How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Maria Flynn

maria-flynnBIO: My name is Maria, I am 51 years old.  I grew up in Southern Ireland, and moved to the UK when I was 19. I am a teacher, my specialty being autism .I have 2 children, and an amazing grandson who lives with me. My adoptive mum still lives in Ireland and I go back there as often as I can. I am divorced and love being an independent strong woman. Being adopted troubled me all my life but I am at peace now.

 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

My name is Maria…

I was adopted at the age of 6 weeks old from a mother and baby home in south east Ireland. My adoptive parents couldn’t have loved me more and I had a ‘happy’ childhood, except that for as long as I can remember I had an identity complex. I never felt like I really ‘fit in’. Like I never had any real sense of belonging.

I had 2 children of my own, first a daughter, then a son. My wish/ need to find my birth mother was more intense after I had my own children. I tried tracing my birth mother when I was 15. The mother and baby home I was adopted from was run by nuns and one of the nuns went to visit my birth mother. I wasn’t allowed to know who or where she was.

They knew and I didn’t.

That was the first I experienced of having no rights. My birth mother said via the nuns that she didn’t want to meet with me as she had a lot of problems in her personal life and that she would contact me when the problems were resolved. I felt angry and upset but resigned myself to thinking/ hoping and praying that one day the phone would ring and it would be her .

That day never came.

I got on with my life, always smiling, always pretending I was fine. I studied to become a primary school teacher and eventually went on to work with special needs children, Autism being my specialty.

In my twenties I suffered from depression, it just descended upon me, from out of no where. They said it was clinical and probably hereditary. More than ever I wanted to find my birth mother. I felt pathetic sometimes. I had children of  my own,  I was a loving and supportive mum to them, and yet the child inside of me was screaming silently for my own birth mother. I never thought much about my birth father.

The years went on, the trials and tribulations of life made me stronger.

Finding my birth mother was always on my mind but it didn’t weigh as heavy as when I was younger. I knew it was something that I had to distract myself from. I prioritized the family that I had and lived for them. I am a workaholic and always stay busy. I have to have structure and routine .

A year ago, having found out about a new freedom of information act. I finally traced my birth mother. I found out her name, date of birth, home address, everything!!! My real name, my birth weight and my birth mothers marriage certificate. She married when I was 3 , but not to my father. I found her granddaughter on Facebook and there were a lot of picture of my mother.

It was surreal!

I made contact with her granddaughter and explained who I  was. In hindsight this wasn’t the right way to approach it all, but I was overwhelmed and not thinking straight. I didn’t tell anybody else. Her granddaughter passed on the message to my birth mother, but she wasn’t ready to meet me. Eventually after 7 months , she agreed to meet with me. I have lived in the UK for 22 years. My birth mother still lives in Ireland. I grew up about 30 miles from where she lived. I traveled to Ireland to meet her. We met in a hotel. Her daughter, my half sister came with her.

I was alone.

My birth mother looked shocked/ emotional, just for a second , when she first saw me but she very quickly composed herself. I gave her a hug. She resisted. It was awkward. I didn’t know how to act or what to say.

She started the conversation with “what do you want?”

I said ” I just wanted to meet you ,to know who you are, to see your face.”

She said “well you know who I am now, you’ve seen me. Now will you please go away and leave me alone?”

I felt sick. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. I couldn’t believe she was saying what she was saying. I though I was going to cry but I kept it back. She told me not to cry, she said she made a decision when I was born that she didn’t want me, and that she still didn’t want me. She asked me if there was anything I wanted to know medically. She mentioned that her eyesight was bad and she had arthritis and a history if depression. I asked who my father was. She shrugged her shoulders and said she didn’t know.

She said she had to take a Valium to meet with me.

The meeting was short.

Her daughter said something to me.I cant remember or didn’t hear what she said.

I just took my bag and got up to leave.

I walked away.

Neither of them came after me.

I just left the hotel and wandered aimlessly.

It was probably the most painful moment of my entire life.

My phone rang. It was my son. He didn’t know where I was. I told him I was at a conference and he just rang to see how it was going. His voice saved my heart. My boy. My family. I had so much love in my life. I phoned my adoptive mother and I phoned my best friend and told her everything. I’m OK now. That was the end of October 2016. I have no regrets that I traced my birth mother. At least I know. I am not at all like her and there was no connection. I have her hands & I never liked my hands. Her granddaughter looks a lot like my daughter.

There’s not a lot more I can say.

Life goes on.

I am blessed to have the family I have.

Maria Flynn

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Jenny Chapman

 chapmanphoto

BIO: I am 43 years old and I live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband and children. I was adopted through Catholic Social Services by loving parents. My adoption was closed. I have a sister who is two and a half years younger than me (she is my parent’s biological child). I work as a paralegal for the litigation department of a law firm. I am very excited to share my story!

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

I am 43 years old and I was relinquished at birth and adopted through a closed adoption. I was adopted by wonderful parents. I have a younger sister (who is my parent’s biological child). I wondered all my life about my birth parents and I did not have any way to find out the answers because of closed records. I can’t adequately express how awful it is to grow up and not know anything about my biological family. And then when I was 18 I could only receive vague information (non-identifying).

As a child I was envious of other families that looked alike. I didn’t talk about my adoption with anyone outside of my family until I was 16 years old. I didn’t have the confidence to tell anyone and I didn’t trust anyone to not somehow use the information to make me feel bad about myself. I didn’t share that I was adopted with other adoptees. Once I was in high school, I was able to talk about it because I felt secure in who I am. I didn’t think there would be a negative result in sharing the information. I was glad I did because it was a relief to not keep this secret about myself any longer.

As time went on I was able to obtain my birth mother’s last name from a birth index. In 2011, I did online research and figured out who she is. I sent her a Facebook message but I did not hear back. Since her page was public, I could see photographs and learn a few things about her. She lives on the other side of the country and my children were very young at the time and I didn’t think it was a good time to go and try to meet her. Then in 2015, Ohio opened their records and I obtained my original birth certificate. There wasn’t a birth father listed. So I contacted her again because I wanted to know his name. I did not hear back. Then, I decided to contact her sister (also through Facebook). She replied right away and my birth mother contacted me by email and gave me his name and some other information.

I called my birth father last month and spoke with him. He was excited to hear from me and he shared some information about his family. I have written him a few letters and he has emailed me. He invited me to visit.

The most exciting part of my story is I found out I have a full sister who is one year and 26 days older than me. She was also adopted and has been in reunion for over 20 years with our birthmother’s family. She was born in a different state than me with different rules. My birthmother did not tell her about me. I know she would have found me because my file was updated with the agency and I had my information on all of the search sites. The only reason my birth sister was told was because I went through my birth mother’s sister who also did not know about me.

How does it feel to be adopted?

When adoption is closed it feels like there is always some kind of background noise in my life. When I didn’t have any information, I was always wondering what the answers are. Now that I know who they are, the background noise is gone.

I am very excited about meeting my birth family in person! It isn’t possible for me to be disappointed. I am not worried about a bad result although I know that not all reunions go well. I am happy to share my story and I love reading the other stories on this website.

By Jenny Chapman

Adult Adoptee

Contact Jenny at: jennychapman29@yahoo.com

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Bev Thompson

 

bev-i-read-ambassador-for-children
Bev- I Read Ambassador for Children

BIO: “As an adoptee – I write to break into my heart and the readers – then put the pieces back together again.” ~ Bev Thompson

 Her first memoir was learning where she lived and her telephone number, even though she never committed them to heart with total conviction. The zip code never seemed quite right. Always feeling like a tumbleweed, she blew East to NYC finishing grad school at NYU where she has taught Speech Communications for the last 22 years. A published writer and playwright, her play Prisoners was commissioned and produced Off-Broadway for The Year of The Child.

I’m No Secret from Ladies Mile – 17 Stories Up, a memoir anthology, gives us a glimpse into the first meeting with Bev’s biological mother and the difficult request – to put her identity into hiding again. – 

“Adoptees have a unique voice all their own; a life-long memoir worthy of telling.” ~ Bev Thompson

 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

 

I’m No Secret

bev-thompson

 

September 7, 2013   by Bev Thompson

The day I had searched for had finally arrived as One Huge Blur! The details, that is, details like faces, or expressions, or smells, or voices, or anything I usually remember about a special day, that makes my sensory memories drift back. Like my hearing, that still to this day startles at icicles breaking from roof tops; or my palate revisiting from long ago, the salty and sweet of home-made peanut brittle and walnut fudge; my nose remembering the wax on my grade school floor, the bologna from my lunchbox, and the milk-stained rug I took out in kindergarten for nap time.

All I remember from that day is the secret that I couldn’t talk about. A secret I had uncovered and now had been asked to put into hiding – again.

******

I was less than 1-hour into what had taken me 33 years, 2 months, 7 days, and 8 hours to uncover. For 20 years that secret stalked and played with me as I pondered, revisited, dreamed, fantasized, agonized – over and over again. Thirteen years kept me seriously on edge sniffing out my secret and now that I had climbed out of the womb my sister and grandmother unexpectedly dropped by. Dropped into my drama like those characters do on soap operas and then leave everyone breathless with a cliffhanger.

“It’s my daughter, your sister, my mother, your grandmother on their way to a doctor’s appointment that just pulled up,” her eyes darted left then right signaling her concern

I didn’t have a chance to feel or think, instead I was instructed to follow a cover-up script cleverly crafted by my birth mother. Barely an hour since we had met for the first time, she was explaining away my presence – yet again.

“We worked together at the Capitol on the floor of the House in Jeff City and you stopped by to see how I’m doing. OK?” she pleaded.

“OK” was all I could reply, I think, as she rose to greet them, her food bag bouncing off the aluminum pole, the tubes trailing behind her silver hanger. I couldn’t very well argue the secret with a dying woman, now could I, with the body that had pushed me into life, feet first I might add.

I do remember one thing — that I said little — and then the blur. The room that was so clear when I entered had become cloudy and lifeless. I remember outlines of my grandmother, her height diminished by age and rather round. My sister present, but not really, was there more out of an obligation to transport her grandmother, my grandmother to her destination, with time to spare – time to kill.

When grandmother and sister faded away and we were alone again, 1-hour and 22 minutes approximately, my birth mother offered me a glass of sweet wine from her homegrown still. I don’t remember clinking glasses or even the glass in my hand, or what was said in response to what had just happened. I remember thinking how her sickness had made her thin and what was she thinking drinking wine in the morning – drinking wine at all.

I barely remember leaving, but I do remember the screen door, the door that separated us when I arrived, and her first response to seeing me through the mesh for the first time.

“You look just like him,” she said.

“May I come in?” I replied, hoping to enter, as if I were selling the latest vacuum cleaner, Bible, or Avon product door-to-door. No, I thought, I was selling my heart and soul.

******

I made a couple more trips through that screen door. I skied with my brother pulling me and waved to my birth mother as I rounded the cove on Lake of The Ozarks. A postcard shot as I sailed by on my slalom, the sun fading behind me. I have pictures of the sunny slalom ride fading into dusk as evidence that I did indeed have a long ride in time with the characters from the secret at the lake. We kept up the pretense even then, even after I met everyone. My birth mother’s husband knew about me from the beginning. He married my birth mother after I was out of the picture. I remember him pulling me aside in their living room and saying how he regretted he couldn’t see what I looked like. He had lost most of his vision to cataracts and diabetes and could only see shadows and outlines. We shared my secret in common, he the only cast member in this charade that seemed real.

******

Seven months later the phone rang over 1500 miles of airwaves in New Jersey. It was my brother, Bill. I was expecting that bad news was eminent, but to my surprise it was a bittersweet dialogue at best.

“I have always wanted another sister,” Bill said, “Mom told us.”

“How’s she doing?” Was all I could think to ask.

“She’s back in the hospital.” He said awkwardly not knowing what to expect from me, or the situation.

“Oh.” My mind registered that she was failing quickly and when could I arrange a flight out to see her, perhaps for the last time.

