Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reunions & Boundaries: Being Rejected by my Brother

When I reunited, I was embraced by the entirety of my maternal original family.  Waiting for me on the paternal side, was one aunt.  I also have met one paternal cousin.  My aunt is a wonderful woman.  I have a paternal brother who had spent the entirety of my life thus far convincing himself that I did not exist.  Well, not that I didn't exist as a person, but that I was not his sister.

The first letter I got from my original mother from the intermediary I can remember reading about the two maternal brothers I have.

I have brothers!

Growing up an only child.  I was thrilled to find out that I have not one, not two, but three brothers.

My aunt gave me my brother's email address and gave him mine.  She badly wanted us to connect.  I emailed him and waited.  A few weeks later, he emailed me back.  It was a "it's not you, it's me" type email about how he didn't want to get to know one another.

He was very kind and I don't think that my feelings could have been handled with more care.  But, it still hurt.

My birth State doesn't believe that adoptees are capable of managing boundaries in their relationships with their original families.  Adoptees who reunite through the State are what is called "vetoed."  This means that contact is approved through the government.  At any time, our original families can request that contact be limited or revoked.  This means that we can be held to criminal and civil penalties for contacting our families if our family vetoes us.  Only certain people can request to enforce a veto.  Original mothers can veto adoptees from speaking to their aunts and uncles, for example, even if those adult family members very much want to speak to the adoptee.

However, because my biological father is not officially recognized as my father on my paperwork, I cannot be vetoed from speaking with his family.  I can reach out to my brother at anytime.

But I don't.  While my birth State may not believe adoptees to be capable of managing boundaries in our interpersonal relationships with others, I know that we can assumed to be capable as any other person can be.  I respect my brother's boundaries.  He does not wish to know me at this time.  That is his choice and I respect it.


"Can two walk together without agreeing to go in the same direction?" --Amos 3:3


Photo credit:  jscreationzs