How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Shane Blackwell

Shane BlackwellBIO: I was adopted at 3 weeks old.  When I turned 23months old my a-mother gave birth to twin girls.

My adoptive parents believed that adoptees were “blank slates” and that I would/should “fit in”.  I wasn’t and I didn’t.  My personality and emotions are SO much like my birth mothers, and nothing like my adoptive family.  When I wouldn’t conform, I was ridiculed, punished and ostracised.  Despite my twin sister’s going to school every day and coming home every afternoon, I was sent to boarding school 5 minutes from home as a border ostensibly “to toughen me up”.  At 16y/o I was forced to sign a veto document so my birth mother couldn’t contact me.

In 2012 my son was diagnosed and treated for brain cancer, my ex wife had an affair and my marriage crumbled.  My a-parents still blame us for both.

In April 2016 I found my birth mother with the help of JigSaw Queensland, and we finally reunited on 3rd May 2016.  We have been in constant daily communication ever since.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

What adoption did to me…

Ever look at a complete stranger and wonder who they are?

What makes you come to a conclusion of acceptances or rejection in what seems a microsecond. How do you read people? Is it their appearance, what they are wearing, or the look of their face?

Maybe it’s deeper than that.

What do you see when you look across the room? Can you see the sadness or the spark in someone’s eyes, the sorrow or happiness in their heart? Maybe it’s the weakness in their posture or the way they hold themselves. Are they sitting alone or in a group?

More importantly what do you do next? Do you ignore them? Or interact with them?

What could you learn from them? What life lesson have shaped them and what have they learnt from their experiences?

I see a man that loves, yet his heart is broken. I see a man that feels, yet his body is stiff. His eyes are dry, yet his soul weeps.

Do you see me?

Do you know how I feel?

I’ve been broken, blank, flat, depleted, confused, beaten, and numb. I’m struggling to come to terms with what has happened to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my adopted family, and I appreciate everything they have done for me. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if it wasn’t for them, but somehow we’ve lost our way.

The torment and primal wounding of adoption and losing the connection to my birth mother haunted me.

Being a highly sensitive introvert that was ostracized and bullied by peers in youth & in boarding school to the extent of developing a severe stutter.

Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual processing disorder, accompanied by dyslexia, resulting in poor curricular performance in school, including failing art.

A poor career decision to leave a great job which lead to employment in narcissistic workplaces which left me with severe depression.

My son was diagnosed with a brain tumour which has left him with lifelong disabilities and personal challenges.

Broken marriage, after my wife ran off with another man, lost my house and the majority of contact with my 2 kids.

Having to deal with a psychologically controlling, invasive matriarchal, somewhat narcissistic adoptive mother who demanded me to stop seeing my new partner at this age. I was 42. They also repeatedly overstep and disregard boundaries demanded by myself in regards to my parenting requirements and them accessing my son. This recently lead to a mass falling out and disownment from the family.

Adoption: As an adoptee I have suffered grief over the loss of a relationship with my birth parents. I have repeatedly dealt with abandonment issues in just about all my relationships. I struggled with self-esteem and identity development.

When I was adopted my adoptive parents were given the impression that we were blank slates and that adopted families weren’t any different from any other family. That’s just not true. We were supposed to fit in and mould to their world, their heritage, and be just like them. They were misinformed by people and organisations who knew better, there for they were unequipped. Even if the most empathetic understanding family adopted me, it’s too much of an obstacle and physiological trauma was inevitable.

Blind to my special needs as an adopted child, intimacy and closeness was what I craved, but due to the lack of professional screening processes, it was pot luck as to what family I landed in. My adoptive mother controlled my relationships and used food and financial support to trigger my guilt to keep her happy. She used this to her advantage without considering my true needs. I was not permitted to search for my birth family, I was forced to sign a veto on my 16th birthday, stopping my birth family from contacting me.

She intentionally amplified and used my weakness against me. I was so eager to please. I was not in a position to, and/or didn’t have the skills and understanding to stand up for what we believed in as our own family. Eventually that splinter turned into a wedge and the relationship with my ex wife collapsed.

Cancer: During my younger years I was quite naive about what cancer was and how many people are affected.

I had been quite lucky that an impromptu skin check in 2009 found a stage 1 malignant melanoma just above my shoulder blades.

In December 2011 my 13 year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumour. My then wife and I took him to the doctor multiple times after he started bumping into things and become very vague and losing interest in things he had previously loved doing. Over nearly a 12 month period we were repeatedly told from numerous people he was fine and it was just puberty and hormones kicking in. They were wrong. My adoptive family now blame us for him getting cancer.

He had a 3 cm tumour blocking the flow of fluid around the brain and spinal column, causing pressure to build up on his brain. He also had a smaller one on his pituitary gland. The 2 malignant Germinomas were treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy successfully and he is now in remission, however he was left with considerable lifelong challenges and health issues.

Severe short term memory and brain development problems. Minor muscular atrophy on the left side of his body affecting his dexterity and movement. Severe anxiety to the point where he overthinks, clicks his fingers and repeatedly talks to himself. Diabetes Insipidus a condition that dilutes urine and seriously affects the brain’s chemistry. Ongoing hormone regulation issues from having basically no pituitary gland. Pronation distortion syndrome, a severe distortion of the legs and knee joints after hormone treatment. Puberty and growth problems.

In 2013 I found another stage 1 malignant melanoma on the inside of my left thigh above the knee.

In 2014 my adoptive mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Just like adoption, I was never given an opportunity, support or the space to deal with how cancer had affected my life and the people around me. It was as though I didn’t exist, my feelings didn’t matter and my opinions didn’t count. Like adoption, I was forced from people who should have loved me to continue my life as though nothing was wrong.

Work: After school I had no idea what I was going to do. I ended up working for my adoptive father for 8 or 9 years. He owned petrol stations and moved into bulk fuel distribution. After he retired my sister and I started a petrol station together. I only lasted another 3 years when I found my call to be a graphic designer. I was then fortunate enough to be asked back to the college where I studied, to teach part time at nights. After 12 months the position became full time. The college was in a state of transition of ownership when after 6 years my contract came up for renewal. At this stage I had been an unofficial program manager for close to 3 years. The position never came so I moved on.

I took part time and full time jobs over the next 3 years with some good but mostly bad employers with questionable ethics. I then slid into depression. Little did I know that teaching had become a greater part of my life than I realised and I missed it dearly. I had become so depressed that I had started to talk erratically to myself just to get through the day. In early November 2012 they must have seen or heard me in a moment of distress, but instead of helping me they walked me to the gate and told me never to come back. 4 weeks later we’d received the diagnosis of my son’s brain tumour.

I finally got my career back on track in the following March as a lecturer, and moved from one college to the next through corporate takeovers etc. Then the business owners who I was working for embezzled 20 million dollars of government funded money, including wages and entitlements owed to me and many others.

I now work for a national directory company assisting with marketing via web and print.

Self doubt has always lingering…. For years I have struggled, looking for external validation, looking to understand who I am and justify my life experiences.

The Validation didn’t come so I started looking within, I started not to care of what others thought of me, I could only validate myself, I finally realised that no one else could do that for me.

I started questioning everything I believed in, I was shaken to the core. I looked deep within my soul and I chose to believe in myself. I realised I was not the person I once was, and I was no longer the person others perceived me to be. I’ve started to strip away everything and everyone that have been holding me back.

Disownment

Again I’ve been broken, my chest is collapsing on my heart, metaphysical pain has been polluting my body for as long as I can remember. Every day is a challenge every step is a mountain and my tears are the rivers.

I must ensure I am in alignment with my true self and not take on the negativity and will of other people, not only me but for the people around me, my work, my friends, my partner and children and those who still love me unconditionally.

Being a highly sensitive person I’ve longed to be understood and valued for who I am. With a combination of masculinity with deep empathy, and commitment to Truth. I can provide a great source of comfort and healing for anyone who is willing to receive it.

I believe the Highly Sensitive person’s time is coming where his hidden attributes will be called for in our society. They will be the new and sought out leaders.

People are tired of the shallow, game playing, egotistical interactions that have become the norm.

We can spot deception from a mile.

The cheap interactions with narcissistic personalities we tend to attract are just getting very predictable. Many of us have evolved from those demeaning relationships including myself.

Too many have also wrongly associated masculinity with being controlled, demeaned and disrespected.

But these old paradigm beliefs from the previous millennium, are now quickly dissipating.

They are being replaced with a more balanced and empowering perspective of what masculinity truly is.

I applaud all those Highly Sensitive people who are embracing their gifts and becoming outstanding beacons of Light.

I hope it’s not too late.

I hope I can save myself.

With the help of the right people in my life I am beginning to understand my true self and reconnect with the sensitive child within me. Little by little, each breath is finding new strength, a new purpose, to reclaim the identity that was once mine, then taken from me and be happy for who I am.

It’s my time to assertively step up, and shine.

Shane Blackwell

Adult Adoptee

Please take a moment to check out some of Shane’s articles and be sure to follow his blog:

Thoughtless Delineation

“Seven” is no longer my lucky number

Adoptiopn is a psychological barrier

The cloak in the mirror

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How Does it Feel To Be Adopted? – Rosa

bosch_birdBIO: I’m an artist and writer who makes ends meet by translating. This is the first time I’ve ‘gone public’ with my adoptee experiences – and it’s soooo liberating!  If I can pluck up the courage, I’d like to write a non-fiction project on adoption and adoptee experiences. I’m lucky to have a fantastic husband and sons who aren’t freaked out by my me-ness and stick by me always.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

This is so hard to write.

I’ve made so many attempts but none of them rang true. They sounded too melodramatic or victim-y and I don’t want to be a victim or come across as angry and full of rage. I am those things but I’m more than that. I’m someone who’s trying to build a life, inventing herself bit by bit, day by day.

Making it up as I go along.

I was born in a mother and baby home in London in the sixties. When I was four weeks old, my birth mother left the country, and left me behind. Two weeks later, I was adopted. My adoptive parents brought me up in the north of England.

I always knew I was adopted, which never bothered me – in fact, I think it made me feel special. My adoptive sister, three years younger, always said that she came out of mummy’s tummy. I knew that I hadn’t, and somehow that was a relief.

My sister and I didn’t have what could remotely be described as a happy childhood. Our adoptive mother was tyrannical, emotionally abusive and loveless – she was probably what the psychology textbooks would these days describe as a narcissistic personality. She dominated our adoptive father, too. They were unable to have children – she couldn’t conceive. They waited eight years to adopt, and went through countless screenings and rounds of interviews intended to make sure they’d be good parents. I suppose, looking back, that their expectations were high – they thought of me and my sister as clay they could mould.

They didn’t want us to grow into whoever we were meant to be.

We weren’t allowed to be true ourselves.

They didn’t want us for who we were.

I grew up feeling very, very anxious. I was aware when I was very young of tensions in our family. I think I even knew, very dimly, that our adoptive parents felt that my adoptive sister and I were disappointments, each in our very different ways.

I was afraid of my mother.

Our home life worsened as we grew older. I won’t get into specifics, there’s no point. My adoptive sister and I weren’t close when we were kids. I loved reading and hid in my room with my books. She escaped by spending time with her friends. When I was nine, I counted the years until I’d be old enough to leave home, and panicked – how would I survive?

I wanted to die.

I felt I was living the wrong life, in the wrong place, with the wrong people. I wanted a different life, but didn’t know what that life would be like, or how to get it. I felt helpless. Excluded. Crazy. I did a lot of negative stuff, mostly to myself. Life was bleak. I didn’t see a positive way out.

Life with my adoptive mother became impossible. One day, I found myself alone in the kitchen with her. We were screaming at each other. There was a bread knife in my hand. After that, I didn’t trust myself around her, and left home. I was seventeen.

For years, I used my anger and frustration and rage as fuel. It helped me survive, and gave me the strength not to give in to the blackness that had been dogging me all of my life. I had my first son, raised him alone until he was five, then remarried and had my second boy. The blackness has never been far away. I have to fight hard to keep it from sucking me down. But, over the years, the battle got easier. When my youngest son was born, I started working from home and that was good – I had my family and our little apartment.

I had my world.

It was at this point, as my life became more stable and structured, that I decided to find my birth parents. I’d always known their names – they were on forms I had from the adoption agency. Of course, as a child I’d always wondered about who they were, and fantasised about how my life could have been if I’d stayed with my biological family, but back then, there was so much red tape that searching for them was too difficult. But times changed and by the mid-nineties, finding people had become a lot simpler. The search took some time (neither of my birth parents are British nationals), but I found them both, with the help of a family finder, and the Salvation Army. The search was filled with joy and excitement and trepidation. In order to get hold of my adoption records I’d had to see a therapist, and we’d talked about finding my parents.

But nothing prepared me for what was to come.

I won’t go into details because I can’t – it’s too confrontational and I don’t think I’ve come to terms with what happened yet. Finding my birth parents taught me so much. It made me realise that much of the self-sabotage and self-loathing – what I call ‘the blackness’ – wasn’t something that slowly evolved as I grew up. It had been a part of me from the beginning – from birth – maybe even before.

My adoptive mother always said I was a ‘good’ baby. I never cried. Now, I know that I didn’t cry because I knew there was no point in crying: no one would hear or if they did, they wouldn’t come. I discovered that my birth mother could have kept me – an old boyfriend was still in love with her and wanted to marry her and raise me as his own. But that wasn’t what she chose. I have a photograph somewhere of my birth mother holding me. I’m probably three or four weeks old, and I’m staring into her face while she holds me, at arm’s length, as though I’m something alien and vaguely distasteful. What struck me most is my expression – I look as though I’m pleading with her not to leave me.

When I did finally meet my birth mother, there wasn’t much of a happy reunion. Though she may not have been aware of it, I think my mother agreed to be in touch with me in the hope that I’d help her re-establish contact with my father. Which is, in fact, what she asked me to do. My mother didn’t seem to connect with me, the person, the woman. I felt that I didn’t really exist to her except, perhaps, as a means to an end – seeing my father.

I think now that the blackness I carry about with me comes from my mother, or partly at least. It was her gift. She shared a piece of her own shadow with me. Sitting next to her the first time, I was overwhelmed by a feeling, welling up deep inside – a nausea, almost verging on a kind of horror, that I’d once been inside that woman’s body. And this is the point – when I think about her – that things get really, really bad for me, and I have to shut those thoughts away.

So far, I have managed to survive. And I’ve done more than survive – I’ve had many times when I’ve felt really and truly alive. But many times when I felt I was existing and not much else.

