Author Archives: shadowtheadoptee
By Shadow The Adoptee
I first began this to be a comment in response to TAO’s post, “Double Standards In Adoption”. This is one of those things that, as an adoptee, I struggle with when the subject comes up, because, for me, it is such a slap in the face, dished out by the powers that be of adoption. These powers that be, who are financed, and encouraged, by adoption agencies, use the excuse of “protecting a birth mother’s right to privacy” to prevent adoptees from what is their birth right as a human being; the knowledge of their biology. Instead of posting it as a comment, I wanted it to stand alone. I am the less vocal one on this blog, I felt the need to speak up on this subject, and my words can stand on their own. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s day 12 of adoption awareness month, and the prompt for today is relationships with significant others. I never know, when I start a post, just where it will go, what my point is, or, sometimes, even if I have one. It’s, apparently, not a new trait. My husband, lovingly I hope, tells me regularly, “Your mind just goes places; no one else’s mind dares to go.” I don’t know if he’s right. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, or not, but I am who I am. How has being adopted affected my relationships with others? Isn’t that a loaded question? Now, how do I tie that in with the conclusion of “Isn’t Life Interesting”?
In my mid 40s, and, approximately, three years into my reunion with D, my first father, the final, knock-out, punch, of the reality of adoption, hit me, and sent me to the mat for the count. The best description I can give you is that, for me, as they say in the world of addiction recovery, I hit rock bottom with this realization. What I am about to say has the potential to upset, offend, and possibly anger, a lot of first parents, first family members, and maybe even a few adoptive parents. It upset quite a few of my family members, so prepare yourself if you are a bit sensitive to some of the realities of adoption. However, harsh, and cold, it may sound, it is the truth, and a fact of my life. Though, many of my family were, and are, angry that I point this out, not one of my family members has denied its truth.
Though this does not pertain to all adoptees, it does pertain too many of us, especially those of us from the baby scoop error (yes, I intentionally used that word). It hit me like a speeding freight train from out of nowhere, when I realized that on the day I was born, there was not a soul on the face of the earth that was happy about it. Having grown up with the belief, as most people do, that the birth of a child is always a joyous occasion, this, particular, reality of adoption, that not all babies births were joyous occasions, and I, in fact was one of those babies, well, I guess you could say it sort of rocked my world.
There was no happy, joyous family waiting to see their new baby girl. My welcome into the world was full of sadness, and denial. When I entered the world, I was not placed in the loving arms of my mother, father, or family. I was not placed in the loving arms of my new adoptive family, as there were no waiting adoptive parents. For me, there was only a hospital nursery, where I lay alone. The only family there was my first mother’s sister. Though the nurses did allow her to sit with me for a while, she was not allowed to touch me, or hold me. Yes, on the day I was born there were no doting parents, proud, and ready to take their baby home. There were no happy faces smiling at me cooing and telling me how precious I was. There was just a baby, alone in a hospital crib. If that isn’t one hell of a welcome into the world, I don’t know what is. If it isn’t obvious how that might have affected my relationships with significant others in my life, I don’t know what else I can tell you. If the effect of adoption on me isn’t obvious in, not only this story, but my own story, as I’ve shared it, I don’t know how better to explain it.
As I mentioned in part THREE, if you look CLOSELY, my journey through the stages of grief, is apparent. The final stage, in the grieving process, is acceptance, and with that, let’s get on with the conclusion of “Isn’t Life Interesting”.
“Well, I think I went from making a point in the beginning to getting some things off my chest. So, what was my point? I’ve reunited with my entire biological family on both my Bmom’s and Bdad’s side. I’ve witnessed the countless issues, effects, emotions, and other issues adoption has brought into the lives of my entire biological family for good and for bad. I’ve experienced my own issues caused by adoption. I’ve seen the good and bad there as well. Someone asked me once about finding my birth parents, “If you knew then what you know now, would you do it again?” I didn’t even have to think about it. I answered with an emphatic, “Yes.” For me, knowing my biological family, even with all the pain and emotions, was worth every minute. Even though, I have little or no relationship with some of them, it was worth it. Would I have rather grown up in my biological family as opposed to my adoptive family? Well, what an interesting scenario that would have been, to be raised by my bio parents, but I can’t honestly say either way. Wondering what might have been, though sometimes fun, doesn’t change anything, and usually just causes me pain. My life is my life with all the good and all the bad, which brings me back to my cousins precious little one.
