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Supporting Adoptees Through Reunions and Rejections

Updated On: June 4, 2024

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In a recent episode of the Family Twist podcast, Corey Stulce welcomed back Monica Hall to discuss the transformative experiences at the Untangling Our Roots Summit, including a story in which an adopted son meets his birth mother. This event serves as a beacon for individuals connected by the threads of adoption, providing a unique space for shared healing and support.

Monica’s insights and stories from the summit underscore the profound impact of community in navigating the emotional landscapes of reunions and rejections between adoptees and their birth parents.

A Community of Support and Healing

The Untangling Our Roots Summit is much more than a gathering; it is a lifeline for those touched by adoption. As Monica described, the summit is a sanctuary where people with overlapping adoption-related experiences come together to share their stories and support one another. This environment fosters deep connections and collective healing that are both powerful and necessary.

Monica emphasized the essential role of connection in the healing process. “We have a lot of things to heal in the constellation. Everybody’s touched in some way or another. The way we’re going to heal that is by connection,” she explained. This notion is particularly resonant for adoptees and birth parents, who often navigate complex emotional journeys. The summit acts as a form of group therapy, providing solace and understanding through shared experiences.

Adopted Son Meets His Birth Mother: The Emotional Rollercoaster of Reunions

One of the most compelling stories Monica shared involved a man attending the summit who had never met his birth mother. Despite having dinner plans with other authors, Monica agreed to accompany him on this potentially life-changing visit. The anticipation and anxiety were palpable as they approached the house. The man knocked on the door, and after a few tense moments, his birth mother answered and invited him in.

Monica described the man’s elation after the two-hour meeting, during which they discovered numerous similarities, including a love for travel. This reunion was a powerful moment of connection, underscoring the profound impact these meetings can have on both adoptees and birth parents. The support from the community was crucial in helping the man navigate this emotional experience.

Facing Rejection with Compassion

Not all reunions lead to happy endings, and the summit community is equally important in supporting individuals through the pain of rejection. Monica shared another story about a woman who attempted to meet her birth mother, only to find that she had left town to avoid the encounter. This stark contrast highlights the unpredictable nature of reunions and the deep emotional wounds that can arise from secondary rejection.

Monica’s perspective as a birth mother who relinquished her daughter in 1973 provides valuable insight into the complex emotions involved. She emphasized that many birth mothers have suppressed their grief for decades due to societal stigma and shame. “There’s a bond that you cannot escape. It’s a mother-child bond,” she explained, highlighting the lasting impact of relinquishment.

For birth mothers, the fear of confronting their past can be overwhelming. Monica stressed the importance of understanding and compassion, noting that for many, it’s not just self-centeredness but self-preservation that leads them to avoid reunions. This understanding is vital for adoptees who face rejection, helping them to contextualize and process their experiences with empathy.

The Untangling Our Roots Summit exemplifies how a supportive community can provide the strength and understanding needed to navigate both joyous reunions and painful rejections. By sharing their stories, adoptees and birth parents can find solace in knowing they are not alone. The summit’s environment encourages open dialogue, helping individuals process their emotions and find a sense of belonging.

Monica’s stories from the summit highlight the power of community in facilitating healing. Whether celebrating the joy of a successful reunion or offering a shoulder to cry on in the face of rejection, the support of others who understand the intricacies of adoption is invaluable. This collective empathy and understanding create a foundation for individuals to build upon as they navigate their unique journeys.

Monica Hall’s episode on the Family Twist podcast is a testament to the healing power of community and the importance of supporting both reunions and rejections in the adoption journey. The stories from the Untangling Our Roots Summit illustrate how shared experiences and compassionate connections can help individuals find solace and strength. By coming together and listening to one another, the adoption community can foster a supportive environment where healing and growth are possible, no matter the outcome of a reunion.

