Me as a young child with my mother and older sister
I am adopted. I have known this forever. My parents never kept it a secret from me.
How could they? I mean look at the picture! I stick out pretty well! Inevitably the question that ALWAYS follows when I share this fact about me is “Do you know who your real parents are?” This ultimately stirs all kinds of thoughts and emotions inside of me. A few that I will share with you today.
#1- The parents who raised me are my real parents. They are all I have ever known. They are my mom and dad. I know the question is asked in honest curiosity, but please choose different words (like biological or birth parents).
#2- There probably isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder about my biological parents. In the paperwork that I have there are some identifying traits and health history about them. No names, no faces. Each year a birthday goes by, I wonder if they are thinking of me. I wonder if I look like them. I wonder if I have any siblings. I wonder. Oh do I wonder.
#3- When you are part of a closed adoption you don’t just one day pick up the phone and decide you are ready to meet your biological family. The laws in my state require that if I want to pursue this information I am required to pay $400 (cheaper if I just want some medical information) and the agency that processed my adoption will do a search. If they are successful and get in contact with my biological mother & father, they have the right to say no, that they don’t want their identity to be revealed. The next step for me, if I desired to still pursue it, would be taking them to court. And if for some reason they were unable to locate them, I suppose my search would end there. There are many adoptees fighting for rights to have access to their original birth certificates, without jumping through hoops.
#4- There is a real sense of abandonment that goes along with adoption. Would I like to know? Absolutely. Am I ready for that? I’m working on it.
#5- The parents who raised me, are also invested in this process. Would they be hurt? (even if they say they are fine with it?) When adoptees search they are often met with abandonment on all sides, lacking a place to belong. Their adoptive family may wonder why they aren’t good enough. Their biological family may not welcome their presence. And again, they find themselves alone. A search is usually not to go find a new, better family. A search is fulfilling an unknown in your life that others can’t even comprehend not knowing.
So, when you ask me this question, lots of things run through my head. Being an adoptee is complicated. But when you ask me, I will put a smile on my face, tell you no I don’t know, perhaps share a few details and go on with my day. I know you are asking to be kind. To have something to talk about. Maybe even to get to know me more. So, thanks for that. If you’d like to join me on my journey, to really understand, take time to listen, and maybe do some research about what it means to be adopted. Adoption can be a wonderful thing, but it isn’t all sunshine and roses.