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Old 08-24-2019, 01:27 AM   #1
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Default Any Other Adoptees Here? (Posts from non-adoptees also welcome)

I was adopted when I was 3 months old. I am 41 now. My wife got me a DNA test for my birthday in January. We weren't expecting or intending to find my biological family, I just wanted to know my heritage and we planned to make a date day out of the results (which ended up being full Irish breakfast at a pub a couple towns away, and a binge of movies that took place in Ireland).

But, it turned out my half-sister had used the same DNA site and once I had that info, I couldn't resist the urge to search out more info. So, long story short(ish), I found my birth mother in the spring, we have been chatting over FB messenger pretty regularly since then and we are meeting face-to-face for the first time on Sunday.

The experience has been mostly positive, she's lovely, said a bunch of the stuff that lots of adopted people hope to hear one day. Early on I was positively high off how much we had in common - from what I can gather, feeling sort of alien is pretty universal among adoptees, and a relief from that feeling, a concrete sense that I and my quirks, etc. came from somewhere/someone was very fulfilling. It has also at times been very overwhelming, lots of coexisting but opposing thoughts/feelings/truths, moments of absolutely spilling over with grief, anger, gratitude for my life, and a bunch of other stuff that I don't even have words for.

Being in the same room as anyone with whom I share DNA for the very first time in my 41 years (and I really do mean first time-she didn't hold me or anything when I was born, I was whisked away to the nursery immediately upon, um, exit. She peeked at me through the nursery window once very briefly) is a big deal. I'm kinda spun out. Sleep and calm have been somewhat elusive this week as the day approaches.

Anyway, if there are any other adoptees here, I would love to hear about your experiences, particularly if you have met anyone in your biological family. A general discussion around adoption or, heck, even other stories of big deal things that made you feel spun out and overwhelmed and how those experiences turned out, is also welcome.

Note: My lens for adoption is specifically trauma-informed, so i would like to request that anyone who has not considered and/or rejects the notion of adoption as trauma to please post thoughtfully/carefully. It isn't that I believe that adoption is bad, I am vehemently pro-choice in all ways, meaning that I think the more choices a pregnant person has access to, the better. It's just complicated and I wholly reject the over simplification of complicated things.

Last edited by Uli; 08-24-2019 at 01:32 AM. Reason: Typos and errors
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:41 AM   #2
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I am an adoptee. I was adopted at 11 days. I met my birth parents in my 20s. It was weird honestly. I wanted them to be sorry and they were not at all.

My sister got me an Ancestry.com last Christmas and I did it. Mixed feelings. It was interesting to find my genetic ethnicity/ies.

Not sure if I will go farther with it.
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:33 AM   #3
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I'm not adopted but my niece and nephew were adopted at 18 and 24 months from orphanages in Russia. My nephew is already kind of struggling with it. The Russian system is set up to be absolutely closed-- there is no way for them to ever learn where they came from and i worry about that for them.

The other thing i worry about is that they do not know they had a stillborn brother. When they find out, won't they wonder what would have happened if that baby had lived?

Those are rhetorical questions, i am not here to request emotional labor from adoptees. I just came to read the thread to glean clues for what kind of support an aunt might offer as these kids grow up, bc i adore them like seriously big time and would sell my soul to shield them from even the slightest existential distress
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Apocalipstic View Post
I am an adoptee. I was adopted at 11 days. I met my birth parents in my 20s. It was weird honestly. I wanted them to be sorry and they were not at all.

My sister got me an Ancestry.com last Christmas and I did it. Mixed feelings. It was interesting to find my genetic ethnicity/ies.

Not sure if I will go farther with it.
Weird is a word I often use to describe the experience as well. Like could anything be weirder than meeting a stranger whose body you lived in for 9 months?

My birth mom did apologize right off the bat, not for giving me up, but she said "This all must be really hard for you and for that I am sorry." I don't think she regrets the adoption and I don't think it would be helpful to me if she did regret it. I certainly don't regret the life I've had.