Because of adoption, a couple, who could not have children of their own, will now have an opportunity for the family they wanted so badly. A child, who was a victim of circumstance, is now an adoptee with a loving family. There are new bio parents, who will someday feel the loss of relinquishing their child, but will know they did what was best for her. Someday, because of adoption, she may choose to find her biological parents, like I did, and another roller coaster will take off.
Isn’t it interesting that a family, my Bdad’s that had never been touched by adoption has now been touched twice? I feel a kind of kindred spirit with my cousin’s daughter. I don’t know what her future holds, but whatever it is; there will be someone there for her who understands what it is like to be an adoptee.
Whatever your part in adoption, Adoptee, Adoptive family member, or biological family member, whatever feelings you have about adoption at the moment, I hope, by sharing my cousin’s story, you will see, like I did, that though there is so much pain and emotions for all of us involved in the triad, that in the midst of all the pain happiness can be found. I also hope that doesn’t sound too completely sappy, and you get my point, which I’m not really sure about myself anymore. Lol”
Happiness can always be found if you look for it; if you want to see it. Isn’t happiness everyone’s goal in life? You see, it’s that insistence that we have to, always, be happy, that I have a bit of an issue with. I began my life surrounded by denial, and grief. I know, from experience, that some will accuse me of being overly dramatic, and some will say I am just feeling sorry for myself. Though I know what I’ve stated, about the day I was born, will upset, and anger, some, I refuse to live my life surrounded by that denial. The facts of my life are what they are. Sad as some of those facts are, I have to live with that knowledge. I do not dwell on them, as some may think, and will accuse me of such, telling me to leave the past in the past. Writing about the facts, the truth, having the courage to face it, grieve it, and talk about it, is not dwelling. It is acceptance. It is the acceptance of my past.
Not fully accepting the facts of my past, acknowledging those facts, for me, is the same as denying the past, and denying they are part of who I am. No, they are not happy facts. My acknowledgement of those sad facts may be an emotional trigger for some. For me, however, they have been a part of the grieving process, and part of my acceptance of it all. Without acknowledging all the sad facts of my life, how can I truly appreciate all of the happiness in my life? When I started with Part 1 of this story, I had no idea that this is where I would end up. Ah, yes. Isn’t life interesting?
Day 11 and on with Part 3 of “Isn’t Life Interesting” – Part 1 here, Part 2 here. For adoptees, searching, or not searching, is such a personal choice. I think, so many times, even when we have educated ourselves on the possible issues, and think we are prepared for whatever comes; we find out that there was no possible way to prepare for reunion, or finding our first families. For many of us, searching, and reunion catches us completely off guard. No matter how grounded, and ready we think we are, searching, and reunion, can knock us off our feet in ways unimaginable. The grief we feel, even if we don’t know that is what it is, at times, is so completely overwhelming, it can terrify us. As I’ve been writing these posts, and rereading this story I wrote so long ago, I was a bit amazed when it dawned on me, just how well the five stages of grief are portrayed in this one story. The denial, the anger, which you are about to read, the bargaining, the depression, and well, I’ll save the last one for the end, are all here if you look. Now, let’s get on with the story.
“As I watched this unfold, I continued to deal with my own issues with my adoption and reunion. It still amazes me as to the naïvety of people on the subject of adoption and reunion. Shouldn’t we all be happy? Adoptive parents should be happy. They now have a child. No one stops to think that they might feel the loss of not having a child of their own. They don’t think about the invasion of privacy the adoptive couple went through to ensure that they were suitable parents. They don’t think about the weeks, months, and years that went by with no phone call from the agency. They don’t think of the disappointment when a birth mother changes her mind. They don’t think about the silly things that are said to adoptive parents and adoptees in reference to adoption. No need to list any, we’ve all heard them. What about adoptive parents when adoptees want to find biological parents? More issues to deal with.
The adoptee should be happy. They have a loving family to provide their needs. They never stop to think that not all adoptees are adopted by “loving” families. Agencies screen parents. How could you be adopted into an abusive home? Trust me. It happens more frequently than you think. Even if that isn’t the case, and an adoptee has a great adopted family, there are still issues to deal with. Read this forum and you will see the many, many issues. Whether adoptees feel the need to search for biological family or not, there is something about being adopted that makes us just a tiny bit different from normal. That’s not a bad thing. It is just a fact. If you aren’t questioning something about adoption, why are you reading this?
