How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Jim Serrano

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BIO: My name is Jim Serrano. I’m 57 and I was raised in Gilroy, California and currently still live here. I retired after 31 years as a Concrete Ready-Mix driver of the Teamster Union. I met my wife on a blind date and we are going to be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary in July. We have one daughter who is going to be turning 33 in June. I started my search for my birth parents when I was 38, this is my story.

 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

Twice Adopted

By: Jim Serrano

You are probably wondering why I called my story twice adopted; well here is the journey and the facts as to why the title sums up my life. I was adopted at two weeks of age and the second adoption was seven years ago when I found unconditional love from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I guess this is where I start at the beginning; I was adopted when I was two weeks old by my parents Joe and Lupe Serrano, which was 45 years ago. I was raised in Gilroy, California and grew up in a very strict household. The first time I found out that I was adopted I was about 11 years old. My parents, brothers, and sisters would tell me they got me at the supermarket all through my teenage years. I always had it in the back of my mind, that maybe I was adopted. I acted out a lot, which meant I had anger, drugs, and alcohol issues. At the age of 10-11 I was being molested by a male cousin. I always felt unworthy because of my birth parents giving me up for adoption. I figured they didn’t want me.

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My wife, Tina- She’s a big part of my story , She gave me peace. We will be married 35 yrs July 14th

Many years later when I was dating my wife, we were eating dinner and I told her I had something to tell her, so I told her I was adopted, and she said it was okay! Yet in the back of my mind I thought she would think that there was something wrong with me because my birth parents gave me up for adoption, this was 25 years ago.

The next part of the journey would be actually starting to search for my birth parents. Back in 1999 I was watching a TV program about adoption and the program explained how to get un-identifying information so I decided it was time for me to look, for myself, and for my 12 year old daughter.

My journey began with going to my parents and letting them know that I was going to search for my birth parents and if they could please give me all the information that they had. My parent’s reaction was why and I remember my dad telling me, “Are you prepared to find out what’s out there.” My mom was saying if I was trying to replace them. I told them no but I needed to find out what I was.

The information I got said I was born in San Jose and was adopted through the county. I work in San Jose driving a concrete truck so one day after work I went to the count office and asked if I could get my un-identifying information. The woman at the desk told me that those records are closed and I could not get the information I wanted. I came home disappointed and told my wife what happened. She told her brother so he decided to call the social worker that I spoke to and convinced her to call me back in her office to sign a waiver so I could get the information but it could take up to a year to get the information. Two months later the information came in the mail. It stated that my mother was 5ft, 95 lbs., and she worked in a doctor’s office. She was 25 years old at the time of my birth.

My father was Mexican, brown hair and eyes, 5’6, and had a 10th grade education and also worked full time. It was a brief affair and they were not interested in marriage. About three months later at my place of employment I was delivering concrete to a job site and I was talking to a gentleman I have known for 20 years, who’s name is Carlos. He asked me what I had been up too, and I told him I was looking for my birth parents. He proceeded to ask me if I had any information and I told him all the information I knew. He then told me that the information about my birth mother sounded like a girl he knew named Marie who he had dated in the early 60’s. I began to tell him about my birth family which described him to a tee.

I called my wife and told her what had happened and if she could read me the information about my birth father. I went back to the job site and asked Carlos how far he went in school and he stated that he only went up to the 10th grade. We then just looked at each other and thought maybe we were father and son. I asked him if he knew how to a hold of Marie and he said he would try to fine her but it had been 38 years since he has seen her. Two weeks later I was talking to a fellow coworker and he told me he used to date Carlos’ daughter and that he would call her so we would meet. Meanwhile Carlos and I decided to take a blood test. About 9 weeks later I got the results in the mail saying that we were not father and son, which was one of the worst days in my life. When I told him about it we were both devastated.