I experienced a surprising amount of grief when it all clicked in my brain that no one was particularly happy about my existence or trying to bond with me for possibly the whole first three months of my life. She had requested that I go directly to my permanent family from the hospital, and the adoption agency let her believe that would happen, when really I went to foster care from the hospital.

My therapist and other sources talk about how difficult it can be to process pre-verbal trauma - like, we didnt have words when it happened so trying to process it with words is largely ineffective. It's maybe analogous to trying to paint a picture when what you have is a lump of clay?
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
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I'm not adopted but my niece and nephew were adopted at 18 and 24 months from orphanages in Russia. My nephew is already kind of struggling with it. The Russian system is set up to be absolutely closed-- there is no way for them to ever learn where they came from and i worry about that for them.

The other thing i worry about is that they do not know they had a stillborn brother. When they find out, won't they wonder what would have happened if that baby had lived?

Those are rhetorical questions, i am not here to request emotional labor from adoptees. I just came to read the thread to glean clues for what kind of support an aunt might offer as these kids grow up, bc i adore them like seriously big time and would sell my soul to shield them from even the slightest existential distress
I so appreciate you being thoughtful about emotional labor. And existential distress is the exact right phrase to describe one of the effects of being adopted. I happen to feel like offering some emotional labor even though you didn't ask for it I don't have all the answers, obviously, because if I did I would not feel so spun out! But, here is what I do know: they need space to feel their feelings. Adults often want to shield kids from stress by putting every possible positive spin on adoption: "You are special because you were chosen." "Your birth mom loved you enough to give you a life she couldn't provide." etc and so on. And it's not that any of that is necessarily wrong, but it does leave a kid likely to feel some shame about their complicated feelings related to being adopted. In order to offer meaningful support to adoptees, I think you have to get really good at "both/and" - like, "I am so happy that you are in my life, and it's totally reasonable that you have some fucked up feelings about your adoption and early life."
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:35 PM   #6
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Uli, I appreciated that you started this thread, and also, in particular the thoughtful way in which you described your thoughts. It was very inclusive and meaningful to me.

Interestingly, all my cousins are adopted. One of them I am estranged from due to a falling out between my dad's side of the family and her parents. It's a shame because she is as nice as can be, a lovely person. She is so different from everyone in our family - not analytical, not neurotic, easygoing, simple- but not in a bad way, just lovely... though perhaps not much to talk about with her, not because she's not smart - she is very smart and successful. I cannot imagine that anyone with our bio family genetics could have ever created someone like her. I miss her but it was just one of those situations where we got caught in a difficult situation with our respective parents fighting. Such a shame. I am older than her and when we were young I used to sing a refrain from a song from by the Violent Femmes "I hear the rain, I hear the rain, got to kill the pain." Well as a little girl she would sing it along with me, the way little kids do. Then when she also became older she would still sing it to me, and we would laugh. It touched me that she would use it as a way to connect to me. She is stunning, very much unlike anyone in my genetic family. In high school she asked to find out the information on her bio parents but my aunt told her that she would need to go to therapy first so she dropped it.

Then I have two cousins on my mothers sides, sisters, though the two are not related to each other. One is in her thirties and a few years ago estranged herself from my aunt and uncle, who are her adoptive parents. It is just shocking. My aunt and uncle were good parents. They are somewhat distant and cold in personality but so was my cousin, so it's not like they had different personalities! My aunt and uncle are very upset about it and don't know what to do. They are hurt, angry, and confused. I still get together with my cousin. She gave some reason for cutting them off due to my aunt not keeping boundaries but the examples she gave were petty. My cousin is indeed cold and if I did not arrange to get together with her, we likely would never see each other, though she is amicable when we do get together. She told me never to cross share any information she shares with me with my aunt and uncle. Her bio mother wrote her a letter that was very nice and invited contact. My cousin barely even read the letter and referred to the bio mother as "stalker."

