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Topic : My Adoption Story

Number of Replies: 413
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Created on : Friday, July 01, 2005, 12:24:13 pm
Author : dataimport
Share your stories of adopting and raising kids, or being adopted, with us.

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May 16, 2008, 2:57 pm CDT

Finally the truth

Quote From: uk_macman1

I am not the happy and grateful adoptee that you want me to be. Don't get me wrong. I was happy and grateful for almost 45 years or so I believed. Had you asked me then how I felt about being adopted, you might have heard something like, "Great! I am so grateful to my (adoptive) parents for all they did and, no, I am not interested in finding my 'real' family. My adoptive family is my 'real' family, thankyouverymuch, and they are a wonderful family. I've had a wonderful life. Of course, I am grateful to my natural mother for giving me life. Oh, you're adopting? How wonderful!"

I enthusiastically expressed that view all those years because I needed to convince myself that my life was normal and right and that I was okay. I did it because everyone else wanted me to feel that way, too. And I thought I would die if I ever looked deeper.

Happy children

You've seen adopted children who seem to be perfectly happy, too. They smile and have fun just like those whose families are intact. They act happy and, occasionally, they are.

Yes, adopted children smile and laugh. Did you stop smiling after you lost a loved one? Didn't you still laugh when someone said something funny? Weren't you still capable of having some fun?

Did you ever smile and act happy to hide your grief?

Of course you did. But even when you smiled, those close to you knew it didn't mean you were happy. Those close to you accepted and expected your pain and sadness. They did not expect you to be happy about your loss. They gave you something most adoptees do not get: acknowledgement of, empathy for, and permission to express your grief.

What grief?

In the early '50s when I was adopted, little was known about the power of the bond between mother and child. Society still accepted Locke's theory of tabula rasa that we are born as blank slates. John Locke died in 1704, yet his theory survived until the mid- 50s. Now, however, we know that even before birth babies are intelligent, remembering and aware beings with their own personalities.

We know that much of who we are today was created in the womb. We know that mother and child are a single entity, profoundly connected physiologically, emotionally and spiritually even through early infancy. A baby does not understand that he or she is an individual until at least 9 months after birth.

Through their research, authorities have determined that, when the mother/child entity is split, it causes an acute and lasting trauma in both mother and child. The repercussions are ominous and tenacious. Though they become buried deep inside, the repercussions follow both mother and child throughout the remainder of their lives.

It is difficult, emotionally, to imagine a tiny baby's very real feelings about the loss of his or her mother -- the terror of losing all that is familiar, all that is comfort the unique heartbeat, scent, taste, voice, rhythms and vibrations. Babies are born needing and expecting these familiar things which only their natural mothers can provide.

Even with this knowledge which has accumulated over the past 20 years, there remain those in our society who sever the mother/child entity as casually as they would cut a common earthworm in two.

Ignored trauma is another trauma

A child's first experience in the adoptive family is usually joining in everyone else's happiness over his or her tragedy. The child's first trauma is ignored or dismissed, perhaps in the belief that enough love will make it disappear. It will not. In essence, the adoptee is expected to dance along with everyone else on his or her own mother's virtual grave. Most experts in the fields of adoption psychology and trauma consider this dismissal to be the adoptee's second trauma.

The first and second traumas are the root causes for a number of issues and for additional traumas, which accumulate one upon another (what Betty Jean Lifton calls "Cumulative Trauma").

We may not want to imagine these things because it is uncomfortable to do so but, to act in a child's best interest including protecting his or her emotional health, we need to suffer through such discomfort.

Denial

Over 14 years ago, I began 9 years in therapy, struggling with a boatload of issues that are utterly classic in adoptees. I didn't accomplish much. The problem was that I did not connect them with my adoption experience. In all fairness, my therapist encouraged me to recognize the connection, but I was so deep in "De Nile" that I could not see it indeed would not see it. I needed too desperately (like most of society) to believe that my adoption experience was the positive part of my life not the source of my problems.

Denial is powerful and, in many ways, a gift. It is a state we create in order to avoid feeling the pain of seeing the truth. When a baby's world is gone, he or she does whatever it takes to survive. If the child does not get empathy and permission to grieve, he or she has no choice but to psychologically deny the trauma. And that includes smiling to hide the grief. The child begins to believe that his or her feelings are unimportant even wrong. The child learns how not to feel.

I do not use the word "denial" in a damning or judgmental way. It is a normal and natural human survival tool. I not only acknowledge it but, knowing intimately the pain that comes with shedding that denial, I am reticent to nudge others out of it. Denial can be a trauma victim's most effective tool for survival, because revisiting the event that caused the trauma can feel literally life threatening.