Six months passed and my wife was talking to a neighbor and she told her that her husband was adopted. So my wife shared with her that I was adopted also. The neighbor told my wife that her husband went to adoptive identity discovery meeting and that’s how he found his birth parents. So I decided to go to the Santa Clara meeting because I was adopted in San Jose. While at the meeting I met a gentleman who helped me with my search. I gave him all my information and he told me he would have a name for me but the time I got home. He called me that night and gave me my birth mothers maiden name. Meanwhile my adopted mother found out she had breast cancer so the guilt started to dig deep into my heat. I thought how I could keep going on with the search.

I decided to keep looking. 6 months past and we narrowed my birth mother’s maiden name to three woman and three addresses. One of them was in San Jose where I worked, so one day I was delivering concrete and saw he address so I pulled over and knocked at the door and asked if they ordered concrete. The person that answered the door was my brother but I didn’t know at the time. Three weeks passed and the gentleman helping me called and told me he found my birth mother and the address I stopped at three weeks ago was where she lived. I got her phone number and called her that night. She answered the phone and I asked her if any of her sons were home and she said no and asked me who I was, and I told her my name was Jim Serrano and she didn’t recognize my name. I asked her if January 22, 1962 mean anything to her, and there was a dead silence. She then proceeded to ask why I was saying these things and asked who it was and I told her this is who you think this is, so she told me she couldn’t talk and to call her tomorrow morning. I hung up and told my wife what happened and was so anxious, confused, and numb. My wife didn’t want me to drive home.

Later that night my wife and I were talking and the phone rang and it was my birth mother, Nolberta and she asked me if we would meet the next day at a Valley Medicare in San Jose because she had an appointment for her kids that morning. I agreed to meet her the next morning. So we meet in the parking lot of Valley Medical. When we saw each other we locked eyed and she hugged me and cried and told me she was sorry, although I had no emotions. She asked me to go along to the appointments she had for her kids. After the appointments we talked and she told me that her husband and kids didn’t know anything about me. She told me that God gave her a second chance with me so she was going to tell her husband and kids about me. She said that she was sacred that her husband was going to kick me out of the house.

Later on that night Nolberta called me and said that her husband and kids were excited to meet me. A week later I met her husband and my two brothers. I didn’t get to meet my sister because she lived in Montana at the time. One thing I noticed was a lot of young children living in her home. Later that night we spoke on the phone and I asked her who all those children were. She stated that they all were her foster children and that they were foster parents for at least 25 years. She said she was paying God back for what she did 38 years ago by giving me up for adoption.

At the same time I didn’t tell my adoptive parents about the meetings. I asked Nolberta of Carlos Bryant was my father and she told me no that my father’s name is Raul Coca. She had not seen him in 39 years. But she knew where his brother worked. So I went to where Raul’s brother worked and that was Hank Coca Furniture in San Jose. A week later I was working so I pulled up in front of the store and I asked for Hank Coca but he was not there so I spoke to Hank Coca Jr. and asked how I could get a hold of Raul Coca. He asked me who I was and I told him I was his son. He was shocked and surprised. I left my phone number and name and also left Nolberta’s name and if he could contact me.

About a month later Nolberta had a BBQ at her home so I could meet the rest of the family. On the way home my wife and I were talking about how well the party went and how nice all my new relatives are. But the only downside was that I hadn’t heard from Raul Coca. When we got home there was a message from Raul on the answering machine. We spoke the next day and we decided to meet that week for lunch. So we meet and we looked a lot like each other, he told me he didn’t know anything about me. He also told me he has never married or had any children. So he asked me if I wanted to go and see where my grandparents were buried so we went to the cemetery and one thing I noticed was that Nolberta’s parents were buried close by. I decided that I wanted to take a blood test to make sure Raul was my biological father.

Six weeks later the results were positive that he was actually my biological father.

