Getting personal in regards to being adopted.

19 Sep

I’ve been pondering on a conversation my husband and I had the other night, sparked by a question on a game show of all things. Something about how long is too long for your in-laws to visit. Long story short, he didn’t like how mom treated me, how she always seemed to find a way to put me down.

And it’s true; I never could live up to her expectations with one exception, while the other’s could do no wrong, or if they did there was a valid reason to explain why they did that, acted that way. They’d be so good at something, I’d need to practice more, be a certain way, things like that. Never anything deliberately mean, no yelling, just never living up to what she thought I should be, and yes, I felt it.

I also always understood who she was and why she was that way with me.

I always have and still accept her for all of who she was. She was amazing, hardworking, caring, stood up for people, seldom faltered, she also never wanted to adopt me. My older siblings were her chosen ones, I was dad’s chosen one. And that’s the reason for this post, because if mom had been any less than who she was, she would have made my life hell like you read in other adoptee stories, believe them, it’s different when adoption is part of the story.

Mom didn’t treat me bad, instead, she tried very hard to be a good mom to me, she showed that over and over throughout the years. She always had my back whether she agreed with me or not, and it was mostly not, but that didn’t matter. When I got sick, she drove over an hour in snow each way to see me when I was in hospital, talk to my doctors and to make sure I was taken care of, so she could reassure dad, who, by then, wasn’t mobile.

At the very end of her life she told me: I didn’t think you’d be able to step up, but you did. That was both a slap in the face, and yet, also the highest compliment she ever gave me. We all have our challenges in life, parenting me was hers. It is what it is, I bear her no ill will, she tried hard, she was a good person, loyal, strong, hardworking and caring and I’ll never say otherwise. She was also human and my mom.

The two takeaways from my story:

If you adopt, both of you must be full onboard with adopting that specific child as your child, or you just don’t adopt. The price of adopting a child because your spouse wants to will be born by the one adopted.

Believe the adoptees who tell stories you just can’t believe, because, to you, who would be that way when they chose to adopt. It’s never that simple and you need to see behind the story to understand.


Posted by on September 19, 2020 in Adoption


Tags: , , , , , ,

26 responses to “Getting personal in regards to being adopted.

  1. swiftabc

    September 19, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Such compassion and insight about what happens when a partner “goes along to get along…” Adoption is difficult and complex enough. Parents must not further complicate it by being less than fully committed. Inevitably the child suffers. #AdoptionAttunement

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lara/Trace

    September 19, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    I have the feeling my amom didn’t want to adopt us either. But she never said. But when we hit high school, we were invisible.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. BOOKS: Sexual Assault, Loss

    September 19, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Tao, your experience is so interesting. (I know of a story that bears some similarity.) I understand that when one is seen as “lacking” by a parent, one tries even harder to please that parent. (The situation can also go the other way — giving up on getting positive attention but realizing that a little rebellion does get negative attention.) I’m not speaking for you, or about you; that is not my intention.

    Your praise for your mom is obvious; she definitely had myriad good qualities, as observed by you. I can understand how that end-of-life comment always stuck with you!

    I’m guessing you must have had a really good relationship with your dad because you were his chosen one (and that would make anyone feel good).

    Your kindness and empathy about the adoption experience is noted, along with your insights about glaring problems unique to adoption.


    • TAO

      September 19, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Thank you – dad and I were close, we shared a lot of similar likes and personality traits. They were both incredible people.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Laksh

    September 20, 2020 at 1:05 am



    • TAO

      September 20, 2020 at 2:08 pm



  5. Claire 'Word by Word'

    September 20, 2020 at 7:09 am

    I’ve recently begun wondering if adoptive mothers all have something of the ‘stepmother effect’ in them, it’s that noticeable difference, however mild, between how someone speaks, acts, thinks in relation to a child they gave birth to compared to one they raised and loved. There’s a blindness and lack of understanding, often not seen by the mother, but I find that I really study this when I see it because it looks familiar, especially the denial. There’s no doubt about the love, it’s the measuring up to expectations and disappointment versus continuous forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      September 20, 2020 at 2:08 pm

      You might be onto something Claire, interested in hearing what other’s think.


