Saturday, July 21, 2007

When Searchers Attack

A while back, Mia did a fantastic post on newbie searchers and the oh-so-familiar things they say.

Over the past few months I’ve come across a prequel to newbie passive searchers – the matchers. Those of you who have been in the game of helping people for a while probably have already come across this person yourself. I recognize them immediately, because I spent many years as a matcher.

A matcher isn’t searching -- yet. They are looking for a match. They’ll post questions on mailing lists or forums or social networking sites with the details of their missing mother or child or sibling in the hopes someone will know this person and point them in the right direction.

In many years online, I have yet to see that happen. What does happen -- the search community being as bighearted as we are -- the person will immediately get bombarded with help and advice. Go register at ISRR. Go register at the registry. Go register at the state mutual consent registry. File a waiver of confidentiality. Petition the court for your non-id. Read these books. Join a support group.

Nine times out of ten, this sends the newbie screaming off into the ether, only to resurface a few years later. It’s overwhelming, it really is. Search brings up so many emotions, many of which you can’t even recognize after years of being told what a loving choice adoption is. How great adoption is. How magic adoption is. You have this ball of feeling in your chest that you can’t describe, all you know is, you’re looking for your family.

God how sad. God how familiar.

I was there. I joined over at the PAFind list, posted my tentative F ADOPTEE ISO BIRTHMOTHER (gag). I’d get told what I needed to do. And like most matchers, disappear. Screw this. I just want to find my momma. A year or so later I’d rejoin, repost, be remembered and be asked, Did you register? Did you petition? Did you file?

*poof* I was gone. Only to come back a while later. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It took me a long time before I made that jump from a matcher just to a passive searcher. Even passive searching is scary. Actually, to tell the truth, I think passive searching is emotionally harder than active searching. At least with active searching, you know what you’re up against. You know the score. But passive searching is so rarely successful, it’s just asking for rejection. Screw this. No one wants to find me. I’m outta here. Oh and by the way, adoption rocks! Adoption rules! I love being adopted! MY ADOPTIVE PARENTS ARE MY ONLY REAL PARENTS!!


Yep, nine times out of ten. But then there’s matcher #10 – the really pissed off one. Now, you know, agony and me, we’re pretty good company, searching for our island in the boat upon the sea and all that, but matcher #10 is fucking terrifying.

Matcher #10 will email or message looking for help. They’ll be told what to do. Then the reply comes as one, some or all of the following

Can you look for me?

I’m not very good with computers

I have a hard time getting to the post office

I can’t afford stamps

So you hold their hand a little bit. You break it down step by step. You start small. Go register at ISRR, you tell them, and email me back once that’s done. No, I’m sorry; I can’t fill out and mail the form for you. I honestly can’t due to the possibility of fraud. You can do this.

Thanks for nothing. I thought you were all about helping people. Fuck you, bitch.

Dingdingdingdingding, we’ve got Matcher #10 in the hizzouse.

I had a Matcher #10 a while back. It was right after I had found my mother so I was in an especially vulnerable place. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t upset me, but even more it made me retreat for a bit from the newbie search arena.

This actually makes me sad, because I adore newbie searchers. I really do. I know they are in pain and I know if they make those first huge steps into passive searching and beyond they are in for a whirlwind of emotional turmoil the likes of which cannot be described unless you’ve lived it – but I also know it’s that first step towards healing. If you can start to search, you can start to heal, and vice versa. You can expose yourself to people and resources and books and support systems that will be there for you and encourage you and cry for you and root for you and have your back no matter what.

This was all prompted by a really nice message I got the other day from a newbie. Who had some really sweet things to say and had noticed I had kind of dropped off the radar from where I used to hang a while back. I miss it, I do.

People will still email or message me and I’ll point them where they need to go, but right now I just can’t put myself out there big time. One thing about adoption healing, after a while you start to learn when you need to retreat a bit. The Wait is a time to be selfish for a while. Right now, it’s time for me to keep my halo on the shelf while I do a little heavy duty healing myself. I’ll still help people if they come to me, but my adoption search volunteer stand is closed for the summer. I just need to blog and post about cool and not so cool stuff on the web, and hang with those wiser than myself and chill at the beach while I get ready.

I’m on vacation in August. I think I’m going to make my phone call then. I don’t have space for any potential Matcher #10’s in my life right now. Right now, it's summer in paradise, and I'm heading for the ocean. Have a good weekend.

Robert Moses Beach, photo by Newsday

4 complaints from ingrates:

Andie D. July 21, 2007 at 6:30 PM  

Have you actually had more than ONE newbie #10? Sounds like a passive aggressive pain in the ass to me.

Take some time off. If the #10s can't do it on their own, maybe they're not actually READY.

Enjoy the ocean!

Ungrateful Little Bastard July 22, 2007 at 8:44 AM  

I had one really nasty one in April who had a zillion reasons why he couldn't mail the ISRR form and I had another one in October of last year who got all pissy. She had a great line like, if I can remember, "I'm just asking if anyone knows my birthmom and no one wants to help me!!!" Sheesh so ungrateful.

Mary June 13, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

I've had a few of those over the years. One had her name (super common name) and got mad when I suggested the non-id would be needed.

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