Then a few weeks later my wife, daughter and I went to Pacifica to meet the rest of the Coca family. After meeting both families we kept talking to each other for weeks. My 39th birthday was coming up and I found out about a week before that Nolberta was going to throw me a surprise party in Gilroy with all my family and friends from both sides. I wasn’t feeling happy about it because I knew my parents were not comfortable with meeting my birth mother. So that night when I walked into the party, I had to act like I was surprised but I was extremely uncomfortable because my parents were sitting at the same table as Nolberta. That night I proceed to get drunk so I could just not worry about the situation, because I remember that when my mom and dad left the party my dad said we would be talking about it tomorrow.

The next day while I was home my heart started pounding extremely fast and hard. I told Tina to call an ambulance because I though I was having a heart attack. I ended up in the ICU for three days but the doctor’s said it wasn’t a heart attack but actually an anxiety attack. I spoke to a therapist a week later and he started giving me Paxil for depression, I was out of work for a month. The first day I returned to work I was speaking to a friend on a job site and he was really listening to my trials, and asked me to attend church with him on Friday night. I told him maybe, but Friday came and I decided to go to his church. I was late but he was still waiting for me on the steps so my wife and I started going to his church in San Jose for about a month.

One morning before service started I was getting an anxiety attack so I went and took my medication and felt better. After the first worship song I accepted the Lord on that day, March 1st, 2001. I went that day and threw away the Paxil, told my therapist that week what I did but he said it was dangerous for me to do it. I knew the Lord had healed me, so I now know my life is going great even in my trials.

I know the Lord will give me peace in my life.

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My Next Tattoo

            I know you are probably wondering about why I called my testimony twice adopted, it is because in Ephesians 1:5 which speaks about being adopted as sons of God, and it was all planned before we were born.

 

 

Jim Serrano

724 Everest St

Los Banos, CA 93635

Home: (209) 826-3349

Cell: (209) 617-5613

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Raymond

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ADOPTEES STORY CONNECT – Raymond

BIO:   I was born in Canada.  I am a high school teacher and a classical musician (organ).  I taught in a high violence school in the Bronx and loved every minute of it. After a few years, I entered the international school system and taught in two foreign countries. I currently live in Europe where I continue to teach and play weekly.

 

Facts of birth

Adopted children often lack any reliable information regarding their origins.  Late adoptees (those adopted later than 2 years after birth) often know nothing about the early years between their birth and their adoption. I only know that I was born on August 6, 1967 in the Grace Maternity Ward in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  I was adopted around age 4 by a British couple who after serving in WW II, came to Canada with 3 biological children of their own.  At the time of my adoption these biological children were adults and parents themselves. I was adopted with another boy and several years later this couple adopted a third child.

 

To this day I struggle to comprehend why this adoption was ever allowed to occur:  (1) at the time of my adoption, this couple already had 3 children and 6 grandchildren of their own, (2) they were of advanced age – he was born in 1918 and she was born in 1926. This means, when I graduated from high school a month before my 18th birthday, he was 67, (3) they flew from the Canadian west coast (British Columbia) to the east coast (Nova Scotia) – what agency was going to monitor this contrived family or be prepared to make an intervention if necessary? And, most importantly, (4) we were black children.

 

Childhood

My first years with this couple in British Columbia had some good moments but the negative ones far outweighed the good.  For example, around age 5 I had bleeding gums and severe nosebleeds regularly.  The nosebleeds would start for no reason and I would bleed so much dark red blood that I had to bleed into a pail.  I was never taken to a doctor for this, yet I was taken to the doctor for a skin rash on my fingers! Another vivid memory is that of our adopted mother teaching us to play the piano. She would stand over us with a bamboo ski pole and thwack us with the pole every time we made a mistake.   Violence was her answer to almost anything she did not like about us and physical abuse was not limited to playing the piano.  I hated pain and so I learned very quickly, never ever answer back, never register dismay or disappointment, don’t even ask questions.   One has to wonder, is this why she adopted children?

