How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Tammy K. Murphy

 

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BIO: My name is Tammy K. Murphy.  I have two children.  I am currently a senior at Ball State University.  I am taking Psychology.  I want to be a counselor.  I want to counsel adult adoptees.  Being a counselor is something I have always wanted to do since I was in my twenties.  I like the idea of talking to people about their problems and helping them see thing from a different perspective.

 

 

Content Warning: The following article you are about to read may contain written material of a serious factual nature that may be disturbing to some individuals. Reader discretion is advised.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

“Jane Doe”

For the first two months of my life I did not have a home or name.  The family secret was revealed when I was seven years old.  One of my friends said it to hurt my feelings.  I asked my mother about it, she said it wasn’t true.  When I was ten, I started asking questions about it again.  My mother would be drunk on Saturday night and tell me I was adopted and about how the mother had just left me there at the hospital and left with a man.  She also told me that I should hate the woman who gave birth told me because of what she had done.  I didn’t know how to hate her because I did not understand hate, just like at that time I did not fully understand how they had become my parents.

Then on Sunday morning when she was sober, she would tell me that she was just playing and I wasn’t adopted.  When I was twelve it was said again in school during lunchtime.  By now I understood what adoption meant and took on the mindset, let me accept this because I was helping my adoptive mother out by giving her what she could not have, a child.  I started to get angry because of my situation and began fighting in school.  I also started drinking at the age of eleven to deal with being adopted.

By the eighth grade, I started to think about suicide a lot. 

This lasted until I was about sixteen or seventeen.  My middle and high school years were extremely hard, when this should have been the time that I was primping and posing in the mirror to see what I looked like, I started hating looking in the mirror because every time I saw myself I was reminded I did know where I came from or how I did not look like anybody in the family I was being raised in.  Before I could figure out who I was in the world as Tammy K. Murphy and what I wanted to be when I grew up, I realized my name most likely would have been something else if she would have kept me.

When I was younger I used to love looking at myself in the mirror.

 Today, at forty-eight years old, I still deal with mirror loss and just recently bought another mirror.  I hate seeing myself in the mirror or through any kind of reflection whether it’s the car window or the glass in my screen door.  My self-esteem has been deeply affected because I am adopted.  I have always felt ugly.  Being adopted has also affected me in a very negative way when it comes to relationships.  I avoid them also.  I do not like to let anyone get too close to me.  I feel that the mother did not take that into consideration when she decided to give me up for adoption

Recently, I was thinking how adoption is supposed to be this good and wonderful thing of providing a child a home with two parents but the adoptee has numerous problems because of it and that does not make sense to me.

I met the birth mother when I was twenty-eight years old in 1998.  She told me she gave me up for adoption because the father was molesting one of the other daughters and he was physically abusive to her.  When I met him in 2003, he said her reasons were not true.  So, upon hearing two different stories, who do you believe?  I did not tell her that I had experienced what she supposedly keeping me from because I felt it was not any of her business.  I only wanted to know why she had given me up for adoption.  I did not want a relationship with her then nor do I desire to have one with her now.  Upon meeting her, all I had ever heard was she abandoned me and left with a man.

Right before I found out who she was, I was told she told people I had died.  I’m sure it was a surprise to her family when a funeral service could not be planned because there wasn’t a baby to be buried.  When I asked, did she abandon me or told people I died, she said the man she left with was my father and her answer telling people I had died was, “You weren’t supposed to find that out.

After having her phone number for a while, I called her in 2011 to say hi to her and she told me she was not my mother and asked why was I calling her?  After that I felt I had to question all over again, who is my real mother?  Ironically, I saw the mother a few months after that at her mother and brother’s funerals.  They died six months apart from each other.  At her brother’s funeral, I tried telling her that I forgave her for what she had done.  But that did not go over very well and we ended up arguing.  It was at that point I decided to not make any contact with her again and to just let it go and deal with being adopted the best I can.

Being adopted has been very hard for me to accept. 