My adoptive parents died recently. Now that they’re gone, things have changed. I’ve changed – not hugely, but I feel I’m able to define my boundaries better. Part of that means deciding I am a person with no parents. I haven’t seen my birth parents for years and don’t intend to for the foreseeable future. Growing up, I craved a sense of belonging.

I wanted love.

Roots.

A heritage.

But I can’t find those things in other people. I am who I am and I need to accept that – to accept that I am enough.

I still don’t understand life or my role in it. I have no faith in the world. I feel as though a vile and cruel joke has been played on me. But I don’t want to be a victim. I don’t want adoption and everything that goes with it, to define my life.

Through forums and sites, I’ve come to realise that I probably have C-PTSD. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Is it a relief because I’ve found a ‘diagnosis’? Or simply another terrible burden or way to recast myself as a victim? Every time I dig into stuff relating to adoption, I unearth yet another ‘surprise’.

What else is hiding?

I try to keep digging, keep pushing forward. Maybe one day I’ll drag the blackness out into the light and it watch it burn to nothing in the sun. But I don’t think so. I know that I’ve come a long way. But the blackness is still here, probably for good. I try to accept it. It’s real, it won’t go away. I’ve managed to get this far. I’ve survived. And every day, I’m learning to survive better.

By Rosa

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Iris Nova

Nellie

BIO

Age: 31

Adoptive family: My mother, older brother, sister-in-law and a niece. (Dad and eldest brother passed away)

Profession: A journalist

Hobbies: Writing, apart from work; making craft items, usually recycled stuff and playing badminton.

Daily Routine: Wake up, wash, clean, look for stories, go to work, go home, sleep and repeat. Occasionally spend some time with friends

Personality: Keeps changing according to the environment and people I am around. I am loud and look like a horse showing all its teeth when I laugh and I like everyone, if not love, because hate is too strong an emotion.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

I’ll start with what adoption feels like.

It feels like an invisible boulder on your chest. The world looks at you with pity in their eyes when you tell them your adoption story, and you detest those pitiful glances; or maybe like the sympathies people offer because it’s comforting. It is confusing at times –are we even normal for all the complexities it brings, or are we all unique in our own ways because despite the odds, we survived? We survived an unwanted pregnancy, or maybe the unrequited love of those who gave us life.

It is never easy to answer how being adopted feels when we are still confused about our own feelings. ‘I hate my birth mom’, ‘I hate my birth father’, ‘I hate my adoptive parents’, could easily be ‘I love my birth parents and my adoptive parents’.

Everyone’s story of adoption is unique and I will never truly understand the emotions of another adoptee, and they will never truly understand mine because there are so many facets to one similar incident in all of our lives, but we are all connected by that single thread of a word –adoption.

So, here goes my story. Bear with me please.

It was a bright, sunny day in high school. My best friend and I were enjoying recess with other friends. This man comes up behind me and hands me a letter. Says that he had come by to my school several times, but failed to meet me personally since he was told to hand over the letter only to me and no one else.

My best friend and I rush to a corner wondering who sent it. The envelope is marked ‘from your biological father’. For a minute I forget what biological means. Why is my father sending me a letter at school when we are in the same house?

Into the first few paragraphs of the letter and my world comes crashing down. It was one of those moments where you feel like the world is spinning too fast and you have lost control of your mind and body.

I read only one page of the letter and I was already sobbing terribly. There was another man claiming I was his biological daughter. I don’t know why I never read the entire letter at that time, but as an adult now, I know that I didn’t want to learn the truth any further. I only remember one line from the letter I read about 15 years ago, ‘Your mother and I met when we were in college’. And I don’t know where the letter is now.

I tell my bff that we have to rush home right now and inform my parents. We skip school and sneak out. I cry all the way home and see my father sitting in the sun and reading the paper. Sobbing, I hold onto him and show him the letter. I hold onto him so tight, like someone would steal me away from him if I didn’t. He reads the letter and tries to calm me down, and hands it to my mother.

Mom immediately calls up my birth mom’s husband (she married someone else) and starts shouting at him for what his wife and her past lover had done. I heard her and I knew it was the truth. My friend leaves after a while.

By noon, my extended family arrives and they call me out of my room. They try to convince me with the lie that the man who wrote the letter is senile. He’s just playing a cruel joke, and more lies. Since they did not want to tell me the truth, I accepted the lie without any further questions.

I soon understood that the aunt who had come to visit a few weeks earlier was my birth mom. She’s my mom’s cousin. I had met her for the first time in all my 16 years of existence. It was weird to be showered with so much love from a first time visitor and she scared me with her actions -always too touchy feely and loading me with gifts.

During her stay with us, she tried to introduce me to a man. Said ‘someone wants to meet you’, but I don’t know why I said I did not want to meet him. He was just outside our gate beside a red car (I would later find out that he was my birth father).  I thought I was getting kidnapped. That’s what TV shows and articles in magazines had me believing – the ones closest to you try to harm you. In some ways, it was true at that time.

When my birth father failed to meet me that day, he sent me that letter to explain what happened between him and my birth mom.

I was never the same after that day. I cried alone in my room and came out like nothing had happened. My family acted like nothing had happened. Dad was his usual self and as usual handing me chores to do. I feel bad thinking about it, but at that time I felt that they probably wanted a maid and not a child to care for. How wrong I was. They gave me more than I could ever imagine and a million thanks would not suffice.

But things got better since I had my finals coming. I went into study mode but the incident kept haunting me so often that it was difficult concentrating. Then there was college to look forward to, but I still carried the weight of that incident; not knowing what actually happened between my birth parents that lead to my adoption.

I hated my birth father for abandoning my birth mom and me. I was grateful to my birth mom for handing me over to a loving family. My adoptive (I hate that word) parents already had two boys so I was their little angel.

Fast forward to a few years ahead. I did not let the past affect my present, or so I thought. I started dating this really nice guy around the year 2014-15. We had plans of getting married. Then comes the shocker that he’s my first cousin. My birth father had found out and told his entire family of what happened.

I went into full depression and paranoia for about 5-6 months. Every glance by a stranger had me feeling that my birth father probably is getting information from him, from her, from that person across the street, from that lady standing beside me in a shop.

Everyone who knew my story had told me that I needed to forget the past, and I did try, but the past came haunting me on its own. And I hated my birth father even more. I had always told myself that one cannot hate anyone. It’s too strong an emotion, but I hated my birth father…for the consequences his actions had brought to my life.

A few months earlier, I broke up again with another boyfriend. And I was devastated. I felt unloved. I felt that if my birth parents did not want me then why would anyone else, how could anyone else?

The thought of being abandoned and of being constantly being in the wrong relationship wanted me to end my life. It wasn’t worth living any longer. I decided I would hang myself in my rented apartment (I live alone). But maybe I didn’t want to die, I probably wanted someone to listen and learn that I was hurting terribly.

So instead of just doing it, I texted a few people I felt I had wronged. Some texted back asking what was wrong and I told them a few things.  One of my oldest guy friends was one of them. He sensed that I was acting weird and called and I didn’t pick up. He texted asking me to pick up the phone or he’d come and break down the door if that’s what he had to do. We spoke on the phone for an hour or so and I went off to sleep.

But the next day didn’t have me feeling any better and I thought enough of acting I was suicidal and not acting on it. So I went on a pill search. Since the pharmacists don’t give too many of those pills, I had to hop from one store to the other to get at least a strip worth of pills and 3 bottles of cough syrup to down the pills with, along with a bottle of vodka to make it work better.

After work (I work the late night shift), I headed home and downed everything that could go inside me and tried not to puke it out. I had already written a suicide note earlier in the day and went back to writing it. Before that, I texted that friend for the last time that I was tired of acting suicidal to gain sympathy from everyone and switched off my phone. I scribbled on my letter pad for some time. My hands stopped scribbling and my head slowly fell on the table.

Just then, my friend came with other friends and rang on the bell madly. I pushed myself to open the door and fell down on the bed I had made in the living area.

My friends started shouting at me, at times trying to calm me. But everything was a blur and I couldn’t hear a thing they were saying. I was hallucinating at the same time –seeing people who weren’t there; not seeing those who actually were.

They tried to take me to the hospital, but suicide is illegal here and I didn’t know what they would say to the doctors, so I only remember saying ‘I don’t think I took enough pills to kill myself’, and blacked out.

The next morning more friends came, and my entire body started to ache. I had survived the night but I was still extremely sleepy from all the meds and aching all over. My friends massaged me till I went off to sleep.

Everyone asked me why I did what I did, and I couldn’t tell about the affair because it was a secret but that day I realised it wasn’t the affair gone wrong that was bothering me, it was the abandonment by my birth parents.

Soon met a psychiatrist and cried my heart out when I told him everything. And for the first time, I consciously knew that it was my adoption that had troubled me for years.  Every single time something went wrong in my life, I would go back to my adoption thoughts. I knew I had to face my fears or go down that suicide road again.

So I mustered up the courage to learn about myself and reached out to my youngest half-sister. She told me what she knew through her dad. I wasn’t a secret in their house.

She told me that their father was already married with two kids when he had an affair with my birth mom. My birth mom was from another town and when she got pregnant she left for home for reasons the kids do not know well.

When my birth father learnt that I was born, he went to bring me back (I don’t know whether he went to bring my birth mom or not). My maternal grandfather placed a condition –He had to choose between his first family or my mom and me. I understand he couldn’t abandon his first family either, and there would be so much more confusion if he had kept both of them. (Polygamy is not taboo or illegal in this part of our country according to traditional laws, but times have changed and people practise it less now).

So after a few days of trying, he left and I was given away to my adoptive family in secret. My birth father never knew where I was till my birth mother came to meet me and contacted him–that was the time when I first learnt that I was adopted.

So, a few days of chatting and I decided I wanted to meet my youngest half-sister. We met while my best friend (who was there with me when I received the letter) and I were headed for a wedding. It was a short visit, and all my nerves were jittery. I thought I’d cry, but formalities took over. She was nervous too and she said it was like going on a first date. That made me smile a bit because I was super nervous. The eldest half-sister (older than me) was out of town and she had told her sister to show the pictures she has of me in her old college photo album.

I got emotional again. I wondered how they could accept me and love me when I was a reflection of their father’s faults, that I was the result of their father cheating on their mother. But I suppose they were old enough to understand that it wasn’t my fault. That I didn’t ask their dad and my birth mom to get together to have me.

To sum up the long story, I was finally at peace knowing that he came for me. That I wasn’t completely abandoned. I was at peace that the family accepted me. Not that I would go and stay with them, but rejection would’ve surely felt worse.

I still haven’t told my mom (adoptive) that I am in touch with two of my half-sisters, who have been very loving towards me. I have plans of reaching out to my birth father someday, but I am not sure about my birth mom because she has been hiding it from her children and I don’t want to create chaos in their lives.

I was received well by my half-sisters and they tell me that their mom reads my articles and tells them that I wrote something today. She too was ready to accept me, and she had even knitted a sweater for me when her husband and my birth father had gone to bring me.

Things have been going fine for the moment and I am in a better place than I was a few months ago. I am on medication for my anxiety and depression, but the doctor has seen me improve and is trying to take me off the medication slowly.

To all the adoptees in the world, life can be cruel to everyone, including non-adoptees, but the emotional trauma we suffered or are suffering can only be felt by us and no one else. I had a positive response from my half-sisters on my father’s side, but there is no guarantee that I would get the same response from my mother’s side. So I am taking life one step at a time and trying to face my fears instead of the fear feeding off of me.

I never wanted to know about my birth parents because I felt betrayed, but not knowing only ate me up from the inside. I would suggest that everyone make an attempt to reach out. If you are turned away, know that everyone has their reasons, like you do. There is nothing wrong in not wanting to raise the demons of the past, but it’s a loss for everyone involved if neither of you want to face your demons.

Iris Nova

Adult Adoptee

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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

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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? – Lesley Halliday

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BIO: I`m from the far north of England where I was raised , my adopters emigrated to Australia when I was a teen . I`m raising my  15 year old daughter here on the coast of Western Australia.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

Monday 12th December 2016 … 

Its been 13 days since I was given access to my adoption records .. The window of space in between then and now has seemed a time continuum , I`ve barely recognised the passing days overlapping into one another. I stopped noticing my beautiful garden , I didn`t even hear the lovely bird song nature brings . I`ve been deaf & dumb & blind to things .  Like a tea bag left inside a cup of stagnant water , I was Steeped into an anguish , panic , grief and a terrible Rage building towards a brutal , narcissistic machine that is Society.

I was born , adopted and raised in the far north or England in the 1960`s , my adoption

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My Daughter Katie & I.

records were sent from the U.K to a nominated adoption agency here in Perth , Western Australia , ( where I`m raising my beautiful 15 year old daughter Katie )  I`ve had my original birth certificate for years but never knew there were adoption records , at 48 years of age its been a revelation.

I saw my Mothers tiny , sweet handwriting for the first time and to me , it was tangible , I felt like an Addict just before I looked . I was really needing the Respite and Relief and Comfort of a Hit and seeing my Mothers handwriting and reading her words felt akin to Connection and temporary Relief.

In my life , the term `Birth Mother` has never applied to my own Mother . Its never felt a true term to represent or describe her . She is my full , beautiful Mother . From the age of about 6 years I`d feel a sense panic rising from time to time , a feeling of dread would seep into my consciousness , I knew my Mother was desperately unhappy and I knew she needed me and i`d feel shocked by the feelings and eventually they`d ebb away until next time.

In those moments of childhood awareness , I needed my Mother and I swallowed the need until it passed . I wanted to Protect her . I wanted her to collapse into my chest and i`d visualize it happening , she`d come to me and fall into me and we`d dissolve into each other.

The term `Birth Mother` is a Detached little bauble of a phrase which hangs alongside all the other pretty baubles of Untruth in decorating this essential Tree of Life .. until its branches are masked & weighed downwards beneath such Shiny Little Lies

The Mother is thrown away like a Christmas tree after its been Cut and used then discarded.

I used an adoption service to search for my mother , I provided researchers with letters and documents which had my Mothers name and her previous address and the name of her home town and my birth year Splashed all over them and .. Eventually they did find a Lesley Halliday . The researcher had typed the birth year of 1967 into her search bar and sure enough a Lesley Halliday was born that year to a Wendy Halliday , ( my Mothers name ) and the researcher decided that this Lesley Halliday was Me .

But I was born in 1968

The researcher found lots of information about this 1967 Lesley and while she was writing to the Mother of this Lesley and awaiting a reply … My own Mother died

I could not reach my Mother in time

My Mother died in unusual circumstances which remain an mystery , she was found 3 days after her death on her kitchen floor by a neighbor . She`d suffered two brain hemorrhages , one was specific to a blow to the back of the head , an inquest into her death was opened then closed unresolved.