 

After my adopted father had open heart surgery in the late 70’s, it was decided that a warmer climate would benefit him.  This resulted in him taking early retirement and all of us moving to the sunny Okanagan Valley.  Neither of my adopted parents told us we were moving until two days before the moving vans pulled up the driveway.  Throughout the next 12 years, a pattern of making decisions without including or informing us became the norm.  We were meant to be seen and not heard.   It soon became clear that they did not even consider the three of us to be part of their family.

 

Move to the Okanagan and high school

Our adopted parents bought a very small house which sat on 1 square acre of land, all of which was lawn and pine trees.  From age 1I – 17, my brothers and I spent every single spring and summer weekend mowing all that lawn (with push mowers) and raking every pine needle in the fall.  Our teenage years were not spent with other kids our age, these years were spent either in school, working in orchards (I began at age 11), or mowing all that grass.  Imagine my deep satisfaction when they had to sell the property after we three boys finished high school and left.  They no longer had us to work their yard.  They were now forced to move into housing for seniors.

 

During our high school years we were expected to continue our piano studies. Our teacher, who originally lived just down the road, eventually moved 1 hr. away.  Rather than traveling to the city along the highway, our adopted mother took a much longer back road because it was full of peaks and valleys.  This meant that at the top of each hill she could put the car in first gear, turn off the ignition, and coast down the hill in order to avoid ‘wasting’ gas.  This type of conflict would become a feature of living with her. In this case, she demanded that we continue piano lessons, yet took extreme measures to avoid ‘wasting’ gas in order for us to do something she forced us to do.  She also wanted us to play sports, but our adopted father would throw a fit because sports practice often conflicted with the dinner hour.  Once again, he was unwilling to accept what was necessary in order for us to do what we had been ordered to do.

 

My adopted parents’ son got a girl pregnant during his high school years.  They got married and their son was only 6 months younger than myself.  Because of this teenage pregnancy, both of our adopted parents decided that they had to keep an iron grip on their three adopted boys and keep us away from females.  Imagine my shock when 15 years later, one of their daughters told me that my adopted father divorced his first wife and then took up with my adopted mother and they had their three children out of wedlock – he was even forced to take her surname when they eventually married. The worst thing the three of us could ever do was to be caught talking to a girl or even attempt to have a girlfriend.

 

Both adopted parents had two separate personalities: one for their biological family and another for the three of us. They harboured so much anger toward us. Right up until the evening before I left home to go to university neither I nor my adopted brothers were  allowed to talk at the dinner table,   yet when their family (biological children and grandchildren who were the same age as us) visited, they talked like a normal family, as we three adopted children had to remain silent.  I remember so many meals as the time where we received our daily berating being told how ‘stupid’ we were and how ‘we did not deserve anything.’ We were never allowed to learn to drive. I was not allowed to sleep with a pillow until age 16. We were never allowed to date as long as we lived in that house. We were never allowed to drink tea or coffee, yet their grandchildren were. When asked to lead school projects, they would sit at the table and ask: “why do you have to do it.  Let someone else do it.”  They wanted to keep us small.  If I dared to come home with a debating medal, and I brought home many, there would be plenty of anger directed right at me.  My adopted father would often say to me, “I sometimes wonder if you deserve anything.”   We were rarely allowed to bring friends home or do anything with friends.  If we even asked, she would say, “they don’t want you there.”

 

I had to ask myself if this couple were secretly racist people. We never interacted with anything or anyone who was black, we were not allowed to listen to black music, and never told how to navigate issues that black persons deal with every day. They forbid us to go in the corner store in our small town, she called up the store owner and told him.  I thought, wow segregation was outlawed long ago, but these two people adopt three black children and go out of their way to segregate them.  She often threatened to take us out of school and make us find a job.  This was in the 1980’s and she thought that because neither of them had completed high school, we shouldn’t either.   I could often lay awake at night and listen to them talking about us, to their biological adult children, behind our backs. They also felt that it was acceptable to berate us in front of their biological family.  Is this why they adopted black children?