Sometimes I have felt that she should have gotten an abortion because if she had I wouldn’t have had to feel so negative about my life.  Lately, I have been remembering thoughts and feelings from my past about me being adopted that was buried a long time ago in the back of my mind.  Recently, I realized and recognized that those memories are coming back because of school.  Being in class around the younger students reminds me of when living in the house I lived in did not feel like home.  As I got older I began to feel living with my adoptive parents and saying they were my parents made me feel like I was living a lie.  As a teenager, I had always like everybody else’s life seemed so much better than mine.  I felt like mine wasn’t it is supposed to be because I had brothers and sisters that I should have been living with not with these strangers as an only child.

I think those memories are coming back because I think I have fallen in love for the first time. Having feelings for someone is new for me and I’m not used to it.  I had always been in it halfway or more like the wrong way. I was always in the interaction, sexually not emotionally.  I say interaction and not relationship because I avoid emotional relationships with men.

Whenever I feel someone is trying to get to know me or get too close to me, I tend to avoid the person and shut them out.  Being adopted took that away from me, I feel as though I will never know what it is too love someone or let myself be loved.

Tammy K. Murphy

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Nicole Blank

me1BIO:I was born in Hanover, PA 45 years ago and was adopted by a loving family eight weeks later.  I have since found and reunited with both sides of my biological family, though reunion has been a mixed bag at best for me.  I am a member of many adoptee groups online and hope to continue to quietly inspire my fellow comrades as so many have inspired me.  Sending out peace, love and light to all who need it – and “may we never back down from our words which we put to voice”.  Nicole Blank, 45, Adoptee

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

 An Adoptee Prelude

Nicole Blank

“We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn.” – Tish Thawner

So many stories about adoption are written from the perspective of adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents. I read so many of those and say – did you ever ask how adoption has impacted or will impact the child being adopted? ?

It must be said that no matter how much love a new family has to offer a child, nothing can ever repair the wound and subsequent scar incurred when our first family left us. All adoptive parents must be prepared to soothe that scar which at best, will fade but never heal. And often, in the most trying times, that scar will tear open again and the healing must start from the beginning.

I have said it many times – all adoptees are the walking wounded.

For me, being adopted is part of my identity.  It is never something that you can just “leave behind” at the door.  One of my earliest memories was sneaking out of the Sunday school class because my mother was late to pick me up – I couldn’t have been more than four or five.  I crept all the way up the hallway to the main church to see if I could find her, only to see her walking out the door (which turned out to be the door to the altar for communion, but at the time to me it was just a big door, and she surely was leaving me).  I ran screaming across the front of the church calling to her and when I got to the other side, I was sobbing and asking if she was leaving me.  I can’t even imagine what the pastor and parishioners must have thought.  Nobody understands that hasn’t been in our position – most of us were relinquished at the moment of birth and you carry that trauma inside you throughout life.  To me – every person is a potential abandoner, whether it be parents, friends, a spouse, an employer.  I still worry to this day that everyone will change their mind about me and jump ship.  As much as I can say – this is not normal behavior – I cannot stop this thought pattern.  It is a part of me.

Adopted people have been to found to be four times more likely to commit suicide than those who are not adopted. 

We also fill up therapists’ offices and psychiatric hospitals with eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, and other anxiety and depressive disorders.  And yet we are expected by society at large to be “grateful” to have been adopted and “saved” from abortion, our biological families, or being killed at birth in a dumpster (I was told all three things and more on many an occasion). Not many people outside of the adoption community itself will acknowledge the trauma that we carry.  The wounds which no balm can reach.  The tears cried out of sight from others when we are judged, gossiped about, and even unfriended when we dare to speak up and tell our truths.

We matter.

Our truths are real. 

Adoption is,  often,  a millstone around our necks.

To those in both our adoptive and biological families, our company of friends, our spiritual circles and beyond – please acknowledge and put forward our truths. That we were born into this world holding our own Scarlet Letter As – not for Adultery as in the timeless Nathaniel Hawthorne novel but for Adoption instead – and those who seek our silence and submission will find that we, too, have found our voices much as Hester Prynne did.

Adoption, when absolutely necessary,  can be beneficial for all parties.  But until all can accept that adopting a child comes on the heels of a great and tragic loss, no one can truly be saved.