After i`d brought home my adoption records , I was digesting it all , I wasen`t in a good state but at the same time I joined a search group on Facebook . My fathers name had been noted in my records , I know he would be 80 years old by now  . If he is alive I needed to find him

Rewind to the past :

Its noted in my adoption records that my adopters already had two sons and they wished to adopt for ideological reasons being that ; it was more ethical  to take an existing child rather than make a new one

Truth is my adopters had children and didn`t actually Need an extra one . They Didn`t Need me . My Mother Needed me and I Needed her

My adoptive family were academics , intellectuals and logical , free thinking people . I Spent my childhood feeling like a fish out of water . One of my adopters barely tolerated my presence and wasen`t shy in letting me know this . This adopter wanted me to leave and live with someone else when I was about 9 years old I think , but my other adopter was compassionate to me , I stayed living with them until I ran away when I was 16

I have very few memories of childhood , it was depressive , I was unhappy and displaced.

Neither of my adopters told me they loved me , they didn`t love me and I didn`t love them but I did value the compassion one of my adopters gave me . In saying this , I wish the adopter didn`t feel sorry for me because this adopter didn`t feel sorry for their biological children .. receiving the compassion made me kind`ve stand out to a degree as if I was different and .. I was always treated differently by both adopters

Amongst their family dynamics I became the perfect and most obvious little black sheep to pick as I was unhappy and when one becomes this , there is little scope for the family members to later alter their perception or view of me despite my growing into an adult , ( as slow and as stunted as that process was )

My adopters never introduced me to my Indian heritage , I grew up fearing Indians because they look like me . But my adopters family were lily white , I stood out when I wanted to hide or at least not stand out so much

Back to the present ;

So I joined a Facebook search group to begin looking for my father and from there someone told me there`s another group dedicated to my mothers home town .. I joined.

I wrote a post describing my mother , I noted her old address and asked if anyone remembered or knew her . Many people did know her . They immediately commented that they did and knew my Grandparents too and as soon as I thanked them and asked questions … the thread came to a grinding halt . It was as if people suddenly realized they could be breaching relationships and ties if they disclosed too much information . They scurried away and drew their curtains.

But all people described my mother as being .. Very attractive & beautiful , quietly spoken , intelligent , timid and .. mentally unstable.

A few people did message me privately . Three people told me everything they knew and I fell apart.

Rewind to the past ;

My father was a 32 year old Indian Doctor in my birth year of 1968 . He`d studied Medicine at a University in France then became a Registrar in an English Hospital near my mothers home town . Her town is described as a mining village , it was small and isolated in the 1960`s . My mother was a student nurse in another hospital and my parents had met at a friend’s party.

There was a fairly grim view of Interracial relationships in my mothers era and especially amongst her village folk . My parents fell in love . They conducted their romance away from her village . They discussed marriage and at one point my mother approached her father about the possibility of it .. He was a very strict man and was dead against marriage owing to my fathers nationality , ( this is noted by my mother in adoption records )

My fathers parents may or may not have guessed he was seeing an English girl but as my parents romance unfolded , my fathers parents decided the time for my his Arranged Marriage had come . My father left the country , he was sent abroad to marry someone else , my parents romance was doomed

Soon after his departure , my mother discovered her pregnancy , she was devastated over losing my father and then .. She realised she was carrying their baby x

But she knew there were difficulties ahead .. At some point during her pregnancy my mother was sent to a Mother & Baby Home in the South of England

I`ve since researched the mother & baby home . It was a rather grand and beautiful Victorian mansion , with outer stables and other smaller but exquisite stone houses for kitchen & grounds staff , it was set on a large , leafy property in Northampton . A woman named Lady Susan Glover  of petty gentry owned the Mother & Baby home , she was a millionairess who ran the home as a Profitable Business . Lady Susan had pregnant girls working at her other country and city residences . Each  girl either had to pay upfront for every meal and night stayed at the home or earn their keep by doing chores and working many hours per week . Lady Susan also happened to be the Chairwoman of the National Adoption Society which was obviously a conflict of interest but no doubt a good platform to network and drum up more baby business in her favour.

Anyway , so my mother was at this home for illegitimate babies . I`ve no idea if she could pay for her stay or if she needed to work but after babies were delivered at a local maternity hospital , the mother had to then also begin paying for their babies keep and all its medical tests as well . In England , all babies across the country’s Homes were separated from their mothers when the baby was 6 weeks old . At the mother & baby home where my mother stayed , a mother Still had to leave her baby at the home if she could not afford to stay on herself and if she wasn`t well enough to earn her keep

It was a bit harder to place mixed race babies in those days . As if being a Bastard wasn`t quite enough , having a Half Blood on top of this wasn`t good news . Many mixed race babies who couldn`t be placed , ended up going home with their mothers but of course the mothers parents wouldn`t accept the baby so the mixed race baby`s went straight  into Government or private Foster care.

Adopters were found for me , an adoption day was set and I was dressed .. But my mother clung to me . she could not relinquish me.

The adoption was called off . My mother became surrounded by increasing pressure . After a couple of weeks another adoption day was set in stone

My mother relinquished me.

She then suffered a complete physiological break down.

I`ve seen a letter my mother wrote to Authorities in which she apologizes to them . She describes she felt anguished and tried to go back to work at the hospital as she was told to but had to leave as she wasn`t feeling well . And she was Sorry for Delaying signing the Final Adoption Consent Forms . In the letter she says when she feels more able to she will sign the Consent  forms.

I was gone and my mother was is a terrible state , They had stripped her of me and there she was Apologizing to these Bastards.

I`ve since written to two women who knew my mother very well , they were her neighbors for many years and they said she was so timid and wouldn`t hurt a mouse . To follow are their descriptions of my mother and in here , there is an example of how some women cannot cope with being apart from their baby ;

She was timid and nervous – she struggled with one on one conversations – She developed OCD and was afraid of germs – Her hands were red & sore from repeated hand washing , ( she later wore white gloves to hide the state of her hands ) – she didn`t  have further lovers or children as she wouldn`t or couldn`t get close to anyone – her house looked `like a bomb hit it` , her Hoarding became a disorder – she`d avoid any rare visitors at her door , she wouldn`t let workmen into her house for maintenance tasks – her dining room walls were lined with rubbish bags – She only left the house to go to the shops – she walked like a model and was well groomed – she only ate yogurt and fruit and lost a lot of weight – she never got over losing my father – The women who confided in me now Know why my mother was mentally unstable – she could not manage life – she was Lost and suffered from severe reactive depression , she was mentally unwell.

My mother had lily white skin . ( I reflect on her colours and her eyes as all of my physical features are dark ) She was a blue eyed beauty who had a promising career in nursing and she was a genteel girl ,  everyone said she was lovely

And then she was Crushed

My grief feels  intolerable ..  my sense of loss feels unbearable

I feel a strong Rage , it feels Dis-empowering because I don`t know what to do with it or where to put it and I know somehow I have to reconcile this.

Coercion is Not Consent . My mothers Human Rights were Breeched  and thwarted and Dismissed .

Manipulating , Shaming and Bullying Under Privileged women into surrendering their babies to be raised by Privileged folk is Social and Tribal  Exclusion in its most Morbid form. Adopters who assert their Perceived Needs and Desires as Priority over a child`s Primal Needs are suffering from a bizarre aspect of narcissism. Their Empathy gets lost in an effort to secure themselves as Primary Stakeholders.

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Most people involved in Stripping a  mother of her child , will say the child is `Special` or `hand picked` etc etc . Easy as chucking out a persons birth certificate , printing off a newbie , throwing in a new name and viola ! So Special ?

No . It is Not.

My mother and I were together for 71 days.

I share some of my mothers mental & social difficulties though my co-morbid aspects are not as extreme . One of my adopters was thrilled to tell me that when they fetched me at 11 weeks old they put me to bed at 7pm and sat bolt upright in their beds having slept in until 11am the next day . I was still asleep . 11 week old babies do NOT sleep for 16 hours straight. They are designed by nature to wake every 2 – 3 hours to nurse . If they didn`t wake their blood sugar levels would drop , its not safe for a baby to sleep this many hours and its unheard of . With weight gain I didn`t thrive well , I walked a bit later than most , I struggled at school and there was me and my mother , living 40 miles apart , both of us not thriving.

I`ve decided Not to find my father .

If he is alive he will be 80 years old . I would like to tell him that the girl he loved had his baby .. But I fear he`d dead and if he has an eldery wife then I`m not going to waltz into her life to tell her that her husband was actually in love with another and that I am their child . And if she is dead then I won`t approach their children , I`m letting go of my Indian heritage.

And history repeats ..

I wasn`t married when I became pregnant and my child is mixed race of Indian , Italian and English and yet I got to keep her.

So this .. is my story

Lesley Halliday

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Jennifer Shrake

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BIO: Jennifer is a former art teacher that loves children, animals and the arts. She wishes someone would write a book or make a movie about her life.  This is just a small part of her life.

 

 

 

 

 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

MY STORY:

BY Jennifer Shrake

I grew up in a unique home.  I always knew that I was adopted.  I had a younger brother that was also adopted. We both turned out to be very different. He took his own life several years ago, addiction is what he turned to, starting as early as fourth grade. The problem with both of us is that we didn’t fit in, actually no one fit in.  We were a dysfunctional family, all with mental problems. We looked good from the outside, but not inside of the walls of our home.

My mother had a vision of how I should be. A lady of class, quiet, polite, entertaining, socially known, taking care of my husband and children. She would repeat her fears over and over to me. She believed she was not smart and told me how terrified she was of school. She kept repeating things to scare me.  This is how I believe she tried to control me. I was pretty much brain washed.  We lived in a dirty house with squirrels in the attic.  She was afraid of water and did not bathe. We had seventeen cats, four dogs, turtles, fish, snake and alligator.  Both of my parents were hoarders, we had stacks of papers and junk from the floor to the ceilings, filling the basement attic and the entire house. I believe she did not want a girl baby, so I pretty much raised myself, hearing verbal abuse.  Zero bonding and love for me. I was an introvert, unloved, unwanted child that dreamed what her real family would be like.

As for my brother Jeff, she would hold and read to him every night.  She would always tell him how she loved him of course in front of me.  She loved Jeff so much. She kept repeating that she wished her father could have seen him. He was a farmer, so naturally Jeff was told he would be a good farmer and had lots of farm toys.  She was a den mother, always helped Jeff with his homework.  He would get into trouble and she would bail him out.  Who would buy their own hubcaps back from a kid for $75.00? My mother of course! She could see no wrong in him.  He would try different jobs but never be able to hold one down.  He went to different types of training and schooling. She helped them out financially, even though they filed bankruptcy twice.  On her death bed, she pleaded with me to never let Jeff lose his home or car.  Guess what? He wanted rent money from me, I told him I would think about it.  He called and I didn’t feel like answering my phone. That was the end of Jeff. He couldn’t make it without mom.

My father loved me. Unfortunately, I did not realize this when I was a child. He has been gone now about 23 years. I noticed when I looked at pictures he was always holding me, playing with me, he adored me.  I really regret that I didn’t tell him I loved him.  He would come in my bedroom and kiss me on my forehead every night. He did not know how to deal with his personal issues. He would seldom be home. If he was, he would retreat to the attic and we were told to not go up there and bother him. One time my brother and I sneaked into the attic and found inappropriate sexual material. We both realized that all of my parent’s close friends were LGBT. Back then sexuality was hidden behind the doors.  When my father turned 50, he lost his job and became afraid to drive. My mother drove him everywhere. At this point he retreated even more.  My father had no relationship with my brother. He didn’t know how to do boy things. He let my mother continue the enabling of my brother and the bullying of me.

So how did I turn out? 

I was so scared and insecure. I probably didn’t say two words in school. A neighbor boy use to beat me up. I was overweight and depressed.  I married my high school boyfriend to get out of the house. He couldn’t believe how my home life was.  He was a real faithful, two women became pregnant in our short 2 ½ year marriage. I divorced him. My mother let me know that I was a disgrace to the family, the first ever divorce and that they would not help me out financially. Guess what, I made it with very little money and only a part-time job. I paid my rent, ate on a tight budget and shopped at garage sales. Still kept wondering about my “real” family.

Shortly after my divorce, I became close friends with my neighbor a social worker, I also started going to counseling. This is when my life really changed. I realized I didn’t need anybody and could be independent, which I already had been doing my whole life. Carol helped dig me out of my depression hole. I started enjoying life, just the simple things like having a garden, making my own paintings to decorate my walls, hanging baskets from my ceiling, just living a free spirit life enjoying time with my friends and two cats.  One Halloween Carol and I went to a party, she met John and fell in love.

A few months later I met my future husband Tim. My parents met him for the first time at my brother’s wedding reception; a keg at his trailer. We had already been dating a couple of years. I wasn’t seeing my family very much.

Tim was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor.  We went to Mayo Clinic and he had brain surgery. Six weeks later we decided to get married. Three months later I became pregnant. When my son was born, my parents were back in my life. It had been a nice vacation. They both loved and adored my son.  They were good grandparents. When my mother tried to tell him her fears, I would cut her off. She kept calling my son Jeff, we kept correcting her. My son was her dream child. My goal was to raise my son to be a strong independent young man. My husband and I did a good job.

All of my adopted immediate family are deceased. Five years ago, our state allowed adoptees to get their original birth certificate.  There was a year notice before this law went into effect. I thought that November would never come. The day after it became legal, I took a personal day from school and took my papers and check to get my birth certificate. When I arrived. the lady said that it would be months before I would get it. They had been swamped with people waiting in line. I was disappointed.  I decided that I would play detective the rest of the day.

My first stop was the hospital. I had always been told I was born there. I went in and asked for my medical records. They had no record of me being born there. I was stunned!! My next step was the court house.  I had always been told that you could never get your adoption record. I filed a petition asking for my adoption file, stating it was my right.  Two weeks later I got a phone call, my file was ready to be picked up.

I was scared to death. I waited for my husband to get home from work. We sat together on our loveseat, I was shaking as I tore the envelope. I had a different name, my name was Mary Schwab. My birth mother’s name was listed. I had never thought about the possibility of me having a different name.  I was shocked. Most of the information regarding the adoption had been xxxx out. I was still extremely excited about the facts I had found out about myself.

Back to the hospital I returned with a different name. Yes, they had my records! The town from where my birth mother was from was listed on my medical records. She had driven herself from a small town that was about 40 miles where I live.  I got in the car and drove to the small-town library. Immediately I found her in the yearbook and telephone book.  She was so beautiful. No more fantasy, I had discovered who my birth mother was. More investigating to do…..

