BIO: My name is Tammy K. Murphy. I have two children. I am currently a senior at Ball State University. I am taking Psychology. I want to be a counselor. I want to counsel adult adoptees. Being a counselor is something I have always wanted to do since I was in my twenties. I like the idea of talking to people about their problems and helping them see thing from a different perspective.
Content Warning: The following article you are about to read may contain written material of a serious factual nature that may be disturbing to some individuals. Reader discretion is advised.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?
For the first two months of my life I did not have a home or name. The family secret was revealed when I was seven years old. One of my friends said it to hurt my feelings. I asked my mother about it, she said it wasn’t true. When I was ten, I started asking questions about it again. My mother would be drunk on Saturday night and tell me I was adopted and about how the mother had just left me there at the hospital and left with a man. She also told me that I should hate the woman who gave birth told me because of what she had done. I didn’t know how to hate her because I did not understand hate, just like at that time I did not fully understand how they had become my parents.
Then on Sunday morning when she was sober, she would tell me that she was just playing and I wasn’t adopted. When I was twelve it was said again in school during lunchtime. By now I understood what adoption meant and took on the mindset, let me accept this because I was helping my adoptive mother out by giving her what she could not have, a child. I started to get angry because of my situation and began fighting in school. I also started drinking at the age of eleven to deal with being adopted.
By the eighth grade, I started to think about suicide a lot.
This lasted until I was about sixteen or seventeen. My middle and high school years were extremely hard, when this should have been the time that I was primping and posing in the mirror to see what I looked like, I started hating looking in the mirror because every time I saw myself I was reminded I did know where I came from or how I did not look like anybody in the family I was being raised in. Before I could figure out who I was in the world as Tammy K. Murphy and what I wanted to be when I grew up, I realized my name most likely would have been something else if she would have kept me.
When I was younger I used to love looking at myself in the mirror.
Today, at forty-eight years old, I still deal with mirror loss and just recently bought another mirror. I hate seeing myself in the mirror or through any kind of reflection whether it’s the car window or the glass in my screen door. My self-esteem has been deeply affected because I am adopted. I have always felt ugly. Being adopted has also affected me in a very negative way when it comes to relationships. I avoid them also. I do not like to let anyone get too close to me. I feel that the mother did not take that into consideration when she decided to give me up for adoption
Recently, I was thinking how adoption is supposed to be this good and wonderful thing of providing a child a home with two parents but the adoptee has numerous problems because of it and that does not make sense to me.
I met the birth mother when I was twenty-eight years old in 1998. She told me she gave me up for adoption because the father was molesting one of the other daughters and he was physically abusive to her. When I met him in 2003, he said her reasons were not true. So, upon hearing two different stories, who do you believe? I did not tell her that I had experienced what she supposedly keeping me from because I felt it was not any of her business. I only wanted to know why she had given me up for adoption. I did not want a relationship with her then nor do I desire to have one with her now. Upon meeting her, all I had ever heard was she abandoned me and left with a man.
Right before I found out who she was, I was told she told people I had died. I’m sure it was a surprise to her family when a funeral service could not be planned because there wasn’t a baby to be buried. When I asked, did she abandon me or told people I died, she said the man she left with was my father and her answer telling people I had died was, “You weren’t supposed to find that out.”
After having her phone number for a while, I called her in 2011 to say hi to her and she told me she was not my mother and asked why was I calling her? After that I felt I had to question all over again, who is my real mother? Ironically, I saw the mother a few months after that at her mother and brother’s funerals. They died six months apart from each other. At her brother’s funeral, I tried telling her that I forgave her for what she had done. But that did not go over very well and we ended up arguing. It was at that point I decided to not make any contact with her again and to just let it go and deal with being adopted the best I can.
Being adopted has been very hard for me to accept.
Sometimes I have felt that she should have gotten an abortion because if she had I wouldn’t have had to feel so negative about my life. Lately, I have been remembering thoughts and feelings from my past about me being adopted that was buried a long time ago in the back of my mind. Recently, I realized and recognized that those memories are coming back because of school. Being in class around the younger students reminds me of when living in the house I lived in did not feel like home. As I got older I began to feel living with my adoptive parents and saying they were my parents made me feel like I was living a lie. As a teenager, I had always like everybody else’s life seemed so much better than mine. I felt like mine wasn’t it is supposed to be because I had brothers and sisters that I should have been living with not with these strangers as an only child.
I think those memories are coming back because I think I have fallen in love for the first time. Having feelings for someone is new for me and I’m not used to it. I had always been in it halfway or more like the wrong way. I was always in the interaction, sexually not emotionally. I say interaction and not relationship because I avoid emotional relationships with men.
Whenever I feel someone is trying to get to know me or get too close to me, I tend to avoid the person and shut them out. Being adopted took that away from me, I feel as though I will never know what it is too love someone or let myself be loved.
Tammy K. Murphy
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