Nicole Blank

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Pat Reuter

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BIO: My name is Pat Reuter and I manage a Mail Order business and help with our farming business. I love the farm and the open space and privacy of it and sharing it with my husband. I am a mother of 4 children and a grandmother of 8 grandchildren and love them so much.  I enjoy in my free time gardening, golfing, reading and knitting. I hope when I retire to volunteer for many organizations as my yearning has always been to help people in any way I can.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

Hi my name is Pat; I’m 58 years old and I am adopted. I would consider myself one of the lucky ones. I had wonderful, loving adoptive parents. I was raised to be strong but mostly to love and respect others. I had this normal childhood but always wondered who I was. I yearned for my birth family and felt unsettled most of my life. My Dad offered many times to help me locate family but my Mom was always frightened and concerned about the subject. Somehow with this wonderful life I still felt empty at times.

I got married and had four wonderful children and life became so busy. I pushed all these thoughts to the back burner.  My son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25 and our lives turned upside down. It was off to Mayo Clinic to save his life. At every doctor visit with him I would be asked for medical history and I would say I was adopted. I realized for the first time in my life I hated the word adopted. It kept me from being the Mother I should have been as I felt like I was failing my son and I felt so much guilt. The second time he was diagnosed with another tumor I had 3 doctors ask me to find my birth family if I could for genetic purposes. Well I hired a private detective and the fear and anxious feelings just kept multiplying.

Well my birth mother was found and had died many years earlier and everything from there on was a dead end. My life has never been the same since. I had this awful emptiness and anger after that and all the things I hid for years came bubbling to the surface. I grieved a mother that I never met and wondered how she could not have loved me. I wanted for one time in my life to look like someone as it’s like you have no face or identity. It all seemed so wrong and at times I felt like I was losing my mind. For the first time I felt weak and confused and nowhere to turn to. I believe if my husband had not been there for me I don’t know where I would be today.  He always listened and tried so hard to understand but he just couldn’t because he isn’t adopted.

I then met my first adoptee on Facebook.

He was looking for a birth brother and I liked his page. I felt a spark coming back into my life and I joined adoptee groups and met so many people just like me. It filled me with purpose and strength again. Many of them sparked my thoughts with loving God again as I had lost my way with that also. I had a group of people for the first time that understood me.

I guess you could say my adoptee friends saved my life.

 This story has been hard for me but it’s time to be silent no more. I have felt through this new phase in my life even adoptees don’t always understand. I believe there is much bitterness from some for the lives they have lived and I feel guilt and compassion for that as I did have good adoptive parents.  I have purpose now but still resent that I don’t have medical history for myself, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren someday. I will no longer let this tear me down and am ready to stand up and ask for our Civil and Constitutional RIGHT to our Original Birth Certificates. My future is to pursue committees and groups to strive for our rights that we are not allowed.

I want and deserve the respect to know who I am.

Pat Reuter

Adult Adoptee

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

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David Meeting His Mother The First Time 3/11/12

 

BIO: David was born at Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney on December 1st 1966, to Margaret Rose who was just 16. He was adopted to a couple from Wollongong ten days later. He grew up with an adopted sister, two years younger than himself. He lived in the one family home until we moved into our first home together in 1987. We married in 1989 and have two boys – Josh who is 28 and Kyle 26. David trained as a boilermaker and worked hard until retiring in late 2015, unable to cope with the stress of his adoption history. David has always loved science fiction, particularly Star Wars and he has been collecting all kinds of memorabilia for as long as he can remember. He has built scale models of the Millennium Falcon, X-Wings and many other Star Wars vehicles. He enjoys riding motorbikes and has owned a variety of them including Harleys and Hondas but his firm favorite is Kawasaki. We have two dogs, birds and chickens but he has a soft spot for our cat Jonesy (yes, she’s named for Ripley’s cat from Alien). We live in Robertson, in the Southern Highlands of NSW which has a population of around 2500 and enjoys a ‘micro climate’ meaning you can drive up the mountain from nearby Wollongong and experience a change in temperature of up to 10 degrees on any given day and we are still using our wood heater just 8 weeks out from summer!

Content Warning: The following article you are about to read may contain written material of a serious factual nature that may be disturbing to some individuals. Reader discretion is advised.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

I’m writing this story for my husband, David who is an adult adoptee.

The story began in 1966 when he was stolen from his 16 year old mother by forced adoption in Sydney, Australia.

We married in 1989 and I was aware that he was troubled. He was an aggressive drunk and I could never understand the sense in his cutting. In and out of jobs throughout the years, he had issues with work colleagues and anger issues. His depression increased in his mid-30’s but discussing his adoption had always been taboo.