******

When I arrived at the hospital, my sister was there. Almost as soon as I arrived she found an excuse to leave. It was obvious even before the secret was out that she had an estranged relationship with her mother and I now had become the interloper, the competition. She had a son, Timmy, whose father was missing. Oh, how karma comes back to haunt the family line again and again, until someone changes the tragic flaw.

As she left the room a smile returned to my birth mother’s face. How was I? How was the flight into St Louis? How was it different than arriving in Kansas City?  Did I have a good drive in with Bill?

Yes, she was dying but I wanted my birth mother to do her part. The secret had grown to include the fact that I had found who I thought was my birth father. She had confirmed it on my last visit but had not been given the details of my recent meeting with him.

“He said you dated other people during that time and- – -” She cut me off propping herself up on what was left of her elbows and leaned into me, her thin fingers rested upon my wrist, fingers that were identical to mine, hands sleek and expressive always moving with thoughts of their own.

“He knows damn well who he is, and when I get outta here I’m going to call him and we will all have coffee together.” The color in her face had returned from anger, I suspected, rather than health.

“OK,” I replied, a word I could depend on, knowing that I didn’t want to get overly excited about something, anything, that may never happen. OK had been the story, the response to my life and in this moment I was “OK” with her asking for us to meet, if God granted her the extra time. And if we ever got there we may need something a bit stronger than a cup of coffee. Perhaps some of that wine from her still.

I knew she didn’t have much time left as we shuffled down the hall to the visitor’s waiting area in the hospital. Together, we greeted her sister, my aunt, and a few cousins and friends. I had the strangest sensation that her sister knew exactly who I was.  My birth mother never filled me in on who now knew, or who didn’t know about “the secret”, that blur, that always descended upon me when new characters entered the drama.

Whatever strength we both had left to give to our secret, I wanted my birth mother to be a part in making it right. I knew once she was gone, the truth would be tentative and shaky at best.

It would be hard to fill the divide of 33 years and 1500 miles once she left this earth.

Story above from the anthology: Ladies Mile ~ 17 Stories Up

Entire collection available with two additional stories by Bev Thompson at:

http://www.mcnallyjackson.com/bookmachine/ladies-mile-17-stories

About the Author

Bev Thompson

Two years ago, six busy New York City women added a new activity to their crowded calendars: Memoir Writing. Meeting around a big table, at a Fifth Avenue apartment in the historic Manhattan district called Ladies’ Mile, the six experienced many rich moments of awed recognition, hilarious laughter, and sympathetic tears. They realized that every one of them had something important to say—and wanted to invite readers into their varied and fascinating lives. As they continued writing, critiquing and honing their work, the idea of creating Ladies’ Mile 17 Stories Up was born!

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Bev Thompson

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Gary Eugene

GaryE

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

BIO: I’m a grape grower for a winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I’ve been married 19 years. I’m an army veteran and a marathon runner. I have since developed a great relationship with one of my half sisters from my mom’s side. I am also now in contact with my entire paternal side and fully accepted even though the records said he denied being the father.

 

 

 

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?

This may be quite lengthy, but I’m going to attempt to describe what it is like to be adopted. And this is entirely from my own point of view.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist home, where they told us from the very beginning that we were adopted. My adoptive mother’s side of the family immediately accepted me as one of their own. However, my adopted father’s side of the family always made it clear that I was the adopted kid. It was true, of course. But it was said in a similar way as a racist would unnecessarily describe a man as being a black man; true, but unnecessary and derogatory. Eventually, they started to be more accepting as I started to excel musically.

Even as a young child, I often imagined one day meeting my “real” family, and to be able to finally know someone like me. I can honestly say that not a day went by that I didn’t think of my birth mother several times a day. As I became an adolescent, I started to struggle with depression associated with not having a birth mother who loved me.

I kept thinking of the phrase, “someone only a mother could love”, and I thought that if she couldn’t love me, who could? I decided that I was a mistake that needed to be corrected.

Slight aside: the family I grew up with hunted a lot. In Mississippi, a poison called Anectine is legal to use on arrows for deer hunting. It is a powerful muscle relaxer.

Back to my point: in order to correct my birth mother’s mistake, I decided to ingest an entire bottle of this stuff. Nothing happened. I went to plan b. I diluted the powder in water and injected it directly into a vein in my arm; just like you see the heroin addicts on TV. It would have been way easier to just put a gun to my head or jump off a bridge. But I didn’t want to burden anyone with having to clean up a mess.

Using all my fading strength, I emptied the syringe and was barely able to pull it from my arm. I immediately collapsed onto the concrete slab in front of the band hall at school. All my muscles didn’t work except one; my heart. I heard my heart beating strongly until I went into a dream like state from lack of air. I don’t know how long I was out. I remember chanting in my head, “Just let me die”, over and over again.

At some point, I realized that I was actually hearing what I was chanting in my ears. I thought to myself, if I’m hearing it, I’m making sound with my mouth, which means air is moving. Eventually, all my muscles regained use. At the time, I thought it must be Devine intervention. Only years later did I learn that humans possess an enzyme that slowly breaks down the poison.

I still wanted to die. However, I had started questioning my ability to ascend to heaven if I committed suicide. So, during my junior year of high school I signed up to enlist in the army. I took the ASVAB test and scored very high, allowing myself to have my choice of any job in the army. I chose infantry. I though it would be the job most likely to die doing. And it wouldn’t be suicide. However, during my time in service, I realized that it was my job to keep all of my fellow soldiers alive. And the best way to do that was to stay alive myself.

Don’t get me wrong; I volunteered for more than my fair share of crazy dangerous things. I met my wife while I was in the army. Since then it’s my duty to live for her.

Fast forward to finding my birth mother: like many adoptees, I had this Hallmark Channel worthy fantasy about our loving reunion. She got my letter and called and said never to contact her or her family ever again. Needless to say, I was devastated. I think at that moment I was experiencing every human emotion all at once. While I had intended to also contact my half siblings anyway, maybe I did so with my sister somewhat out of anger and spite toward my birth mother. This sister and I get along well. My wife and I have met her in person a few times now. We’ve been in her house twice, and met her husband and my beautiful niece and nephew. Still nothing from my birth mother. She’s the wife of a Southern Baptist pastor. My sister thinks that they’re afraid that their congregation might find out that she had a child out of wedlock.

I recently told my adoptive parents about finding my birth mother and sister. They have no sympathy for my feelings. Instead, they worry for my birth mother’s feelings. They think I was a jerk to contact my sister against my birth mother’s wishes. So now here I am without any parental support. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but those adolescent thoughts are returning.

That’s all for now.

Gary Eugene

Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Crista White

ChristaChadwickHOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

BIO: My name is Crista and I’m a 46 year old adoptee in Colorado. I was adopted at the age of one month after being placed in a foster home immediately after birth. I was fortunate enough to be adopted by a family who longed for a baby after having one “natural” child, then losing the second one to stillbirth and being told any further pregnancies would result in the death of the baby AND my mother. I was treasured and given much love in my home, and truly was never treated differently from my older sister. But I felt different. I suppose that is what led me to search for my birthparents, as well as wanting to reassure them I was ok. I have three children of my own now and spend my time writing, and hoping someday to obtain the information I need to be able to research my personal family history.

FINDERS WEEPERS

When Adoption Reunions Go Wrong…

Adopted at birth by two wonderfully loving and supportive parents, I didn’t give a lot of thought to searching for my birthmother—even though my adoptive parents had always offered their support of my doing so—-until I had a child of my own, and the need to tell this faceless person that I was alright, that she had made the right decision, was overwhelming to me. I couldn’t imagine never seeing my child again, and I suddenly became very concerned about the woman who had given me life. I could only suspect that her worry and anguish were unbearable.
The media does an amazing job of portraying “adoption reunion” stories with fairy tale endings, where all the parties involved are blissfully complete, now that they have found each other. They are most oftentimes warm and touching portrayals of a lifechanging event, and although I don’t doubt the authenticity of those occurances, I learned for myself in a very real and personal way that there are exceptions to these happy reunions…….there was no way for me to prepare for what I experienced, and given the abundance of evidence on these “feel good” reunion shows, it’s no surprise that I was blindsided and heartbroken by what came to be.

Starting My Search In Earnest…

When I finally made the decision to begin searching for my birthmother, I didn’t have alot of options open to me: My husband and I were newlyweds and living on a full time student income—very little—while I stayed home to take care of our new baby. We didn’t have much access to a computer so I researched what I could about registries to join where my name might be matched in a database with anyone else who was looking for me. After 3 years of no results, my husband came to me with a plan: he would cash in his unused sick time from his new job and we would use that money for me to hire a Confidential Intermediary to contact my birthmother. At that time, hiring a CI cost $475 and that didn’t include any extra expenses that might be incurred along the way. I was touched by my husband’s unselfishness and, after filling out the required forms, I sent off my payment to Colorado Confidential Intermediary Services….and waited for the rollercoaster ride to begin.

The Phone Call….

I was weeks away from my 30th birthday, when I received the call that would be the beginning of a life changing experience. The intermediary assigned to my case had located my birthmother—up to that point, I don’t think I had entertained the idea that she might possibly reject me—–the television shows made it seem unlikely that would ever happen, and I think that somewhere in my mind, I reasoned that since I could never imagine rejecting MY child, it only followed that she would feel similarly. My only real fear was that she might be deceased and that I would have missed out on the chance of getting to know her. As fate would have it,she was still living at the same address as she had been at the time of my birth—and she was anxious to meet me. She informed the CI that she wished to get to know each other first through letters, if I was agreeable with that, with a meeting sometime in the future. The tears came and it became clear to me that I had longed for this outcome even more than I realized…..the relief was overwhelming.

Secret Correspondence…

When I was finally given the green light to start writing to my birthmother, I had no idea the hoops she and I would have to go through in order to maintain a postal relationship. First, we were not allowed to put any sort of “identifying information” in our letters to each other—meaning we could not share our names, our addresses, or anything else that might give the other person a way to locate us. Second, we were not allowed to write directly to each other. All our letters had to be mailed to the home of the intermediary, where she would check to make sure our letters were “appropriate” and then put them in a new envelope, with her address in the sender’s place, and mail it off to us. As strange as the arrangement seemed, I was eager for any opportunity to communicate with her, so I followed the rules.
The anticipation of receiving my first letter from her was nearly unbearable, and when it finally arrived, I studied every word. I remembering thinking that up until this very moment, this woman had never seemed like a real person to me…she had been a fictional character I had been told about as a child. But now, holding a letter from her hand, she was an actual person. Someone who truly existed and had a name….although I still wasn’t allowed to know it.
Our letters to each other went back and forth for several months, both of us sharing what we could without being too overly descriptive. I learned that she had been a single mother of three small children when she became pregnant with me. Her husband (her children’s father) had committed suicide sometime previously, and MY father (whom she only referred to once as ‘the unkind man who produced you’) was not part of her life, for reasons she never elaborated on.
I learned many things about her that helped clarify why I felt so different from my adoptive family—I had always, always felt loved and accepted by them, to be clear. But there was no denying that my interests, views, and personality differed from theirs in many ways. It was easy to see that I didn’t LOOK like any of them, but there were times when it felt like we weren’t similar in ANY respect, and it caused me to feel a little “odd”. When I finally realized that many of my interests were similar to HERS, it was an enormous comfort to me. I had a million questions I wanted to ask her about her childhood, her other children, her late husband, and family history that I was so curious to learn about. But I didn’t want to overwhelm her with questions, and I figured we had all the time in the world to learn about each other, so I kept most of the questions to myself. I had no idea that “all the time in the world” was about to come to an abrupt end.

