Since you asked

So I've recently been asked, I'm told sincerely, how I am impacted by being adopted and I've since been mulling over a response. I found the context in which I was asked this question a little strange as well as off topic, to my train of thought anyway, so I felt uncomfortable answering in the space where the question originated. It was asked in an environment where the attitudes toward adopted persons who do not feel negatively affected are hostile, judgemental, dismissive, and insulting plus such a question would be difficult to answer in the limited space of a comment for someone as long-winded as I can be.

So here I am answering in my own little space of the internet. Within my answer it is not my intent to insult anyone or claim that my perspective is right or better, it's simply that, my perspective, my experience, my life. I wouldn't say being adopted has had a huge impact on me, not in comparison to other significant events in my life. The mother/daughter relationship I've experienced and the ramifications of that, the birth of my son, the deaths of my younger brother and my father have all had a much more profound impact on me than anything to do with being adopted has. That said, there have been a few isolated incidents because of it as well as ongoing experiences I have had and am having that wouldn't have occurred or be occuring had I not been given up at birth.

There are a couple of things that stand out from my past. As a child coming to the realization that I didn't come from a nurse that had babies for those who couldn't was huge. The discussion about this with my mom (it started out with me crying and accusing my mom of having lied to me) was provoked by classmates that I'd told I was adopted who had pointed out, not very kindly, that meant my sister wasn't my real sister. This realization was where I first started to think about my biological mother, worry that she was well, and develop the desire to let her know that I was ok. I never once felt she'd abandoned me or that there was something wrong with me that she didn't want me. I just assumed that some "jerk" had gotten her pregnant and her evil parents had forced her to give me away. None of this ended up being accurate but it's what I always thought.

Another was as a teen telling a boyfriend if I were to ever find myself pregnant I'd have an abortion. I clearly remember him asking how I could do something like that having been adopted. That my biological mom could have aborted me but didn't. Although I know this train of thought makes anti adoption peeps crazy it is very common thought and had an impact on me. Now that I'm a grown woman I realize the abortion option in 1963 wasn't all that available so as a result wasn't likely to have happened but I am still glad to be alive and not aborted. I love my life.

Another way being adopted had an impact on me was sexually. I was determined from a very young age to never get pregnant when I didn't want to so abstained (from intercourse) until my early twenties. Hard to believe sports fans, but it's true. I've had friends from school to this day say they'd never have thought that but rather assumed the opposite. I had lots of boyfriends, they just weren't gettin' any...of "that" anyway.

I have never experienced feeling like I didn't belong when it came to my family, immediate or extended. I always felt that my mom and dad, sister and brother were just that. My family. I've never felt that my lack of interest in searching made me the good child or that it was for my parents, to save them the anguish or hurt feelings. I was all for my sister searching when she did and chastised my mom when she got her nose out of joint here and there (just recently watched home video of my family meeting my sister's bio mom and her partner, haha man what a gong show). In my recent connection with my bio mom I took flack from my mom about not wanting to share my bio mom's name. This was not the only thing that my mom did that annoyed me or hurt my feelings in navigating my way through this but none of that is actually adoption related, it's because of the type of person my mom is.

Being blood related really doesn't mean very much to me. It's actual relationships, connections through family that are important to me. I am as much my grandma's granddaughter as any of my cousins. My parent's ancestral history is as much mine as it is my brother's, who is biological to my parents. Although I am not related genetically, I am related by being a part of the family, my father's daughter, my mother's daughter, just as my son is a part of the family history even though he isn't related by blood. Actually as far as my son goes, my family is and always has been far more influential, important, prominent in my son's life than his blood relatives on his dad's side just by being more present, more involved, more like family. I am related by blood to others but neither my son nor I know them and they aren't as important to me as the people I know and love. This is not to say they couldn't be but to date, they are not, I don't even know them. I'm getting to know my bio mom but to say that she is someone that feels like family to me would be a huge stretch, one that I am not willing to conjure up for the sake of fitting in with those who claim a mystical mother/child connection without real interaction and history. She is the person who gave birth to me which in itself is meaningful, but I don't know her, just as she doesn't really know me. Don't get me wrong, it would have been very cool to have discovered this amazing, perfect, mother figure that many dream of but no, she's just a very nice, active, seemingly intelligent woman who seems family oriented, that I'm getting to know. She's just a person, like me, living her life as fully as she can, trying to be a good human being while still having fun.

Another impact being adopted has had on me is the freedom I have to be myself. The less desirable qualities of my family are not mine to be inherited whereas the good qualities are there for me to emulate and admire if choose to do so. That may seem frivolous to some but to me it's been a big deal.

I've been sitting on this post for a bit and I'm not completely sure I've covered all the ways adoption has impacted me but perhaps that can be accomplished in the comments. I do want to get this out there as it's been a while now since I was asked, sincerely, just how I am impacted by being adopted.