Episode transcription:

Corey & Kendall Stulce (00:00.046)
So can we go back to the summit for a minute and talk a little bit about the healing factor of something like this? And I know it’s a lot of people. I had 50 conversations that, of course, they’re all starting to blend together now because, you know, it’s just a short period of time. And I’m sure you had more than that. Talk about the experience of this type of summit where all these people are coming together that have.

they’re overlapping experiences. Boy, it is. So I think, you know, we have a lot of things to heal in the, in the constellation. Everybody’s touched in some way or another. And the, how we’re going to heal that is by connection. And one of the things that they say when you’ve lost someone you love, like one -on -one therapy, they recommend a group therapy and grief is group therapy. And that’s why these podcasts are so amazing. And these.

these type of summits where we’re hearing people’s stories and we’re connecting with these people that have the same lived experience and survived these experiences. And you don’t feel alone. You don’t feel so alone because I didn’t realize it because I’m such an extrovert and I’ve always been so outgoing and go getter. I didn’t realize that growing up, I was lonely. I was lonely. And I think the loneliness stemmed from no identity and no nobody that

was genetically related to me. I felt very alone. And there was a page in my book where I wrote about the time that I got the non -identifying information when I was pregnant at 15. It’s like finding my mother was as hard as finding a message in a bottle from her. It was like, especially back then, there was no DNA like we have now, which has been incredible. So I grew up, even though I didn’t think so, I was lonely.

You said something too about being at this summit and having these experiences and then not being great in a crowd. And that’s one of the reasons you dress up like you do so that it’s an attention starter and you don’t have to break into a group of people to have a conversation. Interestingly enough, I’m an extrovert, but I’m not a party goer. It’s not because I don’t drink. It’s because I would rather have a one -on -one deep conversation with someone any day.

Corey & Kendall Stulce (02:25.006)
than light, small talk. It’s torture for me, small talk. And so what happened at this conference was that I had some really deep conversations with people. And I was so blessed in that I was on a panel, the panel, we were all birth parents and adoptees. There were three of us, one was a man. And it was really, really incredible. The room was pretty full. And after a guy was all nervous, he was standing out by my table, probably in front of your table, and he was like,

I’m gonna go meet my birth mother, will you come with us? And I didn’t know this guy. And I’m like, hell yeah. hell yeah. And I had dinner plans with a bunch of authors, published authors that I hadn’t met yet, that I was really looking forward to. And it was like, no, that trumped. And so the people that, there were four of us in the car, he’d never met his birth mother.

She lived in Denver. She was about 80. He’d sent her a couple letters. Neither one of them were replied to, and he was just going to go knock on her door. And he’s from out of the country, and he had just come on a whim with these other people that he’d been in Zoom with that were adopted. So I was in the front seat because of my knee. I couldn’t sit in back. It was a convertible. And then the woman that was driving, and then there was four of us. And we pulled up to this really nice house. And.

He got out and went up to the door and knocked on the door. And I’m telling you, we were whispering in the car. The doors are closed, the windows are closed, and we’re watching him. And I got it on video, I’ll probably put it on TikTok. You can’t see who he is, but he’s standing at the door. You can’t tell if anybody’s at the door, but you sense that there’s a storm door and you don’t know he’s knocking. And then he’s standing there. And I’m, is there somebody at the door? Yes, I think there’s somebody. He’s talking to somebody.

And then he’s dropping papers and he’s explaining and pointing back to the thing. And then he opens the door and walks in and we’re in the car. He’s in, he’s in. my God, he’s in. It was like the best moment. It was the best moment. Shut the front door, literally. Really. Got the front door. Yeah. And I mean, it was so incredible. So we’re in the car going, holy crap, holy crap, holy crap. And he was in there for 15 minutes.

Corey & Kendall Stulce (04:50.062)
And it just so happened there was a guy that came out, we thought maybe it was his brother, he was carrying a tripod camera and he was the realtor photographer at the ladies moving. And she was only there because the photographer was late. She would not have been home. And so the synchronicity of things, like there’s been so much synchronicity and he comes out after 15 minutes and he literally looked like he’d just gotten laid. You know, that glow you have. And I said, it looks like you just got F.

And he goes, I got bad news. And we’re like, what? And of course he’s glowing. He goes, I’m going to need two hours. And so we took off. It was the day that it was storming and lightning and everything. We went to eat for a couple of hours and came back and he was, he was really elated. He had a two hour conversation with his birth mother. They were so much alike. They both traveled. It was, you know, those moments, those kinds of

things, you cannot replace that kind of an experience and that kind of a connection. I’m connected to all four of those people now forever. That was wonderful. And I also went with another woman to meet her birth mother who didn’t know she was coming, who left town because she didn’t want to meet her. So we have these two sides of the coin because this is something that I try to say.

when I’m interviewed because I think it’s so important for the adoptees to really listen to the birth mother stories, the ones that have, that are able to tell them because I was relinquished in 1957. I relinquished my daughter in 1973 and there was a lot of shame behind that. But because the way I’m wired, I just counted the years until I could find her where when somebody has,