 

We never received any money from them. They felt that they should not have to spend money on us. I had to pay for my piano lessons, clothes, summer school, and university. Yet, they had plenty of money for their own family.  Luckily I was able to make good money working in various orchards before and after school.  When my youngest brother needed braces and my older brother needed glasses, they were shamed for needing these things, yet both adoptive parents wore glasses and he had dentures! Is this why somebody adopts children?

 

Both of them came from a time when most did not complete high school.  In my senior year, my adopted father spent many evenings at the dinner table, at which we were silent, berating the whole idea of graduation and the various events a senior class holds during their final year. I only attended one of those events, and skipped the parent’s dinner because I wasn’t going to ask them, and I didn’t have any desire to introduce them to anyone.   When I did graduate, they actually bought me a gift, which I accepted with an air of ambivalence. I could only wonder what they expected me to do when they had spent the entire year demeaning the concept of graduation.  Sadly, my older adopted brother dropped out of school in Gr. 11 – and that was perfectly fine with them.

 

Off to University

During grade 11, I began researching and applying for universities.  Neither of my adopted parents showed any interest. Instead, they would sit at the dinner table and ask me if I thought I was good enough to get into university.  During my senior year I also competed in a competition to become a Page in the Canadian House of Commons and was chosen as one of 40 students from across the country to do this while attending university in Ottawa.  Not one word from either parent. When it was time to start packing to leave home, not once did either of them assist or offer suggestions on how to pack. They did not give me one single cent, I was financially on my own.  I was flying from the west coast to the centre of the country and they offered not one word of anything.  The Saturday morning I left home, my adopted mother nonchalantly said she was not coming to the airport. My adopted father had a planned appointment in the city so at least I had a ride.  During the 1hr. car ride, not one word was spoken, no father son talk, no words of encouragement, no discussions about my hopes and dreams – nothing.  He walked me into the airport, shook my hand, and said ‘best of luck,’ turned, and left.  That was it, he did not even wait to see me through the gate. There was no time for me to have any emotional reaction.  I was free.  I made it, I served my time. Twelve years of living with these people and now I never had to see them in person again, and I didn’t. Several years later, my adopted mother’s sister (my adopted aunt) told me that when I left home my adopted mother called her and said that she knew she would probably never see me again. I don’t know whether this was her admission of her abusive behavior or her thinking I was an ungrateful child who dared to want more than she thought I deserved?  My decision to attend university and to be a Page in the federal parliament had earned me such scathing wrath.

 

At age 22 I had major surgery. I told my adoptive parents I was going into the hospital and when. Yet, they didn’t call me after the operation, I had to call them.  It was now clear that the bleeding gums and severe nosebleeds I had as a young child were warning signs for the condition I now had. This condition could have easily been addressed then, but my adoptive parents didn’t want to ‘waste’ their time on taking me to a doctor.

 

I graduated from McGill University and the Julliard School (not bad for a kid who was thwacked with a bamboo stick every time he made a mistake and whose mother shamed him for having to pay for gas) and not one word of interest from either adoptive parent.

 

Adoptive History

About two weeks before I entered the hospital for surgery, I found my biological father through the provincial adoption registry. He had also moved to British Columbia; however, I was now in Montreal.  He was extremely honest and truthful and told me everything without me needing to ask.  He told me who my biological mother was (she gave birth to me at age 15, he was 17), and that she had died of cancer at age 30. He was fully aware that I had been adopted with another boy, and it was my biological father who told me that this boy was actually my cousin!  He told me about my aunts and uncles.  He also told me that my mother had had another child – I had a younger half-sister.   One of my uncles who happened to be passing through Montreal at the time, came and visited me in the hospital. My father and I are no longer in contact.  I never met him in person or have even seen a picture of him. We only spoke over the phone and I appreciate his honesty and I sincerely hope that every adoptee seeking answers has someone as honest as this.

