. She understands that. And I do too on some level. But the feeling remains.

So while she’s communicating with me, I ignore that should feeling and get to know her. I ask her questions and answer hers. I try and have real conversations with her about real things. Now that she’s a mommy, that’s easy to do. We talk about mommyhood and developmental stages. Her last message to me asked about homeschooling and what it was like, how it was going.

We’re forming a friendship, a relationship based on conversations about real things. Not should things.

Am I alone out here? I would love to hear how you handle your situation.

Photo credit


  1. You are not alone. It took me a while after reuniting to feel as if I knew my girl. But, I look at each new thing I learn about her as a gift that I have been given. I look at each and every one of the things we find in common (which are MANY) as a God thing.

    I am learning to just embrace each precious moment and I have realized that this is a journey I am priveledged to take.


    1. Thanks Nancy for the encouragement from your own relationship. I do feel blessed to have even met her and have an itty bitty part in her world.

      Blessings! Terri

  2. Hi Terri. I can totally understand some of your thoughts here. I can relate to the "should" feelings and the unknown. For me it has worked to focus on the excitement of the unknown, rather than dwell on the 'should have known' part of it. For instance I almost find the stuff I don't know about my birthson a blessing, because it's sort of exciting everytime I learn something new about his likes or dislikes. We've only met once (about 2 1/2 months ago) but we've had numerous text and email conversations. I try to focus on the positive of the situation and not feel weighed down by the "shoulda" feelings. Besides, as you know those feelings are reserved for the mom that raised them, just like you explained your relationship with your children. I think it's great you can ask and answer questions, just try to keep the expectations out of the way and it should help lift the 'pressing weight.' Prayers to you and your family during these first few years of uncharted waters! Melody

    1. Melody: Thank you for your words of wisdom. I'm working on just focusing on learning about her like I would a new friend and trying to ignore the rest.

      Bless you! Terri