Fiona was born in 1963 and adopted by “wonderful people”, she considered herself very lucky to have had such an amazing childhood. Curious about her birth family, Fiona contacted Birthlink in 1995 to register her details on the Adoption Contact Register for Scotland. There was no matching registration and so Fiona, determined to find her birth family began to search. Birthlink accessed Fiona’s Court Process documents; they contained all the legal papers lodged with the court at the time of her adoption back in 1963, but sadly no new information that could help to find her birth mother Jane. Through our Search and Mediation Services, Jane was found and contact was made. The relationship with Jane did not grow in the way Fiona had hoped for. They met twice and periodically talked on the phone. Fiona described Jane as “very difficult to get to know” and she felt “no real connection”. Fiona described this as heartbreaking….Jane sadly died in 1997; just 18 months after Fiona found her. Following her death, Jane’s sister disclosed to Fiona that Jane had in fact had two sons. Fiona had brothers she had not known existed. It felt like a betrayal that Jane had not told her about them. Fiona was devastated, hurt and angry. Gary, born in 1969 had been raised by Jane and had tragically died aged 25. Jack, born in 1972, nine years after Fiona’s birth; had also been adopted. Fiona wondered where in the world he was and if he knew about her.
Fiona contacted Birthlink again in 2001 and shared this update. Her registration on the Adoption Contact Register was extended naming Fiona not only as an adopted adult but giving recognition to her status as a birth relative. There was no matching registration for Jack at this time. Fiona got on with her life as a busy Mum of three.
In 2016, Jack registered on the Adoption Contact Register. A matching registration!! Birthlink spoke with Jack first of all; he did not know that Fiona existed. He was “gob smacked, elated” to learn he had a sister but also sad at the news that Jane had died. Fiona was contacted and was absolutely “over the moon” and could barely contain the joy she felt. Letters were exchanged and Fiona and Jack quickly shared details of their lives. Despite reservations shared by the mediator that they both needed time and space to think and reflect, contact was fast and furious, both Fiona and Jack were so excited to have found one another. Texts, phone calls, letters and cards were exchanged and the pair were both exhausted and elated in equal measures. It was discussed that the intensity of their initial contact would be hard to sustain as both were juggling the competing demands of home, family and work commitments.
Fiona acknowledged feeling very emotional and that she was “revisiting unresolved feelings from contact with Jane”. She used Birthlink supports to explore her emotions expressing genuine fear that the sense of “euphoria won’t last forever and what will be left?” Fiona felt vulnerable. As a mature mother, and wife who held down a job with major responsibilities, this felt uncomfortable. She talked through her experience of multiple losses, the pattern of reunion followed by rejection (Fiona had also linked with her birth father. This had not gone well either). Fiona shared that she felt terrified that Jack would also walk away in the end….
Following an intense 12 weeks of getting to know one another, the pace of contact has naturally reduced. Fiona worried that Jack appeared to be more distant, less attuned and less emotionally available. She reflected on her feelings about Jane, we talked through the fact that Jack is NOT Jane and there is a need to be mindful of this. We talked about expectations within relationships and finding a pace that works for them both. Fiona worried that Jack had “cooled towards her”; she found the prospect of this extremely upsetting as she was determined not to be vulnerable to further pain and disappointment. Fiona concluded that she hoped they have a “relationship that can last the test of adoption…it really is a journey that I believe will now be measured only by time….”