My next step in detective work was the internet.  I started looking up her name.  I found her brother’s obituary. Her name along with her husbands was listed as well as my aunts and uncles. She lived in a town only 25 miles from me. With a few searches I was able to drive by her house. There was an elderly man sitting in the driveway. She had the same type of yard decorations as me and a cat in her yard. I felt like I was just like her.  Hum what to do next…..

It has now been two months since I requested my birth certificate. It arrives! Yep all of my detective work has been confirmed. I have found her.

Now how do I make contact?

I decide to send her a questionnaire with yes and no check boxes. I ask her about my medical history, her hobbies, who my father was and would she like to meet me. I immediately receive it back, all of the boxes have been answered.  To my disappointment, she does not want to meet me right now. But I now have another clue…. My birth fathers name!!

I googled his name and found his obituary, he died two years prior to my search but I have half brothers and sisters. I send them messages on Facebook. I heard back from my half-brother Rob.  He wants to meet me and so does his mother, my father’s second wife.  We decide to meet at Applebee’s.

My husband and I go to the restaurant.  I am so nervous, I don’t know what to expect. They arrive, Julia is crying and hugs me. “Your father looked for you, but couldn’t find you.” Tears are running down my face, my brother is hugging me too, we have the same nose, he just got back from a year in Afghanistan. We are all so emotional, my husband and Rob’s wife soak in this whirlwind of a dream. Rob called all of my other half brothers and sisters, even my father’s first wife. She knew about me too. I was confirmed.  I existed! This was just the beginning!! When I met Rob’s kids, I found that my baby pictures looked just like them. When I meet my niece, I found that I have the same toes she does. It is a huge stress relief to find other people that I am related to. I have a family with similar characteristics as myself.

I have met two of my brothers, others don’t want to meet me.  I had a lot of trouble understanding why the rejection, but I cannot get into their minds to know what they are thinking.  But I know where I came from. I have also had two DNA tests and found more cousins, and cousins.  I cherish the relationships I have with my birth family

After several months went by, I sent my biological mother a card.  After several cards, she agreed to meet with me.  She had never told her husband about me. It was not a loving, good first meeting. It has been almost four years since I met her. I did get to meet her husband and have a relationship with him.  On his deathbed, I told him who I was.   He said he always knew.  I behave and sit just like she does, we have the same movements. She has not filled the void I have from not having the bonding at birth. I don’t know if that void can ever be filled.  I think it starts at birth and continues as the mother takes care of the child. Our relationship is growing and still continues.

I have answered many questions about myself.  I do not regret any of my research.  My life has not been a fairy-tale but I have my answers.  I became a combination of everyone. My adopted parents, my birth parents, my friends, my husband and my son.

If you choose to search, remember not all stories turn out with happy endings.  

I still deal with many issues, especially rejection.  My husband has been my love and stability through my life. My son and I have a bond that I will cherish forever. I have love and family. Adopted life is not easy, if you are a parent of an adopted child, don’t expect them to be like you. They will pick up some of your traits, help them find out who they are.  Always hold them and tell them how much you love them.

If you are an adoptee, fight to stay positive, appreciate all of the blessings in your life, don’t consume yourself on what you don’t have.  I wasted most of my life dreaming and wanting what I already had; love and a parent/child bond.

I would like to dedicate this story to my husband, son and friend Carol

Jennifer Shrake

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Taqwetta Crawley

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BIO: Peace to everyone! I’m Taqwetta, a 36 year old mother of 5 (I have only given birth to one, but I’ll explain later in the piece). I am an adopted, only child. I am a Muslim (not even close to being a good example of one), as a matter of fact, I am the only person in my family, who is a Muslim (from either side).

I’m a resident of Atlanta, GA, a transplant from New Haven, CT. I have lived in Georgia for 10 years now, having moved to escape an abusive relationship. We were together for 3 years. One day he went to work and my family and I, packed the apartment he and I shared and I drove to Atlanta the next day.

I’m a very interesting soul, my ways of seeing the world are very original, however I am one of the biggest devil’s advocates around. I build my life around believing that, I don’t have to agree with a person to understand where they are coming from. And just because I understand, doesn’t mean that I agree.

My passion is writing, but it took me years and years of searching to own this part of myself. One would think, with the accolades, media attention, and gateways that my writings have brought me, that I wouldn’t have any doubts about what I have been destined to do.

I am currently in a relationship, we’ve been together for a little over 9 years. We have a beautiful 6 year old, who was 4 months premature. She was once called a micropreemie, weighing in at 1lb .05oz. She would later weigh in at an astounding  15oz. My partner was previously married, with whom he has 3 children. His ex-wife also has another child from a later marriage. His ex-wife and I are best friends, in fact she is out daughter’s Godmother. So between their 3, her one and our one child, I am mother to 5 beauties.

I too, was 4 months premature, not expected to survive; just as my daughter. While pregnant with her, I developed a Saddle Pulmonary Embolism and was at deaths door for some time. I also contracted MRSA, which made my Saddle PE an even more difficult situation.

Since then, I have been through some treacherous health issues, all while tending to my daughter, who has been diagnosed with Autism. She is on the low end of the spectrum, but it is still a journey nonetheless.

Well, that’s the long and short of who I am. Most people love me, some don’t get me but I make no apologies for the best part of who I am.

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? 

The Inability to Trust

Imagine if you will, growing up knowing your mother never wanted you. Conscious of the fact that she left you at the hospital to be cared for by strangers.  Four months premature, on the verge of death and she walked away. Never looked back, never asked about you, she just left and continued with her life.

What might this do to you?

Might one have a complex? If so, what would it consist of and how would it play out in your mental development? How would you view the world? How would you see yourself?

That’s the life I led, all while having 2 parents that loved me; 2 adoptive parents. Now, let’s get something straight, I NEVER refer to them as such. They are my parents; my mom and my dad. They took me in, they raised me, cared for me very well. They blessed me with a family, one that I wouldn’t trade, for anything. Yes, they chose me, yes, they loved and continue to love me and I am beyond grateful. However, feeling as I were a burden, has always been a part of my emotional make up.

To sit amongst your “adoptive” family and see similarities in looks, in mannerisms, laughs and recognize that you don’t fit, is harrowing. To see that there is no physical resemblance, amongst you and the ones you love, is painful. I ultimately felt that my life wasn’t real, it felt as though I was living in a false world, one that would not be real, until I met the woman who walked away.

I developed a theory about relationships and people. If the woman who carried me and gave me life, could walk away without a second thought, then why should I expect anyone else to be dedicated. I began to believe that I would forever watch people walk out of my life. The woman who had a closer bond to me than anyone else, before I was born, could easily leave me at death’s door and not look back, causes a natural disconnect. She gave me life, but wanted no parts of me; this is how I saw my life.

At 18, I met the woman I owed my existence, I saw reality. When I laid eyes on her, it was as if the world finally made sense. I saw the woman God used to bring me here, the woman He entrusted to do right by me. And she did just that, she walked away. But, I’ll come back to that. Anyway, while my parents and I waited for her arrival, my nerves were calm. It was weird, because one would think that a person in my position would be beyond nervous. As we waited my “adoptive” mother tried to quell any disappointment, it looked as if she wasn’t going to show up. Little did she know, I didn’t expect her to. The social worker who located her for me, had told me that she(my birth mother), expressed dread. She feared the moment I would come back around. To know that after 18 years, in her heart of hearts, that she still didn’t want any part of me, wasn’t surprising.

After waiting for approximately 20 minutes or so, my “adoptive” father spotted her; how he knew, we never asked. The social worker then ran after her, because she was actually running away, after my she realized she was spotted. Imagine that feeling, the feeling of being a tangible, visual pain for your own mother. The feeling of being such a gross example of life, to the woman who had you, is devastating.

After the social worker found her and began walking towards us, I could barely see her face. She used her hands, to hide her tears. My parents were crying, the social worker is crying, my biological mother is crying, yet I am standing there smiling. Why? Because I finally feel real, I see my face in the face of another. I see my twin. As she approached, all I could hear her say is, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. I can barely speak, because I can finally see who I am. My height, my skin tone, my eyes, my nose, they are all characteristics of her; my mother. I speak and say “Don’t apologize. I thank you. I thank you so much.” The next words from my mouth made her cry even harder, as I said “You look like me, no, I look just like you. There I am mommy (talking to my adoptive mother), there I am.”

After a very long hug, a hug that was really an exchange of spirits, which was long overdue, we sat down to eat.

She had brought along pictures of her other 5 children; all older. She spoke of them with such love and pride. Even though I was happy to see my origin, I was hurt to know she loved them but didn’t love me. She then explained she had miscarriages prior to me and couldn’t watch me die. I didn’t take that as a reason. My soul wouldn’t let me. She then said that, she was afraid to tell my siblings, because she didn’t know what their reaction was going to be. I didn’t understand that part, but I chose not to ask.

About 2 weeks later, while at a friend’s house, my biological sister called, my heart was pounding. Growing up as an only child was difficult. To live your lonely life, knowing you had siblings and to now finally be able to speak to one of them, was surreal. We spoke for a few and then she dropped the bomb. You see, my biological mother was afraid to tell my siblings, because when she gave birth and came home without me, she told them I was dead.

Could you imagine the pain that this caused them?

The pain it must have caused her?

The pain it was now causing me?

For 18 years they mourned the death of their baby sister. They found out she was pregnant, when she was rushed to the hospital giving birth. Only one of my brother’s was able to see and hold me.  When mama (that’s what I call my biological mother) came home without me, she informed them that I had died. My siblings asked about a funeral and she explained that the hospital was going to handle all of that. No closure at all. In a matter of days, they had a new sister and then dead sibling.

Mama must have been so burdened by this, the lie, the tears she had to wipe, the comfort she had to give and the fear of one day, possibly having to confront it all. But right now, in this moment of hearing all of this, I feel even lower about the world. To know that death was placed upon your name, by the woman that gave you life, because she didn’t want to have you in hers AT ALL, was such a massive blow.

About a month later I met all my siblings except one. My mother (adoptive) hosted it and my Godparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and Grandfather were all there. It was absolutely amazing.

I soon would visit my mother and siblings, only to have her leave the room or leave altogether when I arrived. For years, she would run away from me, not wanting to engage with me at all.

It was now clear, either she was ashamed or really wanted no parts of me.

During this time, I was in the Nation of Islam (under the leadership of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan) and was enjoying life. I was soon engaged to a man, a man whom I was so spiritually connected. We had plans, we were so in love, yet we had to fight to be together.  We didn’t make it, he didn’t fight, he walked away. A few years later, I had left The Nation and began dating outside of Islam, meaning I was with people that didn’t share my mindset, my way of being. The next man I dated, impregnated me. I left him and ended up having a life threatening pregnancy. I unfortunately lost that baby.

I dated a few others but the one that changed my life, also made my life unbearable and steered me to where I am today. He was the son, of the woman my uncle was dating. The entire family, his and mine, all were against our relationship. He had a history of domestic violence and the fear he would do it to me,was very real. Unfortunately, he proved everyone to be right. For 3 years, I endured pain like I had never experienced previously. I was punched, choked, raped, stomped and mentally tortured. Yet my fear of leaving, far outweighed my fear of being beaten. Through all of this, I was able to rationalize why I was here. I went back to that part of my brain that believed that love is not a real part of my world.

You see, the only love I knew was real, was from my parents and family. One would think that this should have shaped me, what I held onto, what I stood on. No, it wasn’t. What fueled my way of seeing the world, was knowing that my initial contact with this world, the first person to whom I was connected, didn’t love me or at the very least, didn’t want me around to show me the love she had to give. I wasn’t worthy of her heart. So, I went through life feeling disconnected from those that had no loyalty or obligation to love me. If she didn’t want me, why would I think anyone who really didn’t have to love me, would?

So for 3 years, I lived in fear. All while believing that no person had to love me, because they didn’t have to or need to. Their survival wasn’t dependent upon my presence. No one had a reason to stay but the two that adopted me. Was I blaming g myself, not at all. Was I angry with the world, not at all. I just came to the realization that the only people I could count on was my parents, myself and God. Anything anyone did, would not be of a surprise.

Anyway, I was tired of being abused. I was ready to face that fear and leave. I tried once, but I had no real plan. So, I went back and made one. He went to work one day and my family and I went to the apartment he and I shared and packed our cars with as much of my stuff as we could get. The next day, I drove to Atlanta.

After arriving here, I bounced back. I worked on myself, but I have never really dealt with that time in my life. Too much to tell and who really wants to hear about beatings, manipulation and psychological warfare?

About 6 months later, I met the man with whom I would build a life with, the man I love, like I’ve never loved before. He knew my story and was patient. (Some years later we had a daughter, added to his 3 other children from his ex-wife.)

Fast forward a year or so (after meeting him) and my sister calls, she tells me my nephew died. I fly home to be with my family. I had never had nieces and nephews before meeting my biological family. Upon meeting them, I took on the role of auntie and never looked back. My nephew was beyond a sweetheart. He was kind, gentle and funny. He loved me as much as one could and the same for me, may God be pleased with him. The day of the funeral arises and my sister makes me sit with her and my other siblings. I was reluctant, even though we were blood.

After the funeral, we return to mama’s house. A lot of the family I hadn’t met, were all there. I can finally meet my aunts and uncles, cousins and whatnot, even though it was a sad occasion. As I was sitting in the living room, I realized that mama wasn’t anywhere around, nor had she been present since we left the funeral. I just rationalized it to her grieving, she did just lose her grandchild. However, I soon realized no one knew who I was, no one. Mama’s sister sat in front of me and had no clue, that I was her niece; her sister’s daughter. Mama had told no one but her children. And now she was in a situation where she either had to face the world with me or hide to keep her secret.

The only word I could use to describe what I felt, was abandoned. I felt as if, once again I was left alone, no explanation, no answers. I cried so hard, I had to leave.

Where am I now, as a woman, now a mother myself? I expect no loyalty from anyone, however I give it, wholeheartedly. I love my mama, she gave me the best gift; life. She did what she needed to do for herself and her family and I accept that. However, I am one that has low expectations of others, when it comes to loyalty and commitment. This is a direct result of my beginnings.

Do I see myself as unworthy of such things, absolutely not. I just don’t expect others to give what my biological mother, couldn’t give. If SHE couldn’t, how can I have an expectation that another human being could.

Don’t worry, I hold myself in high regard. My overall outlook is not indicative of low self-esteem. I know, not think, that I am an extremely intelligent woman. I know, not think, that many woman admire me for my intelligence and strength. I own my goodness.

