Adoptee Connections

Questions: Did you know many adoptees growing up? Do you know more now? How have adoptee friendships (online or in-real-life) impacted your experience? How do you generally make adoptee connections?

Growing up in a small town, I am amazed at how many people were adopted.  I didn’t really think about just how many there were until I moved away.  I guess you can say I was being a typical teenager and the world revolved around me.

Although there were a lot of individuals that were adopted – it was rarely ever talked about.  I definitely can’t remember being surrounded by people who understood exactly how I felt about being adopted without ever having to say a word.  I didn’t have anyone around that meant exactly what I meant when I said I wondered and wanted to reach out and search.

I have two older brothers (non-biological) who were adopted before me. Together we learned that we were adopted and no one questioned or asked questions from that point on. 

It was not until my adult life where I really started asking questions and meeting others that were willing to talk about it.  That is when I learned I was not alone.  I was not the only one who wondered.  Who didn’t understand or have answers to the question of “why”.

I will never forget the day I first encountered an adoptee blog. As I began to read their thoughts (that were actually my thoughts) I felt as if I had just discovered I was not alone.

I have read and found that as some adoptees are known to do, we go on to be teen moms.   I was young but not necessarily a teen mom.  I believe it is because we as adoptees can’t help but think about our own birth mothers and how they were once pregnant teens.  It makes it easier to understand while having gained a tremendous amount of respect and empathy for them and what they must have endured back then.

Having a wealth of adopted people in my life has allowed us the chance for reflection and debate on our condition, but it has never protected us from the oppressive crap of routinely being misunderstood. Truth be told, you just can’t talk about adoption without someone who isn’t adopted and them taking issue.  A great example is an incident that recently happened to me on social platform.  I had made my status a quote from the Primal Wound (even hashtagged it #Primal Wound) and a relative decided to make a comment that was the epitome of society saying I should be happy I was not left in an orphanage and that I was clothed and fed.

I am pretty versed in the subject of adoption – yet it is mindboggling when the the typical questions arise “Aren’t you happy to be adopted?” or “Aren’t you over that yet?” to name a couple. Truth be known, I will never be happy about being adopted, and I will never “get over it”!

This year, I went to my first adoption conference.  American Adoption Congress  held their 34th annual conference in Cleveland, OH.  It told me a lot when I checked in and in my bag I was given a box of Kleenex! The American Adoption Congress
is comprised of individuals, families and organizations committed to adoption reform. They represent those whose lives are touched by adoption or other loss of family continuity.  Due to family obligations, I could only stay 2 of the 4 days but during those 2 days - I met a few amazing people who I am sure I will be connected to my entire life.  Check out their website for more information by clicking HERE.

Most adoptees I grew up with continue to live in silence, keeping the secrets of a contract they did not sign. I am willing to be their voice.  And I will continue to be their voice as long as adoption remains the condition lawmakers use to deny me equal rights.

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On Sunday I flew back to St. Louis with just a little more confidence in my step.  The confidence that is only gained through identity.  Before this meeting, I had only letters and phone calls that made up my image of WHO I was.  Now I had pictures and an actual face to face meeting (mental image) that I will cherish forever.  Piecing together parts of your unknown past is and was emotionally draining!

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First Interactions Between BM and Me

The day came.  I remember just crying and crying – knowing that I was holding the same paper that my birth mother had held and that it was her words on that piece of paper.  I remember my eyes welled with tears making me have to read the same paragraph multiple times before grasping the meaning of the written words.  I remember feeling more “complete” than I had ever been. 

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