By his late thirties, anxiety, depression and cutting had left many scars. He had scars on his body, inside his tormented mind and in the form of my own depression and anxiety. His moods made isolating from my family easy and I’d never formed adult friendships outside of my work. Therapy and medication for both of us helped to find a more level ground.

We walked together and talked together.

He was finally able to hold down a job and we started looking for his first-mother. In 2012, we found her, my husband’s birth mother. He also found that he had three sisters and we all lived within a 15km radius of each other.

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David meeting his biological sisters March 2012

It was a fairy tale come true.

But….

 What a roller coaster ride it has been. Extreme highs of intense joy and happiness coupled with such deep valleys of sadness and despair. David experienced resentment and jealousy, grief and loss.

After two years the relationships all fell apart. One relationship fell apart after another followed by his mother’s secondary rejection.

The drinking returned, along with the cutting and self-destructive behaviors. Recently, after the trigger of Father’s Day, another breakdown saw him out of control and in hospital, being forcibly sedated. He is no longer able to work.

This year we have been through two DNA tests in the search for his father. Both results were negative. Following the second negative result, David attempted suicide three times in six weeks, culminating in a short stay in the acute psychiatric unit. We followed this with six months of intensive therapy which has improved David’s peace of mind.

Two months ago, David chose to log his DNA with AncestryDNA. 

For the first time in his life he has made contact with the paternal side of his biological family. Now, it’s going to be a process of working backwards through at least three families and their accompanying generations to establish where David fits in and hopefully we will be able to identify his biological father.

This in itself, although positive, has seen stress and agitation return to plague my husband’s mind. We are trying to manage these issues and have decided to return to therapy.

I tell myself that there should be no regrets that the happiness David experienced can only fade and never be taken away. Nor can anyone remove that knowledge that his true mother is out there.

But I fear the pain, the anxiety and the sadness, the separation anxiety and mood swings. I fear David’s feelings of worthlessness that could overcome him and push him towards the release of suicide again.

Christine S. David’s Wife

David S.- Adult Adoptee

Robertson, New South Wales, Australia 🇦🇺

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Rebecca Rud

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My Mother & I- 2013

BIO: I am 45 years old. I am married and have one son (18 years old) who is in his Freshman year at college. I work FT at an asphalt company in accounts receivable. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ so it is against my relationship to have a religion. I’ve known my bio family (mother side only) for 26 years. I find great comfort in connecting with other fellow adoptees and share in our journeys through this maze called “adoptionland”. I want all adoptees to have access to their OBC (original birth certificates) since I have mine, I want others to have theirs as well.

Content Warning: The following article you are about to read may contain written material of a serious factual nature that may be disturbing to some individuals. Reader discretion is advised.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED? 

I was born in May 1971 in a small town in Minnesota. I was in foster care for 2 months until my parents adopted me on my dad’s birthday (July 1971). Yes, I was someone’s birthday gift. Not sure how I feel about that even today.  My parents had no kids of their own so they adopted me and a couple years later, my brother (no blood relation). Around 5-6 years of age my brother and I were told we were adopted. We didn’t know what that meant at the time. However the word “adopted” stuck in my head especially when I would have to go to the doctor or dentist. My mom would get asked if I was allergic to anything by the nurse, and all I would hear would be,

“We don’t know, she is adopted.”

Growing up I had my own room and so did my brother so the only thing we had to share was a bathroom and maybe some toys. I had everything a child could want materially speaking, however something was missing. I didn’t look like anyone in my family. My mom and dad and brother all had brown eyes where I had blue-green eyes. I had none of my parents’ talents or gifts (wonder why?). I wasn’t close to my mom and I was always a daddy’s girl until my parents got a divorce (my upper 30s). I didn’t have that bond with my mom and still don’t even though she is my mom who raised me and took care of me. My mom and I don’t have anything in common: she loves shopping – I don’t; she loves getting a manicure and pedicure – I don’t; she loves wearing dresses and putting on make-up – I don’t.

Get the point?