So think about this, and you’ve not had children, you have your fur babies, but when you carry a child in your womb for nine months, and then you birth this child, there is a bond that you cannot escape. It’s a mother -child bond. It’s not just mental or physical or emotional and spiritual, it’s everything. And so when this…

Corey & Kendall Stulce (07:11.566)
this whole relinquishment thing happens and however you’re coerced or because of don’t enough money or whatever it is, there’s no closure. There’s no, it’s a disenfranchised grief. It’s grief that you can’t really talk about. So, or like maybe like abortion or an affair or something like that. These are disenfranchised grief. They’re grief. Nobody brought casseroles to my house. There was no funeral. Nobody asked me how I was feeling or how I was doing.

No, I didn’t get a funeral or a death certificate. And people assume because you relinquished that you don’t care. And so you’re expected to move on like it never happened. And this is what happened, especially in the 60s, 50s, 60s and early 70s. You’re expected to just move on. And how do you move on? How do you, how does somebody deal with that kind of grief? So when I left the hospital,

I felt like I was going to die. I mean, that grief was so great. I felt like I was not going to live. And I had to come up with a mantra. And I did, as I looked back at the hospital, I just said, I won’t think about right now. I just won’t think about it right now. I just won’t think about it right now. I just won’t think about it right now. And I did that so that I could survive. I pushed that down. I never cried. Because I knew if I started, I’d never stop. And I’d die. So here, think about this.

These mothers back in the day, they were sent across the country. Family disowned them or didn’t. People, you know, they had to quit school. They had to go on. It was a shameful thing. They’re expected to go on with their life. They don’t tell their children, their new husband. They don’t tell them because it’s so shameful. They’ll think horrible things about them. And then 40, 50 years later, their children come back who really want the identity. What happened?

Why did you give me up? I just need to look at your eyes. I just need to find out who I really am. And they can’t do it because they have suppressed that pain and that grief for a lifetime. And if they let that out of the box, they’re going to cease to exist. That’s untappable grief. And so these adoptees are devastated by that secondary rejection. And my heart breaks for them, really does.

Corey & Kendall Stulce (09:35.31)
And it angers me that the birth mothers are so self -centered, but I get it. It’s not just self -centeredness, it’s self -preservation. Yes. Monica, you’ve just opened up, I think, a lifeline to Kendall because that’s the trauma he’s going through after almost seven years of his birth mother not willing to have any kind of connection, even though he’s connected to her other children. And it’s a

daily trauma that he deals with, but this is going to give him something to think about. Have him reach out to me. Absolutely. Those are the stories that the adoptees need to be hearing. They need to hear the birth mother stories.

I just want to give you a big old hug right now. You’re fantastic. And thank you for being so open about your story. It’s so important. These communities, as you know, are only growing. They are. You know, the heart is the thing that gets closed up from grief, from pain, and from anger and resentment. And…

You know, that the heart is that is the place that we store all this. And so everything I do, I do to keep my heart open in the compassion rather than the judgment and that those cycling thoughts of, of for me or what they did or didn’t do. And, you know, I do a lot of, a lot of coaching with people on

on that and it’s really sad because I see them on social media that people that are really angry and I understand anger but at some point we’ve got to get out of that cycle because A, it hurts us physically. People get sick from that kind of anger and they also attract more.

Corey & Kendall Stulce (11:51.886)
of that same type of energy. So the more that we can keep our heart open and listen to other stories and be willing. And you know, some people, they’re just not there yet. They’re in a place where they want to be angry and they want to be that victim mentality. I think that that feels like a safe place or feels like a right place. And they don’t know how to get out of that. I’ve been addicted to my thought. We’re all addicted.

thoughts, there’s that. But I’ve certainly been addicted to my cycling thoughts. And I know that that is, I go down the rabbit hole. And so I’ve really tried to work on that. And what you think about, you bring about, and what you engage in, and who you engage with, the people that you’re around is going to influence that. So if you’re always on social media following the same kind of

you know, mantra and the same kind of information you’re going to keep in that cycle. You know, everybody’s got their destiny. Everybody’s got their path. And I, you know, I don’t know that it’s good or bad. It’s just is it is what we were dealt. And mine’s been rough, but man, I wouldn’t change a thing. You know, wow. Yeah, I like me. That’s powerful. What you just said.

Very powerful.

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