Her sister, my other cousin, reminds me of the cousin I described from my dad's side of the family. She is simple but also such a good, nice person. Again, not much to talk about with her, but I like her a lot. She is a big gamer and married someone she met on World of Warcraft and moved to Canada and married him. She is a horse jockey. Now, I'm sorry, but NO ONE with my family's genetics would ever be a horse jockey. We would never have those capabilities ever. For many years before the WOW marriage, she lived in a house with a bunch of jockeys in West Virginia who only speak Spanish and she doesn't speak Spanish. She was in a long relationship with one of them that was always fraught with problems. Now she's married to what we all privately refer to as a neanderthal. Still she's happy enough. He has kids from two prior marriages and she is the step-mom. They are very strict with their kids and raise them differently than they would be raised within the genetics of my mom's side of the family. This cousin has a history of lying which I've always been wary of but I like her a lot. She's an outsider. She likes living in very rural Canada. She relates MUCH more to animals than to people. She takes abused, broken horses and turns them into happy winners. She's very close with my aunt and uncle, so at least they have that. My cousin has never asked to get in contact with her bio mother. Her bio mother is known to be mentally ill and to live in London.

I have two step-sons with my husbutch. My husbutch raised the children with her ex-wife who is the biological mother of the children. They used two different donors. One of the boys is a lawyer with a big family, and they are all quite normal, almost to the point of being boring. I am at a loss for conversation with him and his wife. He recently did a 23 and me but I don't think anything special was found out. He was always wishing he had a way to meet his bio parents but I do not think there was a way.

My second step-son is in his twenties and is an unemployed, HIV+, gay, and heavily pierced and tattooed. He is very moody and has had problems emotionally and academically all his life. He is a huge source of stress for us, especially for my husbutch. He lives in Portland, Oregon. I don't think information is available regarding his donor.

When family members are adopted or even from half unknown genetic material (referring to donors in the case of my step-sons), it's always something that is thought about in regard to everything, even if not expressed.

I appreciate the opportunity to have a safe space to have this discussion.
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:15 PM   #7
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I will come back and respond later with my story.
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:40 PM   #8
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Thanks, nycfem! That story of the song lyrics is so sweet and I love the Violent Femmes! It's a shame about both of the estrangements you mention.

Adopted people often struggle with attachment, which can manifest in a lot of different ways. I can so relate to the first cousin you talked about, because I, too, will often hold onto and continue to reference one certain thing that feels like evidence of my connection to someone.

Acknowledging the risk of projection here re: your cousin who estranged herself from her parents: I think it's super easy for some of the many feelings associated with being adopted to get misdirected/twisted up. I think it's one of the risks of trying to simplify a really complicated situation. If an adopted person has not had the experiences in life that lead one to understand that not all negative feelings are someone's fault, I can see how good adoptive parents can end up the target of a lot of anger that they didn't necessarily deserve.

Just to further illustrate what I'm trying to convey, here's an example that most of us have probably experienced: if we find ourselves attracted to or crushing on someone who doesn't reciprocate those feelings, we are likely to feel bad about ourselves/sad/unworthy/rejected/etc. but those feelings aren't the fault of the person we were crushing on (assuming they responded honestly and kindly), it's just a situation that sucks and no one necessarily did anything wrong.

It was very satisfying to me to read your words about your cousins, how you easily acknowledge the differences and lack of things in common, while still expressing love for them and your connections to them. A lot of people feel the need to walk on eggshells around the topic of adoption, and I don't know if this is universal, but for me that has contributed to the feeling of being an alien. As a child, I was sensitive enough to notice that people got kinda nervous and much more careful when the topic of me being adopted came up, but the words that were said to me were all superfluous 'adoption is so SO wonderful and you are SO special!' - it was difficult for my kid brain to reconcile those two things, like if it's so flipping great why does everyone get weird about it?

