Adoptees Connect

Please Don’t Tell Me I Was Lucky to Be Adopted 

Shareen Pine took the words right out my mouth. Her article that I included above is an article that spoke to me on so many different levels…

“Adoption loss is truly multi-generational”- Shareen starts off with a conversation that her daughter had with her friend about how she also feels like an adoptee because she lost her birth grandmother. I have always thought about my future children and how I wanted to create as much truth about their past as I could prior to me having them. I mean, the thought of my children was a major influence as to why I wanted to begin and complete my search for my birth mother and family. I wanted to be able to give to my children what my adoptive parents were not able to give or didn’t know how to give. I wanted to provide names, pictures, answers, a story for them to pass on to their children.

What I didn’t realize, was that is goes much farther than what I want and how I feel. Shareen acknowledged how her daughter felt and that is something that I never considered before. There is not much I can do now since I do not have any children yet, but I realized that no matter how many pictures or stories I tell them about my search and what I was able to find out, they are still going to experience the same loss as me… no relationships and no contact with birth family prior me. I think that Shareen’s daughter is very wise to see herself as an adoptee in her own special way because besides me and my children’s father, they will have no connections or ties; they too may feel a loss as I do.

“Adoptees are often so busy trying to prove that we’re fine…” -This is how I would self soothed myself when I felt broken and lost not only as a child, but also as a young adult. My response to family’s concerns up until recently has always been, I’m fine or Ill be okay. I didn’t have the strength or the comfort to really express myself until I started counseling in college. A big part of not expressing myself was that I didn’t have the language to do it. I didn’t know how to talk about my feelings. I didn’t know how to not feel guilty. I didn’t know how not to worry about what people thought or how I would make them feel if I yell out, I hate being adopted. I didn’t know that it was okay and that it was absolutely normal to have these feelings because I was constantly being reminded to feel lucky and grateful. I would speak the words of feeling lucky and grateful to others without them having any meaning behind them. I could feel myself forcing these words out because that is what people wanted to hear and expected me to feel. I allowed others’ expectations to override and bury my truth.

“Can you imagine being the only person in the world you know you’re related to?”- Right!?! This is really an odd and confusing feeling, especially being around family and friends who are all biologically connected and related to one another except to me. I didn’t really get this feeling until my little brother was born. All I could hear was how much he looked like my father. Looking back on that now, it was really a weird experience and odd to be around those conversations. I felt left out. I would always wonder if my parents attention would spark at that moment and think about how I may feel. I was hopeful that they would turn to me and ask me how I felt or even acknowledged that that is a conversation I wouldn’t be a part of.  We all remained quiet.

“…Or why they told me that my adoptive parents saved me.”- I have heard it all. My adoptive parents saved me, my birth mother loved me so much that she had to surrender her rights to raise me, your life is so much better now, you probably would have been a prostitute or better yet, dead in the gutter because that’s what Indians do to the female babies. Talk about a lot of shit to hear and try to make sense of as a young child. For some reason, it did always amaze me how these possible truths came from people who have never been to India, never lived in India, and don’t  know shit about my birth mother and her truth at the time of my birth. It took me all the way up until just a few years ago to accept that these people wanted to feel like saviors and that they wanted to feed their ego. Their words were so inaccurate after I found out what my truth was that it now makes me laugh at how stupid they all look now.

Even till this day, I think about what my life could have been like if I were to stay with my biological family in Goa. Never once do I think or feel that it would be worse or better than my life now.

To close this post, I would like to say thank you to Shareen Pine and her daughter for speaking out and sharing their truth. Validation is so important in adoption and I cannot begin to express how much I have learned from their words.

The Most Precious Gift She Could Have Given Me

These were the words my mother said to me when she spoke about me and my birth mother. At first, I thought it is very sweet and endearing. I agreed with her and felt like as though I was a gift.

It wasn’t until later when I started to hear the stories of birth mothers and the pain that they have to endure to gain the courage to relinquish their natural born child and give up their rights to parent. Hearing the stories of endless tears, doubt, regret, confusion, grief, lies, and fear made me think… “Was I really a gift from my birth mother?”

It just seems so hard to believe that if my birth mother even felt just one or two of these feelings, then how can I be given as a gift. Gifts are given from one person to another with the desire to give. Did my mother have the desire to give her child to another family? Gifts are wrapped up in beautiful, shiny, wrapping paper with a large red bow. Did I come wrapped up in a bow with a card? Gifts are given without any obligation attached. Did my birth mother feel obligated to give her child away?

I am not trying to take away the feeling or minimize my mothers feelings about receiving her gift. If she wants to feel and believe that I was a gift, then she has every right to feel that way. For all I know, my mother could be talking about something completely different than what I am speaking of now. My interpretation could be off or my simple minded understanding of her words could be a long shot from her truth. I am not in her position.

Now that I know how some birth mothers feel about giving birth and really having no other options that keep their child with them, I don’t think my birth mother sees it the same way. I truly believe that no woman would view their child as a gift to give to another family. I do not have any children of my own at this point, so I can only imagine how heartbreaking and devastating it could be to give up my rights to parent my child regardless of the situation I am in. And now to turn and wrap that heartache and trauma into a gift of love with a bow seems to be minimizing the feelings of the first woman involved.