My mother’s side of the family was less than welcoming.  They tried to prevent my sister from knowing anything about me, but I went around them and eventually contacted her.  I was also put in touch with my adopted aunt (the mother of my cousin with whom I had been raised). As I was already scheduled to attend a music festival in Halifax that summer, I could now meet all these new relatives:  uncles and aunts, including the uncle who had visited me in the hospital, and both sets of grandparents,

 

I spent a lot of time with my maternal aunt. She told me that both she and my mother, upon learning that they were pregnant, left home and moved in with another family on the other side of the city. Therefore, my grandmother had only just learned that I existed; this aunt was not ready to tell her own mother that she also had an unknown child.  I asked my aunt if she wanted to meet her son and   she said she was not ready yet, so I asked her if it was alright for me to provide him with her contact details.  I took great satisfaction in being able to bring these two together and let my cousin meet his older brother (who was not given up for adoption). After my aunt met her son, rather than be thankful to me for facilitating this, she bad-mouthed me to him. No good deed goes unpunished!

 

Now it was time for me to meet my maternal grandmother. I arrived at her house alone.  She answered the door, and said she was on the phone.  From listening to her conversation I gathered that she had just returned from the drugstore without her medication. At age 22 I am meeting my maternal grandmother for the first time and she is wrapped up in a phone call about her lost pills! I would have readily offered to go to the drugstore and retrieve her package, but I realized she didn’t know me or have any idea whether I was trustworthy so I just stood there and waited.

 

When this call ended, rather than acknowledge me, my grandmother immediately phoned my aunt and ranted on the phone saying, “he is here…. he looks just like his mother… I’m not going to say her name, no I am not going to say her name….the devil is trying to make me say her name.”   My mother had now been dead for 7 years and my grandmother was still traumatized. I moved to the living room and sat down in a chair, and waited for her to finish her phone call.  Finally, after 20 minutes my grandmother came into the living room and sat opposite me.  There was one moment where she pointed her hand at me and said, “your mother always sat in that chair just how you are sitting now.” Beyond that comment, my maternal grandmother showed no curiosity about me, did not tell me one detail about my mother, and displayed no emotion toward this previously unknown first-born son of her deceased daughter now sitting in front of her. My presence seemed to be a sore reminder of her deceased daughter.  I could only feel very sorry for my grandmother and her focus on death instead of new life.

 

The Present

Today, I still wonder what these two adoptive parents were thinking.  Why would they, after raising their own children, adopt three more children – black children – and then be so hateful.  Was this some type of social experiment?  It turned out to be a failed adoption completely absent of any oversight.

 

From my age of 11 to 17, my adoptive father was retired.  He was at home all day every day yet never spent time with us or even spoke to us.   At age 17 I left home and never returned to that house; I never saw them in person again.  This was absolutely the right choice for me and I have never once regretted it.  Seventeen years after I left home, my cousin’s girlfriend called me in a state of panic to ask me why he was unable to function.  I explained the facts of the home environment in which he had been raised and how it completely destroyed him. She then told me that the two of them had flown to BC and met our adoptive parents. The four of them went to dinner, and according to her, both parents spent the entire time arguing and hitting each other.  I really think my brother/cousin should have known better and kept any girl away from those two. What was he thinking?

 

I realize that many biological children grow up in less than happy households.  But, most children can get out of the house.  Unless we were in the orchards working or at school, we had to be at home to witness this dysfunctional relationship.  We three boys who grew up together no longer have anything to do with each other.

 

I could have written so much more, but much is far too graphic to write here.  The one irony in this entire life journey is, the only reason I studied at very fine universities and did the types of things I wanted to do in life, is because I refused to honour my parents!

 

How do I feel having been adopted? I feel cheated by what I was never allowed to experience, but at the same time, vindicated!  The finest way to get revenge on my adoptive parents was to simply leave, and that is what I did.  Nothing makes evil people angrier than when they no longer have control over you.  So, I made that happen.  I never ever wanted to be like either of them – so I got far away from them.

