Carol's story

"I was adopted at birth. I've known as long as long as I've been able to comprehend what that means. I was told the same thing every other adoptee was told…."you're special, you were chosen, etc." That worked for a while I suppose. That is until I started getting teased for being adopted.

So the normal adolescent insecurities were magnified for obvious reasons. I found solace in piano. I played for hours. It was my outlet, and I was good – I mean really good. Then, because I didn't handle the adoption thing the way my "June Cleaver" mother thought I should, she sent me off to live in a hospital for "troubled" kids. I stayed there from 15 till I graduated from high school. Once again I was rejected, and the only thing that I found comfort in was taken away from me (piano).

I am 47 now and a lot of feelings I have had throughout my life (to this point) make much more sense – although understanding them doesn't always make them go away. It does help, but in some instances, it just makes me angry. I have always felt a need to justify my feelings. I've recently realized this is both a symptom of my upbringing as well as a feeling that somehow I don't fit in. The fact that I am a woman compounds this problem since I am not what you would call "submissive" – by any stretch of the definition.

Society deals with many issues – racial discrimination, poverty, other nation's social problems and practices – yet I still hear adoption jokes; in person, on TV. I still read "touching" stories about "infertile" couples and how they tried every method possible to have their own kid. And yet, we should somehow praise them for finally "deciding" that adoption was "right" for them? As an adoptee, I'm not sure how to respond. My own mother told me, "Oh, we tried to have our own kids but we couldn't." Am I supposed to spend my life giving my parents gratitude for "saving" me?

Then there is the issue of sealed adoptions. I understand it's meant to protect the mother – but it also legally condemns the unwanted baby to an extraordinarily challenging life.  Don't get me wrong – I am happy to be alive (most days) and I do have a good family (for the most part). But how can we concern ourselves with "right to life" issues without truly thinking about the quality of the life we are trying to save?….Yet again, I feel the need to justify my feelings."