I remember as a child going into the basement, probably to clean the cat box, and saw an old 4 drawer metal cabinet. Curiosity got the better of me and I started opening the drawers to see what was in them, since we didn’t use the basement except for storage, laundry, and the cat box. In one of the drawers I opened, I saw a folder with my name on it but had to close the drawer because I was called up stairs for dinner or something else. When I did get down there again I pulled out the file that had my name written on it. I opened it up to quickly see what was in there and noticed there was information from Children’s Home Society (the place I was adopted from) with all kinds of non-identifying information on my birth parents. I did not dare tell my parents that I found this digging through their file cabinet. I kept it to myself but would find myself going into the basement every chance I could to look at that file. I have that file now in my possession.

It was the end of May in the year of 1990, in which my curiosity really started building up within me. I was about to graduate from high school and enter a new stage in my life but something was missing.

Who was I?

Where did I come from?

Am I allergic to anything?

What’s my medical history?

Family history?

All these questions were important, but the one question that I really wanted answered was why did my mother give me up for adoption?

I started my search for my mother with a phone book (yes way before the internet came to be) at high school. I found their name – Children’s Home Society of MN along with their phone number. I called the number right away and as the phone was ringing I started to get really nervous. A lady answered the phone and I told her that I wanted to locate my biological mother, so she suggested that I come in and see a social worker about it. So that’s exactly what I did.  I decided to go to Children’s Home Society two or three days before my high school graduation to get the information I longed to have, which included my mother’s name.  One of my friends (who was not adopted) came along with me to this agency. She was one of my friends who was quite supportive during this confusing phase in my life.

We both entered the building and went up to the receptionist desk and told her I wanted to see a social worker about finding my mother. She asked me if I had an appointment. I told her I didn’t have one but asked if there was one to see. The receptionist than told me and my friend to go sit in the waiting area while she tried to see if there was a social worker available to help me with my inquiries. As I sat there waiting, I became quite nervous. I felt my heart starting to beat faster and faster and my palms started dripping with sweat. My friend tried to ease my nerves by telling me I had nothing to worry about. I suggested to my friend that we leave before the social worker came down, but it was too late, the social worker just came around the corner to greet us in the waiting area. With a little bit of eagerness I got up out of the chair and followed the social worker back to her office along with my friend, although I still felt my nerves twitching inside of me as we got closer to her office. As we were walking back to her office, I truly felt that I would get my mother’s name before I left the building that afternoon. We entered her office, which was quite small with two rectangular windows, which were connected by a wall and the ceiling. She had a desk which was against a wall; two other chairs and a file cabinet. We all sat down and started talking about what I wanted to do. This discussion eventually brought disappointment to me.  The social worker could not give me any information, nor could she give me my mother’s name because of the privacy act (we adoptees need to get this changed in MN and other states). Although the social worker did tell me that I could do a search for her through the agency. I asked her how much it would cost to do the search. As she told me the price for doing the search, I almost died right there. I left there with my friend, not knowing if I was going to return or not. It was a quiet ride home with my friend. We hardly talked about the meeting which had just taken place. That night I told my parents where I had gone that afternoon. I was really surprised how well they took it. I told them about this search program and how much it would cost, and that I had awhile to think about it, at least until all the graduation stuff was completed. I think they finally realized that I needed to find out my roots and know where I came from.

I loved my parents but at the same time I needed to find answers to so many questions that consumed me day and night.

Well, June 7, 1990 came and went (my high school graduation), which meant I had to meet with the social worker soon, so I called and made an appointment with her. While on the phone, I told the social worker that I had made up my mind and that I was going to do the search for my mother. My mom also wanted to come along to this meeting which was okay with the social worker.

The day of the appointment came by rather quickly. The appointment was scheduled for ten in the morning, so we left quite early so we wouldn’t be late.  While my mom and I were in the car, she told me that she would like to contribute some money to this search for my birthmother. I tried to tell her that I couldn’t accept it, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I accepted the money.  My mom and I entered the social worker’s office and started the session with some general conversation which was nothing serious. During this conversation I was asked to fill out some forms and sign them. Plus I had to sign something which said I paid the money, so the search could begin right away. The social worker than told me that it could take some time to track her down, but she would let me know when she had found anything significant. During this time period I spent most of the time working. My social worker would call every so often and tell me how things are moving along. One afternoon I got a phone call from the social worker telling me that she had just spoken to my mother. As she was telling me this, I couldn’t believe it. The social worker said that my mother was hoping I would try to contact her. By this time it was near the end of August of 1990.