The Mistake…

About 5 months in to our correspondence, I received a phone call one day from the Intermediary. She seemed to fumble over her words as she spoke to me and finally admitted that she had failed to let my birthmother and I know, at the beginning of this process, that we only had 6 months to write to each other through her. After the alloted 6 months time, we would either need to sign documents allowing her to release our information to each other—and be free to continue our communication at our own leisure—or the case would be closed and we would no longer have access to each other. The news took both of us by surprise, but my birthmother was blindsided and angered by the new “stipulations” and felt like she had been unfairly backed into a corner. I dont know what experiences she had faced in life that caused her to feel like she needed to fight back so fiercely about being given this sort of ultimatum, but in a final letter to me, she explained that she had not stood up for herself other times in her life, and had regretted it. She was not going to let someone dictate to her what the timetable of our relationship was and she was not currently able to reveal her identity to me. She would refuse to sign the papers.
The following day, I received another call from the Intermediary, telling me that my birthmom (at this point, I had grown weary of calling her that so I had given her the nickname ‘Sue’) had asked her if there was a way for her to preserve HER anonymity but to receive MY information, thereby enabling her to write me letters directly and she would just get a PO Box. For a moment I hesitated; I wasn’t sure how I felt about giving her all my information and still having NONE of hers, but I knew that if I wanted our communication to continue—and I did—this was the only option. It would be a long time before I would have the money to reopen the case, and from everything she had shared with me, her financial situation was no better. I had been given the opportunity to tell her thank you for giving me such a wonderful chance at life and I could walk away now. But I wanted her to be a part of my life and I wanted to know so much more about her and my heritage still. I made the decision to sign the papers, releasing all my identifying information to her. And then I waited for letters that would never come.

Confusion…

Several months went by as I waited for that first letter to come. Each day I would walk to the mailbox, thinking surely today would be the day I would hear from her. At some point I began to worry, thinking something must have happened to her. Our letters to each other had been so pleasant and she had mentioned how she thought I was a really wonderful human being. She had even told me that all her children knew I had come back into her life, and that her middle son in particular was excited to meet me someday. I had grown up without any brothers, so this information had been especially touching to me. Finally, I contacted the Intermediary, hoping she would remember our case and be able to give me some sort of clues as to what was happening. I was disappointed to learn that she barely remembered anything about our case, and could only offer speculation as to why I hadn’t heard from her yet. She suggested that, in order to help me get over my loss, I write one last letter to “Sue” and mail it off to her. She cautioned that she wouldn’t be able to pass it along since the case was now closed, but maybe it would help me to be able to move forward. And in a moment of sadness and frustration, I did. I wrote a letter asking the woman who had given me life how she could be so devoid of feelings for her own child that she could not even allow me the privilege of knowing her first name, when I had been willing to allow her every last bit of information about myself. I sent the letter, and hoped healing would come.

Unforeseen Endings…

I wish I could tell you that a letter finally arrived or a phone call came, and I was able to have the reunion I longed for, but things didnt turn out that way. Ten years later ,in a strange twist of events, CCIS was made aware of the Intermediary’s error of not informing my birthmother and myself of the 6 month time limit from the very beginning, and ruled that it was partially to blame for the unfortunate outcome of our contact. In an effort to rectify the situation, they allowed me to reopen the case at a very reduced rate with a different Intermediary. I felt euphoric, knowing I would soon be in touch with my birthmother again, this time both of us knowing what the timetable would be. My only fear was that, because so much time had passed without hearing from her, that she had possibly passed away, so I prepared myself for that possibility. But nothing could have prepared me for what I learned the day my CI called me.
She had easily located “Sue” and briefly explained why the case was being reopened. Given the Intermediary’s understanding of the events, I’m sure even SHE was surprised at my birthmother’s response. According to the CI, ‘Sue’ expressed her disbelief at being contacted. She said that she thought she had been quite clear about not wanting to pursue a relationship with me, and when questioned about the PO box, she denied she ever offered to get one and write to me, although she did admit to having all my information and knew that she could contact me if she chose to. She also said that she felt I had not understood or repected her wishes, given this intrusion in her life as well as the final letter I wrote her—the one where I poured out my feelings in the hopes it would help me “heal”. The letter that I was told would never be sent to her.
The CI waited quietly on the other end of the line as I struggled to speak through the sobs that were escaping. I couldn’t explain why I was so upset. My whole purpose in finding my birthmother had been to thank her and reassure her that my life had turned out well. My adoptive family was the only family I knew and loved, and I certainly wasn’t looking for this woman to replace them. I had only hoped that she and I could continue to be part of each other’s lives in a way that was agreeable to both of us. I had never asked her to be a grandparent to my children, or to even meet face to face. I had assured her in one of my letters that if we NEVER met, it was okay with me, because I was just enjoying the opportunity to learn more about her through our letters. So why was I so distraught that she seemed to be rejecting me…again?
Maybe I was disappointed to think I might never meet the “big brothers” I now knew I had. Certainly I was saddened to know that I might never have the chance to ask all the questions I had for her. But mostly, I was hurt to think that the woman who had given me life could now seem to be so cold. The mother who had raised me had been such an amazing example of a loving and nurturing human being, that I could only assume that ALL mothers felt that way for their children. The fact that “Sue” was turning me away was something I didn’t know how to process.

Saying Goodbye…

In order for the CI to close the case, she gave both of us an opportunity to pass along a final message to each other. My birthmother’s message to me was brief and unemotional. She apologized for any misunderstanding but stated it had never been her intention to have a relationship with me. That was basically it. To say I felt devastated by the lack of warmth or concern for me would be an understatement, and I’m ashamed to say that my first impulse was to tell the CI that I had nothing to say back to her. But I knew this would most likely be my last words to her in this life, and the fact remained that her decision to put me up for adoption had indeed put me in a family that loved me and given me opportunities I would not otherwise have had. Clearly, if I had stayed with her, my experience with motherhood would have been vastly different. So I chose to look at the positives and decided that, if nothing else came from this experience, I wanted her to still know and understand that I would forever be grateful for her decision to place me for adoption and I would never regret the time I spent searching for her.
It’s been 7 years since I wrote my final goodbye to her for the CI to read, and although I have been able to work through most of the heartbreak I felt at that time, recognizing that all things have a purpose in our lives and that I am blessed beyond measure to have a family that loves and supports me, I still admit that a piece of me hopes to find a letter in my mailbox one day, saying: “Ive had a change of heart–I’d like to be part of your life again”.
If that never comes to be, I take comfort knowing that I was able to thank her for giving me life and leave her with the knowlege that I care deeply about the woman who remains nameless.

“I just want to express to you how truly sorry I am for making this unwanted reappearance in your life— please know and understand that it was due to misinformation that was given to me by the first CI, and my obvious inability to read between the lines. I feel so terribly foolish. I find it sadly ironic that in my attempt to reach out to you, I have somehow managed to cause the very thing I was afraid of.
For me, this had never been about burdening you with additional family or responsibilities…my only hope was to have a comfortable relationship between just the two of us, and to someday learn more about my heritage and roots.
Although I am saddened by your decision, I continue to treasure the letters you wrote, and feel blessed at having had a moment in time to know you…my love and appreciation for you continue, and my door remains open.”

Crista White, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Pamela Karanova

BIO: I’m an adult adoptee who’s reunited with my biological family. I navigated my search and reunion, and now I’m sharing my journey with the world.

Through my life I battled addictions, abandonment & rejection issues as well as low self-esteem, anger and rage as a result of my adoption experience. I felt alienated growing up, and no one understood my pain. Over time, finding my TRUTH has allowed me the chance to accept that TRUTH in order to move forward and HEAL.

I reach out to other adoptees seeking to support them in finding their truths through my blog www.adopteeinrecovery.comwww.adopteeinrecovery.com and Facebook page www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted  I also help with search and reunification. I support adoptee rights and seek to help change adoption laws that restrict knowledge of the truth. I hope my efforts will help other adoptees know that they aren’t alone and that the way they feel is “natural for a not-natural situation” (being separated from biological roots at the beginning of life).

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?

CAN I CRY NOW?

When I searched for my birth mother I was all alone, with no support or guidance.

There was no help.

Can I cry now?

My adoptive mom told me my birth mother loved me “So Much. that’s why she gave me away ” but when I found her she didn’t want to know me.

Can I cry now?

Never in a million years would I expect the woman that loved me “SO MUCH” to reject me…

Can I cry now?

When my adoptive mother told me I made her dreams come true to be a mother, there was no room for my sadness or tears because for her dreams to come true, I lost an entire family and my mother.

I couldn’t ruin her dream come true by my sadness?

Can I cry now?

When my adoptive mother lied to me about finding my birth family, and told me when we had enough money we would get the sealed records opened I hung onto that hope. It was a lie.

Can I cry now?

When I saw a billion therapists, counselors, was put on medications, locked up in rehab, and juvenile jail.. No one ever asked me if my pain was from losing my first family or being separated from my biological mother. Not once.

Can I cry now?

When I contemplated suicide as a teenager, I kept it a secret because no one cared about my feelings.

Can I cry now?

No one has ever asked how it felt growing up not mirroring anyone and feeling alone and isolated.

Can I cry now?

Everyone told me how to feel, and that I should be thankful I wasn’t aborted.

Can I cry now?

When my birth father’s rights were stolen, and he wasn’t even told about my existence yet 2 people adopt me and don’t even think twice…

Can I cry now?

I had high hopes, but when I showed up at his door to introduce myself he knew nothing about me.

He denied I was his daughter.

He told me to “Go To Hell”.

Can I cry now?

Because of this I will never EVER have ONE MEMORY, NOT ONE WITH A BIOLOGICAL GRANDPARENT!

CAN I CRY NOW??!

Because of things I had no control over, I missed out on relationships with my siblings growing up.

Lost time never to return.

Can I cry now?

Someone else’s dream come true is my biggest loss, yet I’m supposed to be THANKFUL FOR THIS LIFE?

Can I cry now?

Stuck in the middle of 2 families, feeling torn between the 2 yet never really fitting into either…

Can I cry now?

My birthday is like dooms day. Yet I’m forced to put on a smile. It was the day I lost everything.

Can I cry now?

When I searched for my biological mother everywhere I went, no one cared that all I wanted was HER.

Can I cry now?

But her loving me “SO MUCH” was a lie too, because when I found her SHE DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO GET TO KNOW ME.

Can I cry now?

It’s been torture not knowing WHO I AM or WHERE I CAME FROM.

Can I cry now?

My broken heart is dismissed by everyone, because adoption is such a glorious thing.

Can I cry now?

For everyone that tells me I should just get over it, move on, or suck it up, or I’m just focused on the past and its negative…

Until you have walked one day in my shoes, you can’t judge me.

Can I cry now?

Because I feel like the WORLD is up against me

Can I cry now?

I will pretend when you see me, everything is OK because I’ve been conditioned to do that since I found out I was adopted.

But today I want to ask YOU if I can cry now?

When all my pain has been locked inside for over 40 years because the WORLD GLORIFIES ADOPTION AND THERE IS NO ROOM FOR MY PAIN…

Let me ask…

Can I cry now?

Answer me WORLD who glorifies ADOPTION…

Answer me WORLD who has no room for my PAIN.

CAN I CRY NOW?

I had to fight the WORLD and the CLOSED ADOPTION LAWS to find my TRUTH so I could move forward and HEAL

Can I cry now?

Now that I’m not running from the pain of my reality, and I’m 3 years into sobriety, not drinking or drugging to numb my pain

Can I cry now?

Since society, and the WORLD and everyone impacted by adoption denied me my right to grieve growing up, finally at 41 years old

Let me ask…

Can I cry now?

Remember crying is healing.

Sharing feelings is healing.

WORLD WHO GLORIFIES ADOPTION…

You have to FEEL it to HEAL it…

CAN I CRY NOW?

Find me on Facebook!

