förbi Matthew Pellegrino, adopted from South Korea to the USA, composer, musician, oboist. You can follow Matthew at Youtube or Instagram @compotatoser.
If an adoptee birth search was a fairy-tale, then reunion would be the “happily ever after.” As far as adoptee birth searches go, I’m statistically very lucky. Probably less than 5% (and that’s a high estimate) of all adoption birth searches have a result as positive as mine. I’ve been reunited with my family for a full 3 years now and sometimes if I think about that for too long, it’s completely mind boggling because it still feels like just yesterday that I was seeing my mother’s face for the first time.
Adoption is a complex, multi-faceted experience. It extends so much further and so much deeper than just “you were adopted.” The number of people affected by adoption is not just limited to the adoptee. There’s the birth mother, the families, generations of relatives, and society outside of the family. In my case, it’s a silent pain that my mother had to keep to herself for 24 years, my grandmother who knew I had been sent away and cried every time she saw a story about family reunions on the news, my aunt who wept after meeting me because she “should have been there to take care of me.” It’s also all the hardships we have yet to face together after reuniting. How do we overcome a language barrier and manage the pressures and expectations of learning to communicate with one another? How do we navigate our cultural differences in the face of the shame we feel? And how to we try to move forward knowing that this relationship has been forged and will continue to evolve for the rest of our lives?
This is my story, so I feel it’s my responsibility to present it candidly. Not just the beautiful, “happy ending,” but also the complicated, messy and at times painful “ever after” of reunion — learning to be mother and son, learning to be family, after 20+ years apart. It isn’t easy, it’s a lot of work, but at the end of the day I am very lucky.
Check out the recent Transracial Adoption Story told through music and dance, which Matthew composed the music for, titled Dear Mother:
2 svar på ”What Happens After Reunion?”
I am so glad you are talking about what happens after reunion. In talking to adoptees, I am finding that many of the adoptees with positive outcomes feel hesitant to talk about their experience, because of how rare it is. It’s funny, because television shows would have you believe that all reunions are great, when that is not the reality.
I love that you explain that adoption does not stop with the act of adoption, and that the adoption affects more people than just the adoptee. Knowing our identity and history is something we give our kids (if we choose to have children). 💚
Yeah, you see the fairy tale reunions, but you don’t really think about how the relationship will be afterwards. You just think in your head oh we will just pick up being Parent/Child, but that process is so much more complex. My own personal experience, I’ve reunited with my bio father. It was a sweet reunion with empty promises to work on building a relationship but after 2 years we are not in touch anymore. It feels like rejection all over again. But when you think about finding your bio parents later in life as I have done, there’s just a disconnect. We don’t have anything in common, live miles apart so there’s nothing bonding us. It’s at the point ok, I know where you are and that you exist. And you each go back to your day-to-day routine as if nothing major just happened.