The Loss Becomes Deeper

20 Nov

I have spent countless hours doing my folks family trees, and my family trees, as well – the difference between the trees of my adoptive family is I can recount so many family stories I was part of, and all the stories told I wasn’t part of, and yet can tell them, because they were told, retold and talked about over the years.

I can’t do the same with my family by birth trees. I have no stories of me listening to my grandparents sitting around the fire after dinner talking about their lives and their memories of growing up, what they did to survive the Great Depression, what they did for a living, their hobbies, their personality types, how they survived during hard times, what they lost. Nor did I hear stories told by my aunts, uncles or cousins. Stories connect you to one another, even stories that happened before you were born that are told and retold when you’re sitting by the fire, or at the dinner table, connect you. I have countless stories of mom and dad’s families, that just struggling to write this post has reminded me of; stories that explained both who they were, what they stood for, what they did or wouldn’t do, and all the different personalities of family members showing through in their stories, the challenges they overcame, all because their stories told me what type of people they were, and that they’d passed on those same principles to mom and dad.

And it’s a loss that can’t be resolved, so, it too, becomes yet another ‘it is what it is‘ that is stuck on the wall in my heart.

This loss seems to grow bigger the older I get. I wasn’t expecting this loss to hit me as hard as it has because I’ve lived this reality my whole life; nor was I expecting to feel jealous of other adoptees who hopefully are starting to have what I crave the most, stories where they were part of the story, stories they heard their parents and grandparents tell, and that they will have those stories to bring to mind when something triggers them think about that time. How many adoptees will have had this level of open-adoption to actually have those memories from holidays when their extended family by birth got together; or if either their mother or father by birth spent enough time with them to pass on stories, I don’t know, I hope it is more than a handful that had or have that level of openness. Yet, I also doubt most open-adoption adoptees growing up today, will have grown up with that level of openness that they’d hear those stories, be at their family of birth get-togethers and dinners to hear the old family stories told, or even become part of any of those stories.

Time will tell if adoptees today who grew up in open adoptions will have the richness of knowing their family of birth family stories. Stories that will come to their mind unbidden when something sparks that memory.

I’ve struggled to write this post for weeks – it’s still choppy and feels unfinished, but it is what it is…


Posted by on November 20, 2022 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , ,

8 responses to “The Loss Becomes Deeper

  1. Lara/Trace

    November 20, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    One adoptee told me that was the only reason she wanted to open her adoption and find her relatives – to hear their stories.
    It matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      November 26, 2022 at 4:16 pm

      Sounds like I’m not alone in this, sadly. I can’t begin to tell you how many stories told will come to mind when I think of a person in my adoptive family, with my family by birth, it’s blank.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. legitimatebastard

    November 21, 2022 at 1:45 am

    How does an adoptee who grows up in her adoptive family relate to the stories told by the older generation? I listened, felt both included and exhiled, because I was family and then not family. These were their important stories, their sentiments, their values. Even when I met my blood kin, I was different because we didn’t have a shared past. Our stories weren’t the same.

    I’m just as lost as you are, TAO.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      November 21, 2022 at 2:17 am


      Liked by 2 people

    • cindy621

      November 23, 2022 at 8:26 pm

      I couldn’t have said this any better. I, too, know my biological family, but their history has never felt like mine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TAO

        November 23, 2022 at 9:11 pm

        I’m sorry you have experienced this too Cindy. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

  3. charlesdavis

    December 22, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    I’ve never thought about the loss of family stories as it relates to being adopted before. As someone who just completed a memoir, I understand their importance in telling us who we are. Like you, I found that when thinking of one story, a million more popped up. Thanks so much for teaching me about this kind of loss. Good luck on your journey.


    • TAO

      December 22, 2022 at 4:29 pm

      Thank you Charles, feel free to drop a link to your memoir. You won’t go to moderation, your comment will just post.



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