 

The greatest lessons this adoptive journey taught me are: (1) tell your story for what it is. Do not sugar- coat it. If other people can’t handle it, that is their problem, (2) become much better than your parents ever were, and (3) don’t do what you think or believe is right, do what you know is right even if it incurs the wrath of many.

 

Raymond

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? – 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? – 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? -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? – Carla A.

 

052BIO: I’m a mental health therapist and writer.  I love the outdoors and traveling and have found both to be great stress relievers!  Adoptee rights advocacy is just one passion of mine.

 

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?

Some months ago, as I began to really work in-depth at healing from adoption, I wrote these words in my journal about how I really felt as an adult adoptee.

“I feel like a living abortion.  The walking  dead.  Unlike an abortion, I was killed outside the womb and an ‘I’ was created to replace ‘me’.  The infant ‘I’ cried all night long, screaming with night terrors in her sleep so loudly, her adopted parents were afraid the neighbors would think they were abusing her. There is a gnawing ache in my entire gut, down to the very core, that never completely goes away.  No means of comfort – people, food, drugs, alcohol, sex, money, religion – has healed it.  I call it the wound that keeps on bleeding.  If it had a voice, it would be screaming ‘I want my mommy.  I’m lost, help me, save me.  Please hold me.  Don’t leave me.’  While the wound has no voice, it causes pain to other parts of my body in the form of physical ailments, and to my mind, where it has infected my thoughts.  It has created thoughts of ‘I want to die. I wish I was dead. I am dead.  I’m worthless, ugly, unlovable, unloved.  It’s hopeless.  I’m not wanted.’  This is what adoption feels like to me.”

I was adopted in 1967, placed in my adopted parents’ home at three days’ old.  My adopted parents often told the story I wrote above to whomever would listen.  How I was such a happy, “good” baby during the day, but would have horrible nightmares upon falling asleep.  Those neighbors my adopted parents were concerned might think I was being abused?  If they did think this, they would have been right.  My adopted father sexually abused me for over a decade.  My first memories of this begin around the age of 2 or 3.  My adopted mother verbally and physically abused me into early adulthood, and turned a blind eye and deaf ear to what my adopted dad was doing to me.  I sometimes wonder if the State of Florida had completed a home study before I was placed in the home, the adoption and subsequent abuse might have been prevented.  However, according to non-identifying information I received from the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry (FARR), a home study was attempted but thwarted by my adoptive parents’ attorney and the physician who attended my birth.

I always knew I was adopted because my adopted parents would celebrate adoption day every March 1st with us, starting when we were toddlers.  The “us” I refer to are my two adopted sisters, who were adopted from different birth families than mine.  Thanks to my adopted uncle, for years I thought babies were sold for adoption at garage sales because he told me when I was three years old that they had bought me from one for 25 cents.  I never felt bonded to either of my adoptive parents and because of this, I suffered from an inability to feel close to others and from terrible anxiety my entire life. I was always afraid my adopted parents would leave me or “sell” me too.  When my adopted parents separated for two years, almost divorcing, I was convinced of it.  During this two year period, my adopted mom attempted to “give” me to various relatives and friends and would periodically put me in the car and drive me to a local home for girls’, threatening “I’ll leave you here if you’re not good.”  After a few times of this, I became defiant, telling her to just do it.  She stopped doing this once she realized she couldn’t use the threat of abandonment to manipulate me.

I’ve been searching for my birth family for over 30 years, particularly for my birth mother. Really, I think I began searching as a young child, when I would stare at female strangers walking by and wonder if one of them was my mother.  My search has been frustrating and maddening, in large part because the State of Florida sealed my adoption records, which includes my birth certificate with my birth mother’s name – my “real” surname – once my adoption was finalized in 1968.  Adding to my frustration – and anger – were the several differing stories my adopted parents told me about my birth family, which only made me confused.  My adopted mother always told me when I would ask questions about my birth that she would give me my adoption papers when I turned 18.  When I asked for the papers at 18, she first told me she never had them and I was imagining that she had told me she would give them to me, then she told me she had burned them.  It’s impossible to search for someone without a surname, and I never got that from my adopted parents before they died.  Currently, there is no communication between myself and other members of my adopted family, for numerous reasons.  One incident which really helped me start breaking away from them occurred when an adopted family member told me I wasn’t “blood related anyway”.