Do I have hang ups, of course, we all do. Might they control certain areas of my life, yes they do. Am I working on them, not as much as I could be.

As for relationships, I engage a bit different than most. Some may say that I approach them from a low mental and lack of confidence standpoint. No, I approach them in a way that makes me feel secure. However, I have always been one to walk out without thought, nor do I look back. (Hey, that sounds familiar.) So I know my limit and act accordingly.

I am one that despises confrontation, therefore I walk away or stay quiet. I aim to please in every area of my life and I am loyal to a fault. This is a recipe for disrespect. Many take these attributes as weaknesses and use them to their advantage. Once I see, that a person, who claims to love me and claims loyalty, uses my own personality as a weapon for their own personal gain, I no longer have confidence in their longevity. Even though I never expect anyone I encounter to stay long, I always leave a sliver of space. That space is filled with a “maybe they will be different from how I believe people to be” type of hope. Once I am taken advantage of or disrespected in the slightest, that space is gone.

I’m not sure how tragic this may be, but losing that confidence doesn’t sadden me, it actually makes me feel better. I feel as though, my point has been proven. I have never fully expressed these sentiments, so I’m unaware who I am trying to prove anything to, but that’s the best way I can word those feelings.

It might be said that I work to make things end. That’s not true at all, I know I work very hard to maintain and grow my relationships, friendly and intimates. Although I work hard, I know there is a part I me that is disconnected, an area where few can pierce, a space that I refuse to open. I’ll speak on that in another writing.

Don’t mistake these sentiments as a hatred or a dislike for my mama. I love her, so very much. I love my brother’s and sisters and all of those I am biologically related. I am just sharing my truth. To my parents, the family I grew up with, amongst and truly love, I thank you.

Being adopted is a blessing, it shows you there are strangers that seek to love. In the event that your adoptive family are ones of good integrity, remember to use that pain as the fuel to keep you moving. The storm is rough, but there isn’t one storm that lasts forever. Our path after the storm is the determining factor to our success; mentally, physically and spiritually (not necessarily religious).

Here it is, a glimpse into who I am and why I am.

I have so much more to share, but that’s next time.

By: Taqwetta “AtlmaryJ” Crawley

Email: atlmaryj@gmail.com

Check out  Taqwetta’s blog

http://atlmaryj.blogspot.com/

Self Help Article
http://theurbanrealist.com/relax-3-steps-on-how-to-recycle-your-anger/

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Michele Leavitt

micheleBIO: Michele Leavitt, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, adoptee, hepatitis C survivor, and former trial attorney. Her essays have appeared in venues including Guernica and Catapult. Poems appear most recently in North American Review and Rogue Agent. She is the author of the Kindle Singles memoir, Walk Away.

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? 

Originally Published on Guernica

Hidden in a Suitcase

In search of the mother who gave her up for adoption, the author finds six siblings instead. Decades later, she contemplates the drug addiction that cost many of them their lives.

*                      *                     *

The trail winds around the back of Quaker Hill in rural Maine. It takes less than an hour to get to the summit, but I pack a bottle of water and some grapes and my notebook. This time I also pack my nephew’s letter.

The tradition of letter-writing survives in families like mine, whose loved ones are spread out over the country in county jails, state prisons, and federal penitentiaries. In prisons, smartphones are contraband, so stamps are still currency. My nephew, Alan Michael, is in a county jail awaiting trial. He can be held indefinitely without bail because he was on parole from a state prison sentence at the time of his latest arrest. He’s twenty-five years old, and he’s written me dozens of letters over the last seven years. I always write back, eventually.

The forest is still damp from last week’s monumental thunderstorms, and a new generation of mosquitos has hatched. Far off the coast, Hurricane Cristobal pinwheels north and then east. It hasn’t made landfall, but its outlier winds cascade through the forest’s branches and down into the hollows, keeping the mosquitos mostly at bay. When I get to the top of the hill, the forest gives way to open fields marked off by lines of hardwood trees. Here, the wind is loud enough to silence everything.

From the summit, I can see hay fields and forests, a church spire poking out of trees, and more green hills. I pull my nephew’s handwritten letter out of my backpack. Blue ink on narrow-ruled white paper. His penmanship is neat and legible.

Dear Aunt Michele, well here I am yet again. I suppose that adds me to Georgia’s 87 percent recidivism rate. Not blaming anyone but myself for why I am back here.

At the end, he has signed himself “Alan Michael,” although I know he dropped the Michael part when he was in high school. The compound name was too Southern, like Billy Bob, and his mother had moved him to rural Idaho when he was eight to get him away from our family in Savannah.

It’s been more than twenty years since the day I met him at the Savannah train station.

To ease my anxiety at the prospect of meeting my family for the first time, I’d spent the twenty-two-hour train ride from Boston to Savannah reviewing case files from my law practice. Born in the South, but adopted into a family from the North as an infant, I spent my childhood feeling as if I were wearing a flour sack when everyone around me was in silk. My adoptive father was fond of calling me an “enigma,” a word I had to look up the first time he said it, when I was a twelve-year-old drug user toting around a worn copy of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. The nineteenth-century novels a librarian had recommended to me did as much for my sense of well-being as the Librium my pediatrician prescribed when I rebelled against my parents, and the codeine-heavy cough syrup I started drinking directly from the bottle at age nine.

Instead of being ruled by the brain disease of true addiction, I was born lucky, resistant.

By the time I was thirty-four, I had owned a successful law practice for ten years, which gave me the freedom to take time off when I felt like it, but that success came only after I had dropped out of high school as a teenager and run away from home. After ten months of living on the streets, I returned to my adoptive parents’ house, took up where I’d left off in high school, and then moved on to college and law school. I kept on reading and getting high on everything from weed to heroin because I enjoyed it, but I was able to abstain when I needed to attend to an assignment or a job interview. Instead of being ruled by the brain disease of true addiction, I was born lucky, resistant. Importantly, I had become what is known as a chippy: an occasional user. By the time I passed the bar exam, I had a wide circle of acquaintances from almost every walk of life. My drug use tapered off during my twenties, but I never lost my easy rapport with people on the fringes, and that helped me build a criminal defense practice.

I was exhausted by the time the train pulled into the Savannah station. From my seat in the last car, the platform looked deserted. Terrified that my family had decided I wasn’t worth meeting, I slung my pack onto my shoulders as the train conductor lowered the stairs into place with a clang. I had deliberately dressed down in a hooded sweatshirt, sweat pants, and sneakers, in part to avoid appearing like a snob.

A group of slim, edgy-looking people, clad in denim and leather, stood close together at the end of the platform. I recognized the members of my family from the photos they’de sent. A cigarette spiked up between the petite fingers of my sister Belinda’s hand, her shoulders weighed down by the fringe on her suede jacket. My brother Mike was taller than the rest. Dark-haired and dark-skinned like me and our mother, he gripped the hand of a squirming towhead boy who looked like he was trying to jump off the platform. His wife Brenda tried to grab the little boy’s other hand. My brother Jonathan’s leather jacket flared out as he turned and saw me, as I ran toward them, as they spread their arms wide, and just like that, I was enveloped:

“Just like Momma.”

“Momma’s hair.”

“Look at her hands.”

“Momma’s hands.”

“Momma’s eyes.”

Talking all at once, hands grabbing my hands.

“She’s crying.”

I wept like I’d been cut open. I pressed my palms against their cheekbones, and my cheekbones into their shoulders. If only I could have climbed inside their skin. My mother had only been dead for a year; she had suffocated from an asthma attack on the way to a hospital. So my brothers and sisters were as close as I’d ever get to my mother, who was fifteen when she gave birth to me and then, almost immediately, gave me up for adoption.

“I’m too late,” I wailed, clasping my sister’s hand.

“None of us are too late. I always wanted a sister,” she said tenderly. “You’re still crying.” Her own eyes were wet but clear, welling up but under control as we climbed into the front seat of a hulking Chrysler sedan. “Momma would be so happy.”

I’d only known about these precious people for two weeks, since Sandy Musser, the private investigator I’d hired, called and gave me the bad news about my mother, and then the good news that I had siblings, along with Mike’s address. An adoptee rights activist, she wouldn’t tell me how she had gained access to my original birth certificate and learned my mother’s name. I’m certain that she bribed someone who worked in the hospital where I was born or in the Florida Vital Statistics office. Once she connected me with a blood relative, her work was done. I never heard from her again. She was discreet because she had to be; she operated outside of the law all over the United States, and was ultimately prosecuted on conspiracy charges for doing exactly what she had done for me: digging up sealed records. She served four months in a federal prison.

Mike called me as soon as he received my letter. A few months after I was born, our mother, Theresa, turned sixteen and married a family friend, Rudolph. She and Rudolph proceeded to have six more children, and they stayed married until the day she died. When I met Rudolph some time later, he told me he knew she had given up a baby, but she had never told him who my father was, and the two of them had never mentioned me to the other children. Mike was surprised but delighted to find he had a long-lost sister. In the photos I sent with my letter, I looked so much like our mother that he felt like he was getting her back. The news about me spread through our family, and for the next two weeks I spent every spare moment either on the phone with a new relative or writing letters, feeling pulled toward Savannah, where most of them lived.

After we left the train station, Mike drove with precision through some of Savannah’s squares, which are built around parks where old oaks drip Spanish moss and azaleas bloom in the shade. I wanted to stop crying, so they could see how happy I was. Instead, I started coughing. The car went quiet. My brothers and my sister knew from our conversations that I had inherited Momma’s asthma.

“You gonna make it?” Mike asked when my coughing fit subsided.

“Sure.” I flashed him a big, teary grin. I turned to Belinda. “I’m fine.” I didn’t want them to worry about me, and I looked for something else to talk about.

I had noticed that the ignition had been popped, and a screwdriver, sticking out of the steering column, served as the car key.

“What happened there?” For ten years, I’d contracted with the state as a public defender just north of Boston, near where I was raised. I knew full well why people pop ignitions.

Mike chuckled. “Lost the key,” he said with a wink as we left the downtown area, taking the curve at the entrance to the Bonaventure Cemetery and entering a neighborhood of tiny, single-family homes. Belinda, her husband, and their three kids lived in a three-room bungalow on Tennessee Avenue—a bad neighborhood, she said, ruined by drugs and gang violence. Mike pulled the Chrysler halfway up her steep driveway, and parked it under a massive live oak.

To my astonishment, children poured out of the front door and mobbed me like butterflies on a New England milkweed field in summer. I wanted to wring out every drop of sweetness I possessed for them. The small ones threw their arms around my hips; the older ones patted my hair and pulled on my hands, and I heard the tune again, in a slightly different key, “Just like Grandma! Just like Grandma!”

I pulled my camera out of my backpack and started snapping photos. I was posed with my brothers and sister and the children in front of a mass of azaleas blooming fuchsia, pink, and white. We swarmed into the house, and I began bawling again. “You smell like weed,” I said to Belinda’s husband. He seemed surprised that I, a lawyer, would know what weed smelled like, but he didn’t know much about me yet.

There was a loud bang outside. Everyone moved back into the yard. Mike’s Chrysler sat in the middle of the road. The back end of it had knocked out a corner of the cinderblock wall surrounding the across-the-street neighbor’s yard. In the driver’s seat, two three-year-olds pushed each other back and forth. It was Alan Michael and one of the little girls, Bee-Bee. They were struggling over the screwdriver in the ignition. The Chrysler’s engine revved and stalled and spluttered out.

“Bee-Bee!” someone yelled. The two drivers stopped pushing each other. Bee-Bee launched herself out of the passenger-side window, flipped onto the asphalt, and ran up the driveway.

“It was Alan Michael’s idea!” she yelled.

“Was not!” He was right behind her.

“Boy,” said Mike, “what were you thinking?”

“We was just goin’ for a ride.”

Spankings ensued. The men pushed the car away from the wall. Someone picked up the cinderblocks and wedged them back into their places, but it was easy to see that the wall had been broken. After a few false starts, the engine revved up. This time, Mike parked at the curb.

Later that afternoon, I drove with Mike and Brenda to their home in Ellabell, twenty-five miles west of Savannah. Their trailer sat on a wooded lot, shaded by sweet gum trees and jacked up on cinderblock towers at the corners. Once inside, my feet kept curling up and away from a nagging feeling that the suspended floor was about to collapse.

She is smiling at the camera, but her eyes, my eyes, seem out of focus.

Framed, professional photographs lined the paneling in the living room. Mike and Brenda’s wedding picture—him in a shirt and tie, her in a flowery blue-print dress. Alan Michael as an infant, then as a baby able to sit up, then as a toddler. Alan Michael with Mike and Brenda. Everything in the trailer looked used to within an inch of its life, except for those photos, which gleamed from the walls. I turned around to see another picture, Alan Michael with two older people: my mother and her husband.

It remains the largest, clearest image I have seen of her. She is smiling at the camera, but her eyes, my eyes, seem out of focus. Her hair is dark and flyaway, and her tanned skin is almost as dark as the circles underneath her eyes. Her cheeks are puffy in the way people’s cheeks get when they are on steroids for a long time. There’s an intubation scar on her throat. Her slender, tapered fingers, my fingers, rest on Alan Michael’s little arm. Her husband stands behind them with his hand on her shoulder in a protective gesture. He is fifteen years older than her, but he looks vigorous and proud.

Mike cupped his hands on my shoulders in a similar gesture. “Momma loved babies,” he said. “She loved Alan Michael.”

“And she was always pretty good around him,” Brenda said. “But you did have to watch her.”

“Yep,” said Mike. “Belinda stopped letting Momma around her kids years ago.”

“I don’t think that was right, even if she did drink,” Brenda said. “She was their grandmother, after all.”

“She could be mean as a snake when she was drunk,” Mike said. “Most of the time she was real meek. But then sometimes you’d walk by her and she’d wrap her fingers in your hair and yank so hard your hair came out.”

“She must’ve done something like that to one of Belinda’s kids,” Brenda said. “We never did find out what straw it was that broke that camel’s back.”

I lay awake that night in Mike and Brenda’s bed, putting the pieces together. Some of what I learned about my family came from questions they asked me, like, “You have nerve spells?” or “You like wine?” No, I’d tell them, I’m very calm. Wine’s okay, but I don’t drink much anymore because it makes me wheezy. I’d ask them about my mother’s drinking. They told me she was a binge drinker; she’d get some money and then she’d get drunk. Her husband didn’t like it, and if he found the wine she’d hidden from him, he would pour it down the sink. He moved the family around often: from Savannah to North Florida, back to Savannah, then back to North Florida. He’d been in the Marines in World War II. He was strict. He was handsome. He was a very good dancer. My mother loved to dance. Sometimes they took my sister and my brothers out with them at night, and the children watched them dance together like movie stars.

