Some time ago, one of my children's first moms mentioned that she thought she had found her own first mom on MySpace. As in, the mother who placed her for adoption when she was a few days old.
I went to look at this woman's page once or twice. Her age was right. The state made sense. She wrote proudly of her children, but never mentioned just how many she has. She had a quote about not living with regrets. Her name was the same, but only if she kept her last name when she married. I don't know what sort of confirmation I expected to find.
Mostly I looked at her picture. "This is my child's grandmother," I thought. "Maybe. Huh."
We embraced open adoption hoping to ease the divisions that adoption imposes, to somehow contain them as fractures instead of breaks. We imagined an overlapping of families and unity between past and present. We didn't expect openness to bring the residue of closed adoption along with it. Family trees, already multiplied by two, further truncated and split. My children, coincidentally both second-generation adoptees, technically have sixteen grandparents* between them. We know fourteen of their names. They have met nine.
I sometimes imagine writing to this mystery woman smiling up from the scren. "Hello. I may be the adoptive mother of your grandchild through the daughter you placed for adoption..." I never would, of course. I know enough to realize how utterly inappropriate it would be. This is in no way my business. We used to talk about her first parents fairly frequently, but the last time I asked about her search, she cried. So for now I stay quiet.
Instead I click over to the MySpace page again while the rest of my house sleeps. I find it's now set to private. I wish I had copied it while I could.
* My parents (2), T's parents (2), their first dads' parents (2 each), their first moms' adoptive parents (2 each), their first moms' birth parents (2 each)