The downside of denial unfortunately outweighs the upside. Denial prevents us from understanding and effectively managing all the issues that stem from the disintegration of the mother/child entity. What are the most common issues?

Identity

Issues of the adoptee are barely acknowledged by society and then only in those who are of a different race than the adoptive family as if physical differences are the only ones that matter. But there are reasons why we see repetitive generations of lawyers, healers, scholars, actors, artists, etc. in natural families. It is not just a matter of continuing a family business or tribal tradition. It is a matter of like characteristics being perpetuated, generation after generation, being nurtured by genetic mirroring.

Even if we are not transracial or biracial adoptees, we still do not get the genetic mirroring that we so desperately need. We don't know how tall we'll get, or whether our hair will get darker or lighter, our skin clearer, our bodies thinner or thicker. We don't know who we'll look like when we're older. Our own natural characteristics are unfamiliar, so we don't know what we should or should not choose to develop.

Although such things may seem inconsequential to those around us, they are monumental to us, and serve to make us feel even more alienated, more lost.

When an adoptee's characteristics do not fit those of the adoptive family (or the extended adoptive family), there can be trouble. In my case art, writing and psychology were all frowned upon by my adoptive family. Yet those characteristics run happily in my natural family. Though my adoptive parents meant well, I grew up feeling like a bad seed. Out of desperation for approval, I pursued career paths that I thought would please them but even those successes were never enough to overcome their disappointment.

Carrying the surname of someone else's family also contributes to identity problems. The child is expected to embrace the adoptive family's ancestry, as if his or her own is immaterial -- as if living in the dark is no big deal.

Low self-esteem

Identity issues can explain some low self-esteem, a classic adoptee problem. Another cause is some adoptive parents' and society's (unmistakable yet unspoken) low opinion of the stereotypical "birthmother." Not only is this an unfair and incorrect judgment about our mothers, but adopted children incorporate these attitudes into their own self-image.

Along with this message, adopted children are often told that, essentially, their mothers loved them so much that they gave them away. This makes no sense. If my mother really loved me that much, she would have kept me -- therefore there must be something wrong with me. This creates low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem leads to people-pleasing. Adoptees are exemplary people-pleasers. That is why we so often appear to be happy and are pleasant to be around. Lots of smiling! Our original purpose as adoptees was to fulfill the desires of others, to make them happy. Early on, our authentic selves are sacrificed to fill those needs.

Powerlessness and control

For many adoptees, it is easy to fall into despair and feel powerless over circumstances that emotionally healthy people can overcome with relative ease. This is rooted in our separation experience, when we felt powerless, helpless and hopeless. Paradoxically, we can become obsessed with controlling other parts of our lives, those things and events that we can control. This is conflict waiting to happen.

Depression

Often, depression can come from the sheer exhaustion of maintaining pretense (being in denial). No matter how much love and care we are given, the truth is that we are (and will always be) someone else's children. Yet we exhaust ourselves emotionally, pretending otherwise because we believe it will ensure our survival and prevent another abandonment.

We also expend a lot of energy fantasizing about our natural mothers, and a lot of energy burying our authentic selves in favor of people-pleasing. All these things take a great deal of energy yet offer little reward -- fertile ground for depression.

Trust

One of our most common problems is that of trust. The original disintegration of the mother/child entity can literally destroy a baby's nascent sense of trust. Once lost, it can never be recovered. Only a tentative sense of trust can be painstakingly built by the adoptive family, yet it will always be difficult and sometimes impossible. Again paradoxically, we tend to casually trust anyone and everyone. It is when deep trust is required, as in intimacy, we tend to fall short.

Abandonment

Abandonment is the most common issue of the adoptee. Despite the true circumstances of the separation from our natural mothers, we experienced this emotionally as abandonment. Even with later knowledge of those circumstances, the early emotional experience of abandonment never leaves us. Relationship troubles abound. Other issues such as trust, identity, low self-esteem and control compound these troubles.

Many people have abandonment issues. For adoptees, however, abandonment is not just painful. It can feel like annihilation.

"Only eyes washed by tears can see clearly." Louis Mann

Staying in denial, while it may be a refuge, hurts everyone involved. Although seeing the truth also hurts, don't parentless children deserve what they truly need? How can society continue pretending that the smiles are genuine simply because it is easier than acknowledging the underlying problems?