It was exciting to watch the similarities between my siblings and me pile up. My sister, one of my brothers, and I all write poetry. Our mother loved to read. Some of us have “good skin,” meaning we tan very easily and deeply. The story went that we had a female ancestor from the Cherokee tribe. Others are fair-skinned and platinum blonde, what’s called “white-headed” in the South.

But I especially loved spending time with Alan Michael, in part because he reminded me of the stories I had heard about myself at his age. At four, he could already read, even though he hadn’t been to school yet. He liked to draw. Everyone called him “artistic” in an admiring way.

That night, laying in a strange bed with strange pillows and unfamiliar dust made me wheezy. I got up and tried some yoga postures to relax my lungs. Triangle pose. Eagle pose. I used my inhaler. I got back into bed, but instead of laying down, I sat cross-legged, pulled the pillow perpendicular to my legs, and then folded over on it.

I’ve been doing this since I was Alan Michael’s age. It opens up the back of my ribcage and makes it easier to breathe. I call it my frog pose.

“Go give your Aunt Michele some sugar!” Brenda said to Alan Michael the next morning. I was standing next to the sink, drinking the cup of instant coffee Brenda had made for me. I put the cup on the counter and squatted onto my heels so that Alan Michael and I were the same height. He had gotten a cabinet open and was reaching inside it.

“Don’t you do it, Alan Michael!” Brenda yelled, then turned to me. “Lord, he loves to take those pots and pans out while we’re sleeping and start banging on them. Anything for attention.” She turned back to her boy. “Go give your Aunt Michele some sugar, now.”

He swaggered the few steps toward me like a sheriff making an entrance into a saloon.

“Who loves you, little man?” I asked.

He tucked his chin into his chest. “I dunno.”

“I do!” I swooped him into my arms and kissed his chubby little cheeks a dozen times. I was thirty-four years old and childless. I’d never wanted the responsibilities that came with motherhood, but I did feel the occasional maternal urge. Now, I thought, I can have it both ways.

For the rest of my first week in Georgia, we played this game over and over again. Who loves you, little man? I had plenty of sugar to give him.

*                      *                     *

Over the next twenty years, I traveled to Savannah every summer. Some years, I rented a beach house on Tybee Island, and my whole family came to stay. By whole family, I mean those who were not incarcerated at the time, or so strung out that they were hiding even from their loved ones. Two of my five brothers spent most of their adult lives in state prisons for crimes committed in the service of their addictions. Crack cocaine twisted the minds of two other brothers, and their wives, so that they lost everything: their jobs, their homes, their health, their reason, and their children. And the children: five of my nieces spend some part of their childhoods in foster care or group homes.

In the past ten years, four of my five brothers, and one of my nieces, have died from the effects of their addictions.

I had been happy to be a part of such a large family because there were so many people to love—and so many people to love me. But anger and disappointment and helplessness were part of the package. I realized early on that there would be many people to mourn. In the past ten years, four of my five brothers, and one of my nieces, have died from the effects of their addictions.

All of my life, I have been drawn to addicts. Maybe I admire their perpetual dissatisfaction, or maybe I’m just hardwired that way. Today, I am married to a man who is a college president, and who has been sober for fifteen years. When I was a criminal defense attorney, I didn’t just care about my clients—most of whom, as statistics would predict, were substance abusers—I loved many of them. It was often difficult for me to understand their self-destructive behavior. So I read the research and learned what I could. When I met my family, I had an added incentive to educate myself.

It didn’t take long for my brother Mike’s crack habit to become a full-fledged addiction. Brenda divorced him and moved to Idaho with eight-year-old Alan Michael, to get him as far away from my crazy family as possible.

Since then, my relationship with Alan Michael has been sustained by telephone calls and letters, with the exception of two visits he made to Savannah when I happened to also be there. He was pre-adolescent at the time of both of those visits, still curious and active, but a little edgier. Once, he begged to have his almost-white hair dyed blue by a relative who ran a hair salon, and, after getting the okay from Brenda, emerged from the salon with hair the color of a Popsicle. On another occasion, we made a life-sized alligator out of sand on the beach at Tybee Island. But most of his life from the ages of eight to eighteen was spent in rural Idaho, where he excelled in class and on his high school football team. Like some of my brothers, he played guitar and sang. Every year, I received one of his school photos and a letter. I talked with him on the phone occasionally, sometimes about how he wanted to attend one of Idaho’s state universities. He called me for advice about going to college because I was his only relative who’d gotten a four-year degree. I gave him a few tips on taking the SAT. I was optimistic.

Over the telephone, I couldn’t tell that he had already started drinking, but he had. He drank to get drunk. Just as he graduated from high school, Alan Michael was arrested for breaking into a liquor store. Brenda called to tell me. She didn’t understand. She thought she had rescued him from the negative influences, but he was ending up just like my brothers all the same. She worked hard. He had a good life. He had so much potential.

Just as I will never know if I’m allergic to tigers unless I snuggle up to one, there’s no way, yet, to tell if any of us are addicts until we start using.

The myth that addiction is a direct result of trauma is persistent in our culture, in spite of overwhelming medical evidence to the contrary. It would be easy to blame Alan Michael’s downfall on some external event—bad judgment or bad company. It would be easier, if his fate were tied to some tragedy, for us to tell ourselves that it couldn’t possibly happen to us or to our children. But just as you cannot know if you’re allergic to tigers until you snuggle up to one, you cannot know if you’re addict until you start using. By then, it might be too late.

*                      *                     *

Brenda moved back to Georgia while Alan Michael was finishing up his sentence in Idaho for the liquor store break-in, and he joined her there when he was released. She hoped he’d learned his lesson. But in less than a year, he was arrested again; this time it involved a stolen property ring scheme and an impulsive, alcohol-fueled car theft. His cousins told me that Alan Michael was off the chain as soon as he got back to Georgia, that this arrest was just a snapshot of months of drinking and drugging and doing whatever he had to do to get the money he needed to stay high. He ended up serving more than five years in the state prison system, where he read a lot of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand.

In the years of our prison correspondence, I never criticized his reading choices, even when I suspected they might encourage his tendency toward grandiose thinking, or his belief in the possibility of a super-man. I had enough faith in reading as exercise for the brain that I didn’t question the content. Sometimes, I couldn’t resist sending him books I believed would be good for him, but mostly we just carried on a discussion about his changing views on the meaning of life. Sometimes, months went by without a word from him. I understood that these were times when he was embroiled in the politics and economy of prison culture, or when the things he was forced to do to survive in a brutal community took up all his energy. Eventually, he would write again and tell me he’d been out of touch because he’d been involved with the institutional drug trade, or with the Aryan Nation, or that there’d been some sort of lockdown. And soon I’d get a letter full of his thoughts about books.

Just curious, have you read Guns, Germs, and Steel? I had the opportunity to spend some time with it. Very good theories of cultural development. I enjoy that kind of literature because all of it helps me expand my universal viewpoint. I just finished Robert Greene’s Mastery, and he says it’s good to study various unrelated subjects as that improves your ability to create and innovate. I was really looking forward to reading The New Jim Crow. Unfortunately, right now my cellmates and I are in sort of a conundrum. The shakedown squad came and took our books. I didn’t let them get to me. I am the embodiment of change.

*                      *                     *

An early frost fell this week in Maine, deep enough to kill off the more tender members of my garden: the edges of dahlias, the basil, the hibiscus. The squash vines’ leaves are shriveled to nothing, and all of their fruits are exposed. Some are still only the size of oranges; they needed more time to ripen. I wonder whether they will be any good to eat.

I return to the top of Quaker Hill with my backpack and another letter from Alan Michael. It’s the second he’s written to me this month. I still need to write back to him, but what can I say that will make a difference? I feel as useless as I imagine Brenda did the first time Alan Michael was arrested.

I’m too conscious of my own mortality and my own powerlessness to do anything but send my love out to him from a distance.

From the top of this hill, the landscape is emerald except for a few sugar maples with orange-tinged leaves. I didn’t see Alan Michael this year on my trip to the South in June, even though he was out of prison. Instead, I visited Belinda and other family members who live relatively normal lives. I could tell from the extravagant tone of Alan Michael’s Facebook posts that he was getting high and living on the edge of another arrest, or worse. I’m too old now, in my mid-fifties, to risk spending time near that edge, even for the chance to be loved. I’m too conscious of my own mortality and my own powerlessness to do anything but send my love out to him from a distance.

A week after my visit down South, Alan Michael was arrested for selling methamphetamine and painkillers to an undercover agent. The headline in the local newspaper read, “Wanted Parolee Found Hiding in Suitcase.” He must have been in some variation of frog pose. Like many people in our family, like me, his joints and limbs are very flexible. It’s a genetic thing, like the asthma that killed my mother and that sometimes threatens to kill me, like the susceptibility to addiction that continues to torture so many of our family members.

From the boredom of a county jail where he is now awaiting trial, Alan Michael writes about what happened when he got released from his last sentence, only a few months before this current arrest:

For so long, five years and nine months, I had been deprived of life’s amenities, and I wanted them immediately. I began to sell drugs at first, then I used and sold drugs. Fast money spends fast. I managed not only to return to incarceration but also hurt everyone around me.

Twenty years ago, when I was a public defender, I heard that part of the story over and over again, and the beginning of it, too, which goes: “I thought it would be different this time.” But it was never different. The man or woman who got out of prison wanted to celebrate, and that first glass they lifted in celebration, that first line they snorted, that first pipe to the lips set the story in motion again. There is no contentment, no such thing as enough.

“I know now that moderation is key,” Alan Michael writes, but there is no moderation for him, or for most of my family. There never will be.

I’m the only one of my mother’s seven children who inherited her asthma. Like my sister Belinda, and precious few other relatives, I have a home and a job. Our one surviving brother lives most of the year on the outskirts of Savannah, in an outdoor collection of tents and tarps erected by homeless people, where drugs and alcohol are the center of life. Four of our nephews are in prison. Three of our nieces have had their children removed from their homes. Two others are in rehab.

So why them and not us? Belinda and I both had our wild times, and we both made mistakes. It’s not that we grew up in more stable environments than other people in our family. For Belinda, the drug use of her teenage years ended when she became pregnant with her first child, and she never looked back. Mine tapered off as I grew older and became more invested in my health and my career. There was no wrenching process of sobering up for either of us. Getting high was fun while it lasted, but Belinda and I walked away from it without a second glance. Why? We simply didn’t draw that genetic card. Either you’re born an addict or you’re not.

The hayfield at the top of this hill in Maine has been mowed, but the stubble left behind is still green, thanks to the summer’s abundant rains. Sometimes, a mowed field stays green even under deep snow. I’ve seen it in a thaw: a memory of color seeping through a winter’s dreary monochrome. I’m sitting on a granite boulder. Alan Michael’s letter is open on my lap, still creased from its time in the envelope, and I hold its edges tight against the wind. “I broke the law and I deserve to be punished,” he says. I finally know what to say to him.

I take out my pen and write: “No, little man, you’re wrong. You don’t deserve that at all.”

Michele Leavitt

Adult Adoptee

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I Met My Long Lost Brother and I was Overcome with Lust

Buckle and Sway

Smoke and Molasses

 

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Aimee S.

wedding-bike
My Husband & I on Our Wedding Day

BIO: I am a 40 year old adoptee raised in Chicago but now living in Wisconsin.  I am married to my saint of a husband, Scott, for 6 years.  We share our home with two rescue dogs, Lady and Fabulous,  and six chickens. We enjoy riding motorcycles, gardening, enjoying craft beer, camping and hiking.  I am a seven year cancer survivor. Having worked in varied industries, I consider myself the jack of all trades but a master of none.  Currently,  I am an accounting and payroll associate for a small specialty contractor.  I am in reunion with members of my maternal family and in search of my paternal line.

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?

I was born Baby Girl Perz on August 28, 1976. 
 
The first time I heard the word adopted was at four years old at a funeral.  A relative that I really did not know was dragging me around by the arm introducing me at Tom and Rosanne’s adopted daughter, Aimee.  I was confused as I had no idea what that word meant.  After this occurred several times, I remember my mother forcefully removing me from the relative’s grip.  Terse words were exchanged and my memory fades. 
 
The next time adoption came up was at 11.  I was diagnosed with a genetically linked disease.  No one in the family has it and my mother was arguing with the doctor.  I remember her screaming, there is no way she has this.  No one on either side does.   My great aunt on my father’s side was over 100 year old.  We went to her house on the weekends to help with her medications and grocery shopping.  Aunt Elvira sent my parents out on an errand along with my younger brother.  She wanted me alone.  She sat me down and said she had something very important to tell me and made me promise that I would never tell my parents about this conversation.  I agreed.  She pointed to a cabinet and had me bring her a manila envelope.  She opened it and handed it to me.  She told me to read it and when I was done, she would explain.  It contained a “Sales Receipt” and a court stamped adoption order.  She explained that my parents couldn’t have children, so they adopted my brother and I.  She said that I had an older sister, also adopted, who died prior to my birth and they adopted me as a replacement.  Aunt Elvira said my parents hid the paperwork at her house so I would never find it.  She thought it wasn’t fair that they would never tell me, especially now that I was ill.  We heard a key go in the lock and I ran the paperwork back into the cabinet.  It was never discussed again, and she died 3 years later. 
 
I never fit in to my adopted family. 
My parents were almost 40 when they adopted me. 
I look nothing like them, and was especially different from my brother, who was less than 8 months younger.  They were never physically loving.  No hugs, no cuddles, no kisses good night.  My father was a doctor and my mother a nurse.  He was a raging violent drunk and she was an enabler, that due to her Catholic faith, did not believe in divorce.  She allowed herself and her children to be beaten and abused instead of the sin of divorce.  We were instructed from early on, how to disguise the bruises and broken bones.  Told what stories to tell prying teachers and other adults.  We had no close family.  All the grandparents were deceased either prior to my birth, or shortly after.  My father had no living siblings and the cousins kept their distance due to his alcoholism.  My mother had one brother, but they grew apart. My mother’s cousin, who we called Aunt Nancy, was there every day.  She was a sweet soul.  She never married, nor ever had a first date!  She lived two miles down the road. She was my only respite from the abuse.  I would go to her condo and hang out.  At 16 I left home after a horrible night of abuse.  I had to barricade my bedroom door with my bed to stop the punching.  I packed a duffle bag and hopped out the window. I did not speak to my adoptive parents for 5 years after that. It was only upon the death of my adoptive father that I allowed my mother back into my life.
 