You break it, it's yours.

I was told an interesting story that has an adoption aspect to it, a detail that was shocking to me. The story is about an adopted person and while I won't go in to detail and retell her whole story I do want to share the part that made my jaw about hit the table. Although my reaction was obvious and I made it clear to the storyteller how as an adopted person myself the detail was really disturbing, we didn't dwell on it or discuss it at length as it wasn't the point of the story.

What was relayed to me that really freaked me out was that after having been placed with the adopting parents the mom and baby were in a serious car accident in which the baby was severely injured. And although the parents did not take advantage of their agency's "return policy", they were offered it!!

"You can return her if you want to". Still shaking my head here.


They won't thank you later, believe me

Being adopted isn't a condition.

Yes, I concede various aspects of adoption can be the cause of a range of emotional and psychological issues. But, it isn't always.

People always talk about triggers, well here's one of mine. Every time I read about some adoptive parent consulting lists and/or books by various "experts" on being adopted and then diagnosing their kids, I am triggered. Do you want your kids to have these problems? Sometimes it really seems like it. Is there something to people parenting only adopted children and as a result are not aware that many of these so called adoptive child behaviours are regular old everyday things kids do when they're in a pissy mood after Christmas, they are being picked on in school for something completely unrelated to being adopted, they're reacting to YOU having the February gloom or just being stressed out about whatever?

Why can't kids who are adopted just be treated normally?

Hmm...wait, perhaps normal no longer exists. Adoptive parents aren't the only ones assigning behaviour disorders to their kids, seems like all kinds of parents are doing this these days.

What is it? Is it because you don't want to look at yourself and think long and hard about what you're doing, or not doing?

Is it because your precious little son or daughter isn't living up to what your expectations of them are in school, or in how they socialize, how responsible they are, what they're interested in doing in activities, how many times a day they feel like giving you a hug?

Attachment disorders, reactive attachment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorders...what the hell?

We're all aware of the power of suggestion, aren't we? We're all aware that medicated kids are easier to parent at home and monitor at school, aren't we? We're all aware that normal kids do not walk around like zombies doing exactly what they're told, answering politely every time they're asked a question, are born knowing it's wrong to lie, to steal, to bite, to bully. Always keep their bedrooms neat as a pin, jump to help do dishes after supper, and never ever forget to use their inside voice.

Why aren't we aware that all of this comes with the territory?

Parenting isn't easy people. It takes patience, consistency, determination, understanding, compassion, and TIME. It needs to be done without ego and a thick skin.


Can we have too many children?

A few weeks back I sent the following question to Lisa at A Bushel and A Peck and she suggested that she use it as her Tuesday Topic. I look forward to seeing what she and her readers have to say.

Upon reading the difficulty you had in finding only 15 minutes in a day to spend with one of your children (GIMH Rockin' Mama Challenge) I had to ask myself why a person would have so many children. I've always been of the mindset that people can have too many children and that when they do, it's unfair to the children as they cannot possibly receive as much attention as they need, and deserve.

For context, I'm an adopted person who is not anti adoption. I am not religious and do not subscribe to adoption being any group's God's will and I do believe in hugging/cuddling children of any age that want it.

I decided to send my question in an email as opposed to a comment because Lisa took quite a bit of (in my opinion unwarranted) heat over the original post and I didn't want to contribute to that, and still don't. Please keep that in mind if you decide to share your thoughts either here or there.


One mother's perspective on the right to search

I do not see it as a matter of rights, everyone and no-one have the "right" to search, or rather, both mothers and adoptees search, whether they have that right or not. That is not the question.

Some search, some do not. It is a deeply personal choice, from both sides. To adoptees (that feel nothing tells them more that they were loved than being searched for), mothers searching do not necessarily care more than mothers who wait to be found. Many of us who searched, and especially those like me who searched for young adoptees, did so out of our own needs as much as concern for the child.

I do not see myself as more noble or loving than mothers I know who were found but did not search, just more desperate at an earlier age. My son did not want to be found or to search. He was not pining for me, and it did nothing for him at the time, me showing up when he was too young.

Mothers who surrendered should search if they feel the need, but they should be aware not all adoptees are eager to be found any more than all birth mothers are. There are good reasons to search, and for some, good reasons not to. There is no "right" to search, it is a choice that should be made with clear vision and careful considerations of the pros and cons.

I am glad I found my son. I wish I had waited many more years to make contact. I cannot advise others to do as I have done, as I regret so much of it. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the relationship with my son that I have now, in spite of all the mistakes.


You're just like your mother

I think the majority of women fear dread becoming their mothers and/or are determined not to be like them, obviously some have more reason than others to fear dread it.

Am I wrong?