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Negatives

June 4, 2014

Today blueprint is a word used to refer informally to any kind of plan, but in the beginning, it was about the process.  Alphonse Louis Poitevin, a French chemist, discovered in the mid-nineteeth-century that light turns ferro-gallate, a substance found in gum, blue.  Early on, architects and engineers used the blueprint process to make negatives of original drawings.  They coated paper with a ferro-gallic solution, placed the document to be copied atop the coated paper, and put it all under glass.  After a few minutes in the sun and, later, a good wash with water, they had their negative, their plan, their course to follow.

Twin Prints–the blog, the book, the life–was meant to be both a plan, and a process.  It was going to be about people coming together and finding their way through the complexity of adoption and reunion. Whatever was discovered along the way would line the paper, taking shape under light’s exposure.  Maybe that drawing would help others find their way in their own stories.  Or maybe it wouldn’t.  After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all to adoption, or to adoption reunion.  At the very least, it would be an artifact of my own story, of my twin’s and mine.  It would be our twin print.

IMG_5605 Five years ago, when I first learned who my birth parents were, I was full of wonder and optimism.  It’s exciting to build something from scratch, to sketch out those initial drawings, to imagine what could be.  In the newlywed stage of our reunion, I was up for the challenge, confident that we could do it, whatever “it” was.   At the very least, I hoped we could share the joy–and peace–of knowing who we all are and make the most of whatever time we have left together on this earth.

But five years out, we’ve stumbled into long spaces of opacity.  I’ve realized that I can’t make it work.  And while it pains me to say it, I’ve realized, too, that I don’t necessarily want to anymore, at least not at all costs.

Here’s what the negative of this original will tell you right now if you were to unfold it before you:

  • Adoption reunion is not easy.
  • In many cases, it might not even be possible.
  • Nobody is to blame.
  • My birth parents are good people.
  • My sister and I are good people.
  • But good people + good people do not necessarily equal a good relationship.
  • In fact, no matter what rights people who were adopted gain–and I’m all for such rights–there is no corresponding right to a relationship that accompanies information, no guarantee that a good, healthy relationship can be made from people affected by adoption.

My birth mother told me recently that she has taken a step back. I didn’t need her to tell me that.  I already sensed her moving away.  And I haven’t followed.

On most days, I am mentally sound, happy, healthy, almost functional, no small feat with four boys.  I have a husband I love and admire.   A fulfilling career.  More friends than I can possibly be good to at this point in my life.  A mother who, even at 71, drops everything when I need her and takes an Amtrak train halfway across the country to help me juggle it all.  I have a twin who is my best friend and soulmate (sorry, husband)  and a brother who makes me laugh, drives me crazy, and loves me unconditionally.   An extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins whom I adore.  An identity.  A history.  Ancestors I’ve inherited through adoption.  It’s more than enough.  It would be okay if it weren’t, but for me, it is.

The bottom line: I don’t need a relationship with my birth parents.  They don’t need me and my twin, either.

That, I think, is the root of the problem, the blue of the negative.

We don’t need each other.

And so here we are, five years out, good people stuck between need and desire, not sure what comes next.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat permalink
    June 7, 2014 7:14 pm

    God gave you your Mom, one who loves you sooooo much, as she does all three of her children. What a blessing this journey has been to so many of us watching such an exciting adventure and seeing how God knew best, putting your precious family together! He is an awesome God.

    • twinprint permalink*
      June 25, 2014 2:20 pm

      Thanks, Mrs. Warnick!

  2. June 7, 2014 2:52 pm

    I like your honest, heartfelt words. You speak the truth; you can’t beat that.

  3. June 5, 2014 2:36 pm

    You are not alone in these reunion experiences and sentiments. Thanks for writing and sharing. love, me

  4. June 5, 2014 2:29 am

    Thanks for your honesty and generosity, Jenny. It’s been a long journey for you and I’m glad that I had small part in it, that I’ve come to know you and Jackie through the written page as sisters in the many journeys of life. I am honored to be a little part of both of your lives and of course, of your Mom’s.

    • twinprint permalink*
      June 6, 2014 12:51 pm

      I’m grateful for your part it in, Judy, and for the chance to know you now. You remain a gift to me–and my family!

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