I’m not keen on the phrase ‘emotional rollercoaster’ but I can’t think of a better way to describe what was going on. I really tried hard to see things from Wyn’s point of view; after all, I’d had plenty of preparation time but it had come out of the blue for her. However, I was finding it extremely difficult to understand why she was hostile one minute and friendly the next.
I’ve been asked several times if I have any regrets about making this journey, whether my past would have been best left alone. My answer is, quite categorically, ‘no’. I had no desire to ‘find myself’ – I’m perfectly aware of, and fairly happy with, who I am – and the yen for discovery was by no means all-consuming, yet there was both the need to finish what I’d started, and the intuition that something good would come out of this. All I really and truly wish is that I’d had access to an adoptee’s ‘warts and all’ story of adoption searching. The only people who truly understand an adoptee are other adoptees, regardless of how much support one receives from family and friends. Being prepared for rejection is not necessarily being sufficiently prepared for the possibility of so much associated turmoil.
So, back to the photograph. Opening the envelope and seeing my birth mother looking at me was another strange moment. She reminded me of someone and I puzzled for a long time before I realised who it was … me! Apart from our different hair colour, there was no doubting the family resemblance, but it was still very odd to find out after nearly 40 years that I looked like someone.
At this point, I remembered my manners and thought about writing a letter of acknowledgement, but because of Wyn’s earlier hostility, I had to think long and hard about exactly what to write. I didn’t want to upset her further by ignoring the fact that she had complied with my request for information and a photograph, but neither did I want her to feel hounded by me. In the end, I handwrote (I thought she might appreciate this more personal touch than typing) a brief but friendly letter, thanking her for her help. I omitted my address at the top of the letter so she would realise that I wasn’t expecting any further contact.