Pamela Karanova

Reunited Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Paige L. Adams Strickland

IMG_3806BIO:  Paige Adams Strickland is a teacher and writer from Cincinnati, Ohio. She is married with two daughters and four cats. In her spare time she reads, gardens, teaches Zumba ™ Fitness and enjoys travel, movies and spending time with family and friends.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

This is Chapter 15:
I have a new tutoring student who lives in my neighborhood and goes to the high school where my kids will one day go. His mom calls to set up his appointment because he is in danger of failing Spanish, and exams are coming. His name is Nick, and I will be meeting him at my house on Tuesday evenings at seven PM.
The silver Volvo station wagon arrives, and the mother hops out. She’s like most of the moms in my suburban neighborhood: petite, wearing a black track suit, has her blonde hair pulled back in a high, tight pony tail and headband. Her Nike tennis shoes are bright pink and look stylish. She’s headed to the Sports Club while Nick is learning Spanish with me.  Nick slides out on the passenger side and heaves a large, blue backpack over his shoulder. The straps are frayed. Nick has curly black hair, dark, almond-shaped eyes and a coffee-colored complexion. Mother and son make an interesting pair. “Bye now! I’ll be back in an hour!” she says as she hands me a check and bounces back to her car.
I work with Nick, reteaching him how to use object pronouns in Spanish sentences. He doesn’t know his vocabulary too well, which makes learning a challenge. I’m figuring that we’re going to have to spend some time on vocab drills before I can make much headway with this guy. During the lesson, he volunteers to me that he is adopted and was born in Guatemala.
“Well, I was kinda wondering when I saw your mom, but I didn’t want to be rude, “ I say.  He chuckles. “I’m adopted too, “ I add, “but not from a foreign country. I’m a native of Cincinnati. I used to lie about it and fool people since I looked like my parents.”  He grins.
I ask Nick if he remembers anything about Guatemala, but he knows nothing but Ohio life. He was an infant in an orphanage. He will probably never be able to find his birth parents. Spanish should have been his native language, but it isn’t, and now he’s flunking it fourth quarter in school. That’s ironic.
He’s my student, so I feel like I must maintain that professional distance, but I would love to get personal and ask him if he hates his status or is ashamed about being adopted like I was. I want to know if he feels isolated, weird or like a freak of nature the way I felt when I was in high school. Does he feel controlled by society’s secretive laws? How does he cope with being so obviously different from his parents?
“But for my culture report, I did pick Guatemala”, (which he pronounces ‘Guaddamala’ like people from Ohio do). He finds the reading / culture section in his text book, and I help him muddle through the paragraphs written in Spanish about the land of ancient Mayans and the social activist and author, Rigoberta Menchú. He’s also found a nice collection of on-line photos and a couple of recipes for ceviche and tres leches cake and a map of Ciudad Guatemala for his report. As we research, he learns that Guatemala has been a country with serious social problems like drug trafficking and civil unrest since the time of his birth and before. He carefully studies the Google images of his war-stricken native land. They are photos of sad, hungry, abandoned children, bombed buildings and a memorial wall representing persons killed. I’m not sure what to say as he takes in this information while saving pictures to his project files.
This is his only way to connect with his origin for now. We wonder if the war or a drug cartel played a part in his relinquishment for adoption, but probably no one will ever know. Maybe someone felt he would be safer in an orphanage, where a privileged North American family might seek to adopt. Maybe his village was raided by rebels and he survived. If he learns Spanish well, he might have a chance to discover a few things about his birthplace and the circumstances one day if he can decipher legal documents.
I just found a way to motivate this kid, and that makes me feel like “Super-Tutor”!
I used to think that had we not been able to conceive our own beautiful children, I would want to adopt a baby from a Hispanic country. I would at least be able to teach the kid about their first language, delight in the music and share an interest in current events, food, arts and crafts. I’d be the perfect adoptive parent for a Hispanic kid, but I selfishly must confess, I am thankful for our good health and ability to have natural/ blood children who look like us and have our mannerisms. I missed that connection growing up, but my parental experiences make up for not having much of an identity when I was a kid. I am incredibly thankful for my daughters and can’t fathom having to live without them in my life.
I work every week with Nick from Cincinnati, by way of Ciudad Guatemala, and his grades slowly inch up from D-minuses to Bs by the time he takes his June exam. A few years later, by chance, I run into this same young man at school picture day.  He’s now working for Lifetouch, the company that takes all the school photos, and in the gym, when they herd all the kids and teachers into lines, I make sure to get in Nick’s queue. While posing for my portrait, he remembers me.
“Hey, you’re that Spanish tutor, right?”
“That’s me!” I reply. We only have seconds because the gym is packed, but I ask him how he’s doing and where he’s going to school these days. He’s at Cincinnati State for now and probably majoring in business. Photography is a great college job for him, and as fellow adoptees, he and I understand more than anyone else why all pictures matter.
Paige’s  first memoir can be purchased by clicking this link.
Paige L. Adams Strickland
Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted-Mae Claire

girl-563719_1280HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED 

BIO: Mae was born in Haiti but currently is living in Massachusetts. She is a wife,a teacher, and a mother. She has written several books detailing her life and experience as a child, and the world around her. Her favorite things to do are cook, play the guitar and sing.

My name is Mae Claire. As a child I could never really understand what it meant to be adopted because though I was experiencing it, I had no one else really to speak to about it. Being adopted comes with many questions and when you add the word “feel” you are adding a whole other layer to this very complex family life we call adoption.

Personally, adoption can embody many different feelings because it really just depends on your environment. If you are the only child in the house, and adopted, you are going to feel slightly different than if you are in a house with more siblings who are also adopted. But if you are the only one adopted, but you have siblings who are not adopted, you are walking into a lifetime of judgment, comparison, joy, pain and even hurt. Let me explain.

I was over 3 years old when I was adopted by Caucasian Americans who had one biological child of their own. As a black Haitian, there were several things wrong with this picture. 1st, the color. Though I was living in a country of my own color, I was living with an Adoptive family who did not share my hue. How does it feel to be adopted? It feels as though I was out of place.

As I got older and adjusted to my new white life. I learned to speak the language well (with no accent) and I was grafted into a lifestyle that I would otherwise not have known had I not been adopted by this family. How does it feel to be adopted? I want the accent I lost. Part of me was lost. My brain was reshaped and reformed into that of my adoptive families. I lost my language, my culture, and who I was. I was becoming white. I was leaving behind my DNA-the instrument that brought me into this world.

As a teenager I struggled a lot because I was not afforded everything my siblings were. The biological children definitely had first choice and their voices were heard-all the time. I was expected to be silent, thankful and grateful. My A-Mother had it in her mind that as a black girl, I was strong and I could take certain pain better than her own children. So I was treated as though I “could do it”. How does it feel to be adopted? I feel marginalized, judged, and held at a higher standard because of my color.

In college I thought I was white. And in reality, I probably was one of the whitest black people there. My parents wanted me to go to a “diverse” school and at the same time, they didn’t want me to be diverse. They didn’t want me to learn to think for myself. They wanted me to shut up and obey. I remember bringing home a “C” in one of my classes and they threatened to pull financial support. Whereas my sister who also was in college at the same time was bringing home “Ds” and she was coddled and told that “it was ok”. How does it feel to be adopted? It feels like I owe them something for putting me into college, for giving me a life that I otherwise may not have had. It feels like I will always owe them my life as they supposedly “saved” me from the mud of Haiti’s soil.

I found out I was adopted pretty quickly. It is quite obvious when your parents are white and you are not. All it took was a look in the mirror. All it took was my A-mother saying to friends and family “and these are my natural kids….and this is….” Was I not natural? Maybe I was good friends with an actual stork. My parents really did try and keep in contact with my bio family but at the same time, they didn’t care…or they thought that I didn’t care. I always felt scared to voice how I thought about them because I was afraid of upsetting my narcissistic A-mother. So I never said anything. How does it feel to be adopted? It feels conflicting.

My birth mom died when I was a teenager and my parents told me one day at the dinner table. I cried, but not much. I didn’t know her. After all, she was just my birth mom. Nothing more. But I wondered time and time again where I got my looks. Why my eyes were so small. What was up with my high cheekbones? How does it feel to be adopted? I feel as though I am being disconnected and not able to function until reconnected to the socket of life. It feels unreal.

I found my biological siblings over facebook in my mid to late 20s. I was afraid at first and thought “Oh my gosh, is this a horrible Joke?” My  A-mother had told me that they all had perished in the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti. How she knew that, I don’t know. She always claimed she was God’s right hand woman. I spoke with my brother for a bit then had to take a break because it was overwhelming to think that a small piece of me wanted to reconnect. They were alive and wanted to know about me; the one who “got away”. To prove he was my sibling, he took pictures of letters I had sent him when I was a child, and uploaded them to facebook. I knew there was no doubt that he belonged to me. How does it feel to be adopted? I feel unbalanced, uneven, ultra-curious.

Part of being adopted is becoming one with a family who will love you forever and in return, loving them forever. As I grew up, I realized that maybe I will not love them forever. Too much hurt, too much pain, too much judgement. Too many expectations has landed me in a ditch I can’t seem to dig myself out of. Every infraction and mal-treatment has made that ditch deeper and deeper. Without a ladder, there is no hope. But I did find hope; I found hope in my own children I fostered, and eventually adopted. For every time they called me “mom”, I was able to climb one step higher on that ladder until eventually I was out of that diabolical hole. How does it feel to be adopted? It feels like a black hole.

Being adopted comes with not knowing much about your past. And when your APs choose not to share it with you, you are even more in dim silence. I came across my adoption papers as I was trying to find a copy of my birth certificate and I found the case study. As I read through it I saw a section that talked about my mental state, my physical state and my emotional state and how I should be cared for in order to improve all of the above. But that is all I know about my medical history and I am finding this out now? I feel scared not knowing anything about my medical history. What will I pass onto my biological children if I choose to have any? Instead of helping me through these temporary setbacks, my A-parents made them so much worse by withholding food from me, telling me I was fat, and physically comparing me to their biological children. My A-mother psychologically abused me by forcing me to believe that she was God’s right hand lady. When I was sexually abused by other foster children who came and went, my A-parents looked at me as though I “wanted” it. How does it feel to be adopted? A pushover, a doormat, insignificant, slow.

As an adoptee I feel I have a sixth sense (I believe all adoptees do) because I learned to be hypervigilant about my looks, my feelings, and just about everything else about me. I learned to answer correctly so as not to cause a stir. But I also see through people. When I love, I love deeply. When I am angry, my anger seeps out of me. I learned for so long to keep it in. I learned for so long that I was the “lucky” one and that I should be thankful. The funny thing is, I am thankful. I am thankful that I am alive and I am thankful that I serve a mighty God. I am thankful that I can speak about my experience and help APs all around the world become aware that people like me do have a voice. How does it feel to be adopted? It feels wonderful. It feels horrible. It feels complicated. It feels confusing. It feels sad. It feels like I don’t just live on one side of the tracks. I live on the tracks themselves. It feels like a breath of fresh air as I am able to open my eyes, connect, relate, and understand not just those who are like me, but those who are not. It feels REAL!

Thanks for reading,

Mae Claire

Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Katherine S.

vand1
My Daughter & I

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

BIO: Katherine S. is a Mom of Twins, Writer, Artist, and Advocate living on the shore of Lake Erie in Ohio.

