All my life I've had those moments.
The ones where I see somebody and wonder...could it be her? That face in a crowd that looks somehow familiar, somehow like I've seen a hint of it numerous times. The color of eyes, the sound of a laugh or the shape of a face. Maybe a facial expression or the set of lips. My brain picks up on these cues (real or imagined) and causes me to just wonder....could it be?
Or sometimes it's more of an encounter....like that woman at the grocery store with long blonde/brown hair and athletic build that stares at me just a bit long. The traffic officer with kind eyes and about 16 years my senior, who looks on the verge of asking me something, something deep and important. But never does. Or the lady on the plane, the one that keeps looking my way with a sense of curiosity in her eyes. Does one of these women know something I don't? Could one of them be her?
These moments always leave me feeling this yearning...this feeling that I'm embarking on a search that will never give way to a resolution. Scanning every crowd for that one face that ignites some spark of recognition. Wondering if I've just walked past her and didn't even know it.
I guess when you don't know what your looking for it's hard to know if you've found it. And I think sometimes you don't even know that you are looking in the first place.
Most often these moments leave me feeling like Choco the bird, asking (to myself only) "are you my mother?" Could it be her?
Growing up not knowing "where" you came from is a complex emotion, one felt deeply by many adult adoptees. I'm not even speaking about cultural, although for many adoptees that factors in. I mean the just not knowing your genetic blueprint or medical background. For me this leaves me feeling like there is always just a little something missing or forgotten on an emotional front. And then on the medical front I have no "background". Any of you who have filled out the endless forms at the doctors office knows exactly the feeling you are left with. That sense of loss, yet again. The sense of not knowing, never knowing just those few details about your own self!
And being adopted during the closed adoption era means I have pretty much no idea of where I came from, aside from the "not too personal" items the social worker could pass along. Eye/hair color, age and a guess at ethnic background I may have in me. It means in order to find out where I came from...who she is....I'd have to petition a court with a valid reason to unseal my birth records. And then hope once I got the records that the names haven't been blacked out as was sometimes done back then - To protect the privacy of the "biological" parent, you see. Which means the courts felt that having knowledge of who they were could be damaging. But to whom? To them, or me? And just who was most damaged in the long run....?
So some of you may be saying "well if your so interested, why not take the plunge and find your birth parents"? Well I'll just tell you why.
Because I'm actually not that interested. Not in finding birth parents anyway.
What I'm searching for is a connection... but not to a particular person. More like a connection to ~ myself. A glimpse of...well of where I came from. Just to be able to know the basics of my life before I became Jennifer. To have a genetic link - to some body, any body. So I don't need any type of relationship with those in my past, just the history of me. It's just about knowing, just simply knowing.
And there is one other reason, as crazy as it may be. My sweet child will also never know where she came from.. She may find herself scanning the face of every Asian woman she comes across and wonder....Could it be her? She may study different faces, eye shapes and body types and try to "fit herself in" to a specific one, just to have a mental image of what she may have come from. Sure, she may spend her life just as pleased as can be with me for a Mom, but always yearn to know her genetic footprints. And like me, she will not get that chance.
But I will be right beside her, maybe even when I'm old and grey- still scanning the crowd, still searching into eyes for that hint...
Wondering, Could it be her?