My mother and I started writing to each other through the social worker, since my social worker suggested that we don’t move too fast. So we continued to write to each other through the social worker until a meeting was set up to meet each other, which was on September 21, 1990.  The meeting was scheduled for 1pm down at Children’s Home Society. As I was driving down to St Paul, I felt myself getting more nervous. My stomach was in knots and my palms were sweating all over the steering wheel. I arrived there a little early in hopes to catch a glimpse of my mother, but I didn’t see her, since she had arrived there several hours before I arrived. The social worker took me into her office and asked me if I was absolutely ready for this meeting. I told her I was and mentioned to her that I was very nervous. She told me I still could back out of it, but I told her that I wanted and needed to go through with this meeting with my mother. We walked down the very dark hallway and suddenly turning to my right to go down some stairs, which to my knowledge lead to the so called “family room”, where my mother sat waiting to see me for the first time in 19 years.

The social worker started opening the door slowly. As I watched the door open I started getting more and more nervous, thinking maybe this was a mistake after all. Although after being spaced out for a few seconds, I realized I had entered the room and was staring directly into my mother’s eyes.  I said “hello” to my mother and she said, “Hello Gretchen, I’m your birthmother…”, and when I saw my mother, a petite woman of only 5 feet and then realized I was taller than her…that put a smile on my face!  The social worker left us alone for ten to fifteen minutes so we could talk. I finally got to talk with her face to face instead of through letters. This was real. Finally someone who I looked like. Before I could even ask about my birthfather my mother told me that she was raped and that is how I was conceived.  Internally at that moment I was lifeless but on the outside I’m sure I had a look of shock. Flashback moment: When I was a child I imagined in my own reality that my birth parents were high school sweethearts that got a little carried away in the back seat of a Chevy or Ford. This fantasy was my lifeline on how I came to be.  After the news of being conceived in rape my “imagination” reality ended. I could no longer tell people my imagination reality when the true reality was real, in fact too real. I tried asking some follow up questions but my mother said that she blocked out that time frame and couldn’t remember anything about my birthfather. She asked me to never bring it up again.

We looked at some photos that each of us had brought, and talked about my childhood (which I told her was good – still in the fog here). After a while the social worker came back and we all went outside to meet her parents (long story here – foster parents) and take some photos. Going back to my mother’s parents (foster) here is the short version behind that: my mother was raped and didn’t know she was pregnant even though she had morning sickness at night until a few months into it. Her mother found out and kicked her out of the house. Therefore she had nowhere to go so she was placed in a foster home.

After taking some photos outside my mother gave me my original birth certificate (OBC) which I treasure to this day. As non-adoptees take birth certificates for granted when an adoptee gets their OBC it is like gold and treasured. Even though my OBC has a stamp across it “not for official use” I still consider it my birth certificate. It may only have my last name on it but my mother told me what she named me. So after receiving my OBC my mother took me out to dinner, so we could spend some more time getting acquainted with each other with her parents. After dinner my mother left with her parents to go back to Alexandria, MN. As for me, I drove home by myself still thinking about what I had just been through in the last several hours. On that day, I finally knew who I was, at least half of me, which was better than nothing. In a twisted kind of way I feel this is almost a dream which I’m about to wake up and find out that I’ve never met her.  (Most of the above excerpt was written for one of my college English courses shortly after this event occurred).

The first year of our reunion was like a rollercoaster ride. Back in 1990-91 internet wasn’t around and it was hard to find anything that dealt with reunions (not that I was looking because I didn’t think there was anything out there) so I had no clue on how this was supposed to work. I remember the first month or two into our reunion we got a hotel room in between where we lived for a weekend. We checked out our feet, hands, arms, legs, etc. and talked like I have never talked with anyone in my life. I must have sounded like a rambling lunatic talking and talking but it felt right and good to connect with my mother. When my mother would hug me I never wanted her to let go. I loved that closeness I felt with her when she hugged me. We looked at more photos and talked about her family and more of my upbringing (still in the fog).