  6. legitimatebastard

    September 20, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    This wasn’t my experience, but I can see how it happens. There was a time when my adoptive mother told me many years after my adoptive father died, that their doctor advised them to consider sperm donation. They decided not to for the reason you stated here, only in terms of sperm donation. If they had chosen for a sperm donor, the resulting child would be the product of only the mother and not her husband. They decided that it would be better that neither one of them would be biologically a parent to avoid jealousy and insecurity between them. So, for them, adoption was a good choice. And, during my innocent childhood, I was loved. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to notice how my mother treated me more harshly than my father. It all reached a peak when I was 18 and was found by full blood siblings my adoptive mother never wanted me to know. It seems that she was possessive of me. I belonged to her and that was the end of it. Except that it wasn’t the end. Reality called me on the phone and blew her secret right out of the dark. My wants and needs were not considered. My adoptive father was remorseful for following her lead. Mom was angry about my reunion for about 2 decades. She only calmed down toward the end of her life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      September 20, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      Oh, I’m sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

      • legitimatebastard

        September 20, 2020 at 10:20 pm

        Thank you, TAO. I’m okay now. Took me decades to figure it out, and accept it all.


  7. legitimatebastard

    September 20, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    I’d like to know why “journeyformybaby” is “liking” this post. Your infertility and pregancy after IVF has nothing to do with adoptees’ discussing our lives. I’ve checked your website. Go away.

    And, “Adoption and Parenting” you seem to be a web-based collection of bots searching for adoption tersm, and not a real person.

    Too bad you can’t be blocked.


    • TAO

      September 20, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      It certainly is very creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • journeyformybaby

        September 24, 2020 at 3:06 am

        I’m sorry. I had no intention of being creepy. I have several cousins who are adopted, two relatives in the process of adopting and one who recently adopted a child. I feel like reading these posts is a way for me to educate myself so I don’t make regrettable mistakes when we have conversations. If you don’t feel comfortable with me reading along, I can leave. I’m truly sorry if I’ve offended you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          September 24, 2020 at 2:12 pm

          I was referring to the website “Adoption and Parenting” being creepy Journey, sorry for not being specific.


        • legitimatebastard

          September 24, 2020 at 4:39 pm

          Thank you, journeyformybaby. Most adoptees who are active in adoption reform are skeptical of others who seem to be spying on us, especially hopeful adopters and adoptive parents who crave the babies of others. You are here for personal education, and for that, I’m relieved. None of this exisited when I needed my adoptive parents, aunts and uncles and cousins, full blood siblings and my natural father, and friends and teachers to read the words of others like me. No one wanted to read books and articles I gave them. I was verbally and psychologically attacked for talking about my adoption and reunion. You may find that your cousins who are adopted may not know what we know as expressed on this website. Let them know of the posts you read here. For your relatives who are adopting, let them know that there are resources for them to raise an adoptee with love and honesty, and hopefully less jealousy and insecurity than the way I was raised. Of course you can stay! I’m just naturally suspicious based upon a lifetimie of attacks against me, and misunderstanding what being adopted means.

          Liked by 3 people

  8. samanthaharris

    October 3, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    I was never formerly adopted by my step mother, perhaps it would have helped her be a little more civil to me if due process had been followed. As it was, I was always make to feel grateful for the smallest of things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      October 3, 2020 at 6:36 pm



    • legitimatebastard

      October 3, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      I wonder where this universal spiteful treatment comes from? When I watched Disney’s full-length Cinderalla as a child, I cringed as the step sisters and step mother mistreated Cinderalla. I just don’t get it. Many adoptees get this treatment as well. Why? What’s the purpose of it all? Why is this so universal? Is it the “other” that the child not of their own flesh must be seen as inferior? Really makes me mad.

