Category Archives: siblings

“Fable” –a poem by Louise Glück

Though the poem, “Fable” by Louise Glück is not meant to be about adoption,  it resonated with me nonetheless. But not in the way you might think. Not pitting adoptive mother against birth mother. For me, it cracked open the suffering of the two daughters, which might be an element in an adoption reunion story (though this is not the real-life situation the poet is most likely drawing on from her own childhood.) The pull of loss and grief is strong in this poem, deep and primal. A piece of the story perhaps for many in the world of adoption.
Judgemnt of Solomon by Raphael(1)

A Fable

BY LOUISE GLÜCK
Two women with
the same claim
came to the feet of
the wise king. Two women,
but only one baby.
The king knew
someone was lying.
What he said was
Let the child be
cut in half; that way
no one will go
empty-handed. He
drew his sword.
Then, of the two
women, one
renounced her share:
this was
the sign, the lesson.
Suppose
you saw your mother
torn between two daughters:
what could you do
to save her but be
willing to destroy
yourself—she would know
who was the rightful child,
the one who couldn’t bear
to divide the mother.

Milestone Birthday

My son and I met just a few days before his 21st birthday. This month he’ll celebrate his 43rd birthday. The scales have now most definitely tipped in the direction of knowing him for more years than not knowing him. We’ve already celebrated since he and his family are here for a visit.

We made it a double celebration since my younger daughter just had her birthday 10 days ago and my birthday dinner for her was derailed my a short hospital stay for my mom.

M does not remember a time before her brother was part of her life since she was only two when they met. When I told her and her sister that they had a big brother, they both looked at me as if I’d just presented them with a pony. The age gap seemed huge between them then. Now that they’re both adults, it seems so much less.

Oh happy day.

They were both keen on the vanilla ice cream/mango sorbet cake with a gingersnap/coconut/almond crust.

Chance

The world is full of adoptees and birthmothers, some reunited and many still unknown to one another. There are siblings out there, too. Some of whom dream of having a brother or a sister and don’t know that they already have one. And maybe that person they’re wishing for has the same brown eyes or the same dimple or a similar set of freckles or loves the same kind of chocolate or drives the same car. I’ve seen statistics that say there are somewhere between two million and six million birthmothers alive today in the U.S. Probably no one knows how many are reunited with their children. If you consider the siblings that have been separated by adoption, there are millions of people out there looking for each other.

Here’s a story where two siblings found one another by chance.
I dreamed of finding my son by chance almost from the moment I let him go. And although, coincidence has salted a pretty healthy dash of “you must be kidding” to our story, I don’t think we would have ever found one another if I hadn’t searched for him. Searching for my son, due to the sealed records in the state of Iowa, was a frustrating and useless venture. But Chance was there all the same waiting in the form of a person who’d happened to hear of a person, who knew of a person who could help. I have no idea who that person was–if it was a man or a woman, an adoptee or a birthparent, maybe even an adoptive parent–but if I had to give the person a name, I’d call him/her Mr. or Ms. Chance.

Anything Can Bring It Back

I got an email from my friend Elizabeth the other day. She’d found a blog from a woman whose brother was given up for adoption when he was a baby and is now helping her mom (their mom) search.  This “birth sister’s” writing went right to my gut and before I knew it, the feeling came back.

It’s mostly centered in my gut, this feeling, and radiates out from there. It’s like evil butterflies. Like life or death fear and it wouldn’t be a painless or clean or peaceful death. I felt this way sitting on a picnic table in the park the day I met my very first birthmother (other than myself) and she told me she wanted to search for her lost daughter and asked me if I wanted t search for my son. 
The butterflies radiate out from the center and  the beating of their wings cause a quaking and it takes energy to keep from full-out shaking–I mean St. Vitus dance arms and legs akimbo flailing–and the effort makes feel like I could sleep for a week if I could just relax and make the feeling go away. But it won’t.
I felt like this every time I told my story  to friends and family. And then, even years later when I started to write about it, the feeling was there. Not that long ago, I told someone it had been only recently that I could re-visit the experience of having given up my son without experiencing that shaking.  
But it can still come back.