We even took a trip out to South Dakota together so she could introduce me to some family as well as her father (her parents divorced before I was born). This was a week I’ll never forget. I met so many relatives that I thought my head was going to spin off. And the ones I met were only a small fraction of my mother’s side.  You see, my mother has 13 siblings and 2 half-siblings which makes it a very large family. Plus on my grandfather’s side he had 5 siblings and my grandmother had 5 siblings and all the cousins. During this trip I got to meet my grandfather, all of his siblings, some second cousins, and my eldest uncle and his family. That was a lot of people to meet in a short period of time. Since that time I have met most of my aunts and uncles except for 5 of them. I have around 20 first cousins alone which can be hard to keep track of and I have only met 9 or 10 of them in person.

It seemed in the first two years my mother and I would either call, write, or we would get together on a weekend. It was like we were both dying and we had to get to know each other as quickly as possible, which may have led to our relationship going from good to bad to non-existent (more like an on again off again relationship or time outs as one of my fellow adoptees put it). I do love my mother despite not having her in my life at this time. She gave me life even when I was a result of rape, which should never happen to anyone, and thought I would have a better life with a mom and a dad. Side Note: My mother did tell me that her mother also threatened to take me from her if she decided to keep me so she could get money from the state.  I did ask my mother back in 2013 if she ever thought about getting an abortion when she found out she was pregnant with me (even though not legal until 1973) and she told me that it never crossed her mind and that I was the best thing that ever happened to her because it brought her to her knees in accepting Christ as her Personal Savior.

I do keep in contact via Facebook, text, and phone calls with my extended family who I love very much. I am my mother’s only child so my cousins are the closest thing I have for siblings. I find that I relate more to my bio family than I did with my adoptive family growing up. I remember getting together with one of my cousins (bio) and her telling me about her childhood. As I sat there listening to her tell me about it, it brought a smile to my face as I could finally relate to another family member. Even though we didn’t grow up together we still had similarities that we could share with each other which I didn’t have with any of my adoptive cousins. I can see a part of myself in all my aunts and uncles I have met. I remember being told by my mother and a number of her brothers and sisters that I sound like their sister (my aunt), one of the aunts I’ve never met or even spoken with. It’s still amazing to me on how much in common I finally have with people who are connected by blood. I finally feel like I fit in somewhere after 26 years of finding my mother.

As I’ve gone through these 26 years of reconnecting with half of my biological family, there is still that other side that is a mystery. This is why a number of years ago I did a DNA test through 23 & Me and just recently with Ancestry. I’ve come across 2-4th cousins that don’t sound familiar so I’m assuming they are from my paternal side. I’ve reached out to a couple but nothing has come back to put the missing pieces back together. I have nothing but DNA to go for on my paternal side but at least it is something. I’ve come to accept that I may never find that other half of me, but at least I have half of who I am, which is better than nothing.

As I reached my early 40’s that “adoptee fog” of being a compliant adoptee and everything is just fine being adopted left me when I joined groups on the internet of other adoptees. I found out through them that what I was feeling in the inside was “normal” and I started coming out of that fog of “the good adoptee” where you felt grateful and special and chosen (get my point?). I am trying to be more involved in getting us adoptees our Original Birth Certificates (OBC) even though I have mine. I want my fellow adoptees to have theirs as well.

In closing, as we adoptees go through our individual journeys of finding our roots, just know that you have a huge support group with your fellow adoptees.  We have different support groups out there on Facebook and on the internet. I would also recommend reading “The Primal Wound” by Nancy Verrier. This was my first book that I read when I started coming out of the “adoptee fog”. I find myself reading certain parts over and over again. Besides the above two items, I would suggest doing DNA tests and working with a search angel if you are wanting to find your roots. Everyone has a right to know where they came from, especially us adoptees.

Rebecca Rud

Adult Adoptee

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Lyndsey Smith


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

Content Warning: The following article you are about to read may contain written material of a serious factual nature that may be disturbing to some individuals. Reader discretion is advised. 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

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

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

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

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

My adoption is part of my identity.

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

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

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

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

Adult Adoptee

Lyndsey Smith

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Bev Thompson

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED?

 

I’m No Secret

bev-thompson

 

September 7, 2013   by Bev Thompson

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

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

******

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You look just like him,” she said.

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

******

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

******

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

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

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

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

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

******

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

Bev Thompson

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

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Adult Adoptee

Bev Thompson

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