Fast forward to 2012 , my adoptive mother passed away.   Upon cleaning out her house, I discovered a box that contained the same paperwork I saw at 11.  That triggered me to find out the laws in Illinois.  I applied for my original birth certificate and medical information.  A couple of months later, an envelope arrived from the Department of Health. It was UNEDITED!!!  I was thankful.  I finally could see my mother’s full name. Then my jaw dropped when I saw the address. She lived less than 4 miles from where I grew up.  I could have run into her at the grocery store.  The father’s name was blank.  My birth mother was 17 and my father 16.
 
I entered my name into the adoptee registry with the state and with every online one I could find.  No response and I left it be until the summer of 2016.  I was going to turn 40 and it was a turning point in my life.  With encouragement from my husband, Scott, I starting searching.  I found her current address quickly.  She lives even closer to my childhood home now.  Two letters went unanswered.  I then reached out to her sister, my aunt.  She responded and has been very welcoming.  She also gave me my birth father’s name, Bill.   Bill never knew my mother was pregnant. She told me that her mother, my grandmother, forced the adoption.  After my birth, she regretted the decision and felt guilty until she passed away in 2009. My aunt is not close to her sister, but she called her first when she received my letter.  My mother confirmed she received my letters and she burned them.  She forbid her sister to contact me and told her to destroy the letter.  I am thankful that she didn’t obey her sister’s wishes.  My aunt said that I was my mother’s deep secret, and she never told her first, nor current husband, I existed.  She never had any other children.  My aunt’s son, Jon and I have become close.  He is 22 and a caring man.  He has spent the weekend at my house a couple of times.
 
I was able to find Bill in less than a half hour.  I contacted him via Facebook and the same day he called.   When I told him I could be his daughter, he was over joyed.  He said he had three sons and always wanted a daughter.  He lives 400 miles away and made his way to Wisconsin to meet me.  He agreed to do a DNA test. Six weeks later, the DNA results came back.  We share ZERO DNA.  I was devastated and still am. Bill was crushed.  Thankfully, he wants to stay in my life and has agreed to be my dad in spite of the results.  My aunt was extremely shocked and thought for 40 years Bill was my dad.  I’m hoping that maybe over the holidays she will see her sister and possibly get a name.
 
This brings us to the present. 
I have temporarily given up searching for my birth father.  I have no leads and my DNA matches on Ancestry, GEDmatch (kit # A230100), and My Heritage are few and far between.  Once I am in an emotionally better place, my search angel Rafaella  will take up the quest.   Due to my journey the last 6 months, I have decided to become a search angel and also work for adoption reform.  The time of closed adoptions needs to end now and I will work to change state laws so adoptees are no longer treated as second class citizens.
Aimee S.
Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? -Margaret T.

dscn0323-1-1BIO: My name is Margaret. I live in Ontario Canada. I have been married to my husband Maurice for almost 27 years. We have a dog named Pedro. I like to bike and writing is my passion . I like to cook and  I like to do aqua cycle and swim . I was in a parade as a clown I like to dress up.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 
 
For me to answer this, “How does it feel to be adopted?” is a loaded question.
Growing up,  the topic of my adoption was a closed subject. My adoption was not talked about. I do,  however,  have a distant first memory of me talking about my adoption with my mom. I remember my mom tucking me into bed one night and mentioning that she was glad that I was part of their family  now. “Your parents could not look after you. Your parents asked us if we would take you. We love having you as our little girl.”
I wondered why my parents could not look after me.
I wondered who my parents were.
I asked mom once. Her answer was that it wasn’t anything for me to worry about and that this wasn’t something we should talk about with outsiders.
Over the years, I wondered and pined over why my parents could not look after me and where my parents were. The questions, unanswered,  left me with a hole in my heart. In that hole, sadness grew. I wondered where I fit in. I became anxious when I thought I was being abandoned by people. I began to question people if they let me down. I struggled with trust issues.
During different times in my life, I did not think that I belonged in my family. People tried to reassure me that I did. One lady pointed out to me that I looked like my cousin. In glancing over at my cousin,  I could see the resemblance. A friend of mine tried to convince me that I did belong in my family too. I pushed these words aside each time. Life went on. I suffered from depression and bouts of anger. No one seemed to know how to help me. The “missing piece” haunted me. I wondered if I would ever find out the answers to my questions.
At age 28, my adopted dad passed away suddenly. It was another loss that threw me for a loop and again made me wonder about my birth parents.
Life continued on and a while later, I met Maurice,  who later became my husband. We dated for two years and got engaged at Christmas. We married a year after that.
A month before our wedding, mom and I were looking for my Savings Bond at the bank and we came upon my adoption papers. I opened them with mom watching me. As I read through them, I came upon a name that I didn’t recognize: Linda Marie Lunn. “Who is Linda Marie?” I asked. “Margaret,” answered my mom quietly, “That is the name your mother gave you at birth. I am not at liberty to give you any more information.” I thought to myself, “that is odd! Why can mom not tell me about my birth parents? After all, I am 30 years old!” My wedding day was coming up soon, so I let the matter go, but I was very hurt that mom would not give me any more information.
I mentioned to one of my bridesmaids about my discovery of my birth name. She suggested that I contact Toronto Social Services to get more information.  I did contact them. I received forms, which I filled in and returned,  then waited for a reply. I also sent an inquiry to the Children’s Aid in Cobourg.
My hurt turned into uncontrolled anger, which I took out on my husband and friends, even throwing dishes and food in my rage. I wanted mom to give me the answers about my adoption so I could fill in the missing piece.
Two years later, I received a registered letter from Cobourg Children’s Aid. Once more, when I opened the letter, I was disappointed. The names of my birth parents were missing. I was counselled by a Cobourg Social Worker, who explained that my adoption was a private one. My parents were probably someone I already knew. The Social Worker encouraged me to try and ask my mom about my birth parents again. I would probably have to wait a long time to get any information from Toronto. The thought of asking my mom again was the furthest thing from my mind. Mom had said no the first time I asked. At 32, I was still too afraid to challenge her authority.
Finally I decided if I wanted the information,  I would have to set aside my fears. I prepared to ask mom about my birth parents once again. I prayed about how to ask and when to ask my mom about my birth parents.
I decided to ask mom when we went down to celebrate Christmas and our wedding anniversary.  We ended up going down early for Christmas to help my mom as she had broken her ankle.
On our second anniversary,  I brought out the family photo albums, so that I could ask about my birth parents. As we poured over the albums together, I  mustered up the courage and prayed for the right timing about asking mom about my birth parents.
“ Mom, ” I asked gingerly, “could you please tell me how I came to be Margaret?” “Margaret!” Mom said with exasperation, “I have already told you about your birth parents!” I tried to ask another question,  but mom shut me down. “This is enough questions! I am tired and it is time to soak my foot.” she said, leaving the room. However, I kept persisting with my questions. Finally, my mom grew weary of my constant asking and said,”I have told your sister and she can tell you after I am gone!”
I had been put off by my mom too often and I blew up! I yelled at her, saying,”that is not fair! How can you tell my sister and not tell me! All the hurt and anger came roaring out. I even suggested that she loved my sister more than she loved me. Up until now I had always been hushed when I was angry, but not this time!
The next few moments that passed seemed like hours. The tension in the air was like a thick, heavy cloud. I feared whether mom and I would ever be close again after this blow up. Mom came and stood in the doorway and said,”Margaret,  you might think differently of your parents if I tell you.” “No, I won’t, mom. I need to know. Please tell me.” After another few moments of silence, my mom finally said matter of factly, “it is J. and H.”
J. and H. were my dad’s brother and his wife.
The story went that my birth parents were struggling financially and my mother’s nerves were not good. They were not married but engaged to be married. My birth mom was trying to hunt down her abusive first husband to file divorce papers. My birth mother’s father, my grandfather,  was going to adopt me but at the last minute, changed his mind. My birth father thought of his brother Clifford and asked if they would adopt me. A few days later, I was brought to live with my aunt and uncle, my adoptive parents. Not one person in the extended family knew about my adoption as my birth was kept hushed.
It hurts that people allowed pride to get in the way about my birth and beginnings. It hurts that the whole family kept the secret from me until I was 32 years old. It hurts that my birth parents kept my brother and sister but gave me away. It hurts that my birth mom would not tell my siblings about me.
Years later, I know that this is all behind me and for the most part, I have worked through my grief and anger.
I finish by saying that you can hide the truth and try to keep it hidden, but eventually, the truth  will ALWAYS come out.
This is my story about how I feel about being adopted. I hope it helps others to know it’s OK to speak out about your feelings. I hope that it brings some understanding and awareness to people who have no experience with the effects of adoption. Most of all, I hope it brings an end to the shame associated with adoption.
Margaret T.
Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Patricia R.

 

patriciaBIO: My name is Patricia. I was born and spent a good part of my life in Montreal until I moved out west to Vancouver in 1991. I studied Commerce at Concordia and McGill. My daughter lives very close to me and I see a lot of my two grandsons, age 9 and 4. I’ve worked as an executive assistant in the mining industry, and currently work as the internal bookkeeper for an accounting firm.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

My renewed interest in documenting my adoption and everything around it that has happened to me started in summer 2015. To set the stage for THAT I will have to back way up to Montreal, Quebec, October 1953, when and where I came into being.  Much later in life I found out that from the orphanage I was placed in a temporary French Catholic foster home until I was nine months old. (explaining my facility with French in school) and from there to my permanent home. My adoptive Dad was from England and had been a merchant marine captain during the war. My adoptive Mother was a schoolteacher from a strict, English Victorian sort of family in west end Montreal. She had been ill as a child and carried those after-effects into adulthood. She had had a stillborn child and that is why they decided to adopt.

I was made aware I was adopted since sometime before grade school. Mum and Dad sat me down on the couch one day and explained it as best they could. As recommended by social workers at the time they told me I was special. They told me I was wanted..

but most of all I was terrifically special.

Just around the time I started Grade One, I remember Mother being upset and crying a lot. Then she was all smiles and started knitting furiously, all blue, blue ribbons, blue buttons. Then the spare room was painted blue and a crib was put in it, curtains on the window with blue bears and cute pictures on the wall.

Then my brother arrived one day all giggly and roly-poly and they placed him in the crib and introduced me to my new brother. He drifted off to sleep and we crept out and shut the door. I now had a sibling.

I loved him so much I thought my heart would burst. No one was allowed to put a finger on him except my parents – I became fiercely protective of him.  He was so cute and all smiles.

In class at the beginning of Grade 2 (or 3, not sure) we were given forms and at the top we were supposed to write our names, phone numbers and birth dates. I put up my hand – I was having trouble with that third piece of information: I wasn’t born, I was adopted – -what should I write down? I was just trying to be precise. I recall tittering and giggling from the kids behind me and my face turning beet red.

My concentration was never good in school. I daydreamed, looked out the window, anywhere but the board. Often I’d get in trouble and land up at the very back where the coats were hung.  Nonetheless I managed to come first in Grade 3 but after that it was a downhill slide. (It was only in Grade 7 that it was discovered how bad my vision was and that I’d probably been that way since birth. It explained why in all my childhood pictures I was squinting.)

I felt I had this imaginary sign painted on my back –

I AM DIFFERENT.

To deal with this I became the class clown in Grade 4. In Grade 5 my teacher told me first day that she had heard of how funny I had been in Grade 4 and she was going to see to it that the “funny” was wrung right out of me.  She made me the daily object of ridicule and it was more the rule than the exception that I had a detention after every school day pretty much, for quite some time, to the point I’d forgotten what for. I looked to my parents for help – my mother’s remark was “well there must be a reason”. It was an era where trust in professionals (doctors, teachers, social workers) was inviolate, sacred. Somehow I made it through anyway, through Grade 5, 6 and 7 and on to high school.

By Grade 9 I was sullen, rebellious, and angry to the teeth and gums and by Grade 10 I had all but dropped out.  At home I fought with my mother. At school and out of it I had few friends and was the object of bullying by this group of horrid boys.

When I was 17 my Dad was transferred overseas to Antwerp, Belgium. I got in trouble in my international school and was kicked out. I was sent to boarding school where they could be sure I would be kept out of trouble. Um…hello – Amsterdam was a bus ride away? and this was 1970.  There was this tall kid in school called Carlos. Every Saturday we’d give him a shopping list and he’d bus it to Amsterdam and back.

I tried LSD but I had such horrific experiences with it – such as thinking that I was crawling up inside my own brain never to be found again – that I avoided it for the most part. But I did try other drugs. They didn’t help my state of mind which was at best chaotic, and at worse feeling I was on the brink of madness. I felt like a marked person, an outcast, a freak. I wasn’t doing well academically or socially at boarding school but it was much better than being home. The headmaster set me up with a psychiatrist in Utrecht. On holidays I HAD to go home, and on most days I would stay in my room and read and self-medicate.  Venturing downstairs while my mother was there was to invite criticism and some sort of unwinnable argument, so I stayed in my room.

OK let me stop here for a moment. I now understand that very possibly I had made it so difficult for my mother to be a mother to me – such was my trust level, extremely low – that she could not feel fulfilled as a mother with me or the slightest bit successful. I even remember being sick and she’d try to mother me but I waved her off not wanting the attention.  With my adult understanding I have come to appreciate how great was her difficulty with me, how little was her understanding as to why, and what a crisis it must have been to her for, my not trusting her to be a mother to me. But the weird thing is that up to Grade 7 there was none of this fighting. It had started with my puberty, had come out of left field. It was not gradual – it sort of came up overnight, that is, it did to my mind and as well as my memory serves me.

On the other hand, my brother had the most compliant, good-humoured temperament I’d ever seen in a kid and the bond between him and Mother became very strong. With him she could feel fulfilled as a mother and successful.

Needless to say, gaps widened, I became “the problem” and I was lost, floating and miserable. I was told I was to blame for all the unhappiness in the household and the low self-esteem in me bought that hook, line and sinker. Gone was the person I had been before puberty. I thought I was fat, ugly, stupid. I felt there was something fundamentally flawed about me. I became bulimic and later on anorexic. I binge ate and abused laxatives. I made scratches up and down my arm. I used alcohol as “liquid courage”; my behaviour was atrocious and I was not a very pleasant person to be around with a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas.  I was one step away from reform school too – my parents often threatened me with it. Well at least I had not resorted to a life of crime – I did a little petty stealing but after getting caught I was scared enough to stop.

I had always been musical and did get much solace in playing my guitar, and singing. I’d sit upstairs in my room all afternoon playing and singing, and writing dark poems. I loved Simon and Garfunkel and would sing I Am A Rock over and over:

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark
December,
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me,
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

This song quickly became my personal anthem. And when I got to that last stanza I would always shout it out: I HAVE MY BOOKS AND MY POETRY TO PROTECT ME!! Hoping my mother would hear that from down in the kitchen.