My mom used to say that she and my dad could have never made a baby as pretty as me, which was sweet, but she has never been able to acknowledge the deeper and more challenging stuff that happened because of our differences. On the other hand, she was such a champion for me with teachers' and others' reactions to my being adopted. I remember more than one of my teachers calling home with concern after I talked openly in class about being adopted, and my mother responding, "So? She is adopted and unless she was disrupting class, I don't see why her talking about it concerns you."

I don't always know if I have a point when I'm talking about all this stuff. Anyway, I appreiate your participation in this thread, nycfem
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:54 PM   #9
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I'm not adopted, but my closest friend, N, (we call each other sister), has always known that she and her non-biological brother were adopted. In our generation families often tried to keep their adopted status secret from the kids. Her adoptive family wasn't perfect, but she was very much loved and wanted.

I've always admired N for the matter-of-fact way she went about finding her birth family, and for the thoughtful boundaries she set with them. She certainly had many emotions about it and them, but she was impressively self possessed when she actually met them.

It's probably been almost ten years since I found out that my father's paternity is very much in question. The evidence, it seems, points strongly towards a man who was not the one he knew as his father. This has absolutely no practical bearing on my life as I live it now. All of those people are long gone, and I never even knew my father's father, or the man who most likely sired my father. Even so, I was truly shocked at how much the information addled my brain and swirled my emotions. I can't think of any logical reason why that new information would have had such a strong affect on me, but it did. For lack of a better word, it made me feel... weird!

That experience made me admire N even more. I can't imagine how confused and overwrought I would feel in her situation. My tiny little family scandal, which really did confuse me for a bit, is nothing compared to meeting birth family when you're adopted.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:20 PM   #10
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I was adopted when I was 2 days old.

I knew I was different from the age of 5, I was given a book called "Why Was I Adopted", it's a kiddo book. I read it and yeah that aint the way it goes sometimes with things.

Anywho I turned 18 and my adoptive family hired a PI to find out any more information they could about my Bio family. They only had 2 names and the first information that popped up was my oldest half sister, who is now 62. I called and we talked, met up once and then lost touch due to her addiction problems. I also further learned that I have a half brother in prison for life, for the murder of his paternal grandmother, I went to see him in prison, he had no idea about me but haven't spoken to him since, he is a Lifer. I also have 2 more half sisters before me, different fathers as well, we no longer speak to each other, we talk about each other actually and yes it is very drama filled, will explain more later. Then I have 3 more younger half sisters below me, met them as well, I only speak to 2 of them currently, was also told that my birth mother lost a set of twins as well. So in all there were 10 of us by my birth mother.

Mother passed last year in March, I went to her memorial in Missouri, I met her once before at my nephews funeral in 2014. I never got an apology or heard the truth from her mouth as to how I became on this earth, why she truly gave me up and who my birth father truly is or any other information to help with my search for him. I forgave her and made amends with her at the funeral home, before they wheeled her out to be cremated.

Later I found out the truth about how I came about from my oldest half sister, she was around when mom was pregnant with me,etc. I am the product of an extra martial affair, my birth father was married, having an affair with my birth mother, told her he didn't want kids but lied about him being married. He took off before I was born and even left the state to avoid problems, I know his name and possible location but right now is not a good time for me to continue my search, financially and emotionally as well as mentally, I can't handle much more right now.

My family was torn apart when mom died, a life insurance policy and resentment towards me and my so called wonderful life and upbringing caused 4 of my sisters to go off on me in person and on facebook. I only talk to 2 sisters now, as well as one of her brothers and sister, I do not speak to the others for several reasons and it will stay that way.

I have a ton of nieces and nephews as well as greats, which is cool cuz I can borrow one of em when I visit and don't have to take them home LOL

I do know my family's history from ethnic background to health problems, which I really needed to know so I am grateful for meeting who I have on my birth moms side.

