04 Dec
The feelings of loyalty I feel (and expect others feel to different degrees) can play a significant role in how we talk about our adoption experience.  My feelings of loyalty exist outside of and within the feelings I have for mom and dad.
When I was young I often thought of my other mother but not so much my father.  I also had the typical childhood fantasy dream of which I won’t bore you with, except to say one distinct landscape detail turned out to be true…strange because it was always the starting point of my childhood fantasy that never changed, and I must conclude it was part of my remembered experience inside my mother’s womb.
But I never shared my fantasy dream with mom or dad.  I never brought it up.  I never talked about the feelings of loss.  The feelings of not being good enough.  The feelings of being fatally flawed in a way others could see that I could not. 
I never brought any of feelings up because of what I can now as an adult identify as feelings of loyalty.  Loyalty to a mom and dad who were great parents.  I knew or thought I knew that bringing any of those feelings up would hurt them and I never wanted to do that.  I wasn’t willing to do that, ever.
Now I realize that they could have dealt with my feelings simply because they had the ability to look at the reality, that it would be normal for me to feel that way.  They had the strength of character to recognise that those feelings of loss had no bearing on how I felt about them.  They would not have been harmed if I had talked about it.  To them my love for them was enough, and that they would have felt my feelings were valid and okay to have.
I don’t think they could have done anything different to get me to talk to them about my innermost feelings.  I had simply decided not to go there and apparently I can be stubborn about things like that.  I also think that although they never gave me any reason to feel that way, I felt the need to be good so I would not be sent away from this family too.  That feeling of being abandoned once (no matter what the reality was) added to the unconscious feelings of loyalty, as the basis for my insistence that I wasn’t going to go there.
Anytime we talked about being an adoptee the questions I would ask would be phrased in words designed to imply simple benign curiosity, not from feelings of loss.
So, just because your child may not show any feelings of loss don’t pat yourself on the back about how you have helped your child grieve their loss and move on or that it really has never bothered your child to be adopted…they could simply just be like me…or perhaps any other adoptee you know in real life who tells you they are  okay with being an adoptee (which is probably true)…unless you are actually in their head and soul you will not know the whole truth and nothing but the truth – only the portion of their truth that they want you to know. 

Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Adoption


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4 responses to “Loyalty…

  1. Campbell

    December 5, 2010 at 12:09 am

    First, I was the same in the dad department although any thought or feeling I did have were more on the negative side. I just assumed he must be an asshole, must have deserted my bio mom, which turned out not to be true. Stereotyping at it’s worst.

    Second, I wonder what you think about parents, of the adoptive variety, pushing, forcing, fretting, changing the way they would otherwise parent, out of fear that their child through adoption is going to end up damaged by it.

    Sounds to me that you feel your parents parented as well, for you, as they possibly could have. It worries me that adopted kids now will have parents that are afraid of them in a way, and not be all they could be as decent, grounded parents/people.


  2. Von

    December 5, 2010 at 12:53 am

    So true, sometimes it takes decades for us to tell it how it is.The feelings of being abandoned adding to ‘the unconscious feelings of loyalty’ certainly hit it for me.Thank you.
    Campbell has made such a good point there and one that has been bothering me for a time about the fretting and the pushing etc.I’ve heard of adopters getting adoptees to answer questionnaires on how they’re doing!


  3. Sunday

    December 5, 2010 at 1:25 am

    “So, just because your child may not show any feelings of loss don’t pat yourself on the back about how you have helped your child grieve their loss and move on or that it really has never bothered your child to be adopted…”

    That is an excellent point!


  4. The adopted ones

    December 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm


    I have no complaints in the parent department although I am sure in my teenage years they had complaints…

    As to the concern you and Von note – I share it to a certain extent and think it is a fine line parents today have to tread. If I had to give advice – it would be to acknowledge our other set of parents as our mothers and fathers without adding additional titles or qualifiers (I know I am in the minority with most) – plus make sure the kids know how they feel about the other set has no impact on them because each set is unique and stand alone and feelings for one set do not negate or lessen the feelings for the other set. Perhaps explain what a pardox is and that may allow more honest communication of feelings where a kid might not worried about hurting mom or dad. I do think it is better to err on the side of it is okay to have feelings about being adopted that may not always be positive vs the rah rah everyone is a winner in adoption that I do see in blogs today that make me nervous when there is both loss and gain but one never cancels the other out because each is unique. Just an inceedingly fine line.

    Sunday – I see that attitude so often that it makes me angry…what do you think on the concern Campbell and Von are talking about?



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