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View Diary: Adoption Series Part 1 - Bitter Truths (101 comments)

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  •  I was adopted as an infant... (16+ / 0-)

    ...so my adoptive parents were the only ones I knew growing up.  I was told at a very young age, and yes, you are right, we do remember these things.  My mother took me in her lap and explained about my being adopted and gave me the story that my birth mother loved me very much but couldn't afford to give me the life I deserved and that she and my father chose me.

    I was always comfortable with being adopted because I learned about it so early.  When other kids expressed negative opinions about adoptions, I just thought they were too stupid to know there wasn't anything wrong with it.  I always felt extremely secure that the right thing had been done by both birth and adopted parents.  However, I did always laugh when people who didn't know said my mother and I looked alike because we so didn't!  I never had any feeling of needing to know who my birth parents were.  I was given a very good life, had good health, got an education, etc.  

    Later, when I was an adult, we were at dinner with friends and adoption came up. I asked my mother what the adoption agency had told her, and she knew my birth mother's age and said that they had told her the woman was the same religion we were, that her father was in the oil business like my adopted father was, and that my mother was a teacher like my adopted mother's aunts were and like I was at the time.

    All my life people have badgered me about why I didn't try to find my real parents, but I just never felt that emotional need.  I had some mild curiosity, but never enough to pursue it.

    After my parents died, I got into family genealogy.  It did sort of bother me that I couldn't actually claim blood relationships to all of these people.  I'd get invited to family reunions but never went because I wasn't really related (sort of the way spouses feel at their in-laws' celebrations).

    I stumbled upon my birth mother and her story quite by accident.  I'd found a genealogy website for a friend, and while on the site, I noticed an adoptee/birth mother linking site for people adopted through the same home I was.  Just for grins, I put my info in.

    When I got home from work, I had an email telling me they had two possible matches, and that if I'd check my birth certificate number, they could tell me for sure if either was mine.  I did, and one was.

    My birth mother's story was nothing like what the adoption agency had told my mother.  The only thing that wasn't a flat out lie was her age.  I learned that I was the seventh of nine kids and she gave me up because she had had an affair between marriages and her family told her they weren't paying for her to have another kid and then run off and leave it with her mother to raise like she'd done the others.

    So it wasn't the pretty story my mother was told.  I'm  angry at the adoption agency for tricking my adopted mother.  She would've been horrified, had she still been alive to know about it, and I'm not sure I ever would have told her.  At the same time, had they not lied to her, I wouldn't be who and where I am today.  Not an easy thing to wish to cancel out your entire life.  

    I'm only a little bit hurt to think I was given up for money, but I do understand the times and the circumstances.  My birth mother definitely had issues, one of which may have been high end autism, which would explain a lot of things she did and how she behaved.  Knowing her from an adult's perspective is far easier, I suspect, than knowing her from a child's or teenager's perspective.

    I probably will never know, without exhumations and DNA tests, who my birth father was.  There are three candidates, all of who are long deceased.  I have met most of my half-siblings, and I've learned where I get all of the traits my adopted mother couldn't train out of me, as well as where I get my body shape, my eyes, and my temperament.  

    I also know that my life would've been far, far different growing up poor, uneducated, and for the most part, unloved, like my siblings did.  I think about the horrors of growing up without even knowing you need to brush your teeth or the sadness of never having your birthday celebrated or the tragedy of seeking love and getting abuse, and I am grateful I was adopted and lucky I was adopted by people who truly cared about me.

    No, I didn't always "fit in" with my adopted family, but I hate to think of where I'd be now had my birth mother not sold me off to the adoption agency.   I might not even be alive or sane  Some of my siblings are neither.

    What finding out about my birth mother's story did do was teach me what it's truly like being poor and being without an education or adequate healthcare.  The contrast of the life my sisters had to live and the one I was given brought home to me just how difficult it is for people trying to make do and survive on very little.  It brought home to me the absolute importance of a good education, a decent living wage, and the necessity of lifelong healthcare.  

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