Biological parents should be happy. They made the decision to relinquish out of love for their child. They wanted their child to have things they couldn’t give them. I could go on. It was best for the child. People think a bio parent is supposed to be happy about that? Just go on with their life like it was nothing? It just amazes me to think that people really believe that separating a mother or father and their child is something that they are supposed to “just forget about”. I’ve raised horses and cows. Did you know that horses and cows mourn the loss of their babies at weaning time? They do, and their calves and foals also mourn the loss of their mothers at weaning time. Listening to them cry for each other at weaning time breaks my heart. I can’t stand it! For any human to think another human could “just forget and go on with their life”, well, it really makes me angry.
Then there are reunions. Aren’t we all so happy when we reunite? If that were the case, why do we need this forum? Oh, the issues reunion brings out.”
Shouldn’t we all be happy? What a question, and why aren’t we? What a price to pay so that everyone in the triad can be happy. Knowing that there still so many people who just don’t get it, telling infertile couples to “just adopt”, and telling adoptees, “just be grateful”, and first parents, “just make an adoption plan”, and oh, doesn’t that just solve all of our problems? Even after all these years, it still makes me so angry at the lack of compassion, the denial of society to the reality of adoption. Whew! I think that’s enough for today. I can feel my blood pressure rising now. See you tomorrow with part 4, and the conclusion.
Day 10 and the story, “Isn’t Life Interesting”, continues with part 2.
I have heard adoption reunion referred to as a roller coaster ride many, many times. Having experienced it myself, I can certainly relate. Though I have never adopted a child, I would imagine, adopting a child could be described as the same. In my own reunions with my first parents, I can attest to the fact that there were many ups, downs, sharp curves, disorienting loops, unbelievably high peaks, and terrifying drops that, at times, never seemed to end. It bothers me when adoption, and reunion, are referred to as a roller coaster ride. I don’t believe it really does them justice. You see, when you get on a roller coaster, you do it in the name of fun. It is exciting, and a thrill. You know in just a few seconds, it will come rolling to a stop, the ride will be over, and you will be fine. Now, I will get on with the story.
“The roller coaster had reached the top of the big drop that no one expects is coming. Another phone call came for my cousins. The birth mother had changed her mind. Although, in a sense, I was happy that this precious little girl would not be separated from her mother, it broke my heart to see how completely devastated my cousins were. It was also becoming apparent that my reunion with my Bdad wasn’t going to be a fairytale. The roller coaster had headed down for us as well. All any of us could do was hang on as tight as possible, scream, and hope we could build up enough speed to make it back to the top again.
As is the case with most roller coasters, there is usually always a sharp turn just after the big drop. So it was for my cousins. Another phone call. There was another child. A little more cautious this time, they were off again to meet their new baby. My cousin’s wife had kept a picture of the first child in a frame on the nightstand by her bed. They walked into the room, where their new baby was waiting to meet them, and as it turned out, it was the same precious little girl they had met the first time. Sometimes things are just meant to be?
The adoption went through this time. Because of unfortunate circumstances surrounding this precious child, circumstances she had no say in, or choice, she was removed from her family of origin, and is now part of a family, who will shower her with love and affection. Once again, the joy, the excitement, the love was all so very contagious. The roller coaster had leveled off for my cousins.
Even though I know the possible issues and emotions that their new daughter may face in the future, this was most definitely a good thing for everyone. I was truly happy for this new family, and truly heartbroken at the losses they have all suffered as well. The pure joy and happiness felt by the new adoptive parents touched my heart, and I wondered about my adoptive parent’s feelings when they adopted me. Was that how they felt?”
As I read this once again, I smiled as I came to the phrase “some things are just meant to be”. Here I sit 5 years after writing that phrase, knowing it isn’t something I would say now. The joy of the creation of this new family was contagious, just as, I suppose, the joy D, and I felt at finding each other was probably contagious too. I understand the analogy of a roller coaster ride in regards to adoption and reunion. It isn’t easy putting such things into words. If given a choice, I think I would prefer to put it another way, and in the words of a Robert Earl Keen song, “the road goes on forever, and the party never ends.”
There’s more to come. Stay tuned for Isn’t Life Interesting Part 3. The fun is just beginning.
