How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Chelsea Westfall

11041830_10153065102605801_1695743120414159395_nBio: Hi, I’m Chelsea Westfall, I’m 23 from West Virginia and currently living in China.

Being adopted has always been something I’ve had an internal struggle with. The greatest aspect of my struggle to come to terms with being adopted is feeling as if I cannot talk about the fact that a struggle even exists. Adoption is such a wonderful thing for so many individuals, myself included, but that doesn’t mean it is without consequence. I often find myself harboring feelings of uncertainty or instability within myself and I believe they stem from my constant questions growing up. I remember being green with envy when I would meet my friend’s parents and being able to instantly recognize that they were the spitting image of their mother and father.  It is from these tiny wishes of being able to know why you have red hair or what kind of person you are born from that feelings of having no direction or no foundation stem from and can have an unconscious affect on your life.

I do not have a sob story. My biological parents (so I’m told) were simply young and ambitious and did right by me in finding a much more capable couple to be my parents. My adoptive parents are my parents, no question, they have given me more love, support, and opportunity than I believe many people receive. They would give absolutely anything in order to see me happy and succeed. It is because of this that I feel like I cannot reach out when I began to feel sad or angry or lost. Who am I to complain about not knowing something as trivial as my medical history when I have been dealt such a fortunate hand? This has and still creates a great internal struggle for me. I also feel as though these unexplored emotions have led to intimacy problems within my personal relationships. I consider myself to be a master of committed detachment. I value my independence very much, and am drawn to the idea of flight.

I can honestly say that for at least one brief second day, I have a thought about my biological mother. These thoughts can range from inviting her to my wedding to finding out she’s passed away. So much uncertainty about the one person you are told from day one that you should know more about than anyone MUST have a lasting impact on your development of sense of self and as a person in general. I am thankful everyday that I was given the parents I was given, and wanting answers about my biology and genetic makeup should not contradict that. I hope to one day have the courage to ask my parents for the information in order to locate my biological parents. Even more I hope that when that day comes, my parents do not see my request as a comment on their parenting.

Chelsea Westfall, Adult Adoptee

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10 thoughts on “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Chelsea Westfall

  1. In a word, F***ed. Children’s Home Society of Los Angeles lied to my birth mother, consoling her with the knowledge that they’d place me in a good home. They took little care to place me in a home with 4 natural sons, the youngest being 8 and the oldest at 18 being kicked out of the house. My a-mom had diabetes and they were both alcoholics. I’ve spent my entire life fighting this trauma.

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  2. Being given away is a terrible thing to live with. No matter what the reason, we were cast out of our families. Something went very wrong in our lives, at the very beginning.

    They do it when we’re too young to fight back. They cut off our children, and all of our descendants too. It really makes you think there is something wrong about you.

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  3. This young girl seems like I was at her age. I hid all feelings about curiosity about where I came from, why I was given away, who I might look like, medical issues, etc. If anyone asked if I was curious, I’d say no. Years went by. My folks were good parents and gave me a good life. My mother would have never understood my need for looking for a birth family. I knew that and one reason I kept it inside for so long. Actually I was almost 70 when I decided to look. I had found information that helped me in my search. It didn’t mean I didn’t love my folks or were grateful for the life I had, but it has been a wonderful journey for me. I found out in my search that I had 4 siblings. I never dared wonder about that growing up an only child. I always hoped I had an older brother and found out I had two. Of course being as old as I was, no one was alive. But the good news is I have found cousins and nephews and their wives and have felt so accepted and really cared about. This day and age no one needs the birth certificate to find the birth family. You can find anyone with not a lot of problems, but the original birth certificate is certainly a closure to one’s life, one that is promised to all but adoptees. Many states are fighting for our right to this small piece of paper and I pray that 2016 will be Missouri’s turn to open this up for us. No one needs to feel intimidated or afraid of losing an adult adoptee’s love. We love our family, we don’t want to hurt anyone. We just want our rights too.

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  4. How does it feel? I felt like a freak growing up as soon as I found out what adoption really meant. I hid it like you would an ugly scar or birthmark. I never acknowledged it. I had to have a crisis in my life before I could really look at myself and address it. I had always wondered about my birth parents. I hesitated to search because the agency failed to vet my adoptive parents. I was given up to solve a problem, and adopted to solve another problem, my adoptive mothers neurosis. It’s like when you give a therapy dog to a serviceman with PTSD. Except babies are not service dogs, and I highly resent the fact that that was the role I was forced into. I was always the one who had to be perfect because I was the one expected to fix everyone’s problems. So, um, it sucks.

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  5. It’s like a pear branch that’s been grafted onto an apple tree. Sure, that branch may continue to grow and even thrive, but it will always continue to produce pears while the tree it’s now a part of produces apples. It will always know it doesn’t quite fit in to its surroundings; it’s not quite a true part of its new home. And yes it might be a bit of a novelty and stand out and draw attention, but who really wants that deep down? Who wants to feel like the freak, the outcast? The pear branch on the apple tree will really just spend its life wishing it could grow apples like the rest of the tree, and wondering what the pear tree it came from is like – how tall is it? How wide is it? Where does it grow? And it will never be able to be grafted back on to its tree of origin; the old wound has scabbed over, the pear tree has grown up without it, life has moved on. No, for this pear branch grafted onto the apple tree, life is about never truly fitting in, always feeling left out, always being the outcast.

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  6. I felt as you did most of my 48 years of life. I’m now in reunion and facing all of the bottled up emotions that I wasn’t able to talk about.

    I hope you are able to find answers like I did. It definitely helped me feel whole.

    Liked by 1 person

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