Ancestry.com’s DNA testing has been a tremendous help in starting me on the road to healing and answering some questions about my genetic background.  Through them, I have been able to connect with a 2nd and 3rd  cousin, and have been linked to numerous distant cousins.  I finally know my nationality, which was an exciting thing for me.  At one point, a third cousin was convinced her cousin was my birth mother, but when she took it upon herself to contact her cousin and tell her about me, her cousin denied being my birth mother.  I attempted to contact her myself on one occasion, but she never responded.

I appreciate the findings I received from Ancestry DNA because I finally have evidence I’m “real” and am blood related to SOMEBODY.

So, as you can see, my journey is still ongoing.  While I’ve made great strides in my healing from my adoption experience since first writing the paragraphs at the beginning of this story, I still have a long way to go.  For me, adoption has been extremely disempowering in many different ways.  The State of Florida still has my “real” birth certificate, and adoption papers, “sealed” until they decide if and when I’m allowed to have access to these documents.  Many times, I’ve felt a sense of enslavement to the State of Florida, who upon my adoption provided me a falsified birth certificate listing my adopted parents as my natural parents.  I don’t feel as if the state sees me as a human being, but just an “adoptee”, who is not entitled to their real identity nor their medical or genetic history.

Finding communities of other adoptees has also helped me immensely.  I now know I am not alone, that what I feel as an adoptee is also shared by other adoptees, and even for those who did not have abusive adopted parents, the sense of loss and betrayal is still there.  Hearing their voices and reading their stories – while triggering at times – also gives me a sense of connectedness to the world.  Finally, my belief in a Higher Power who loves me has helped.  This belief has been difficult to cultivate, because every authority figure in my life either abused or betrayed me. However, my spiritual life and beliefs are what sustain me and give me hope that one day, I will feel whole.

Adult Adoptee

Carla A. 

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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- Crista White

ChristaChadwickHOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

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

FINDERS WEEPERS

When Adoption Reunions Go Wrong…

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

Starting My Search In Earnest…

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

The Phone Call….

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

Secret Correspondence…

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

The Mistake…

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

Confusion…

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

Unforeseen Endings…

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

Saying Goodbye…

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

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

Crista White, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted-Mae Claire

girl-563719_1280HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Mae Claire

Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Adoptee Nick

11246367_10206080032153046_5636658081775108538_o BIO: 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

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

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

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

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

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

(as far as I know)

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

Thanks for reading,

Adoptee Nick

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

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

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

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? 

Hello Adoptees and All Other Readers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paige Adams Strickland, Author, Adult Adoptee

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

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Kelly Drummaker

0528101120How do I feel about being adopted?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly paused a beat before continuing.

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

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

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

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

He motions to the waitress once again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You find yourself very glad that you came.

My thanks for reading my story.

Kelly Drummaker, Adult Adoptee
Valley of the sun AZ

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Sherry Hensley

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

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? 

Conceived In Rape, But I Am Loved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was conceived in rape, but I am loved.

Sherry Hensley, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?- Cecilia Trapiche

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

To My Birthmother on my 30th Birthday

Dear Mom,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Your Daughter, Adult Adoptee

Cecilia Trapiche

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Minnesota Anonymous

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HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

My View of Life As An Adoptee…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still nothing!

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

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

Minnesota Anonymous, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Lisa Floyd

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            Lisa Floyd 

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

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? 

Hope in the Pain of Rejection

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa Floyd, Adult Adoptee

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted-Prema Suma

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

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

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

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

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

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

Prema Suma, Adult Adoptee