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Requesting adoptees help

03 Aug

I’m trying to explain the shifting feelings that happen over the course of a lifetime about being adopted.  Would you share how your feelings shifted and became more complex with time (if they did)?  I think it’s important for parents to understand how feelings and your emotions can change over time re your adoption, how maturity, understanding of the larger society impacts those feelings good or bad.  I just want them to realize that feelings about being adopted, the impact it has on you is not something static, more that it is fluid and ever-changing.

I can’t remember the age I was when being adopted suddenly included big feelings about not being kept – best guess somewhere between 7-9ish.  Shortly after that age, I can remember when my birthday started including searching the newspapers personal section for a message from my mother of birth, I did that every year till I was about 30ish.  I can remember the feelings of abandonment really hitting hard mid teens when I started dating.  As a young adult, the feelings would pop up every six months or so, but it was just my norm by then.  When I got sick is when the walls protecting me tumbled down for good, adding reality of lack of FHH to the mix, so in my 40’s, is when I really took the time (had the time, perhaps) to really understand how adoption had affected me, the many different ways it had.

I hope you’ll share.

 

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18 Comments

Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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18 responses to “Requesting adoptees help

  1. Desiree Jacob

    August 3, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    As a young person – had to always feel i had to be better so I would be loved. Those feelings then transpired to never feeling “unconditionally loved” in adult relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      August 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you Desiree – sometimes it’s really hard.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. Laksh

    August 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    I hope you will share the learnings here so as a parent I can identify triggers and try and help. Also would love to hear from adoptees in open adoption on how they coped with the loss.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      August 3, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Now I’m hoping adoptees realize I meant in the comments – thanks Laksh – sometimes I’m not so clear…oops, argh, oh my… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. cb

    August 3, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I’ll have to think about this some more and come back later.

    One thing I did notice after reunion (with extended family) is that I noticed some behaviour did change and that some things have improved.

    Although I feel fortunate that my parents never did the “she loved you so much she gave you up” thing (they more or less just told us what they knew rather than put any spin on it), the one thing that adoption does say is that, in effect, we didn’t come along at a good time for our bparents. It doesn’t matter how much they may have loved us or cared about us, the timing of our entry into the world wasn’t good. So, I have always hated asking people if they want to do something with me because I don’t want to hear “i’m sorry now isn’t a good time” or “can we do it another time” or knocking on a persons door and finding they were busy – it wasn’t so much that I felt they were rejecting me per se but rather I felt that feeling of perhaps coming along at an inconvenient time?

    Another thing is that I think I did feel that I could just as easily be here as not here if that makes sense. I remember some male adoptee saying that one reason he didn’t think anything about letting people down was because he didn’t think that he was important enough for anyone to really care if he let them down or not. Also, even though of course I feel loved by my family, I am always rather surprised (in a nice way of course) when someone (especially outside of my family) says they missed me because it never really crossed my mind that they would care either way.

    I do feel that after reunion and finding out more about my bmom that I do feel more grounded and more able to deal with responses. I feel less like a blip and more like I came from somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • cb

      August 3, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      Just some random thoughts about what I said above about “not coming along at a good time”. To me that is something that even today’s open adoptions is not going to counter and in fact, when I read some of today’s bmoms speak, I sometimes wonder if they will feel even more “inconvenient”.

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      • cb

        August 3, 2017 at 10:39 pm

        Also, with the phrase “she loved you so much she gave you up”.

        When we think of “love”, we tend to think “wanted”. If one swaps “love” with “want” in the above sentence, eg “She wanted you so much she gave you up”, that makes absolutely no sense at all.

        Also we keep hearing about the word “selfless” but do we always want those we love to be totally “selfless”. Don’t we want those we love to say “Dammit, I WANT to be with X” I doubt that anyone on here who loved their husband warts and all would want their husband to offer to divorce them and say “I love you so much that I need to divorce you so you can be with Q who is a much better prospect for you than me”, especially if one had shown no interest in Q.

        Btw I do think that there is a moment where all expectant mothers considering adoption are expected to be “selfless” – they are asked what do they have to offer a child vs what others have to offer a child and they are expected to ask that by taking their “selves” out of the equation – they are expected to answer with their head not their heart. By doing so, they then make a decision which *their own self” is not allowed to be a part of. They thus “separate themselves from the child emotionally”. Who on here really wants a totally selfless birthmother? When I got my info sheet, I for one felt more reassured by the comment of “she had very mixed feelings” than all the other reasons why I was relinquished. We want to mean something to them personally.

        OK my rambling is finished for the morning – I better go off to work.

        Liked by 2 people

         
        • cb

          August 4, 2017 at 12:49 am

          A further rambling from work just to say that even though I might have felt above, not only did I not let anyone know I felt that way, I would be all “it’s OK if you can’t come, I couldn’t care less either way really” or else give them 100 outs so that 1) they didn’t feel too bad about saying “sorry but no” and 2) it would make me feel less “shame” because hey I gave them the outs lol.

          This behaviour definitely has improved 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

           
    • TAO

      August 4, 2017 at 3:11 am

      We’re so alike in many ways, glad you’re my friend.