I’m Katherine, born Michele Athena and I’m 37.
My Natural Mother found me at 34. I didn’t even believe it at first. She knew the Super Secret Squirrel question and then there was a plethora of tears and joy.
I had always known I was different. I had dark hair and eyes with light olive skin and round face and my Adopted Mother had blonde hair and blue eyes. Even my Brother, adopted from another woman, looked like he could be her kid.
My Adopted Mother was truly desperate to have kids. The Doctor took full advantage of this and charged more than what people made in a year in 1978. The total cost of my adoption was $35,000 around $130,000 in today’s money.
They were able to adopt twice. Quite staggering to me, even now and I never wanted for anything.
There’s quite a few people who would say I should be grateful.
And I am. There’s a but, and a big one.I was bought. I was a commodity. Even my Adopted Mother must have sensed how wrong things were in my adoption. She never worried once about my Brother’s Natural Mother coming for him.
More than once she expected her to be there to take me back.
My story starts with lies.
My Natural Mother, M had just graduated from a Columbus Catholic High School, was living on her own and was swept off her feet by an alumni of Franklin Heights High School.
Michael Anthony Miller. I’m using his full name because I still have not found him. With such a common name it’s been

MichaelAMiller
Michael Anthony Miller

difficult to track much about him. He was living with only one parent, his Mother at the time of my birth.I don’t know his age, address or any family members. Just a guess and that’s it

Her version of what happened is that he wore down her Catholic upbringing with one goal- to get some. He said they were going to get married. He finally succeeded and sometime after that was confronted by a woman who was pregnant with his twins from his last conquest.
M was already pregnant with me. After 6 months she couldn’t hide me anymore and her family took control, arranged the adoption (with no knowledge of the amount of money being produced) and sent M away till she was in labor.
She had no choice in her pregnancy. Her family swore that they would disown her if she tried to keep me. That I would die on the streets and she would be responsible. She signed the papers without a choice.
As soon as the last push was done, they knocked her out and took me away. It was only after she begged and pleaded with a nurse that she was able to hold me. Her Mother discovered us, yelled for the Doctor, unwilling to hold me least her confidence waver. She left the room as he came for me, tearing me from my Natural Mother.
She didn’t take my loss well. She tried to kill herself, multiple times. She suffered mentally and physically. She blamed herself and when she had more kids, the nagging voice was always there tearing her down and making her feel terrible.
Listening to this tale, knowing my existence spawned attempts at suicide and mental distress gutted me. It made me question who I was, a third through my life span. It changed me.
My issues with Adoption became even worse when I found out about the process of my adoption. All the money. Discovering I was like a car or a house with inspections and loans. It made me doubt so much.
Finding out even thirty plus years later people are still making money off babies. Pushing for adoptions. Makes me sick. Makes me move to speak out and work to be an advocate for Choice and Natural Mothers, in a way that mine never had.
Adoption is not natural. It’s an unnatural separation that leaves two parties with wounds that never heal. That’s why I use the term Natural Mother, because that’s who she is.
No woman should ever be forced into deciding what to do while pregnant or deciding to parent.
Sharing this is hard because I have the realization, the searing truth that I really do have two Mothers now. It’s a blessing and it’s a burden. I know that my Adopted Mother is always worried I’ll abandon her. I won’t, but she still worries.
On the other hand, it’s such a blessing to know who I am, to see people that look like me.
I know my aMom blames herself for her desperation in the part of the pain she caused M for her desire to have a baby. She maybe isn’t fully conscience of it but I can see it in her word choices.
My Natural Mother walks on egg shells, trying hard to gauge where she can fit in my life that is already pretty full with kids of my own. Even harder is she lives far away, leaving us with not just an emotional distance but a physical one as well. Balancing them both is the hardest part.
Adoption is hard to really get your head around because of how society wants Adoptees to be so bloody grateful for privilege and benefits that some of us get.
We shouldn’t have to be EXTRA grateful. That’s wrong to force on anyone. Adoption isn’t always the best choice. Even when poverty is a factor.All the toys and privilege does not make up for what we lose.
I felt a loss all my life. I felt alone. I felt different. I also know I am not alone in this feeling.

Adoption isn’t all bad. There are truly some people who can’t be parents, who can tolerate the sacrifice needed in adoption.  There are so many kids out there who need someone who loves them. I fully support anything that means a home and love for kids who would not have it without adoption.

Thank you to all the Adoptees that have spoken out.
We need to flip the script, speak our truth, affirm our identities and be a community that helps.
Thanks for reading,
Katherine S. Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Adoptee Nick

11246367_10206080032153046_5636658081775108538_o BIO: 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

I’m writing this on the day I finally mailed off my Consent to Contact forms, notarized and completed, to the Children’s Home Society offices. I have had cold feet about finding whatever info I could for my whole adult life. It was very painful to be adopted in a broad sense for me, at least while I was growing up, because I was so radically different from my adoptive parents and sibling. I didn’t realize how deep and intense the wound is until I mailed these forms off today. IT IS A HUGE DEAL better to have finally tried to do something to resolve this question mark.

I wonder whether everyone who is an adoptee can agree wholly on one notable feeling of ‘adoptedness’. Surely each individual’s experience is going to be unique. I am grateful that I was given life. I most likely will always be needing to heal from whatever happened in my earliest hours/days/months. The story I have, which may or may not be an accurate account, is that mine was a 2-3 months premature home birth. Presumably then I was tended to in an incubator for many weeks. This being 1971, it’s a miracle I survived (I’ve been told). Being the father of a preemie myself, I understand and have witnessed the frailty of life after being brought into the world so dangerously early.

Being adopted was hard also because of the ways I disappointed these loving parents who “chose” me. This was a big issue for me during my years of alcohol and drug addiction. I likened it to being gambled on akin to buying a fairly new used car, which cosmetically was fine but turned out to be a lemon. This point of view has changed, thankfully! But I felt I should share it in response to the thread’s title.

It feels threatening and oppressive when people, trying and failing to understand, say things that are meant to remind the adoptee that they have a wonderful family, that they ARE your family. A non-adopted person doesn’t realize that something very deep and fundamental happened when a tiny infant was denied the first pheromonal comforts and nurturing of biologically familiar contact. There are the worries about whether the adoptive parents are going to be hurt if/when one does take the steps to find their birthmother. There are the worries about whether the birthmother is alive, dead, will be receptive, wants nothing to do me, et cetera. Is she a drug addict? Is she famous? It might sound like the ramblings of an adolescent here, but I am a 44 year old man. My thoughts on the subject haven’t progressed much further than when I used to ruminate on it at 8, 10, 16 years old.

Hey, other Adoptees. I’m on one side of this, where it’s still dark because of the Mystery. I will post again if (or please God, WHEN) I find what I hope to find. If I don’t get what I want, as sometimes we just simply don’t, I know that my life is of great value, and suffering is unacceptable. Hard concepts and vagaries can be dealt with. For what it’s worth:

(as far as I know)

I was born in Long Beach, California. My birthday is 6/4/71. Supposedly I was born at home. My biological mother is supposed to have had blond hair and gray eyes. She may have been around 19-21 years old. She was quoted to have been “Socially Confused” (LOL! me too).

Thanks for reading,

Adoptee Nick

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Paige Adams Strickland

ATTT Book Pic
Photo: (Taken by Megan F. Strickland)

BIO: Paige Adams Strickland is a writer and teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio.  She is the author of Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity.  It’s about growing up adopted in the 1960s-80s and finding her birth family. She is currently working on a follow-up memoir about adopted life in reunion as a parent, spouse, worker and friend. After work Paige enjoys teaching Zumba ™ Fitness, gardening, reading, movies and spending time w her family, friends and pets.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? 

Hello Adoptees and All Other Readers!

My name is Paige Adams Strickland, and I’m a teacher and writer from Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m also an adoptee from what we now call The Baby-Scoop Era, and I’ve written a book called Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity. It’s about growing up in an era of closed adoptions, sealed records, falsified information and all the shame and stigma associated with those practices.

In the 1960s and 70s, in this country, the status of being adopted was like wearing a Scarlett Letter ‘A’ on my soul. No one discussed it. To my knowledge, there were no other adopted children around with whom to relate. It was like being camouflaged out in the open. You just don’t go up to people and say, “Hi!  Are you adopted too?” so I lived with this unmentionable label and lots of guilt for wishing it wasn’t a secret and wanting to know more about what happened to my biological parents and me years ago.

It took years to come out of my adoption closet and realize, “Hey!  I’m not a freak. I want to know what went on back in 1961, but I’m OK anyway.”

Searching for my birth family was a huge accomplishment, and not just because of the work it took to locate and contact them. It was also the process of accepting myself as an adoptee and knowing that this isn’t something to be sad or ashamed of. No one was going to bully me on the playground as an adult, so it was time to “come out” with it.

The book writing began in 2002 as a way to explain to my children about who was who in my very large family. My daughters were at that “tween” age and just becoming aware that they had 19 first cousins and that I had six siblings I never grew up with and one that I did. I began writing one summer vacation, and the project took off after that. It became more than just a listing of all the people in the family, and how they were related to me. I started telling stories about the things we did and what life was like in the days when everyone wanted striped rugby shirts, wore tube socks and gold chains, grew big hair, read 16 Magazine and watched The Brady Bunch on television.

I saw a trend in my writing as the stories unfolded. Two trends, actually:  I was linking a lot of my thoughts and life events back to being an adopted kid, and I was slowly unveiling the unique father-daughter relationship I had with my very quirky and emotional, troubled yet caring dad who raised me. I shared some of my writing with my local writers’ group and realized I had a book developing. I wanted my kids to have a better knowledge of many wonderful people who were a part of my life growing up. I also wanted them to fully realize their heritage since my being adopted had a bearing on part of their ancestry as well. In that way, my kids were my first inspiration for writing Akin to the Truth.

In addition, I wanted to reach out and share with other adopted people.  Every one of us has a unique story of how we’ve wound up where we are and with whom in our lives.  We’ve all experienced amazing and unexplained chains of events which have lead us on our adoption, search and reunion paths, but universally, regardless of having good or bad times along the way, many adoptees live with a yearning and a curiosity to find out about our past.  It’s like a motor that never stops.  We go and go until we know.

If something like closed adoptions or sealed birth records exists, it doesn’t make the motor stop. We create films, write blogs, compose music and reach out to other adopted people through our art and our efforts to communicate truthful information. We hold on to hope that non-adopted individuals will one day understand what our lives are like with that great, big ‘A’ branded into our psyches.

It’s both a blessing and a curse, and it’s up to us how we choose to focus. As adult adoptees, our next huge challenge isn’t how to accept life as an adopted person, it’s how to share our experiences with folks who are not adopted so that shame is lifted and future laws become more just.  That’s part of my writing plan.

I’ve never been in the military or gone sky- diving. I’ve heard stories and watched movies about other people who’ve experienced these things first hand, but it’s not the same if you don’t live through it. It’s similar with being an adoptee. Successfully and eloquently communicating what having been adopted is like has been another purpose for writing Akin to the Truth. In addition, I have several articles, essays and my follow-up memoir-in-progress about adopted life as a parent, worker and friend.

Adoption never leaves your side; the good parts and the not-so-good parts are always there. It’s how we deal with it that counts from here on, and I choose writing as my outlet.  Writing about adopted life has also connected me to many interesting and supportive fellow adoptees and writers in general. I am very thankful to have a community of like-minded friends and colleagues, which is another bonus I never expected from writing a book about finding my truth.

My advice to fellow adoptees is simple. Even if you never find all the concrete facts about your start in life, finding a common bond with uplifting support from a circle of adoption-related friends and acquaintances is very beneficial. You never know where a new lead might come from.

Paige Adams Strickland, Author, Adult Adoptee

PURCHASE AKIN to the TRUTH: A MEMOIR of ADOPTION and IDENTITY HERE

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Kelly Drummaker

0528101120How do I feel about being adopted?

Lets change this around a little bit shall we?  Imagine that your sitting across from me in a little out of the way café, and we are having a conversation about it.  If you wouldn’t mind go get a cup of your favorite beverage and let me tell you a story.. The story is true.

The smell of pipe tobacco and sawdust tickles your nose as you look at the person across from you.  A shock of silver white hair, eyes that see through you but accepts everything they see but tinged with a sadness that is hard to define,  really broad shoulders tapering down to hands that you can’t tell where the scars start or the skin ends covering hands that look almost dainty until you see them envelop the glass of ice tea and you realize just how massive this guy is.

A sigh, barely audible, escapes just before an inhale.  He resets his body as if needing the support of the bench seat as his voice starts to fill the empty space between you.

“I’ve been on this planet going on 5 decades now, and this is the first time that anyone has asked how I feel about being adopted.   I have to tell you that my experiences aren’t what you would call special in any way.  I think that it’s more common than most folks want to realize.  I guess it’s due to the lack of being in tune with others.  But we’ll get to that perhaps.”

