Friday, 10 April 2009

The Journey Begins

This vague curiosity soon subsided as I got on with being a wife and mother. We moved back nearer to ‘home’ and my mum and dad moved nearer to us so that they could take an active part in their only grandchild’s life. When he was old enough to start school, I returned to work part-time and life moved on. In relation to my adoption, the only slightly annoying issue was having to explain – seemingly time after time – in relation to both myself and my child, that I had no knowledge of my medical history.

Then, within the space of four years, my son and I were both diagnosed with medical conditions – him with epilepsy and myself with ME. I realised that it would be sensible to have some idea of any medical conditions in my birth family. And having a reduced immune system, it would also be helpful to be prepared for anything that might affect me in the future.

But this was tricky now. After brushing aside any interest in my origins back when I was a teenager, how could I broach this subject with my mum and dad? I couldn’t possibly do anything at all that would hurt them in any way. How would they react if they thought that I wanted to trace the very woman who gave me up? I spent a considerable time – years even – going over and over these questions, and the possible outcomes, in my mind. Weighing up the pros and cons, what could be gained .. and lost. My mum and dad had been such wonderful parents that I had to put their feelings first and foremost but, at the same time, I was sure that finding out more of my background was the right thing to do. I also knew without any shadow of a doubt that my relationship with Mum and Dad wouldn’t change at all.

I will say here that I am very instinctive – I tend to go very much by ‘gut reaction’ and although there have been a few occasions when that has let me down, for the most part, my initial intuition has been a good guide. I then heard news that an adopted friend of mine had been diagnosed with a cancer that is renowned for being hereditary. Amazingly, the disease was caught in good time, she was treated and made a full recovery. However, this did give me an opening to broach the subject with Mum and Dad, as she was well known to them too. I tried my best to explain that this was the very situation I was trying to avoid for myself and my son – and they understood! Well actually, I’m not sure that they did really understand, but they could see that I had given the matter a lot of thought and so they trusted me to do the right thing. And so started the next stage of my journey – where did I begin?

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