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


Peach said...

I grew up as an only child too and found 2 half brothers on the paternal side! I so wish we could be close also, but, like you, I'm so glad to have found them...I hope as time goes by the connections will be strengthened. ((Hugs))

Von said...

Ah the joys of reunion!So much to handle on top of all the rest.
I have four sisters and a brothers, only one sister wants to know and I count myself lucky.There are numerous cousins, aunts and others but after all these years and a few disappointments it starts to feel not worth it.

Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

(((hugs))) I can not imagine not giving someone a chance. Just a stinking chance. Not like you have to be best friends, just an acknowledgement that you exists in the world, and have every right too. Well, I say you do! (((hugs)))

veggiemom said...

We are currently looking for Violet's little sister in Spain. I don't know right now if her family doesn't read any adoption forums or if they don't want contact with us. I hate it!!! Violet misses her little sister so much. I really hope they just don't know we're looking because I can't stand to think that they want to keep two sisters apart.

J. Marie Jameson said...

I too hope that your brother comes to his senses one day. I have missed my half sister and although I am cautious, I am glad that I decided to send flowers when our great grandmother died. If I hadn't, she would not have reached back out to me and we would not have reconnected. Now, I just wish that my brother would connect with me on some level but he avoids much of his family so I can't take it personal. Best of luck and I hope one day you get to connect.

Mila said...

I actually grew up with 3 brothers but no sisters. After locating both my Korean mother and Korean father & families last year, I discovered that on my Omma's side I have 2 half-sisters and on my Appa's side, I have a half-brother and half-sister.

Unfortunately, similar to your situation, my half-sisters on my Omma's side want nothing to do with me at this point, and my siblings on my Appa's side, well, they have no idea that I even exist (the long tradition of secrecy...).

Ironically, enough, however, even though there are no laws regulating my contact with my Korean parents & family, I have actually chosen to maintain all contact & correspondence with my Korean parents, for the time being, through the two agencies.

This is my choice, primarily because of the fragile and delicate nature of the situation--specifically the remaining unresolved issues between my Appa & Omma, and also due to the overwhelming language and cultural differences. I have chosen to do so with the hope that we will ultimately be able to establish stability in our relationships & be able to one day maintain contact apart from the outside help long-term. But it feels so overwhelming...

I wish I could feel comfortable at this point simply maintaining contact on my own, apart from the agencies, but even almost two years later, it's still so challenging and so difficult that I have needed the assistance & involvement of the agencies. Fortunately, though, my experience with my primary liaison has been excellent--I actually feel that I can trust her. She has conducted herself very openly and honestly, and her advice and counsel has never been to push me in one direction or another. Above all she has always emphasized that I be completely honest & open...and she has always been upfront with me, even when the details were potentially hurtful and painful...

Jens C. Kruse said...