Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Trying to understand

On my birthday Ray, Anna and I spent a memorable day with my aunt and cousin. They both have a terrific sense of humour and we are all very close. My daughter appreciates this as she doesn’t have many close family members and I sometimes feel guilty about that but we can’t always control what happens.

Both my parents had lots of brothers and sisters so I had plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins who really provided much love and enjoyment as I was growing up. My adopted brother and I grew apart as we became adults and he gravitated towards my father’s family and I towards the family of my mother. Now I have learnt about my conception I can understand why a little more. I don’t think I would have ever lost contact with my paternal aunts and uncles who were very good to me, but cousins move away because of jobs and marriage and I can see now that the blood tie meant I made more effort to keep in touch with my maternal family.

In many ways, because of their circumstances and education, it might perhaps have been more likely that I would have kept in closer touch with my paternal cousins but that was not to be. Now I have learnt more about my own circumstances from my mother and yesterday from my aunt, I can begin to understand more about the dilemma my parents faced in building their own family.

When they thought they could not have children the natural route was adoption but here they found many stumbling blocks where the birth father (his wife was dead) constantly gave and withdrew his consent. If that had been because he really wanted to look after his son either then or at some time in the future, I would have had every sympathy but it wasn’t like that. Unfortunately, he enjoyed having my parents over a barrel and I won’t elaborate on that any further. So before I was conceived they had agreed to this adoption although they never knew whether it was going ahead.

Then my mother found out about donor conception and I was conceived. This must have been a very difficult time for them. Ultimately they went ahead with the adoption too and my brother arrived at the age of 6 a few months after I was born and my parents then had a ready-made family. I can now see how the family dynamics must have been very difficult. Fortunately, the wider family bent over backwards to welcome my brother. I can see though that there must have been great differences between my parents in how they coped with this new family. I am beginning to understand the dilemma my mother faced and my adoptive brother a lot more now.

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