My life has not been the same, I feel cheated and I'm pretty much mad a huge majority of the day in the last year. However not every story is good and not every story is bad when it comes to being adopted, it's how you choose to react and live life.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:31 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing, Cheryl! I hope that I manage to be impressively self-possessed tomorrow!

It's interesting that you mention how well N set boundaries with her bio-family - I would say that I am historically just ok at setting boundaries to protect myself, not the worst and not the best, but I suddenly became an excellent boundary setter the moment i made contact with my bio-family! I haven't offered a single centimeter more of myself than I was sure I could handle sharing, and that's not typically my best trick. And, it isnt even that I have any specific reason to believe my vulnerability wouldn't be safe with my birth-mom, so far she seems like a thoughtful, self-aware person with appropriate self control. There is simply some intuitive part of me that knows she and I are not meant to process each other's emotions in any direct way.

I'm sort of terrified that I have absolutely no sense of how it will feel or how I will react to being near the body that birthed mine. I like to know what I'm getting into but I have no frame of reference for this. I've gotten really good at coping with feeling like an alien most of the time, so the possibility that I won't feel like that anymore is just as scary as the possibility that I still will.
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:43 PM   #12
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Thank you for sharing your story, JDeere. I totally feel you about not having the energy to seek out your birth father. I have the information about him that my birth mom helped me find and he only lives about an hour from me (while my birth mom lives several states away), but I just don't have it in me to try to contact him currently. Plus, for whatever reason, I never wondered as much about him as I did about my birth mom, maybe that will change, I don't know.

It really sucks that your half-siblings were unkind to you. I have two maternal half-siblings, both significantly younger than me. I haven't had much interaction with them, and b-mom didn't tell them about me until recently, but she said they both reacted favorably. We did not include them in the initial meeting because it seemed like it would be too much all at once.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:50 AM   #13
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I am adopted. I met both sides of my blood family. All that I am willing to report here is that thank goodness that I was born and that I was adopted by a good family. Adoption can be a great gift to all involved.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:12 PM   #14
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I was adopted when I was 3 months old, by parents who were 100% Swedish (Mom) and 100% Chinese (Dad). They had adopted my biological half sister at 13 months of age and when contacted about my birth mother's subsequent pregnancy with me, couldn't bear the thought of separating two blood siblings, so they adopted me, too. My sister and I have different biological fathers but share the same birth mother. Her father was full Chinese and mine was....well..."unknown", but obviously tall, fair and blonde, because that's how I look. My sister looks decidedly Asian (see my gallery) and closely resembles my adopted Dad, while I look much like my adopted Mom.....Swedish!!

I have been looking for my biological family, on and off, ever since I was 17 years old. Mom and Dad raised my sister and me with the knowledge that we were adopted, ever since we were small children. Mom used to read us a book called "The Adopted Family" when we were small, and always answered our questions about our origins with honesty and tenderness, explaining that (in her words) she and Dad "couldn't love us more, had they had us themselves", and that we were "very special", since we had been chosen and wanted. I can honestly say that there wasn't a day in my life, either in childhood or adulthood, that I ever doubted my parents' love for my sister and me. Mom, in particular, was very openly and demonstratively affectionate, while my father was a bit more reserved, due to his old school Chinese cultural background. To this very day, Paul Simon's song, "Loves Me Like a Rock" reminds me of my folks and their love for my sister and me. We had a wonderful childhood, despite the fact that my folks divorced when my sister and I were 12 and 13.

Part of this love that my mother had for us enabled her to be my best ally and friend, when I told her, at age 17, that I wanted to try to find my birth parents. My mother, having been a writer, knew the value of saving paperwork from an early age, so to my benefit, she was about to produce several fat files of letters and correspondence she had saved that consisted of hers and Dad's letters, back and forth, from the adoption caseworkers of the Children's Home Society of Florida. As fate would have it, my adopted maternal grandmother (Mom's Mom), had also been separated from her birth mother and siblings in the early 1900's and was never able to reunite with them, after endless searching and going from poorhouse to poorhouse in rural Iowa/Illinois, looking for information. Mother told me, "I don't want my kids having to search and search for their birth family like my mother had to." Mom was a great source of both help and support to me on my search. I've been very lucky and have had the best parents anyone could have ever asked for.

