January 12th, 2009
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Categories: Articles, Reunion

A friend of mine sent me the link to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday. She didn’t say what it was about, just sent the link as if it was a dare for me to click it. I wasn’t disappointed. The article is about a birth mother reuniting with her relinquished child 46 years after the birth and subsequent placement.

I’m always nervous when I see articles about adoption, especially reunion, in any form of mainstream media. You never know how it is going to go. You never know if the journalist has a negative view of the topic and will let that seep into the piece. This article, however, was a joy to read.


In fact, this family is a joy. Reading the article made me want to seek out this family, every last one of them, and offer a hug of rejoice, support and love mixed together. My favorite part of the article (and, of course, the family’s history) is that the mother never kept the relinquished daughter a secret from her subsequently parented children. And, of course, 46 years ago found this mother deep in the throes of the closed adoption era. I’m sure she was told to forget and “move on” and other destructive advice. Instead, she chose the path of honesty with her children. It moved me.

But Ms. Malloy didn’t keep Kimberly’s birth a secret from the children she later bore; the opposite was true. When the children gave her a necklace adorned with their birthstones, they included one for Kimberly, too.

As a side note, my mother’s necklace also includes my placed daughter’s birthstone.

I did find it sad, however, that the adoption was hidden from the adoptee. She actually found out while helping get records together for her father after his passing when she was 14 years old. Not exactly the best way to find out but, again, this was in a different time.

Furthermore, the best thing about this whole thing? They found each other due to the wonders of the internet. A message was posted back in 2002. It took years but they have found one another. My heart rejoices at this fact: technology is bringing together families that, in the past, were forever separated. There is hope for our future in this aspect of adoption, this search and reunion.

The quote at the end of the article made me think, of course.

The reunion has given Ms. Malloy the relief she’s long wanted.

“It completes my life,” she said.

I’m wondering how many mothers and fathers who relinquished in the closed adoption era would echo that sentiment. I know that it likely wouldn’t be all as we know that too many birth parents took the improperly given advice and “moved on” because they thought that they had no other option. But even as an open adoption birth mother, I am able to understand that feeling of a missing piece. The daughter I placed for adoption is no longer with me and there is that lack of completeness when holidays are celebrated or her birthday rolls around each year. How much deeper would that sting be if I didn’t know her whereabouts, if she was loved and cared for? And how much more complete would I feel upon reunion and learning that she had grown into an amazing woman?

I don’t know the answers. Only those who have been through relinquishment, search and subsequent reunion can answer that question. (And, as per usual, the answer would differ from birth parent to birth parent.) But, all the same, I was so happy to see this article shared in such a positive light. (From the place I used to call home, no less!)

Kudos to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and best of luck to this reunited family. They sound like they’ll be just fine when the honeymoon stage wears off.

6 Responses to “Would Reunion Complete Your Life?”

  1. cedar says:

    As a mother from the ‘closed adoptoin’ period, it wasn’t so much reunion that completed my life, but the mother-son relationship that developed after reunion. Reunion itself was just the necessary first step. And the third step was adopting back my son legally to restore what had been stolen from both of us. That is what completed both of our lives and solidified our family relationship forever.

    I have a post on my blog about our experience.


  2. mariarippy says:

    As a adoptee from a closed adoption period I had no expectations from a reunion with my mom. I learned a lot of details and learned a bunch of family history. What I wasn’t ready for was getting dumped after all the pretend happy faces.Reunion won’t complete a life.

  3. beth1962 says:

    Excellent article, thanks Jenna

    It’s always good to see a reunion going on where both parties can finally begin to build a relationship.

    Reunion helped me to fill in the missing pieces of my puzzle of life in the past.

    It helped me see many missing pieces in my present and possiblities of what the future could hold for me and my children.

    But no, it did not complete me as a person, or complete my life quest of knowing myself or even really completely knowing my family members I lost to adoption for 40 years.

    You can’t go back, only forward. yuo can pick up some missing pieces along the way, but there will always be pieces missing.

    I am my only possibility of becoming myself or completing my life, regardless of what or who I found during reunion or any time in my life.

    Like in this article, without the miracle of the internet, a tool that made it possible for me to find my families, I would not be as “complete” as I am today.

  4. misshohler says:

    Back in 1998, I met my biological mother. I merely wanted to know my medical history and where I had come from…we didn’t speak for about 9 yrs after that..Then in 2006, I located my biological father. We met for the first time in 27 yrs on Jan. 6th. It was the best thing I have ever experienced. I felt an instant connection between us and it’s unfortunate that he lives in Australia and I live here in the US. It makes things difficult but I am glad I know who both are. I wouldn’t change that I had been adopted nor am I sad that I was. I was given a better life because who knows where I would be today had I been raised by a teen mother.

    Not all reunions are smooth, but I was lucky. You’ll never know until you do reunite with your biological parents.

    I no longer have to search and wonder. There is a completion there..

  5. RavenSong says:

    Jenna, I reunited with my son back in 1990, shortly after his 18th birthday. And I did experience that feeling of completeness or wholeness. It was instaneous and took me by total surprise. I have trouble explaining it because I’m not really sure what happened. I just felt as if I’d come full circle as I held my son in my arms for the first time. Something inside me just clicked. In the 19 years since we met face to face, the feeling of completeness has only become deeper.

  6. judyharvey says:


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