For those who genuinely care about these children and want to take that first step toward seeing clearly, start with one of Betty Jean Lifton's books, such as Journey of the Adopted Self or Nancy Verrier's The Primal Wound. They offer insight into the issues of adoptees, adoptive parents, and of mothers who have lost children to adoption. Such knowledge and understanding can open our minds and hearts to alternatives that are even better than adoption.

Smiles as masks

Despite all these traumas and issues, adoptees smile. We smile to hide a world of hurt that neither we nor the rest of the world want to face. We smile because the world needs us to smile. They need to believe they are doing the right thing for us, to forget those silly "issues," and call us "happy." By smiling, we help them do that.

Next time you encounter a "happy" and "grateful" adoptee who had "wonderful" adoptive parents and a "wonderful" life, look a little closer

Thank you so much for telling the truth. I was adopted and I adopted 2 children. I had poorly prepared adoptive parents that beat me, and caused me to believe I was usless, unwanted and ungreatful that they saved my life when my own mother didn't want me. My own adopted children have not done well and I am sure it is due to my poor partenting. I have been unhappy, fearful, untrusting my whole life. I am now 64 and and finally now that my adopted parents are dead I can forgive and have gained some happiness in my life. Not all adoptive parents are good just like not all natural parents are good. I found my brith mother only to discover she felt it was my fault that she gave me away. It seems that at 3 years of age I was too noisy, too active and spoiled all her fun. She is still alive hating everyone in her family, blaming them for her problems and me for not being thrilled to find a hateful, selfish, and condeming woman to call mother. All adoped children have problems, when the adoptive parents are poor, the problmes are life lasting and are passed on to their children.
 
May 29, 2008, 6:56 pm CDT

looking for biological parents

I was born Sept 17, 1964 in Gary Indiana.  I know I was in a foster home until 9 months of age and was named "Dorothy" in the foster home.  My name is now Jennifer. I now live in MN and am interested in some information.  I was told by Catholic Charities that all the records were lost due to a fire.  Can anyone help me?  Thank you
 
May 31, 2008, 12:18 pm CDT

I'm adopted and searching for my birth mom in syracuse N.Y.

 I was adopted in 1972 and know a little about my birth mom. I'm desprit to find her. i need to know where i come form. year after year go by and i'm now married and have two kids and have no knowlage of who she is. i know that she was in 9th grade when she was peregnat for me. my dad was a busness man and was about 30 years old. she could have kept me but wanted me to grow up with two parents. i greew up with two parents untill i was  7 years old and my adopted mom and dad devoraced. my dad would call and say he was going to come ove after the devorace and see me and my brother but he would not show up. he mental abused me to hurt my adopted mom. i think that if my bio mom kept me that there would be a better chance for me to have a better life. i don't know. all i do know is i would like to find her. Is it wrong to want to know your liniage? i think it's ok, but what do i know.
 
May 31, 2008, 12:22 pm CDT

My Adoption Story

Quote From: mcnally5

I was born Sept 17, 1964 in Gary Indiana.  I know I was in a foster home until 9 months of age and was named "Dorothy" in the foster home.  My name is now Jennifer. I now live in MN and am interested in some information.  I was told by Catholic Charities that all the records were lost due to a fire.  Can anyone help me?  Thank you
     you could write your local health department to see if they may have your records. they may be able to point you in the right direction if they don't have any of your records. couldn't hurt to see. try it you may get what you are looking for.
 
May 31, 2008, 12:24 pm CDT

I'm adopted and searching for my birth mom in syracuse N.Y.

 I was adopted in 1972 and know a little about my birth mom. I'm desprit to find her. i need to know where i come form. year after year go by and i'm now married and have two kids and have no knowlage of who she is. i know that she was in 9th grade when she was peregnat for me. my dad was a busness man and was about 30 years old. she could have kept me but wanted me to grow up with two parents. i greew up with two parents untill i was  7 years old and my adopted mom and dad devoraced. my dad would call and say he was going to come ove after the devorace and see me and my brother but he would not show up. he mental abused me to hurt my adopted mom. i think that if my bio mom kept me that there would be a better chance for me to have a better life. i don't know. all i do know is i would like to find her. Is it wrong to want to know your liniage? i think it's ok, but what do i know.
 
May 31, 2008, 5:49 pm CDT

My Adoption Story

Quote From: mikashuei

     you could write your local health department to see if they may have your records. they may be able to point you in the right direction if they don't have any of your records. couldn't hurt to see. try it you may get what you are looking for.
Thanks.  Do you know if I would have to search in Indiana?, I now live in MN?  Any help would be appreciated.  
 
