Season 2, Episode 10: Marni - A Model Reunion

“It wasn’t until I found that I really understood that I had a loss.” Marni Hall shares her story and walks us through three guiding principles that she has for a successful reunion. If you are in reunion or are anticipating one shortly… this episode is for you.

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Show Notes


Topics We Discussed

  • Marni was born in Columbus, Ohio, and adopted two weeks later and joined a brother in her new family.
  • When she was nine, her parents told them they were adopted.
  • Marni asked “Who are my real parents?” and her parents said they were because their names were on the birth certificates.
  • She was not encouraged to talk about adoption.
  • Felt depressed in middle school. “Who am I?”
  • Went into the overachiever, compliant mode.
  • When she was 25 her mother gave her a piece of paper with her “baby story” on it since they had given her brother his because he’d been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • This triggered Marni to think more about adoption, but she still didn’t know how to talk about it.
  • As a people pleaser, she felt joy was the only emotion she was allowed.
  • She just wanted to find her birth mother and send her a thank you letter, but she didn’t know how to talk about this with other people.
  • Ohio opened records. Marni got hers on Easter weekend.
  • On the records, Marni’s birth mother had filled out the medical history and gave all names she’d ever had but had checked the box saying she did not want to be contacted.
  • Marni found her birth mother, Karen, on Facebook.
  • The first contact was through a friend of a friend and Marni found out Karen was open to contact.
  • Marni sent Karen a thank you letter and got a letter from Karen sharing her story about Marni’s conception and birth in response.
  • The birth father still doesn’t know about Marni.
  • Karen went back to school and became a middle school guidance counselor and learned the tools needed for dealing with grief and was able to process her own.
  • When Marni got the letter, the protective barrier she’d put around herself crashed down and Marni suffered, feeling exposed.
  • There were so many new emotions other than joy, and Marni didn’t know what to do. Very hard for her to cry.
  • She found support groups in Ohio and describes the validation she got from the groups. These meetings were crucial to her healing process.
  • Marni asked via email if they could meet.
  • Marni read The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide for Preparing Yourself for the Search, Reunion, and Beyond and sent Karen a summary of the book’s advice: 1. Be relaxed 2. Don’t go overkill with a new haircut, clothes, or makeup 3. No gifts.
  • They meet in a park after many emails. Karen takes a selfie of them together. They live 5 miles from each other.
  • Marni’s self-awareness transformation began as she realized the affect adoption had had on her life.
  • What do you get when you combine a geek with a junior high school guidance counselor? Guiding Principles for a Successful Reunion.
  • GP Rule #1: New relationships must not interfere with preexisting extraordinary lives. This relationship is in addition to not in replacement of.
  • GP Rule #2: The relationship will look forward not back. There are no what ifs.
  • GP Rule #3: Allow yourself to celebrate and receive this gift.
  • Marni has come out of the fog now and is “just living” with a variety of emotions.
  • “I wish my parents knew I needed them to initiate the conversation.”
  • Discussion about anger and grief.
  • Marni writes a forgiveness note to society, her parents, and Karen. She finally cries.
  • Marni talks to her mother about adoption and the reunion.
  • Karen and Marni and Marin’s mom met for brunch—now the two moms text each other.
  • Finding Karen and finding her own roots brought Marni closer to her mother.
  • Marni struggles with her thoughts about adoption because she loves the life she has.
  • Marni talks about knowing who her birth father is and what she will do next.
  • http://www.adopteeson.com/contest to enter to win a copy of Anne Heffron’s book “You Don’t Look Adopted”


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