Well, one day and I think it was at Easter when I had to be home, there I was up in my room (safe within my “womb”) and I had smoked a reefer and was reading Portnoy’s Complaint. I had fallen into a deep stoned sleep on my bed with the book on my face. Suddenly my mother burst through the door yelling at me to get up! I was lazy, good for nothing!. She grabbed my book, screaming that it was filth and trash and smut, and proceeded to rip it up. In a dream state I stood up and yanked it out of her hands, then to my horror I watched as my own fists – they couldn’t be anyone else’s –  rained down and made contact with her face. It was all slow motion and a blur and I didn’t feel my fists making contact and then my brother was in there helping her off the floor and out of my room. She was wailing, he was sobbing and I was contemplating a jump over the railing to my (preferably quick) death below in the vestibule.

I didn’t leave my room the rest of that day and the next day my Dad came back from wherever he had been, on a business trip or something. I didn’t leave my room that day either except to use the bathroom.

The following day I was called to the breakfast table to view the damage to my mother’s face and drown in the profound unbearable shame of what I had done.  I couldn’t explain myself, and anyway I was starting to believe I was evil. Eventually, the shame and the horror got buried over time and no one in the family spoke about it again.

We moved back to Montreal the following year and four years later to Vancouver. After a year I found an excuse to go back to Montreal. I had applied to university and had gotten accepted. Thus ensued my lonely life in Montreal. I started seeing a psychiatrist. I was married for a time and had a daughter and then the marriage broke up and I was a single working parent in Montreal. I had no car, the winters were cold and long. On weekends after my daughter went to sleep I drank lots of wine.

After 17 years I decided to pull up “roots” and move to Vancouver so my parents could be closer to my daughter and they could help me.

However within six weeks my mother’s health went from iffy to downhill. (She had always had bad health: kidney disease, breast cancer and the list goes on.) She was diagnosed with liver cancer and in another six weeks she was… gone! Six months after that my Dad died of a massive stroke.

My brother and I split up the estate and he bought my share of the house from me (under much protest and ugliness I’d never seen in him before) and his girlfriend moved in with him with her two kids. I had the distinct impression he thought himself more entitled to the estate than I was and he made it difficult and hurtful at every turn. I had never seen this side of him before. But low self-esteem not withstanding, I held my ground. Eventually he married his girlfriend and they sold the house and moved to the States.  He made a whopping amount of money in programming and became very successful as a high paid computer systems engineer in California.

I kept on in Vancouver, never really carving a career for myself, always working well under my true potential. I was thankfully better off financially thanks to my Dad’s remarkable ability to save money. It helped me to buy a townhouse, but I wasn’t by any means independently wealthy and still had to work, and that was OK. Work I could do.

After a run of successive disastrous relationships with psychologically abusive men, I found a good psychologist whom I saw after that for years.

I went down to California the Christmas before 9-11 to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I was anxious the whole time but it was a good visit and my brother seemed happy to see me. After that he phoned occasionally and most often when something was going wrong and he needed to talk it out. I was glad to be given that role – after all, I loved him and cared about him.  I wanted to be that big sister again.

Around that time I put in another of many campaigns to find my birthmother and that  time around I found her, in a small fishing community on Vancouver Island.  But she was damaged goods too – the elder of five children taking the brunt of her father’s beatings and protecting the younger ones…and a perfect victim in a victim’s perfect holding pattern. Eventually we had a bad argument and she told me to pack up, leave and not come back. There was something of a detente eventually but I was beginning to see that it wasn’t working and stopped contact. What I did take away from all of that was my father’s name and where he came from.  I’ve been looking on and off ever since.

I had a complete nervous breakdown in 2009-2010.  The silver lining in that is that I started “doing the work”, learning better coping styles, becoming aware of how my thoughts drove my emotions (not the other way around), learning what caused my depression.  Without falling completely apart, I would have never seen the need to make these sorts of changes and learn this much about myself.

My brother and his wife came up from time to time and about three summers ago their visit seemed so successful and positive that I was starting to think (and dare to hope) that our relationship was really on the up and up, so much so that two summers ago I drove all the way down to California to see them.

I won’t get into details. One step in the front door and the distinctive grinding sound I heard was that of old tapes. The atmosphere was palpable. The visit got ugly fast. They finally told me that they had plans and it was “awkward” to have me there for those events so I drove home, tail between my legs so to speak, humiliated.

This summer my daughter wrote to them basically saying “c’mon what gives? Let’s have harmony! You’ve hurt my Mom – she’s a good person you know” and they wrote back with half-truths and accusations, de-friended her and me on Facebook. My brother told my daughter about what I’d done to my mother when I was 17 and that he could never forgive me for that or my general bad treatment of our parents.  I wrote an explanatory, apologetic email (about that incident) to my brother. He wrote back and said fine, but he still thought I was an angry sullen person.  And then our communications just stopped.

I looked up my old therapist. He had retired so I found a new counselor and better yet in my own community. After telling him this long story, he told me he was adopted too! and saw a lot of his story in mine. We shared similar experiences. He got me reading Nancy Newton Verrier’s book “Coming Home to Self”. It’s been a difficult read. Oh, not just the damage done to me but the damage my narcissistic self had done to others. Then about halfway through the books she talks about taking responsibility and ownership of it all. The adopted child grows up!  The adopted child MUST grow up. I want to continue to discover more and more of myself – all the good stuff – and own it all good, bad or indifferent. I want to accept the bad stuff and put it to rest. Good Lord – I’m sixty-three now – I want peace and resolution.

As for the things I can’t change, I must accept them and move on. I am very close with my daughter and I have two wonderful grandsons with whom I am very connected and involved. For that I am so very grateful.  It truly is the silver lining in my tempestuous life.

The work continues.

I wish all the very best for adoptees around the world.

Love, Patricia

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Lyndsey Smith


img_20160805_123159102Brief Bio:
I am a 35-year-old, wife, mother, and friend.  I enjoy life, and being outside.  My hobbies include reading, writing, and enjoying family time.

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?

As a child, I didn’t fully understand the meaning of the word adoption.   I thought it meant that I was special, because I was different from my siblings.  Even though we lived the same childhood: poverty, single parent, and abuse.  I am sure my childhood shyness was a result from the chaotic home life.  At one point, my sibling became my attacker – sexual abuser – the one who made my life hell.  When I told, he was protected, and I was told we keep family safe.  What a crazy idea, we keep family safe, yet I was not safe, or being protected.  I felt that it was because I was adopted that this happened.  That maybe if I was blood, I would not have been the victim.  This trauma in youth added to the feeling of alienation, not being enough, and basically sending my self-worth down a dark tunnel.  I struggled with cutting, suicidal thoughts, and depression through my teen age years, and most of my adult life.

I had a closed adoption, but knew my adopted family, since they kept it in the family. (I did grow up miles away, but did visit).   I never felt that I was enough – good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or even happy enough.  This created a bigger strain on my relationship with my adopted mom.   Eventually, I realized that keeping contact with her would create more pain, and negativity.

After having a child of my own, the idea of adoption was worse.  I could not understand ever signing papers away.  Holding that innocent precious child in my arms, created such a fear of the idea of walking away.  I just cannot understand how someone can give their child away. At first I believed that I was given away out of love, but the older I got, the more I realized that wasn’t the case.  I will never know why she gave me away; the truth is I will only hear excuses.  At this time, I have no contact with my bio family because I was expected to be someone I was not, and then attacked for assumptions of who I was. These relationships started to create physical pain, and more emotional turmoil.

The most difficult situation is the realization that I have never had a mom.  Then the mourning period of losing someone you thought you had.  Someone that I could call to talk to about anything, someone who loved me unconditionally.  Someone would teach me that I was enough.  That I did not deserve verbal assaults, or negative, angry words.  I cannot hate the woman who raised me, or the one that birthed me.  I am thankful for them both, but I do know my life is better without communication with them.  My mother is truly nature, it is the place I can feel at peace, and truly understands God’s beautiful world. Luckily, when I was young I did have a dad enter my life who neither adopted me, or was related by blood.

My adoption is part of my identity.

I was not given my father’s name, and recently have found out that it is impossible for him to be my dad based on my blood type.  So, I am at peace knowing that I will only know half of my heritage, half of my truth, and half of my reality.

As an adult, I am happy with who I have become, who I continue to be, and I am trying to understand my own worth.  I am afraid that there will always be pain, that I will always fear rejection, and that I will always wonder if I am enough.

I am thankful for having a Heavenly Father.  My family who loves me, and the realization that family is not made of blood, or made by family law.  It is made by people who share similar pains, who go through triumphs and tribulations, and create a strong bond.

I guess I will never really know how I feel about being adopted, because it is just a reality that I face.  One day I may be at peace, and then another I may cry because I am missing something. My identity will always be splintered into two parts – one that leaves me guessing and the other that is okay with the knowledge that I am incomplete.

Adult Adoptee

Lyndsey Smith

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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-Patrick Hawes

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My sister Tracy & I

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

BIO:  My Name is Patrick and I am a 45 year-old adoptee in Virginia but born in North Carolina. I was adopted at the age of five weeks old.  My adopted parents were older at the time they adopted me (father was 47 and mom was 42), I was an only child. My adopted mom was Japanese, so there was no way to hide the fact that I was not her biological son!  My adopted father passed away when I was four. I had a nice, wonderful childhood and never really thought about searching for my birth family growing up. I am married to a wonderful woman and we have one son who is almost 8. My adopted mom passed away 11 years ago and that’s where my journey to find my birth family begins.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

After my adopted mom passed away in 2004, I felt a strong desire to begin looking for my birth family. I am in the military and at the time I was stationed in Hawaii which made searching for my birth family a challenge. I called the Department of Social Services in North Carolina and was told that adoption records are sealed and I could not access them without a court order and that would take a lot of work! What they did send me however was called “non-identifying” information. Basically a piece of paper with very basic information on my biological parents and their families without any names, addresses etc. but I didn’t give up. I went on the internet and found a website for adoptees from North Carolina which had search angels in it that would assist adoptees in their search. I put in my information and within a few days I received an e-mail back and in it was my birth mothers name, Judy! At first I was shocked that the information came so quick, but then fear gripped me. “What if she doesn’t want to hear from me, what if she has a life and doesn’t want to remember that part of her past?” So many emotions went through me. You see I had been told by my adopted mom that my birth mom was very young when she had me and did not want a kid and couldn’t afford one at that time. I would later discover this to be untrue, but I’ll get to that later. I held on to my birth mothers name for over 10 years before really getting serious about finding her, mostly because I was moving so much, sometimes to overseas locations which made doing any search difficult.

HITTING THE SEND BUTTON

When my family and I moved to Virginia in 2013, I told my wife I wanted to begin a serious all out search for my birth mother, but really any member of my birth family was what I really wanted to find! In early 2015, I ran across a FB page for adult adoptees from North Carolina. I put in all the info I had and was again given the same name for my birth mother, Judy. Then about an hour later, I got a private FB message from one of the search angels and it contained a picture of my birth mom from when she got married! It was a surreal feeling to look at a picture of someone and see distinct resemblance to myself. Then later that night as I was watching TV with my wife, I got another message from the same search angel and in it was a high school yearbook picture of my maternal Aunt along with a link to her FB page! My Aunt had given her e-mail address in her FB profile so I composed a very simple two sentence e-mail introducing myself, telling her who I was and that I had reason to believe that her sister was my birth mother. I must have read that e-mail 50 times over. I had my wife read it and told her “Ok, you realize once I hit the send button, there’s no turning back!” So with some trepidation, I hit send! Within 10 minutes, my Aunt responded. She told me that she didn’t have much information because she was young at that time and that her parents were both deceased but there were some family friends who might know some information. She also told me that my birth mother, Judy, had a massive stroke about 4 years prior and was living in a nursing home in North Carolina. She also told me “My husband and I looked at your FB profile and you look very much like Judy’s daughter! Tracy” I looked at my wife and said with excitement “I have a sister!!” We tried looking through my Aunt’s FB friends for my sister, but couldn’t really find her because her page was private. There were so many emotions going through me but little did I know this was just the beginning of my journey.

 

A GIFT FROM GOD

About a week went by before I heard from my maternal Aunt. She had reached out to some family friends back in her hometown. They told her that my birth mother had been sent away to a home for unwed mothers to have me mainly to keep my birth fathers family from interfering with putting me up for adoption. They told my Aunt that my birth mom was not given a choice regarding putting me up for adoption. They also said when my mom came back after having me, the only thing my birth mom told them was that she had a boy. My birth mom never spoke about it gain. I felt so bad for my birth mother. For so many years, I had this anger in me about being put up for adoption. Questions like “Why did my birth mother not want me”, “Why was I not good enough for her.” These were all based on information I had been told by my adopted mom. Now I was finding the truth..my birth mother was not given a choice! Her parents made the decision for her. Immediately, my feelings towards my birth mom changed and more than ever I wanted to meet my her so I could let her know I was ok and that I didn’t have any anger towards her.

Another week passed before my maternal Aunt reached out to my sister to tell her about me. My Aunt asked me not to contact Tracy before she did. I of course obliged her request. One night I was sitting at home and got a FB message from my sister Tracy!. We discovered we not only had the same mom, but the same father. We were full blood brother and sister! WOW! My mind was blown! I also found out I had a half brother. Over the course of several more weeks, Tracy and I talked every day, sometimes for hours. We talked on the phone for the first time in March 2015. We talked for close to 4 hours! We had an instant connection.

In June 2015, I was travelling for work to South Carolina, which is where both my Aunt and my sister Tracy live. For the first time in my life, I sat across the table from people I shared blood relation with. It was life changing! The meeting was amazing and so wonderful. I found out so many details about my family but the most amazing part was finding God. You see being raised by a Japanese mom, I was raised and practiced Buddhism all my life. But during this trip, God began speaking to me through my sister and her example of living for God When I got home to Virginia, I began my relationship with Christ and it has been amazing! I was Baptized in July this year!

Tracy and I talk to each other almost every other day and she has truly become one of my best friends.It’s almost as if we were never separated for 45 years!

I have not met my birth mom yet, mainly due to the fact that there is no way to know how much she remembers because of her stroke. I also do not want to upset her or bring up any pain for her. If its God’s plan for me to meet her, it will happen. Tracy keeps me updated on her and because of that I feel close to her in someway. I don’t regret for one minute hitting the send button and meeting my birth family. Thank you for allowing me to share my story!

Patrick H. Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Chelsea Westfall

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

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

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

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

Chelsea Westfall, Adult Adoptee

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