Here I am at day 9. As weekends, for me, are extremely busy, and, being the emotionally driven person I am, and staying on tract with the prompts doesn’t seem to be working out all that well, keeping in mind my tendency to let my thoughts stray, I thought I would sum up the next few day’s prompts all in one. Following my heart, and letting my thoughts take me where they may, I just couldn’t seem to stop at one. There was too much to say. This is only the first in what became a four-part series. Isn’t life truly interesting?
While thinking about what to write, I once again traveled back to a particular forum, where I have been a participant since my reunion with D, my first father. It was hard in the beginning to read my feelings about finding him, knowing what the future held. I’ve taken many breaks, as I can only read so much before the sick feeling in my stomach starts, and I, once again, feel the ache in my chest. I have reached the two-year point. It has been so interesting to witness my own change in feelings over those two years, as I slowly began to realize the reality of adoption in my life. Looking back, I see things now that I didn’t see back then, and how my emotions ruled. How could they not when the grief I felt was spewing out everywhere? It’s so obvious to me now. At the time, I had no idea what was going on inside, and was just beginning to learn. I still had such a long way to go.
In 2007, two years into reunion with D, my first father, and 18 years of reunion with E, my first mother, I wrote the words below. My heart was breaking, and all those years of grief were beginning to overflow.
“It’s been two years since my reunion with my Bdad. I’ve learned a lot about adoption and seen the good and the bad. One of my cousins, on my Bdad’s side, adopted a child, in part, because of my reunion with my Bdad. It was an option they had not considered until my reunion with my Bdad brought adoption to light for the family.
It was the beginning of my reunion with my Bdad. Everyone was so excited and happy. They, including my Bdad, only saw the joy of our reunion. No one saw the pain, the emotional rollercoaster, the loss my Bdad and I would find ourselves dealing with. The thought of adoption seemed to be the answer to their prayers for a child to call their own. Several family members, not knowing the real pain reunion brings for adoptees, and I never let on the emotions inside me, wanted me to talk to my cousin and his wife so as to encourage them to adopt. . At the time, I just could not do it.
As my own rollercoaster of reunion emotion started, I watched from a far as they began their own roller coaster ride in their wait to adopt. I never told them of the painful side of adoption for us adoptees. All I could see at the time was my own pain. Even though I knew that the child would be truly loved, and given every opportunity that can be given a child all I could think about was the pain that child would someday feel, just like the pain I was feeling. My heart was breaking for that child. Strange as it may seem, their joyful anticipation of adopting a child somehow comforted me as I dealt with my own pain of being adopted.
As our roller coaster rides continued, I could feel their disappointment as time and again there would be no word from the agency; no baby in need of a family. They wanted a child so badly. I wanted the years I had lost with my biological family so badly. They longed for their family. I longed for my family. Isn’t it kind of ironic?
As the roller coaster continued, their phone call finally came. A little girl was ready for adoption. Their excitement and joy was contagious. They went to meet their possible daughter, fell in love with her, and began adoption proceedings.
They were getting to know the daughter they had found, because of adoption, as I was getting to know the father I had lost, because of adoption.”
This is just the beginning of what became a very long post. As I told this story, I poured out my heart and feelings. When I look back over the past five years since I wrote this, I still feel my heart ache. I, also, realize that I am not sure if my reunion with D is what truly motivated them to adopt. As some of my family read this blog, I can only say, it is what I was told and thought at the time. The feelings I expressed were my feelings at the time, and I don’t honestly know what anyone was thinking or feeling.
My reunion, however, I believe, was used to encourage them, as it was pointed out how “great” I had turned out. I am still amazed that it was my first father, who was one of the family members who asked me to talk to the potential adoptive parents, and expound on the joys of adoption, along with one of his sister-in-laws. I was stunned, and hurt. How could the family I had just found think adoption was so wonderful? How could they, after all those years of loss, ask me to do such a thing? Most of all, how could I encourage anyone to adopt a child in the midst of all my grief? I couldn’t do it then, and, now, though I would not discourage anyone from adopting, I would have a difficult time not telling them the truth about adoption. When I hear people encouraging infertile couples to “just adopt”, I want to cry, because though it is a way to form a family, it isn’t “just” that simple.
When I think back now, I wonder how many of my family members really did see the grief I was suffering, and how many of them just chose not to see it? I suppose, it doesn’t really matter. I wonder now if the characters of this story, my family, still see adoption in the same light. I wonder if the years have revealed to them the same reality of adoption that they have revealed to me. Yes, life is interesting.
My post “Isn’t Life Interesting” will be continued, so stay tuned for the rest of the story.