I walked into my dining room and stopped dead in my tracks. This is the thought that came to me, “I’ve found both sides of my family. I know where I come from…But what did it get me?” And that’s when I knew…I would never get it back. And what would I never get back? Being non-adopted. Being a person who fit in, who always belonged, completely and totally.
I had solved the mystery that so many adoptees will tragically never be able to solve. I had broken through the sealed records. I had broken through the adoption industry brainwashing. And most importantly, I had broken through my own resistance and fear. But I would never be a complete and total part of my original families again.
Some adoptees say that they have no issues with being adopted, and I take them at their word. Do I believe that many, perhaps most of them, will one day say things like, “The issue was rarely/never discussed in my adoptive family. It was considered a non-issue, so I stuffed my feelings away. I was in the fog. I was in denial. I didn’t realize how brainwashed I was by the adoption industry. I never connected the dots?” Yes, I most certainly do. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years in family preservation, it’s that there are very few, if any, absolutes in adoption.
I respect every adoptee’s right to say how he or she feels at the time because I want that same courtesy extended to me. Courtesy is a two-way street. It was not that long ago, and of course still goes on, that hurting adoptees were not even allowed to express their pain, or, if one tried, were dismissively referred to as “woundies”. Some of us were told we were ungrateful if we mentioned we had pain stemming from being adopted. Many of us were reminded that our adoptive parents love us every bit as much as they would love a bio-kid. Although I’ve never understood why my adoptive parents’ feelings towards me are the most important consideration when we’re talking about the loss of my whole entire family on both sides. It’s not as if an adoptive parent’s love can make up for such an enormous loss. Their love might mitigate it somewhat, but it can’t eliminate it. I don’t think any child really wants to be given up, but it is a sad fact of life that a small number of adoptees do discover they dodged a bullet when they find their first families; and, of course, there are others whose only option would have been life in a horrible orphanage.
But just as I accept the differences in how adoptees say they feel about being adopted, I have to say with a very heavy heart that I don’t believe every natural mother wanted her child. As an adopted person, I wish all mothers had desperately wanted their child and that it was only circumstances beyond their control that caused them to lose their son or daughter. But, sadly, that is also not always the case. Some mothers did not want the child and chose to give it up. For the vast majority of mothers who did want their child, saying that you are so glad you ‘chose’ adoption and that it makes you feel so good about yourself can be terribly hurtful to the child. I would have been horrified to find that the thing my natural mother was most proud of was giving me to unrelated strangers. On the other hand, in my opinion, a first mother apologizing to her relinquished son or daughter can go a long way. My natural mother asked for my forgiveness. She didn’t say she was “sorry I had to be adopted”. That makes it sound to me as if she had nothing to do with the fact that I ended up being an adoptee. I sincerely believe that most adoptees, especially those of us born in the BSE, have the compassion and the willingness to at least try and understand the culture of the time and to accept the brick wall our mothers were up against. Although perhaps those of us who grew up after the sexual revolution will never be able to fully understand the thinking of the times.
Yet for every child who was not wanted by his or her mother, there is often a father or a grandparent who desperately did want the child. There will always be fathers like my hero, Dusten Brown; men who love their sons and daughters with as fierce a passion as any woman with oxytocin flowing through her veins, and who would do anything in their power to move heaven and earth to be able to raise their own child. It seems it is the rare child, indeed, who is unwanted by both parents.
However, once a child is given up for adoption, she will probably always have to straddle both sides of the fence. There may very well be adoptive relatives who do things like always referring to an adopted grandchild as the ‘adopted’ grandchild while the blood grandchildren are referred to by their first names. Or blood relatives such as an aunt or uncle who say they have no interest in a relinquished child, and that they no longer consider him or her a member of the family. A relinquished child will only in the rarest of cases be able to come back into the original family fold while also being accepted fully in the adoptive family.
So once again, I must caution you. If you are an expectant mother facing an untimely pregnancy and considering adoption, or the grandparent, or the father to be, and you want to avoid this whole sorry mess, I ask you to not think twice, not think thrice, but to think a thousand times before you give up your child. And I implore you to let this sink in for a while…YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK.
And your life will never be the same.