How many times…

21 Feb

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve said ‘I’m fine’ as an answer of how I am in regards to many different life situations.  Pretty sure all of us have said it, repeatedly.  I’ve said it about being adopted my entire life when asked, it’s the expected answer, the one they want to hear.  It’s also self-preservation for me as I know they can’t possibly understand why it’s a extremely complicated question, and feelings are ever-changing.  It’s also quite likely I’ve actually been just fine with being adopted when they’ve asked me, and times when I’m a roiling mess of emotions about being adopted.

I’m also a ‘make everyone else around me feel good’ personality.

I suspect that many adoptees have glibly answered adoption questions with the I’m fine for most of their life, whether they use I’m fine or another version.  I know many must have because of all the adoptees that adoptive parents know, who have told them they are just fine with being adopted.  As if it is a simple check the box answer that covers how you will feel your entire life, regardless of what life stage you are in, whatever your lived experiences have thrown at you – you checked the I’m fine box, it’s all good.

So, tell me, have you told people you’re fine being adopted?  Were you?  If not, was it because it was easier?  Expected?  Didn’t want the person to feel bad? Or?

Have you been told by an adoptee they were just fine with being adopted?

What else is up with you?  Anything new?


Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Adoption


Tags: ,

10 responses to “How many times…

  1. Beth

    February 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Nah, I’m fine, it’s all good! My mom and dad are my mom and dad. period!

    I said it so many times, and for so long.

    I said it defensively. My mom and dad are my mom and dad. It’s a fact, it’s the truth.
    but it’s not the whole truth.
    I didn’t speak of the whole truth until I was 30, 40. And I didn’t speak it to my mom and dad.
    For many reasons.
    Didn’t want to upset them with MY stuff.
    Didn’t want to loose them, or weaken their attachment to me.
    Knew better than to say anything – I knew no one wanted to hear it.
    Because if they had heard something of it before, they came running with bandaids to cover it up quickly – before it spreads. I knew they didn’t want to hear it, knew it must be there for me, but didn’t want to notice it, or really just wanted to avoid it, for all of us to avoid “that”.
    Just be happy, it’s all good.
    Everyone just wants to be happy about it – felt like it was my job to make sure that happened. That’s the job I was given, and I did my duty as expected.
    To say anything different can become an insult to my family… or an insult to adoptive families in general. As if adoption does not work, it is not real – which I do not believe, because my mom and dad are my mom and dad. Get over it. I still feel the need to defend that, even tho I speak about the stuff within adoption that people do not like to hear.

    I frequently see adopted people say it now, always have. I’d like to believe they aren’t saying it like I was saying it – but I know better, I know all to well how that speak works 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth

    February 22, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I said it because I was afraid.


  3. L4R

    February 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Good questions. Really make me think more deeply about my answers…. Unfortunately, right now, my answers to those questions are way too complicated and tied up into a ball of thoughts to express my the with any clarity.


  4. yan

    February 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Every week, my therapist asks how I’ve been as I come into her office. Every week, I respond, “Oh, I’m fine.” or “I’m okay.” And then we spend an hour discussing how much I’m not fine or not okay. It’s so ingrained to be “fine” or “okay” that it takes digging to admit I’m not. Still.

    And in a way, I am fine. I’m functioning — working, eating, sleeping, socializing. But I’m a roiling mess right beneath that surface more often than not these days, and I’m pretty certain it’s taking this long to sort out most of that mess because I let it tangle up by itself, ignored, for more than 30 years.


    • TAO

      February 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Yan – I say the same thing when I go to any of my doctors and then we get into the litany of issues I’ve been experiencing since I last saw them. And yet, I’m fine but not fine…

      I think “I’m fine” answers are the default most expect and give – despite it not being the full truth. And lets face it – no one actually wants to hear anything other than “I’m fine” (or variation thereof) because the “I’m fine” takes any heat off them to actually delve into why you might not really be fine…

      I just want to thank you for adding to so many conversations…and with honesty and an attempt to move the conversation along. It’s appreciated so very much.


      • yan

        February 25, 2015 at 12:17 am

        Thanks for writing. Blogs like yours have made my journey the past few years so much less lonely.


        • TAO

          February 25, 2015 at 3:13 pm

          It’s amazing how much help it brings to your soul to know that its not just you whose experiences includes so many different feelings. Adoptees are collectively stronger because we seek each other out.


  5. JLH

    March 4, 2015 at 1:14 am

    I just found your blog…so far I’m liking it 🙂 I can relate as an adoptee.
    I’ve been “fine” my whole life too..with a pothole here and there that I would quickly try to mend before anyone else had to step in it…then a few years ago someone asked me that question and I stood at a fork…and I knew I could either say “I’m fine” or I could tell the truth…for the first time I chose real truth…what fear and freedom in that…it helps completely this person was not afraid of my truth but genuinely wanted it… but at least with this step with one person…who I haven’t said I’m fine to in almost 3 years ( I can be good, great, a mess, and wreck….but not fine)’s allowed me more freedom to be real with a few others a little more often too…it’s complicated, still frightening and you can’t say it to everyone…but who knew how wonderful it could be to not be “fine” ! thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂


    • TAO

      March 4, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks for chiming in JLH


  6. Nara

    May 19, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I’m fine. I’ve always said it.

    And I am fine. (Aside from a few minor hiccups.) I’m a normal(ish) functioning member of society.

    But… but…

    Every time I’ve not been fine (I can think of 2 main situations in my life, one as a child and one as an adult) it took me a really really long time to say I wasn’t fine. Because it was my job to be fine. It was my job to put up with the stuff life threw at me. It was my job to be grateful. It was my job to make things easier for people around me. It was my job to make myself as lovable as possible.

    In my last relationship, I used to have panic attacks about not being loved any more, or enough. (Nothing would be enough!) He never knew. I never told him I wasn’t fine until it was beyond breaking point. And now, in my life now, I’m fine because I have someone who loves me. And someone who understands what it’s like to have been adopted. I think that has really helped. I think that person understands that need (my need anyway, maybe it’s just me and not all adopted people but my adopted sibling feels it too) to be loved the most, loved the best, and loved for being you.

    Because even if you’re fine, I think deep down every adopted person feels that on some level that they weren’t enough to have been kept. I just always wanted to be enough to someone.



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