Your startled by the fact that his voice is like a lullaby you once heard long long ago.

“ I fussed and fumed for a long time, (he paused)    35 maybe 40 years until I got to a place where I can speak of this and to this subject.  Bear in mind that I cannot nor will I separate my Spiritual journey from this subject.”

He chuckled as if this was some sort of private joke. He took another swig from his ice tea before he continued.

“I guess I need to give you something to call me by.  Kelly will work.  I’m not native to this neck of the woods but I got tired of snow and cold so I moved to the valley of the sun here in Arizona.  Perhaps there is some genetic memory or something, I really can’t say for sure but when you have to question everything growing up it’s good training for being open to finding your own truth.”

“ For me, oh mercy, where do I start?  I will start at the beginning but remember that this is hindsight and I have done a great deal of work on healing.  Don’t get the wrong impression” he said wryly “ I had lots of help from Spirit.”

“ I was born in the typical way in the month of May, but before I drew my first breath I almost didn’t get here.  My birth mother, lets call her Sue, had thought really hard and long about aborting me.  Now I know that there are some people who will find this a bit uncomfortable but at least in my case that thought was transmitted to me in the womb.  The beings on the other side that look out for me, they caused her to to change her mind.   I know that to the western rational mind that is a rather bold statement but in the tradition that I have been called to follow that makes perfect sense.  I spent 3 months with Sue, and then from promptings from Spirit (which I use as a catch-all term) I was given up to what would be called child services today.  There was a series of caregivers that I went through until I was placed with the adoptive family, at 9 months of age.”

“Bonding issues is a way to put it mildly.  Emotionally I was handicapped.  Here I was, a small child needing to bond with some adult.  I mean we are wired from birth to attach to a caring adult but politics and adult stupidity colluded to prevent that in my case.  One thing that I feel that I need to mention is this.  Sometimes events that have transpired get looked at through the lens of what should have been.  Our wishes, our dreams, our ideas of what should have, could have, etc. change and twist the memory causing us much emotional pain.  As such what is really real and what isn’t?  Or is it all perception?

Kelly stopped to motion to the waitress for a refill.  As he continued..

“Here is a question for you.  If you knew that if you had stayed with the birth family, you would either be dead, a raging addict or incarcerated for the rest of your life, what would you pick?”

He waited till the waitress was done with the refill to continue.

“I can see the confusion on your face.  It’s alright but I hope you can see that depending on your point of view certain aspects of a event can change.  The family dynamic amongst Sue’s family wasn’t healthy.  Very self destructive and very much in denial.  Yes I did the whole reunion thing with the surviving members of Sue’s family but that didn’t end well.  H’m, let me explain it this way.  If you play a note on a piano and someone else plays another note that is not in harmony with your note what happens?  Sooner than later someone will either change their note or someone will leave.  That makes sense doesn’t it?  My note was one of healing and of becoming the person that I have been called to be this round.  Another part of it was that there wasn’t any type of recognition of clan or of family.  I have come to the conclusion that family means more than just a blood relationship or the sharing of genetic material.  I mean really, what is family?  What is a clan?  What is the thing that ties people together? “

Kelly paused a beat before continuing.

“My biological father is a black hole.  He supposedly was a trucker and older than Sue, and he also had heart problems. The story goes that he passed shortly after I was conceived.  That’s the thing about stories, how much is true and how much is myth?  Are we bound by the stories we believe or if we change the story does that also mean that our bonds are released so that we can heal?”

“The family that I was placed with was, well, extremely blue collar.” He chuckled.  ” They had a family dairy farm within a 45 minute drive of where Sue was living at the time.  Yeah I know! Who would have thought that when the story that was told to the adoptive family was that I was the result of a young couple from a different state that couldn’t afford to keep me.  As one could imagine that was really hurtful to me as a child.  So the emotional maelstrom I endured was quite extreme.  There I was, basically alone in the world, not knowing how to process the emotions of not supposed to be alive coupled with the story of being not worth keeping and add in abandonment scripts from Sue and the caregivers when I was in CPS.  Holy Crap, you know?

I need to add this in here so you can gain a better sense of what is to come.  If you can see a different color than others how would you tell them?  If you can hear things that others can’t, how would you describe it to others?  I don’t know if you have ever watched a show called Psychic Kids but that is / was me to a tee.  However, the adoptive family didn’t have a clue.  They were firmly entrenched into the dogma that Old Scratch was behind every rock and every bush doing everything to screw us up so that way the old dude with the white hair in the sky could hammer the living hell out of you because you screwed up and made a mistake.   Guilt and self condemnation was a way of life.  That was force fed to me to a point where I was actually told that I was the son of Old Scratch, that I was damned to spend a eternity in hellfire.  Want to talk about having to deny a part of your very own self?  Sheesh.  I can now look at it for what it was.   A very wise person once told it to me this way.  “Most formal anything isn’t about freedom or what is best for the people, it’s about control.  Dogma comes in many forms but it’s still about control.  In your adoptive parents case, they were repeating the dogma that they had been force fed.  It takes a special person to break free of those chains.  You need to do that because it’s YOUR life, it’s YOUR path, it’s YOUR turn to be free”.

” There was a attachment on my part to the adoptive father.  Not that it was the most beneficial to me.  Rather that it was an attachment.  Let me say that I know that they did love me in their own way.  With the dogma, the alienation, and the not having a sense of really belonging, it was a very very dark place for me.  But even with the denying of self, Spirit didn’t give up on me.  There was always a person that would be there to help just enough to keep myself from going over completely to the dark side, to use a movie term even if they did have cookies.  I spent most of my free time alone in nature because it was less painful than dealing with the people that could not see how their demands of how I was supposed to be, that would tell me of how I was supposed to feel, how I was supposed to act, how I was supposed to think and what I was supposed to believe, would lay on me the weight of their own issues.”

He motions to the waitress once again.

” As I was surviving this, in the year I turned 14, the adoptive father passed from a traffic accident.  He passed suddenly and violently.  This event while sad also triggered something else that came later that year which I will get to in a moment.  His passing made me very very angry. Not just the type of anger that burns out after a time, it was a rage that was always seemed like it was always there. Imagine that you are so damaged emotionally that you use rage to get out of bed in the morning. You use rage to get through the day.  That if you didn’t bank the rage and use it, you would kill yourself because of the pain.  Emotional pain that was so intense that it almost crippled me.  I even tried doing the Vulcan thing and relied on logic.  That didn’t go to well.  At least I was trying though, I was trying to survive, even though I didn’t have a clue what that meant actually. “

“I developed shield around my emotions so that way I wouldn’t be hurt again yet at the same time I was so desperate for connection to another, ah the paradox of being human.  The thought of suicide was ever present till a funny thing happened to me that changed me entirely.”

He paused as the waitress refilled his glass, with extra ice this time.

” What I am about to describe may not fit within the framework of any official religion but this is what transpired.  It was a warm spring day, I was sitting under a old elm tree facing south.  The sunlight was dancing through the leaves as the they sang the whispers of song from the breeze passing through them.  Fluffy clouds floated stately past on their way to their destination.  My gaze was at nothing at all and everything all at the same time.  I suddenly found that my awareness was now part of the tree that I was leaning against.  I then could feel the earth in it’s spin, and my awareness continued to expand until I was part of everything that there is.  I danced with the Universe that day and the song I heard on that day, ( he paused while wiping the tears from his eyes as he smiled wistfully.  This was a true bittersweet memory ) reverberates through my bones, my very being to this day.”

He continued  ” I know that sounds really strange but there is a history among what one could call mystics throughout the world, spanning many centuries describing something along these lines.”  That did take care of the suicide thought pattern but didn’t help with, well,  all the pain and alone-ness, the not belonging-ness, the emotion of being rejected” he chuckled wryly.  “And then I found alcohol.  Which was a short term fix for all the emotions that were boiling through me.  I spent a great deal of time either recovering from a drinking bout or planning to drink or drinking from that point on.  I have to say though that I haven’t been drunk or even tipsy in twenty years because learning the hard way on many things a person is forced to learn.  Eventually.”

He toyed with his glass for a moment and his voice became very soft and his eyes were looking into something that was beyond.  ” The year I graduated high school, in the spring, I had a overwhelming urge to attempt to find my biological mother.  That was the year that she died.  I guess that she wasn’t able to hang in until we could meet.  I do have a sister out there somewhere.  We communicated off and on, but again there still wasn’t any recognition of clan or of family. How is that for some kind of message?”   He shook himself like he had a chill run up his spine and his tone returned to the same lullaby as it was prior.  “I had to find my own path to people that I would say to be family.  I have been married three times now.  This last one has been the longest lasting.  Working on 18 years now (he stated as a smile played tag along his lips) I do have a daughter from a prior marriage who is doing really well.  I am very proud of her and the woman she is and see a very bright path for her as she goes forward.

The waitress that had been providing him with refills started walking out in street clothes.  He fished a 10 spot out of his shirt pocket and stuck his arm out to make sure that she knew it was for her.  A smile broke open on the waitresses face as she took the bill because it was folded in such a manner that it looked like a bow tie and as she glanced at the amount her smile grew even larger.  She stopped and looked at this man, gratitude filling her eyes.  He smiled and tipped his head to show that he was thankful of her service.  He noticed your gaze and simply said: “Paying it forward” as he settled his mass back into the seat.

“Anna has had it rough lately so I help out.  The money isn’t the issue, it’s that she won’t allow others to help her that much.  I can relate for I did that for a very long time myself.  Then I finally got woken up.  You know it’s hard to carry a buddy with a broken leg if you have one yourself.  Call it a meme to remember to take care of yourself while your taking care of others.

He turned his head and caught the eye of Anna’s replacement, a waiter with the name tag of Bagel pinned proudly to the front of his shirt.  He raised his now empty glass and Bagel was on the way with the pitcher of ice tea.  Kelly said “Thanks Bagel, how have you been?” with such caring in his voice that you wondered if Bagel was a close friend.  Bagel filled the glass while glancing down and away as if he was to shy to speak.  Kelly waited a beat and then added “If you want to talk to me later that’s fine, just let me know ok?”  Bagel nodded and hurried off.  Kelly caught your expression from the corner of his eye and turned to face you once again.  “Bagel is good people he’s having a little problem with becoming the who that he is without all the crap he was force fed when he was younger. But I better finish my story since people can only listen for as long as their butts can stand.”

Half the glass of iced tea disappeared in an instant as he settled once again.

“ After the marriage to my daughter’s mother was over there were some things that I thought that needed checked out on my daughter for medical and emotional issues since she was about 3 or 4 when her mother left.  I wanted to make sure that she didn’t get the idea that her mother leaving was in any way, shape, manner or form her fault. That’s typical of kids to take the blame of other people’s actions when in reality they had nothing to do with it.  They are innocent bystanders that get caught in the crossfire as it were.  All of us need to remember that. Not only if you have children but also for ourselves.  The therapist then hit me with that meme of the broken leg.  So I started to have some self care for once in my life and I have never stopped .”

His eyes narrowed slightly as if he was deciding on what to say next. They widened as he continued.

“I had to make a choice.  I had to choose between the status quo or to venture into areas that at the time were unfamiliar to me.  Sometimes we base the who we are on what we have experienced whether that’s pain or being victimized or whatever.  It’s hard at times to hold on to the idea that there may be a better way.  Let me tell you that in my case I had to choose between the polarity of light and dark or to accept both equally. “  A sigh escaped as he paused.  “I have done much work on myself.  I have done re-framing, retelling, hypnotherapy, meditations and symbolism work.  Getting to the point of being able to change the point of view of memories as they are remembered helps a great deal.  I’ve also done inner child work within the path that has chosen me.  It’s very powerful to have adult self meet and comfort the child self. However, as each of us is unique so to shall be our paths. For me, now at this moment, there are still ghosts of memories past brought forth from time to time.  Telling you this, my story, has allowed me to face and defeat many, so that they will no longer haunt me again. I can look at the people involved and see the results of the unseen hand that has brought me to this point.  This point is beyond anything I could have imagined even a couple of years ago.  You might say that there is a conspiracy by Spirit to give me what I need as long as I am open to it.”

