Friday, November 14, 2014

My Story

How did your parents tell you that you were adopted?  There has never been a day that I didn’t know.  It was always an open topic of discussion.  I knew that my older brother and younger sister were my parent’s biological children and the two of them rarely let me forget that as we were growing up.  I remember once “running away” to our neighbor’s backyard after hurtful things had been said during breakfast. 

My biological mother was seventeen years old when she placed me for private adoption.  She was living in a home with domestic violence and alcoholism.  She had grown up with this her entire life.  Her pregnancy was an accident that her father refused to acknowledge.  My mother left her Catholic School and moved to a program for unwed, teen mothers in the public school system.  During this time, her family doctor referred her to an attorney to place me for adoption.  She told the attorney that she valued education and did not want her baby to grow up in the same environment that she had for sixteen years.  On May 22, 1972, she delivered me after being sedated and was never allowed to hold me.  The closest she ever got was through the windows of the nursery.

My adoptive parents also valued education.  My mother had been a high school English teacher and my father was a professor at the local university.  They had one child at the time, but had been told that going through an agency, they would always be at the bottom of “the list” behind other families that did not have any children.  At that point, they pursued private adoption through a friend who was family law attorney.  My brother was 4 ½ when I came home and my sister was born sixteen months later.  Not bad for a family that had been told that they most likely not be able to conceive due to medical conditions.

Growing up, I did not have any friends who were adopted and had a fantasy about what my biological family was like.  Sometimes the fantasy was good and sometimes the fantasy was not so good.  Not knowing was hard.  My parents assured me that my biological mother loved me very much and would give me bits and pieces of information as I grew older.  When I was fifteen years old, I lost my father to a car/pedestrian accident and this led to me feeling more lost as to who I truly was.  As I grew into adulthood, my mother gave me letters that she and my grandmother had written before my arrival that gave me more information.  I finally decided that I needed to begin a search to find my biological family and my mother supported me in this need.

Through requesting information, using the information that I already had, and the grace of God, I managed to locate my biological mother in 2010.  She was still living in the same city where I was born, married, had another child, and divorced.  We have had contact ever since.  The day we met, she hugged me and told me that it was the first time she had ever held me.  We both cried and talked like we had known each other forever.  It was very natural.

Adoption has deeply impacted my life.  It has made me who I am and what I value.  I have married a man who is also adopted.  We have had a biological child and a child adopted from foster care.  I have become a strong advocate for children who come from trauma and for children who are adopted or are in foster care.  We each have very different stories, as adoption can take so very many twists and turns, but we have each turned out to be better off for being adopted.  I often think about how very different my life would be if it were not for the world of adoption.

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