Who Am I?
I don't necessarily remember the first time I learned that I was adopted. It has always been a part of who I am.
Every person wants to know where he or she came from. Most people take for granted that they know their parents, grandparents, and cultural background. Most people can say they look like, talk like or act like someone. When you can't – curiosity takes over. Yes, curiosity, the emotion that says you desire to know more.
Curiosity plagues every child (adopted or not), but it’s just different for adoptees. Curiosity continuously curses us. It is a complex feeling that no one else other than being an adoptee can truly understand. Try to imagine that you know nothing about your family background. Imagine growing up and having a feeling of loss and emptiness overcome you every time your teacher assigned a project about your family tree or asked for a report on your cultural history. Or how about the difficult situation of not being able to answer when you are in the doctor’s office and the almost always-inevitable question regarding medical history is asked. Crazy to think about but all of these are day-to-day issues that an adoptee deals with.
Adoption is so much more intricate and complicated than anyone can imagine unless you walk in our shoes. When the reason of why a child was given up for adoption is unknown, it creates a gap in ones identity. For this reason, adoption is a significant factor in the identity phase of human development. To read more about this topic there is an article I found titled “Identity Development in Adopted Children”.
This curiosity often becomes more intense in the teenage years as part of the process of self-discovery or identity development begins. To be an emotionally and socially healthy adult, the identity stage is significant.
An adopted child may very well struggle with feelings of rejection and inferiority when dealing with the emotions of knowing that they were placed for adoption and sometimes unconditional love is not necessarily enough.
I believe that curiosity then triggers motivation. For me, the motivation was to search. A search is purely the need to attain a more “solid” identity. But I want to remind everyone that it is curiosity, not ungratefulness or a reflection of the adoptive parents, that causes adoptees to search, or want to search. I find it appropriate to say that my search will be the premise of my next post.