Being adopted can be a blessing, especially when the family that adopted you is a wreck, or your mom and dad delight in the embarrassment of your disastrous teen years. It is also not without its hardships. It can cause a child to question their place in the world, their place in your heart.
My dad was the first to hold me. My mom was a nurse and though she got there as quickly as her car would take her, it was him that saw me pass from my birth mothers hands…and directly into his heart.
My adoption story is neither lavish nor cruel, it just is. My birth parents had an affair, I was the end result. My birth father was an addict and hit the eject button as quickly as he had uprooted my birth mothers life. Her marriage obviously suffered immensely, as did her family. I have a half sister, though we’ve never met, name unknown. I have only small bits and pieces of their lives, a name of a parent, a picture I have sketched in my mind of who they might be.
I’ve never had a desire to find my birth parents, and it’s been many years since Ive truly thought about it. I suppose it helps in having my own brood to pass the time.
I have never distinguished my adopted family as such. They are my parents, my brother. They are my all in this world outside my husband and kiddos.
I do remember as a child being told by my mother how special I was, that I was gift from the Lord. I was an answered prayer. I never felt as anything less than their flesh and blood and as luck would have it, they had a child of their own almost two years post adoption. A little boy that looked just like me. It’s remarkable really.
Ok….that bit up top was totally romanticized, though whittled with truthiness.
I am adopted. My dad was the first to hold me. He saw my birth mother as she handed me over. My birth father was an addict, and on assumption, so was she. They had an affair, her husband found out and opted to remain married if she gave the child (me) up. Both mothers had the same Doctor, and that’s how they found each other. My birth mother already had a daughter, which is all I know about their family even now. My dad said she looked like me.
I do not refer to them as my adopted parents because they are my parents. They earned it. My brother was born soon after they adopted me and we were really close growing up. I really was told as a youngster that I was adopted, and that it made me special, that I was an answered prayer. My brother and I really did look like twins….but to be fair they dressed me like a boy and I had the standard ‘bowl cut’. We were as close as any brother and sister could be.
My teen years were excruciating, as I’m sure you’re shaking your head just now thinking about how awful yours were. Thank you God that years 13, 14, maybe 15 never went viral. I searched for my birth mom using whatever means I could. Phone books, the computer at school and tracking down the lawyers, doctors, and snooping through my mothers drawers. When I turned 18 I got the name of my birth mother as a gift from my dad. Dead end.
Fast forward to my full time job as mom….
Never in my wildest dreams could I have known how much my adoption would affect my life as it does now. To be surrounded by all these amazing human beings that are half me is just miraculous!! Truly!! They look like me, talk and stand like me. My daughter sasses like I did, just so. They are talented artists, avid readers, and athletic. And they are mine. Mine mine mine!
Until I was surrounded by all my tiny clones I never knew what it felt like to fit in. My father and brother have the same gate when they walk, same bone structure. He has our mothers eyes, nose. I have none of those things. My cousins all look alike. They’re kids look alike too.
My older kids ask if I care, and honestly I don’t care that I’m adopted. At my age it’s just a very small strand in the weaving of my life’s story. But…I can’t tell them where my family hails from, just like I couldn’t when I was asked at summer camp as a child. The kids ask if I want to meet my ‘mom’ and I say maybe. And always, once they start asking it takes them a bit to stop asking which mom I am referring to when I’m talking.
Growing up adopted was hard for me. I always felt as if I was on the outside looking in. I longed to look like someone, anyone! I felt different. I was okay with being the black sheep and embraced it early on. But I also used it as a scapegoat to hide things. I hid the abuse. I hid the drinking. I hid the stealing. All of which I thought I did because of my rebel ways. And I was a rebel damn it. Deep down I was just a lost girl who’s parents got divorced, who’s mom went off the deep end, dad became a drunk and I was tossed to the side. The longing to find myself grew and grew. I realize now how alone I felt, and how very much I needed to belong to someone.
Now days it may be an entire year that goes by and I don’t even think about it. My kids know and it’s just the way things are, no big deal. They know all there is to know about their dad, his family, which land they hail from, etc. If I could find my sister I would like that, but I’m not reeling from the gnawing pain of the unknown. Would I like to know if my birth mother struggled with anxiety? No not really, because it doesn’t change that I do. I never tried finding my birth father. Some how, it just never mattered. I know many ‘adoptees’ search relentlessly for their birth families. I understand that desire. I don’t know how a parent gives up a child, but that is because of my own life experiences. I do believe it takes a love that is deep and unfailing to do so.
I lay next to my tiny ranger and watch him sleep. An immense joy, almost euphoria really, washes over me. He has my hair, my smile. And tonight, this is my little bit of heaven.