My Story…

11 May

We all come to adoption with a story, whether it’s a one-liner, or fills a page or two, there is a story.  It could just be that we were abandoned.  It could be more.  I don’t think I’ve ever told the story the social worker told mom and dad about me.  It was short, oh so short.  It was the single story of my beginnings, where I came from, who I was, for over four decades.

I must say the crafting of my short story was superb for adopting parents.  It ticked all the boxes any adoptive parents could ever ask for.

  1. Both parents were obviously intelligent.
  2. Both had seen (or saw) the value in higher education.
  3. Both were ambitious to do well.
  4. There was a reason why I needed to be adopted.
  5. There was no way I could have been successful in searching.

It was also a made up story with a few grains of truth woven in.  I also heard another adoptee tell her story that matched my story, almost, as if, it was a story Social Workers were taught to use.

My story went something like this:

My mother attended the college not far from where we lived, she lived with her aunt.  She fell in love with one of her professors and they had an affair.  The professor she had the affair with was married, so when she became pregnant, adoption was the solution because divorce wasn’t an option.

That’s what I knew about my mother, my father, my family, and the why I needed to be adopted.  I didn’t even know their nationality or age.  The only other thing I knew was my surname because mom and dad knew all our surnames.

Pretty much all of it was not true.  At all.  When I told mom the true story, she didn’t understand why the social worker hadn’t told them the truth.  There was nothing bad in the truth.  My mother lived at home with her family and had a good job.  Then the typical happened for so many mothers from my era; boy meets girl, they date, at some point they have sex, she’s pregnant, he bails, she goes out-of-town to a relatives home, has me, gives me up, returns to her parents home she’s always lived in and her life continued on.

But the typical boy meets girl story isn’t a story that ticks off all the boxes like my story did.  No need to worry about the intelligence or ambition – the father is a college professor, the mother a college student.  No need to worry, I came from solid middle class families.  No need to worry about family support, she lives outside of the family home, so, obviously, there’s a breakdown of some sort, even if, they are still paying for college.  No need to worry about the mother and father getting together and wanting to raise me, he’s married, divorce is looked down on in society.  In other words, a perfect, healthy, white baby that no one is going to try to get back.  No worry that the family by birth could ever be found, none of the details are true.  It’s all good.

Today, stories told to adoptive parents still may not be the full story, even if you know all the parties, we all wear masks.  I’m also sure there are adoptions today that have stories with only a few grains of truth in them.  Adoption hasn’t changed that much.

Never assume that your child’s story told to you is the only story.

I’m not sure if this is the 6th or 7th time I’ve linked to the best Ted Talk ever done.  I know the first time I posted was in 2010.  If you’ve never taken the 20 minutes to hear the message she has, do it today.  It does not speak to adoption at all.  It has everything to do with adoption.  If you’ve taken the time before to watch it, it never hurts to have a refresher.




Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , ,

6 responses to “My Story…

  1. Lara/Trace

    May 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I was told my mother wasn’t married and had to give me up. (kinda true) A close friend adoptee told me that her first mom was told by the social worker that her relinquished daughter (my friend) was placed with a doctor’s family (all wrong, a huge lie) – so it seems those social workers were busy as the creators of big fairy tales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      May 11, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      The more stories I hear – the more I think they got together and created pat stories to use…


  2. eagoodlife

    May 12, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    If you’ve never seen this TED Talk maybe it’s time. One of the best ever.


  3. yan

    May 12, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    My story was more elaborate and thorough (basically, I got part of my non-ID from the paperwork my parents were sent. My original parent “profile,” if you will.). But a lot of it was wrong. Some of the blame for that seems shared (i.e., the story was already watered down by my first mom’s family before the agency was involved), but a lot of the rest of it seems like smoothing out and prettying up the story for the benefit of prospective adoptive parents. Marketing a product. What kills me about that is that it is so clearly not about ME, the adoptee, even at the absolute outset. I really wish that the social worker who worked the case was still alive, as I have Questions.


    • TAO

      May 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      It seems the adoptee is always the least important – even though, without the adoptee, adoption doesn’t exist. There was no paperwork given to mom and dad – just verbal…decades later, when I asked for my non-id, after I got all the sealed court records, I found there wasn’t any…


  4. cb

    May 16, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I’m one of 4 adoptees in my family (the eldest two are twins). All our stories were not quite the full story – they seemed to be the social worker version of our situations, probably designed to make adoptive parents feel “OK” about the adoptions. I’d been told that my bmother went overseas to give birth whereas when I got my non-ID in my late 20s (along with OBC) it gave more of the impression that was already overseas on a working holiday when she did get pregnant (although it was sort of ambiguous). However, I did discover that almost everything else in the non-ID was accurate – in fact, I was able to use it to confirm that I had the right person. The only slightly non-accurate thing was the order of her jobs but that was probably due to a misunderstanding in communication.

    Although finding out that my bmother was overseas at the time she got pregnant might not seem that important, it did make feel less like I was a problem that was so bad that she need to go overseas to be rid of me lol.

    One thing I do know that is that the more I’ve found out, the more it has helped me to become more secure in myself because I now see my bmom as a complex individual whose story cannot be simply just tied down to “a single story”. This more secure feeling was not something I really noticed until after each step (eg when I got my OBC/non-ID and when I met bfamily).

    Btw I know that we adoptees often get dismissed as fantasising about our bfamily but really all I wanted to know was the truth. I also just wanted my bmother to be an nice ordinary person and that seems to be what she was – if that is a “fantasy” then it is a rather ordinary one. It seems to me more that social workers seemed to want to impart fantasies to our adoptive parents. If anything, it seems that it is often APs who seem to want that single story even when we try to flesh out our situations. Of course not all APs are like that, thankfully there are many APs who also don’t want that single story.



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