My sister and I had both been born and adopted by Mom and Dad in Florida, with us both having what is known as "closed/sealed" adoptions through the Children's Home Society of Florida. This means that though we each have 2 birth certificates (I actually currently have 3), but the first one is sealed and can only be opened by court order. Usually, that court order is because of a verified and severe life and death matter, when a blood relative is medically needed. Suffice to say, I have never had any luck in finding out anything but the "non-identifying" information about my birth family. I don't have any names or definite places in that information. I don't even have any idea of even what time of day I was born or which hospital, and neither does my sister. We were born in different cities. Neither of us has any idea of even which hospital we were born in. I have read where, in some cases, even a birth date or location has been falsified on adoption paperwork, to mislead and confuse a person who might be looking for "closed information" on their adoption. The State of Florida has a sad reputation for being more regressive than progressive on the evolution of their adoption laws, historically. I keep hoping that, in the event that Florida becomes more progressive in the upcoming years, they might relax their adoption laws a bit and permit adoptees to obtain their correct birth information, along with the names of their parents. In my opinion, my birthright includes the right to know where I come from.

I've seen shows like "Long Lost Family" and a few friends have suggested that I write to them and tell them about my and my sister's situation with our adoptions and ask them to help. I've often thought that I might do that, but then the issue of my "trans" occurs to me and I don't know if I would really want to put myself out there in these days and times of hatred and violence against our LGBTQI community. I sincerely have no idea about the reception I would face from biological family members. The non identifying info I do have says that our birth mother's family comes from south Georgia, with a Southern Baptist background. I was raised in Savannah for most all of my life, so I'm acutely aware of how conservative the state, as a whole, is. So, here I sit in my conundrum, wondering what I should do. Time is ticking, as our birth mother was 19 when I (or my sister...we aren't sure) was born, so she would be around 78/79 years old now, if she's still living.

My adopted parents are both now deceased and my sister and I, with her two children (each of them have a child of their own now) are what's left of our immediate blood family, so I am left to wonder if now might be the time to shed my fears and insecurities and see if I can make some new progress on my search. My sister and I have both done the ancestry.com DNA tests and come up as "extremely close" relatives, which we expected, along with what seems like a plethora of "cousins", both 2nd and varying degrees removed, but it's all so complicated to figure these things out. Our old neighbor from Las Vegas is very adept at genealogy, and has been helping me out as she can, and has been able to make quite a bit of headway with the ancestry.com info, along with some additional information I received from another DNA survey I took on 23andme.com. I guess we'll just have to see what turns up. Searching has certainly had its moments, both discouraging and exhilarating. One thing is for certain, though....it's going to take a lot of time and patience, if I'm ever able to find out anything.

My best wishes go out to others who are also out there looking for their roots.

~Theo~
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:01 PM   #15
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I was born April 27, 1959 and once I was discharged from the hospital nursery was placed in the nursery of The Cradle Society which was a non-denominational adoption agency in Evanston, Il. (Appropos of nothing, Bob Hope and his wife adopted their three children from this agency.)

Two month later I was placed with my parents. For reference, my parents are the people who raised me. Birth mother and birth father are the people responsible for creating me.

Being 1959 this was a closed adoption. My birth certificate actually lists the medical examiner as the doctor who delivered me.

My parents were always open about the fact that I was adopted. They stressed that they were able to decide to get me (not true, they got the next one available basically,) but I knew they meant it.

Three years and 2 days after I was born, my brother was left at a hospital with a note asking that he be placed with The Cradle Society and given to a Catholic family. Two months after his birth, my parents brought him home.

