A Grateful Adoptee: Side Note to “The Wait: Part 1”

23 Nov

After she finished reading the story, “The Family That Grew”, Mom and I sat there in silence, the warmth, and love, between us palpable. The moment had taken us over 40 years back in time to my childhood. There was something else in the air, as we both sat there, each with our own thoughts. It was a sadness, something like a death in the family; a realization of it, and acceptance of it. I finally, asked, my Mom now in her late 70s, “What do you think of that story? Do you think that is what our adoption story is like?” The conversation that followed is not one I’m willing to share. It was too intimate, and too precious to me. I’ll never forget that moment.
In my Mother’s almost 50 years of experience as an adoptive mother, she knew the story was not even remotely close to being anything more than a pretty lie about our life as an adoptive family, as well as, how we became her adopted children.

I’ve been trying for months to write this particular part of my story, to keep it pure, avoiding any influence or emotions I feel today about adoption. Going back over the years hasn’t been easy, and was much harder than I anticipated. I started many times, only to end up somewhere else, or stop altogether. It’s something I’ve worked hard to put in its place. Digging it up hasn’t been much fun, but I think it has been therapeutic, and if it helps others understand a little better, worth it.

As Thanksgiving is just a day away, I want to take a minute here to say that I’m grateful that my adoptive parents never dismissed the importance of our biology, even when we did. I am grateful that they understood the importance of acknowledging the sad fact about adoption, even when we did not.

My adoptive parents did not have the information available to potential adoptive parents, and adoptive parents of today. It was not easy for them with little to go on but a set of books the agency encouraged them to read. I see so many things, when I look back, that had they been aware, could have helped make sense of things, made life a bit easier. They did the best they could, and they never dismissed the separation of their children from their biology, never dismissed the fact that it was important, and a loss for us, even though they never had names to call it.

I am proud of them for that. I intentionally refrain from discussing my adoptive parents on this blog, and I make it a point not to use the disclaimer of “I love my adoptive parents”, because for me it is a given; never to be questioned. I am breaking my rule here to tell you that the older I get, the more I understand adoption, with its many issues, and though our family was far from perfect, I love them more now, because even though they had no idea about the loss, and grief of an adoptee, they were smart enough, strong enough, and courageous enough, to instinctively understand adoption for what it is. That is something an adoptee can truly be grateful for.


Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Uncategorized


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8 responses to “A Grateful Adoptee: Side Note to “The Wait: Part 1”

  1. T. Laurel Sulfate, Snarkurchin

    November 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Very nicely written. I also grew up with that book, and with a’parents who did their best and would have done better had they had better information.


  2. cb

    November 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    On forums, you quite often read posts by APs comparing different adoption books and I often think “why don’t you ask the ones who know whether a book is appropriate or not?”. Some of them are a bit along the lines of “you are the answer to a long awaited dream” and though that sounds nice in theory, it could make the child feel they are important for their function rather than for themselves (if that makes sense) and it is also APcentric rather than childcentric. What does make a good adoption book? Perhaps ones that concentrate only on the child and perhaps the love the family/parents have for them? Should we bother with separate adoption books at all?


    • The adopted ones

      November 23, 2011 at 11:28 pm

      We didn’t have any adoption books…which could either mean they are a good thing or a bad thing. I actually don’t see the point of them but who knows.


      • cb

        November 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

        I admit that I don’t see much point in them either.

        Some books/stories/poems concern me greatly.

        I remember someone on a forum asking about a particular “story” – one about a “tree of life” where the child choses his parents from a tree. Apparently she planned to read her child that story and I thought “Please, NO – don’t let him anywhere near it”! lol.


      • Nara

        May 19, 2015 at 7:46 am

        We didn’t either… Though one of my earliest memories is reading a book of fairy tales with my dad and it saying “Adapted from [Grimm’s Fairy Tales or whatever]” and me saying “Look that’s like me!” and him explaining that adapted was different from adopted! 🙂


  3. Susie

    November 24, 2011 at 2:51 am

    What a beautiful post. I could almost feel the love you have for your mom, I didn’t need to see it in words in your last paragraph.


  4. T. Laurel Sulfate, Snarkurchin

    November 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve come across a “good adoption book for kids,” nor would I have any idea how to go about writing such a thing.

    Has anybody seen a decent one?


  5. Michele Kozak Sickler

    November 30, 2011 at 12:56 am

    We never had any books, thank God. They would,ve pissed me off even as a little kid.



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