      Liked by 3 people

      • samanthaharris

        October 4, 2020 at 8:55 am

        I think it is not easy to love a child that isnt yours. I have two biological and two ‘taken on’. It is different but not impossible to care equally

        Liked by 2 people

        • legitimatebastard

          October 5, 2020 at 12:46 am

          Hmmm. So, you are an adoptive mother who accepts the difference? I’m asking because many of today’s adoptive parents, and most of yesterday’s adoptive parents, are not aware of the importance of accepting this difference. H. David Kirk wrote about Acceptence of Difference in his books on adoption psycholgy and sociology. Very important for adoptive parents to have this knowledge to accept their own feelings of this difference and to help an adopted child grow up as healthy mentally as possible with accepting this difference as well. Love may not conquer all, but when approached withthe right attitudes, love can help both parties mature through the stages of life. So many adoptive parents want the child to be theirs and theirs alone, which is, of course, magical thinking.

          H David Kirk: Books:

          Exploring Adoptive Faamily Life

          Adoption Kinship

          Shared Fate

          These books may be out of print now. Check Amazon. Check Ebay. Check your libraries.

          My adoptive parents were not educated into adoption psychology and sociology. I was adotped in the 1950s when there was very little known about how adoption affects all who are involved. So, my adoptive parents went blissfully on with life, loving me as their own. Their love was fierce, and I loved them with the innocence of a child. But when I was found in 1974 at my age of 18, by siblings my adoptive mother never wanted me to know, all hell broke loose. You would haev thought I’d killed someone. My adoptive mother wanted me all to herself. My adoptive father felt remorseful for lying to me.

          Truth. And acceptance of difference is important.

          Liked by 2 people

      • beth62

        October 7, 2020 at 2:11 pm

        “Red-headed stepchild” treatment is definitely an old and universal thing. Has it’s own word, movies, memes… even a recipe or two.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. L4R

    October 8, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    “I didn’t think you’d be able to step up.”
    –Wow! Is this just what adoptive moms think of their adopted daughters? My mom has Alzheimer’s, and early on in the disease when I took her in, she said something similar. It was a slap in the face. I have lost a lot of income taking care of her, and I’ll never recoup it.

    All families can have personality clashes, but it’s more likely when the children are adopted. My family never really understood me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      October 9, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      L4R – I’m sorry you experienced that too, I think it’s so personal that that memory never fades. I do think there’s more of a possibility in adoptive families for this to happen. I read something a while ago about friends are more likely to share more genes in common (explaining it badly) – and whether we want to believe that or not, kinship does matter. I think there are good random fits in adoption and those that will never fit together.

      Liked by 1 person

    • beth62

      October 9, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      My mom said something similar to me, too.
      I heard her family say things like that about other adoptees in the family, who were also the only ones of the bio/adopted bunch to “step up”.
      My little brothers, our parents bio kids, managed to express that they thought I owed our parents more for adopting me. And because I’m a female, of course…
      My daughter is getting the same servitude type treatment from our adopted family.
      As if neither of us have important work and family, a different life and home of our own to take care of, miles away, as well.

      I could view it like I often do, I am far more secure in my belief of real family relationships with non-genetic relatives than they ever could be.
      I understand the long thought about doubt a parent can have about any of their kids stepping up when needed in that way, and all of the excuses that can be found to understand, forgive, excuse, expect, or not expect some to manage it.
      I think this phenomenon is a bit different, has that added spice.
      It definitely feels like a deep slap in the face to me. Both sides, I’ve turned my cheek every single time. Maybe that’s my mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TAO

        October 9, 2020 at 3:15 pm

        No that’s you being you Beth.

        I don’t know what the answer truly is, but it made me remember a passage in a letter from Grandad to his cousin – about dad something like his borrowed kids are smart enough – would have to look it up to be sure, but we were borrowed. Mind you he was born in the 1800’s so he gets a pass based on that, but I doubt that sentiment isn’t alive and kicking.

        Liked by 1 person


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