I always wanted to know about my birth parents. My brother never did. In Illinois, they created a law in the late 70s (I think) which allowed an adoption agency to act as the intermediary between parent and child if both wished contact. My mother took me to The Cradle that year and I filled out the paperwork.

Fast forward 20 years, and I had checked in with The Cradle Society as I did every five or so years and this time my file was on a social worker's desk. I got to talk to that social worker about why my file was on her desk. My birth mother had updated some family medical information. I was stunned and asked if my birth mother had signed the consent form for contact. She hadn't. I asked the social worker if I could write a letter to my birth mother and send it to The Cradle for delivery. She said I could, but it was up to my birth mother whether she would receive the letter.

A couple of anxious weeks later, my birth mother and I spoke on the phone. One of the things she told me which shocked me was that she'd always thought I was a still birth and that she'd signed the paperwork so they wouldn't have to tell her I died. The social worker said that was the experience of a surprising number of birth mothers. I guess it's a coping mechanism so you don't wonder every day if your child is okay.

Long story short, all I really needed from my birth mother was to hear her say: "I never wanted to give you up. I knew I couldn't give you what a married couple could."

The other thing I really hoped was that she and my birth father hadn't gotten married later and had kids. They hadn't.

As she was then homeless (with a master's degree in gerontology) and estranged from 2 of her 3 children (I don't count myself among them,) I knew I didn't want to maintain contact with her (cold and true.) We exchanged pictures and in looking at one I was wanting to send to her, I realized it was her oldest daughter and not me. We looked very alike.

Her telling me that she never wanted to give me up was the cause of a paradigm shift for me. I had always framed my adoption as "I wasn't good enough to keep." Amazing what a change just a few words can make.

Oh and my mother who was so supportive when I first wanted to register to be put in contact with my birth mother? Wigged the hell out when it came about. She was sure she was going to be replaced as mom by this woman. Didn't happen - my mother had her own issues, but I knew those!
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:34 PM   #16
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I am so grateful for all the people who have posted here.

Chad, I'm so glad that you have been able to process your reunion experience into a feeling of gratitude. While my birth mother is lovely, I, too, feel lucky to have been adopted by my family. She was 17 when I was born, and while I know plenty of women have kept babies at that age and done a great job, there is no question that life with my adopted family was easier than the life she could have made for me at such a young age.

theoddz: I really do hope the laws change soon - the laws here in Michigan are similar to those in Florida, and the idea that a grown person does not have the right to access their own paperwork is beyond ridiculous. I never could stomach going through the "official" search process, which starts with me sending a check for $60 to get information ABOUT MYSELF. I am not angry that I was adopted, but I do have some anger at the adoption system, both as an adoptee and as someone who worked in child welfare for many years.

Femmewench: I can totally relate to the paradigm shift you talk about, While I have never consistently framed my adoption as 'not good enough to keep" (I always knew that she was only 17, and it's real easy to make an argument against trying to raise a baby at that age), there was still a major paradigm shift when she told me that she never forgot me and had always hoped I would find her (she didnt feel like she had the right to try to find me) - like "oh, i have always existed for her, i came from her" because my lingering frame for being adopted was always "I'm an alien, no one is like me and I don't come from anywhere that anyone else I know came from."
It's also affirming for me to hear that your mom wigged the hell out, though I am sorry you had to go through that. I made the decision, with input from my therapist, wife, and close friends, not to tell my parents that I had found my biological family. My mom would occassionally ask me if I was interested in searching when I was younger, and I really think her intent and belief was that she could help and support me if I ever said yes, but even when I was little, I had a sense that 'no' was the 'right' answer if I wanted her to know that I loved her, which I very much did and which I'm pretty sure she remains somewhat insecure about to this day.