Kelly paused as Bagel refilled his glass that somehow became empty without you noticing.

“I know that I have much left to do on myself but now , I am not alone any longer.  I have “family” that accept me as I am and are hopeful for my future.  We help each other, not due to duty or of some misbegotten and perverted sense of responsibility but because we truly care for each other.  We help each other when needful.  Yes, my darling wife of 18 years is part of it but there are others, not related by blood but, let’s say by Spirit.  With their help and support I have been able to be thankful for the lessons and all the experiences this life and my path has given me.  I am the person that I am now because of everything that I have been through.  Yes, some has been hell on earth.  Some has been the most sublime experiences that I have had the good fortune to be here for.”

As he stirred you are wondering if this storyteller was going to finish.

“ Thank you” he said sincerely. “If you would like to talk again I would be happy to do so.  May peace be with you” Meaning every word without reservation.

Your gaze follows this bear of a man as he is paying for the seemingly gallons of iced tea and giving Bagel a tip, you see Bagel with a genuine smile as he works the cash register.

You find yourself very glad that you came.

My thanks for reading my story.

Kelly Drummaker, Adult Adoptee
Valley of the sun AZ

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Sherry Hensley

Sherry HensleyBIO: Sherry Hensley and her husband Fred reside in Baltimore, Maryland. They attend Bethel Apostolic Church in Havre de Grace, Maryland where Buddy Flosser is Pastor. Sherry is a Pro-Life Speaker in Maryland and she enjoys inspiring others and sharing her faith.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? 

Conceived In Rape, But I Am Loved

I was born April 16, 1973, and I grew up in a Strong Christian Home and I have an older Brother who is adopted and as I was old enough to understand My Wonderful Parents read to me in the form of a story about The Family that Grew by Florence Rondell. It was a story about being adopted. It was not kept as a secret from me. I was taught to Love the Lord and at the tender young age of 7. I always felt that it was special to be adopted twice: by God and also by my parents.

As I grew older like most adoptees, I  began to think about who do I look like, where do I get some of my characteristics, why was I placed for adoption. I also felt that there was a little piece of my life that I wanted to know.

I struggled for many years with wanting to find my birthparents because I did not want to hurt my parents that God blessed me with.

Well for medical reasons, wanting to know more about myself and I wanted to thank my birthmother for choosing life. I told my Mom and Dad that I was going to get the Non-ID information regarding my “closed” adoption.  The day finally came when the packet arrived in the mail.  I was nervous and excited all at the same time.  I waited until my husband got home from work to open it.  That evening in January of 2008, I opened the package, and we read it together.  I was amazed as to what I was reading.  As I read about my birthmother having taught children who had cerebral palsy, I felt so proud of her!

The packet did not give very much information about my birthfather other than on one of the pages in big letters it said, “Alleged Father.” That is when I got the feeling that something bad had happened.

After my husband and I finished reading the information, he told me he wanted for us to get to know my birthmother more, inspiring me to search for her.  I called my parents, and I told them that I was going to continue to search for my birthmother.

I wrote my birthmother an outreach statement without any names and emailed it to my caseworker.  Several days went by and the days felt more like years.  I continued to pray that God would work the situation out because I wanted to know who she was so I could thank her for choosing life.

The day finally came when I received a phone call from my caseworker.  She said she had talked with my birthmother, and that she wanted to have contact with me!  The caseworker told me that before she could give me all of the information, my birthmother wanted me to know the truth:  my birthmother was raped.

The day I heard that I was conceived in rape, I chose not to become angry or bitter about my beginnings, and I chose to love my birthfather.  Why did I choose to love my birthfather who is a rapist?  Because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, as well as the sins of my birthfather.  I chose to love him through the love of Jesus Christ.  That day, God also gave to me a heart filled with so much love and compassion for my birthmother for what she’d endured!

It was several weeks later after my birthmother was raped that she discovered she was pregnant.  When she told her mother that she was pregnant, her mother was not thrilled with the turn of events and gave my birthmother three weeks to get out of the house.  Her father had passed away, and so no one else was there to protect and defend her.
She then went to live at a home for unwed mothers, and it was there that my birthmother started her healing process.  The question went through her mind: what am I to do with this baby?  My birthmother had to make a decision.  She had no job, no permanent place to live, was not married, and no support from family. My birthfather, of course, was out of the picture.  In fact, she didn’t even know my birthfather’s name.

Her aunt though had an idea:  she could arrange for her to have an illegal abortion with a doctor in Michigan (this was before Roe V Wade.)

However, my birthmother knew that there was life growing inside of her womb –Life given by God and a gift from God.  My birthmother said her favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  She did not want to disrupt the plans that God had for the tiny life who was growing inside of her.  When she decided to place me for adoption, her one request to the social worker was that her baby be placed in a strong Christian home.

I am also truly thankful for the way that my birthmother loved me.  What she did was an act of pure love, and I am so grateful that I was able to be a gift to my Mom and Dad.

When I was born, my birthmother had some complications.  We both remained in the hospital for a week before she went home, and I was released to my foster parent’s house.  God blessed my birthmother with one week to love, care for and hold her baby girl she’d named Rebecca Ann.  My birthmother and I were released from the hospital on the same day, and she said she then placed me into the hands of God.

When I got in contact with my birthmother, she told me, “I have always loved you, and you were the beginning of my healing process.”  She also said what a lot of people don’t realize – that the baby who is conceived out of rape becomes a strong healing force in the situation.  Why?  Because out of something horrific and traumatic comes a precious human being, and the Giver of Life brings healing to the one who suffered.

The day I received the information from my caseworker that my birthmother wanted to meet me, a feeling of completeness came over me, as well as a great love which I have for my birthmother.

I sent my birthmother an email the night of Feb 5th, 2008.  In the morning, I checked my inbox and was excited to see that I had an email from her which included a picture of her and her family.  I have a half-brother and a step-sister.  We exchanged further emails, and I called her and we chatted for a bit.  It was a relief to know we were on the same page.  She said, “Okay we need to talk about when we can meet.”  My parents and my husband know me well, and that is the exact way that I would have said it!  So we worked it out, and we had the day set for May 21st & 22nd, 2008, as I was going to be home to spend some time with my parents for a vacation.

After almost 35 years, the day finally came that my mom, my dad, my husband and I got to meet my birthmother and half-brother.  We met them at the hotel where we were staying, sat by the pool chatting, then went to a nice dinner. My birthmother had my half-brother pray over the food. Well, he prayed and he also thanked God for the reunion between his mom and her daughter.  I about cried because of the immense joy I felt at that moment.

After dinner, we went to her house, and I got to see pictures of her when she was younger, and I looked so much like her!  It was surreal.  Genetics are wild.

The next day was pleasant as well, spending the afternoon with her, touring her hometown, looking at more photos.  She gave me a picture to keep, as well as a copy of the family lineage, which is so precious to have!  I felt so blessed to spend time with her like that.  I told her I felt I have met an older sister.  My birthmother is a special friend to me, and I thank God for allowing me to have contact with her; and also for allowing me learn more about myself.

Yes, my biological great aunt wanted me to be aborted, but my birthmother chose life, and I was protected by law from an illegal abortion.  God was faithful to my birthmother’s prayer:  I was raised in a wonderful Christian home where faith was taught, and it was real.

My husband was reading a book by TD Jakes titled “Reposition Yourself Living Life Without Limits”. One of the things that this book mentions is “We often meet someone who reveals a new piece of the puzzle of who we are.”

That is so true. The year before I met my birth mother, my husband met a half-sister he never knew about for the first time and a cousin for the first time.

I think if my story would have been different and I wouldn’t have met my wonderful husband and I wouldn’t have met the wonderful people that have been a part of my life  down through the years.

I am grateful to God for the family he gave me, a loving husband who I adore so much, and the tight-knit church family that he gave me. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I was conceived in rape, but I am loved.

Sherry Hensley, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Cecilia Trapiche

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

To My Birthmother on my 30th Birthday

Dear Mom,

Hi. It’s me. I think of you constantly, especially around my birthday. I imagine you’ve thought a lot about me these past weeks since I am turning 30 today, one of those big milestones of life.

I’ve experienced a number of life-changing events in the past five years and you’ve unfortunately missed them all. I received my Masters and started my career in a high profile deputy manager position in a local government. I broke up with my college boyfriend of five years, a man who moved to this country to live with me. A man I thought I would marry. I had an affair with a married man which taught me some valuable life lessons about family and commitment. I met a coworker, a man double my age, with a brilliant mind and a sensitivity unmatched by any living being on the planet who proposed to me after two years of dating. I suffered from PTSD and anxiety for the first time in my life from responding to a natural disaster in my local community. My best friend moved across the country and was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease shortly thereafter, showing life isn’t too kind to those who are.

Within the last year, I was offered the job of my dreams and leaped at it, working as a director of a department to advance the betterment of housing, economic and urban redevelopment in the city I live in. I got married, honeymooned and within six months, moved out. Six months after that filed for separation. I suffered from chronic anxiety and experienced depression for the first time. I experienced what it’s like to support a life-long alcoholic through rehab and experienced what life after rehab really brings to a marriage. Sobriety is a beautiful thing however it brings changes that no one can ever anticipate. I make the choice every day to use this as an opportunity for growth rather than something that holds me back.

These experiences have taught me a great deal. My ability to understand people’s hardships and their reasons for taking certain actions has grown. I want to meet you. I want to take the time and effort to fully commit myself to overcome my deep-seated fears and do the research to find you. I have enough detail to go on from the adoption agency that my search should not take long. Something holds me back, but I won’t let it anymore.

I’ve lived a lot for a 29 year old. Some say I sound like I’m in my mid forties when I talk about overcoming difficulties and the wisdom I bring to many situations. I want to be my age again. I want to be relaxed and enjoy life as it is in the moment. Here’s hoping the next decade can be a little less bumpy and more calm.

Here’s to you, on my 30th birthday. Thanks for bringing me into this world. I hope we meet (again) soon.

Love,

Your Daughter, Adult Adoptee

Cecilia Trapiche

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Minnesota Anonymous

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HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

My View of Life As An Adoptee…

I remember when I was 13, being asked by my parents if we could ‘talk’ about something important?  It was summer 1979 and all I wanted to do was go back to the pool to play with my friends, I was hoping our talk wouldn’t take long.   My parents were very nervous, my mother had a hard time speaking, then my dad told me I was ‘adopted’.  I wasn’t a 100% sure what that meant?  I’m not saying 13 was too young but I was pretty clueless about the subject.  They said I was loved very much by my Birth Mother (BM) but for reasons unknown to them she could not keep me?  They had prayed for a family and God had blessed them with children of their ‘own’.  I have 2 sisters and a brother.  We were all adopted, in the 1960’s, through Catholic Charities of Mn (CCOM).  I didn’t feel any different, I didn’t feel abnormal.  I still felt loved like any other 13 year old.  All I ever wanted was to keep that ‘normal’ feeling.  After all my parents prayed for a family and God had blessed them with children, how could that possibly not be a good plan?  Looking back I do remember wondering why I didn’t look like my siblings or my parents?  I didn’t have much in common with them but again, I felt that was a ‘normal’ emotion for a teenage boy.  My parents asked if I had any questions about my adoption or if I ever wanted to talk about the subject there wasn’t a question off limits.  I asked the obvious stuff, they informed me what they thought were accurate things from the CCOM case worker.  My BF was athletic, my BM was musical, they were too young, but I was very loved.  My parents were always supportive of any questions I had about adoption.  They always informed me they would support a birth family search if I chose to.  I never felt a need/desire to search.  My life was complete…or so I thought.

