How does it feel to be adopted? For me, I have no other experience with which to compare it. Being adopted can be joyous, devastating, peaceful and tumultuous. As I attempt to put my feelings about adoption into words, I realize how I have changed as I have gone through my own search and reunion. I have learned I cannot control the shifting nature of my relationship to adoption. But, I will always welcome the growth adoption brings. Being adopted, one of my life-long conundrums is both a gift and a challenge.
My parents adopted me when I was ten days old. As a child I was informed of my adoption, but have no distinct memory of this disclosure. After my parents explained it to me and felt I "got it," they left it to me to bring up adoption. And I did. When I was teased or had to draw a family tree at school we would talk about adoption. I recall only one childhood desire involving my birth mother and that was to see someone who looked like me. I don't know if this was narcissism or parental longing, but my desire to find someone who looked like me continued to wax and wane.
Later, when my husband and I were failing to get pregnant interest in my birth mother expanded. I became curious about my medical background. My mother helped me initiate the process of obtaining my non-identifying information. The papers took a year to arrive.
The week my papers arrived, my dear father died. My sense of loss was not alleviated by the possibility of finding my birth mother. Even though I quickly realized that the thick, fuzzy, gray, photocopied writing accidentally identified my full birth name, I locked the papers away for a year. I was not ready. I continued to believe that if my husband and I could not conceive, we would adopt immediately. One year later I began my search and in only a few months I found my birth mother.