How do I really feel about adoption?
Other than exploring alternative feelings in therapy, I would always say I am very positive about adoption. I do not truly understand the stigma people feel related to adoption.
I was adopted the day after I was born, because my mother desperately wanted a child. She told me that she wouldn’t have stayed married to my father had they not gotten the call for me so many years ago. Her family was thrilled for her because she was the beloved only-child in a large family of cousins. I never felt anything less than wanted growing up, and never, to this day, question who my parents are. I even get a bit annoyed when people call them my “adoptive parents.” There is no need to label my parents other than parents, they raised me, loved me, cared for me and provided for me my entire life. My birthparents need a distinguishing label because they created me, but did not nurture or parent me. I literally gag when people refer to my birthparents as “your real parents.’ My real parents are the ones who raised me, no one else is more real to me than my parents.
I do get angry when people feel the need to distinguish the people who raised me with any moniker other than parent.
The back story of my adoption is very interesting, but much too long to share (literally deserves a book) so I will provide and edited version: Hank and Judy met in High School and were from different sides of the tracks, so to speak. Hank came from a wealthy and social family and Judy from a less-affluent family. Hank went off to college and during his first Christmas break, had sex with Judy. She got pregnant. I never asked him if they were having regular sex or not – I will have to ask him more details. It never really crossed my mind.
Just recently, I came across a family photo on Facebook of Judy around April 1967 – which means she was pregnant with me! The caption under reads “Family photo for Mothers Day 1967” a little bit of irony there, eh? The family was embarrassed she was pregnant out of wedlock and sent her away to live with an Aunt until she had the baby. She doesn’t recall much of my birth, because women were fully sedated in 1967, and won’t speak to me about the pregnancy. I don’t know how depressed she was, or if it was a healthy pregnancy. I know from our first conversation that I was a full secret to her family, and her parents did not want her to acknowledge me when I finally found her in 1996. I know she has real issues acknowledging me in general, but every once in a while her curiosity gets the better of her and she will reach out to me with a note on Facebook (though she will not friend me).
When I first found her, I was angry that she wouldn’t acknowledge me. I was trying to get pregnant and wanted my medical history. Because of this, I then pursued my birthfather. Finding Hank was en entirely different story.
Hank and his wife, Debbie, immediately welcomed me into their hearts and home. Hank and Debbie also had my beloved sister, whom I believe is the real reason all this fell into place at all. My little sister, Kiki, and I have developed a wonderful relationship over the years and I adore her. She just got engaged and I will be her maid-of-honor, even though I am 20 years older! Finding Hank’s family showed me how nature is just as important as nurture. Anyone who knows me and knows Hank would agree. I am his child through and through. I keep close contact with this family to this day, and my children call him Poppa Hank.
Once I found my birthparents the years have provided a more complete idea of my genetics, and maybe there was something in me that was silenced. Perhaps the intense curiosity of knowing who I was? Of why I did the things I did, or thought the way I thought? I don’t recall how I felt at the time I found them except satisfied. I was unlike my parents in most ways and everyone would always say “where did you come from!” because my mother was so gentle and I was not. I was a busy, hyperactive, curious child – that was too much of a handful for my parents. Looking back, I realize my mother carried the full burden of parenting, my father rarely participated in parenting unless it was to hit me for discipline. In any case, I don’t think I ever felt resentment towards my birthparents for giving me up for adoption because my life was really good. If my birthparents had kept me, I would have been a child of a single, unhappy mother. God chose a better path for me placing me into my mothers loving arms.
That’s pretty much my adoption story. In therapy we are exploring a few topics related to adoption. The idea that I wasn’t wanted/loved in utero (this one bothers me quite a deal) and the idea that I was abandoned by my birth parents. Honestly, I prefer to exclude these ideas in favor of the way I was actually parented, and how that affected my behaviors. While I still struggle with acknowledging anything about my parents parenting style (because my mother is not alive and my father is 82 – whats the point) I do see value in understanding and exploring my inner child and the lengths she went to in order to be seen, heard and loved – and how my needs as a child were not met with my parents parenting style and how that developed into bad coping mechanisms for me.
I am in the process of reading a book on how to re-parent your inner child, and I can’t say I love it. While I believe in the theory, the exercises feel just plain stupid to me. Drawing with your left hand (or non dominant hand) your inner child has more of an ability to speak to you. I can’t draw a straight line with my dominant hand so this exercise feels simply ridiculous to me. I have tried a few times now and I give up – this type of creative therapy doesn’t resonate for me. I will have to speak to the therapist today about that as she feels its significant that I can’t do the art therapy.
In my next few posts I plan to explore what I have rediscovered about my childhood. The memories I prefer to suppress in favor of the really good, positive and nurturing memories. I don’t know how much posting I will get to this week as I actually have to go back into the city a couple days…which is already causing me great anxiety.