Due to medical concerns, a little later in life (45 yrs old), I started a biological search for my birth mother.  Still very clueless of the adoption topic I was unaware of the emotions to come.  My CCOM case worker called me and introduced herself.  She said she had located my BM and I should write a letter.  I was so excited, for the 1st time ever, I started to let myself dream of this possible relationship.  What my case worker didn’t say is she hadn’t yet spoken to my BM.  I knew there was a ‘possibility’ of my  BM not wanting contact but hoped that wouldn’t be our situation.  I was wrong! My  BM refused phone calls, all written correspondence were returned unopened.  Our final attempt of a certified letter came back unsigned.  For the 1st time in my 45 years I felt the adopted emotion known as ‘rejection’.  So many questions, with no ability to find answers it was a very difficult process.  I still had no understanding of the Birth parent role in the adoption process.  I knew the adoptee emotion, I knew the adoptive mother’s/father’s emotion but had an absolute zero comprehension of the Birth parent role.  Still, I was hurt, angry and confused but most of all I was resentful toward my birth mother for the 1st time in my life.  I was mad at myself for the unavoidable feelings, how could I hold a grudge against someone I knew nothing about?  I’ve always believed in the ‘beauty’ of the adoption process but was beginning to understand there is much more to adoption than unconditional love.  I’ve always thought there was no greater love then for a BM to carry a child for 9 months and ‘love’ them enough to place them up for adoption.  Was I wrong?  Have I been delusional my entire adult life about adoption?  I don’t know why I glamorized adoption in my youth but I needed to find some answers to my questions.

I waited about a year and decided to search for my birth father.  I knew the statistics were not good for a positive reunion.  I tried to keep my excitement limited with birth father search as my understanding was less the 10% of searches ended with success.  I was one of the lucky ones.  My BF answered the phone, acknowledged my existence and was willing to have some contact.  My case worker explained my BF is married and had not told his wife about me.  He has 3 children and had kept me a secret his entire adult life.  I was asked to write another letter.  This letter was much different than my BM letter.  I was guarded and afraid.  I tried believing my only goal was to find medical information and that would deem the search successful.  He wrote back and shared about his life, family, career and my birth situation.  He was a Jr in college, my BM was a year younger than him.  They were college sweethearts who had been dating 2 years.  He was grateful for my contact.  It was nice to hear a warm response.  We exchanged a few more letters and feelings were positive.  After a few months of exchanging letters, he requested a meeting.  I hadn’t thought this far ahead but accepted the idea.  A few days later I received an email from our CCOM case worker explaining our ‘most unique circumstance’…we live in the same town!  We live 1 mile from each other!  This was an unbelievable development.  OMG, what now?  This is going to turn my world upside down.  This was worst case scenario.  This is going to turn into a soap opera!  My wife quickly calmed me down.  This is wonderful she said.  Just think of the possibilities.  My concerns immediately turned toward my family.  My father had passed away 9 years earlier but my mother is alive and lives just minutes from me.  My brother and sisters all live in the same town as me.  I felt I needed to tell them what was going on.  My mother was very excited and very supportive.

My life/work schedule did not allow us to meet for 2 days.  We had lived 1 mile from each other for 12 years but we’d have to wait 2 more days to meet.  For the destiny part of my story, I hadn’t always lived near my BF.  I moved my family 1000 miles only to one day find out I was minutes from my BF.

We met for lunch.  Our visit was friendly, informative and emotional.  He was very concerned I would be angry with him.  I tried my best to assure him his insecure feelings were not necessary.  My goal was simply to look forward and not backward.  He explained the situation of my birth.  He dreamed for a long time of our possible meeting.  Our first encounter was how I hoped it would be.   I should say our first encounter knowing who each other was.  We had met before on multiple occasions.  My wife and I own a small business and my BF and his wife have been customers.  I had met my BF at least 4 x’s not knowing who he was.

A few days later my BF and his wife came over for dinner.  She is wonderful, supportive and very accepting.  I’ve met his children and we’ve formed a ‘family’ relationship.  We spend as much time together as possible and we all share a very blessed feeling for our newly  formed relationships.

My BF explained my BM situation.  She was from a strict Catholic family.  She was not going to ‘embarrass’ her father by being 19 & pregnant out of wed lock.  She hid her pregnancy from her parents and all her siblings.  I can only imagine how lonely and scary that must have been.  He shared with me her name and where she lives.

So now what do I do?  Things were so positive with my BF and his family, how do I not try to contact my BM?  Perhaps a letter from me with a photo or 2 would be exactly what she needed to open her heart to having me as a part of her life.  I wrote her a letter.  She waited 2 months but finally replied.  She was very angry.  She was angry at me for contacting her, angry at BF for sharing her information.  Pretty much just angry in general.  Her letter was a bit like a Seinfeld episode.  She unloaded on me with anger for almost 2 written pages, then concluded page 3 with ‘that being said’ ‘I’m glad you’ve had a nice life don’t contact me again!’.  Unfortunately I didn’t listen, I wrote back quickly asking her some basic questions of my birth, her family, her immediate family, etc.  No reply!  I waited a year.  Nothing!  I sent her a Christmas card with photo of my family.  I sent her a Mother’s Day card.  Nothing!  Another Christmas card, another Mother’s Day card, including a copy of the book ‘The Girls Who Went Away.’  Nothing!  I became obsessed.  My compulsive behavior consumed most of my thoughts with her.  I traveled to her home town and was fortunate enough to find copies of her High School yearbooks.  FINALLY I had a photo of what she looked like.  At least what she looked like in 9th, 11th and 12th grade.  I learned some of her HS accomplishments.  Class Vice President, National Honor Society, multiple clubs and activities.  She seemed very much like the person I thought she’d be.  I came to a conclusion, I was going to lay it on the line, I decided to call her on the phone :o) – bad move!  She was again very angry.  She asked if she talked to me on the phone would I never contact her again?  I said I couldn’t promise that.  We spoke on the phone for approximately 20 minutes.  I couldn’t believe I was finally talking to my BM and it was horrible.  Her anger and resentment was awful!  While I recognize I was the one breaking the boundaries she wanted I still felt her negative emotions were confusing to me.  I am the father of 3 children.  I’d fight Hulk Hogan if it was preventing me from seeing my family.  Shortly thereafter, I realized, I’m not her family.  Our shared history is not glamorized to her.  Her unconditional love for me almost 50 years earlier is gone.  I am now a tragic memory she wants to erase.  I had opened a painful door.  All she wanted was to close that door and never open it again.  Still, not being the brightest bulb, I sent her a Christmas card again this year.  I sent her a Mother’s Day card with an apologetic letter.  Recently my oldest daughter had a baby, so I sent BM a birth announcement with a photo letting her know she is a very young Great Grandma :o).

Still nothing!

Does she really hate me?  Am I nothing more than a painful memory?  Am I the closet she has to keep closed?  On the phone she told me to forget about her.  She said her life was complicated and we would never meet.  Why do I still believe in maybe?  Why do I still have hope?  Am I the 13 year old inside still learning about the emotions of adoption?

Adoption to me is a bit like a roller coaster ride in a big world fish bowl.  Sometimes up, sometimes down, thrilling, scary and unpredictable, yet, just maybe, I’m related to the next person who walks into my life…

Minnesota Anonymous, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Lisa Floyd

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            Lisa Floyd 

BIO:  Lisa Floyd grew up in a closed adoption wondering who she was and where she came from. It took many years for her adoption fog to emerge after which she decided to search for and eventually reunite with both sides of her birth families. It is only in finding her birth families and what occurred in the beginning days of her life that she has found her identity and her voice. She is passionate about adoptee rights and plans on becoming an attachment and trauma therapist to help her fellow adoptees find their authentic selves and meaningful, purpose-filled lives. She is also a contributing writer in the adoption anthologies Adoption Therapy: Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues and The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? 

Hope in the Pain of Rejection

I am adopted and came to my family when I was nine days old. I was raised in a very loving and caring home, but I felt unwanted since my birth mother had relinquished me. I felt that there must have been something terribly wrong with me for her to have left me. In my child’s mind, I blamed myself for her leaving, and I decided I was not lovable or worthy of anything good. I felt like I belonged nowhere and that people could not be trusted. I did not trust love, because love equaled abandonment, and I wanted no part of it. I withdrew inside of myself and decided that I would only depend on myself. I loved my parents but I did not allow myself to get close to them. For many years I had a pervasive sense of sadness and loneliness inside, but I did not know why.

I had thought about my birth family throughout the years, but I did not decide to search for them until I turned forty. I was starting to awaken to the fact that I had serious post-adoption issues, and I wanted to find out why I had been given up. I hired a confidential intermediary to attempt to make contact with my birth mother, but she refused contact which devastated me. Her rejection sent me into a wave of anguish and grief unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I was finally grieving the loss of my birth mother which had been repressed for many years. I came to understand that I had lost my other half. I may have been an infant when the loss occurred, but I grew inside her womb for nine months and instinctively knew that she was gone.

I did locate my maternal birth family a couple of years ago, but I found rejection once again. I reached out to my four siblings, but three of them refused contact. I had a brief relationship with one of my brothers, but he was not able to handle it, so it did not last. My birth mother died last year refusing to ever meet me, and my other brother, who I never met, died in March of this year. Those rejections hurt me deeply, and I had to grieve those losses. I had to make it through the bad to get to the good. It was not easy, but God helped me survive.

I realize through all the heartache and pain that God has been by my side every step of the way. I am stronger for all I have been through, and I feel like I am a person with more depth and beauty. I realize their rejection of me has nothing to do with me and is about their unwillingness to look back at a time that they would rather forget. My door and heart remain open to them should they ever decide they want a relationship, but it will be up to them to make contact. I will never regret finding them as I found myself which is the best gift of all. I have developed a wonderful relationship with my birth father’s brother and his wife, and they are incredible blessings in my life. My parents have been very supportive of my reunion with my birth families, and we are much closer now. I do not know where I would be without them.

God has completely transformed my life, and I have developed a very close relationship with Him. I am studying to become a trauma and attachment therapist to help my fellow adoptees heal from their wounds of relinquishment. I have taken my deepest pain and turned it into my passion, and I believe God will do great things through me. I am His willing instrument, and I love Him.

Lisa Floyd, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted-Prema Suma

PremaSumaBIO: Prema Suma is an adoptee from Mumbai, India and currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She currently is completing her paralegal studies certificate. She holds a Bachelors degree in Justice Studies and as published an article about her adoption experience in a peer reviewed journal.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

I am 27 years old and was adopted by a same race Indian family at the age of 6.5 months from Mumbai, India. I arrived in the United States when I was 8 months old. According to the written records, my mother was 19 years old and had studied up to the 10th grade. My mother and father were engaged to get married and had known each other for two years. My father was unaware that my mother conceived a child and he went away without telling her about his location. Unable to locate my father, my mother relinquished into the care of my adoption agency 2 days after I was born.

I spent the early few months of my life first in a children’s hospital and then into the care of my foster mom. At two days old, I was transferred to a children’s hospital and was diagnosed with Septicemia. Records indicated that I had a high temperature and had febrile convulsions. I am not sure if I could have survived, but I am happy that I did.

In December 2011, I traveled back to India to learn about my narrative. I was able to meet my foster mother who cared for me until the time my adoption was finalized. I was able to meet the social worker who did my adoption paperwork, which was also very special. Although I am not reunited with my mother, I have such a deeper understanding of the Indian culture and I have the ability to understand why she decided to relinquish me for adoption. Her love and strength will always be with me.

I feel that we are handed certain cards in life. These cards were given to us because I feel that some higher Source knows that we can handle the challenges that life throws us. Adoption is just one of my life cards, a situation in which I had no control over. Although there is nothing I could do about the circumstances of my adoption, I realized that I now have choices and have options. I choose to live my life with love and positivity. My given name at birth is Suma, which means flower and my adoptive name is Prema, which means love. I feel that I am a flower that blooms with love.

Prema Suma, Adult Adoptee