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  4. cb

    August 3, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Another thing also is some minor behaviour with my mum. One thing I realised that I don’t do as much now as I used to do before was to try and find things in common with mum. We do actually have some things in common but I think I was always trying to find food, movies, books etc that we could both love and would feel let down if I “chose wrong” (mum’s always been honest about what she likes and doesn’t like), however, I’ve realised that I don’t try so much any more to find things in common, I now accept that we are similar in some ways and different in others and that’s OK.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  5. Pj

    August 4, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Feelings definitely became more complex…although don’t think I ever realized the feeling of abandonment, at least consciously .Mom asked me as a teenager if I had a desire to meet birth mom, and told her no, but wanted to know my story and curious what b mom looked like. Looking back, I did have some very strong reactions to people in my life “leaving” me …mom and dad moving to another state when I was in college, a preceptor in grad school not showing for our meeting, ( barely ) boyfriends leaving…In my 50’s when I was able to get OBC and do DNA and finally have the connection to my birth families….life-changing.Birth parents were deceased and now in contact with birth families, but still no desire to meet them. Although strong emotions and regular crying cleanses. Perhaps you’re right, Tao…I “had(have) the time” to be/understand/feel how adoption affects me every.single.day.

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    • TAO

      August 4, 2017 at 3:10 am

      Complex indeed, with a healthy dose of protecting the parents and all the leaving. Thanks PJ.

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  6. maryleesdream

    August 4, 2017 at 2:07 am

    As a child, I was trained not to think about being adopted. It almost worked. It was not discussed at home. I never even told my best friends.

    But, I was angry. All the time. I wanted out. I shoplifted, and set fires as a girl. There was so much going on inside, but the surface seemed calm.

    I started drinking and using drugs as a teen. I would get drunk and tell people I was adopted. They always aid, “it’s the same thing, your parents love you”. I still wanted out, and did not have long to wait. I was intellectually gifted, but did not do well in school. I did not go to college.

    I met my husband when I was 16, and drunk. I told him I was adopted and he said, “that’s terrible”. We’ve been together ever since.

    I had 4 children. I wanted to have my own tribe, so I would never be alone again. I saw my first relative in the delivery room, and I love my kids fiercely. I have a good life. Job, husband, house.

    Finally got up the nerve to search when I was 48. I was waiting for a-mom to die, but she would not. I felt like time was running out, and I wanted to see my mother’s face in this life. I did.

    It changed everything. I saw, with my own eyes what I had lost, my own dear mother. I could never have anticipated how I would feel. I felt cheated. Robbed of my own life, and identity. The pain finally came to the surface, and I couldn’t deny it any longer.

    My feeling did not change, as much as they were finally acknowledged. The reason for all my pain was simple, I lost my mother. She’s since died, and it does not get better, never will.

    I live, and am happy, but there is always something hanging out behind me. It’s there, waiting for the quiet times to come out and attack. It comes and takes me under, but I always get up again. I imagine I will think about it on my deathbed.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      August 4, 2017 at 3:07 am

      Marylee – hauntingly beautiful and sad at the same time, thank you.

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  7. Tia (stephanie)

    August 4, 2017 at 2:47 am

    The affect adoption had on me did not really change over my life span. What changed was my ability to connect what I was feeling to adoption and then make words to communicate this to myself and others. What also changed was my ability to manage seemingly opposite feelings and states more comfortably.

    When I was about nine, I had a helium balloon that someone had given me. I accidentally let go of the string and watched the balloon float away. I was inconsolable. I was crying so deeply I couldn’t catch my breath. It was 40 more years before I could name that grief from adoption. Today, it is still a window to the grief I can’t always name. It can still make me cry to remember this.

    At 17, I was deeply depressed and hardly anyone knew it. I had a teacher holding me together with compassion and regular talks. I could never say what was wrong.

    My conscious thoughts and voiced beliefs about adoption all the way through my early thirties was nothing but posies. I’m so lucky. I’m so glad. I’m so grateful. I had no way to connect my struggles with adoption.

    I am now, at 52, starting to understand the complex layers. I am okay with the inner conflicts around adoption, but it is still lonely at times.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      August 4, 2017 at 3:05 am

      Tia – your voice is amazing and eloquent, the picture you paint with your words tells a far deeper story that all need to hear. Thank you.

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  8. bekahbug9412pranali23

    August 4, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I grew up in a very religious family who were very open about my adoption, but there never was any conversation about what was lost. It was always, “Your birthmother loved you enough to give you up. God had his hand on you and kept you safe until you came to us.” It took me until my early 20s to face what I’d been trying my best to push to the back of my mind. It seemed too painful to touch. But there came a day where I needed more than, “it was all God’s plan.” It seems I can’t go back to the days of ignorance and pushing it away. It’s like I’m living the remainder of my life trying desperately to grasp whatever I can of the life I lost and the culture I lost. Some days, my grief and my losses seem to outweigh my gains through adoption…other days I feel ashamed of my grief and try to focus on the positive outcomes. It’s a daily struggle though. A lifelong struggle.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      August 4, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you bekahbug, that would be more than hard, to reconcile.

      Liked by 1 person

       

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