My brother is my parents' biological child who just barely survived after being born 2 months early in 1974, and that was after two other super traumatic late term miscarriages. And then the adoption process is time consuming and an emotional roller coaster for adoptive parents, on top of that. My brother is VERY similar to my parents in both looks and personality, and I am just by nature quite different than all of them. So, between the multiple traumas only a few years before they got me, and the constant obviousness of my differences, and then I had what looked like very severe motor delays through toddlerhood (I turned out a little clumsy but fine, it's still a mystery), she just never really got fully settled and confident in our relationship. It caused a lot of problems between us for a long time, but as I've gotten older and better at empathy, it is absolutely clear to me that she was doing the very best she could the whole time. And when I finally gave up the desire for her to be able to process all of that with me, our relationship has gotten much better. I know that she would be hurt if she found out that I found my biological relatives and didn't tell her, but I also don't think she has the coping skills necessary to deal well with knowing that I found them. There is no replacing her, I have one mother, but I do not think she is anywhere near as sure of that as I am.

Finally: the meeting went really well. She's a lovely person, very down to earth, warm, thoughtful, we have nearly the exact same face which is so weird! But, she's not my mother and never will be and thankfully, there is no indication that she hopes to be. I'm open to a continued relationship but not attached to the idea, if she disappeared from my life I would be fine and the concrete, somatic knowledge that I came from somewhere and there are other people who came from the same place is really all I wanted/needed.
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:30 PM   #17
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What wonderful posts and how differently we look at adoption!

For me, I struggle with the thought of giving a person away to someone you do not know. That the shame of being related to a bastard child is such that it is still, to this day, often preferable to give the helpless child away. or even sell them.

I have spent most of my life wishing that abortion had been legal when I was born. I have softened on this stance, but still hate the idea of being given away, so that my biological grandparents would not have to be embarrassed by my existence.

When people say I should be thankful, I want to throw up. My childhood was super hard. When I met my bio parents I was devastated that no one was one little bit sorry about any of it.

Is adopting children better then leaving them in an orphanage? I guess so? I think it depends on circumstances.

I have grown closer with my adopted cousins and sister as I have aged and consider them my family. The Ancestry.com thing continues to kind of hurt, because I really can't dig back without outing myself to people who would not even look at me when I met them years ago. The child of shame, the bastard.
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:55 PM   #18
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I have five adopted cousins. Four still living. One was so sick he only lived a few months. My oldest adopted cousin is from Korea. When he turned 18 he had the opportunity to go to the orphanage in Korea where he was when he was adopted and he helped bring home a baby who was being adopted in the states. It was a very important trip for him. I remember him telling me how exciting it was to not be the shortest person in the room. Next were two boys adopted from India. One lived, the other did not. They were not blood brothers. When the one later had three children it meant so much to him to have people in his family who looked like him. Later, my aunt and uncle adopted two children they were fostering. One with Cerebral Palsy, and another with severe brain damage from abuse as a baby. There were many other foster children through the years. But now my aunt and uncle are older and the two youngest have so many special needs they can't take care of youngsters anymore.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:48 PM   #19
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Its so hard. Unwanted people. Birthcontrol should be readily available and free to women worldwide!

A global change of mindset to where babies born are celebrated because they are wanted.

Food and medical care for everyone. Shelter. Education.

The resources exist, but greed is stronger.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:49 PM   #20
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Apocalipstic, I, too, absolutely HATE IT when people tell adoptees that we should be thankful! We didn't ask to be born. We didn't choose any of what happened to us. My parents wanted a second baby and they got one.

I think I actually hate it when anyone tells any kids that they *should* be thankful, but it's extra shitty when it's said to adoptees. I think modeling gratitude to kids is great, because cultivating gratitude is good self-care, but that is not the same as telling them they *should* be grateful. Adults make/choose to adopt/foster babies and are required to keep them safe and cared for. Failing to do so is unethical and in many cases a crime, as it should be. Babies are not required to be grateful for that. When children are probably cared for, they often do end up feeling grateful, and that's great, but it's not a 'should'.
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