June 1, 2008, 5:53 pm CDT

Parent Finders

Quote From: mikashuei

 I was adopted in 1972 and know a little about my birth mom. I'm desprit to find her. i need to know where i come form. year after year go by and i'm now married and have two kids and have no knowlage of who she is. i know that she was in 9th grade when she was peregnat for me. my dad was a busness man and was about 30 years old. she could have kept me but wanted me to grow up with two parents. i greew up with two parents untill i was  7 years old and my adopted mom and dad devoraced. my dad would call and say he was going to come ove after the devorace and see me and my brother but he would not show up. he mental abused me to hurt my adopted mom. i think that if my bio mom kept me that there would be a better chance for me to have a better life. i don't know. all i do know is i would like to find her. Is it wrong to want to know your liniage? i think it's ok, but what do i know.

Hello, I also searched for my Birthmother and found her through an organization called Parent Finders.

I live in Canada, but the internet does bring us all Together. It cost nothing to register, also get connected with an adoption agency, they are a wealth of Knowledge and support. Good luck to you....

 
June 14, 2008, 9:00 pm CDT

looking for birth son

 When I was very young I got pregnant.  My blood family wanted me to put him up for adoption because I was an embarrassment to the family.  They sent me to another state where I didnt know anyone to get rid of him.  I fought and didn't do what step-mother wanted me too.  I came back home and eventually had my son.  Moved to Tucson Arizona and raised him till he was 7 years old.  about that time I got really sick.  He also was having learning problems.  In the 80's they still didn't quit know how to handle kids like him. 

  About that time I was told I was really sick.  I had cervical and overian cancer and probley would live past 6 months.  I needed to handle my son and make sure he was taken care of.  My birth farther and stepmother wouldn't help me my sister and brother in law tried but they couldn't and my what I call mommy and daddy couldnt since they wern't blood.  I did what I had to do and the only thing left to do.  I put him up for adoption.  He was 7 years old.  At the time I truly believed I did the right thing.  I was suppose to have an open apotion where I would have contact with hm.  It did't work out that way.  I wasn't able to have contact.  Then to make things worse after me going to Dr's and having treatments I not only got better I was cured.  I wish that I never did get better.  But I did.  I feel guilty more than anyone can imagine for getting better.  But now that Joshua is older I want more than anything to explain to him what was going on at the time.  That I didn't get rid of him.  I did what I had to do.  For him!!  Dr. Phil I love my son and not a day has gone by I don't think about him and pray for him.  I would understand if he didn't want anything to do with me but I  would at least like the chance to try to explaine to him. 

 
June 18, 2008, 6:40 pm CDT

she lefft me twice!!!!!

I  was adopted at the age of 15 months. The family that adopted me changed my name and moved 2000 miles away.  At the age of 18 They gave me the information about my bio. family. I  found out that he had died the year befor and they respected my feeling towards funerals to not make me go ar feel bad for not going. I  contacted my bio. mother. SHe seemed nice she was mad that they changed my name and had 2 kids of their won but no skin off of my nose. WHen my Daughter was 3 months old. in 2000 my bio. tole me that she was moving and she would call when she got where she was going. Well my Daughter is now almsot 8 and I havent heard one peep out of the lady. !!! This hurt for a long time. but now I figure that she will never  get to know my middle son who passed away at the age of 7 and a half months. She sill never get to met my ex-husband and she may never get to met my 8 month old baby I have now or his dad. SHe hurt me. I know that she is disturbed. I  talk to her sister every few months to ask if she has heardd from her and she tells me no. I think that if she was really wanting a realtionship then she would have found me. My parents still have the same number they did when she was calling and they know my number.

 I find that her lack of wanting me goes further then her not being able to support me as a baby.

 
June 24, 2008, 6:59 am CDT

ISO Rita Christine 6/1980 Plainview NY

I have been looking for my adopted daughter for quite some time now, but here in NY with all of the privacy laws I keep hitting brick walls. My daughter is now 28 yrs old, she was born 6/1980 with the name Rita Christine, in Central General Hospital, Plainview NY in the county of Nassau. Since that day I have always felt a void in my life, I have 2 great kids now with a beautiful wife of almost 18 yrs, and they support me in trying to find Rita Christine. If you can find it in your heart to help please do so.

 

I have posted information on just about every web site there is concerning adoptions and looking for, I have complete strangers helping me look up leads through the internet and still nothing. My wife and I just do not have the money to hire a Private Investigator, so i write here for help. If there is anyone out there who is able to find adopted children and is willing to help please contact me.

 

Thank You,

 

Albert DeStefano

 

ald456@yahoo.com

 
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