gallery Dear Adoption, You Left Me With More Questions Than Answers

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Dear Adoption, You Left Me With More Questions Than Answers

I feel as though my life consists of a series of questions by those I meet. What do you mean you’re not from here? Can you speak Indian? Do you have any idea who your mom and dad are? These simple questions seem ordinary to biological offspring, but as an adoptee I found that I can only answer them with my head down, trying desperately to avoid eye contact. No, I don’t speak Indian or have any connection to their culture, yet I am obligated to mark the box “Asian or Indian Subcontinent”. No, I will never know who my mom and dad are; whether I have brothers or sisters, or the circumstances in which I was brought into the world. After answering these questions I am always met with a sullen, “Wow”.

Most have no comprehension of what it’s like to live without those answers. Growing up in an area where I was the only one who looked as I did left me with a yearning to be like everyone else. Yet, it also came with an understanding that I would never be like them. Other kids were able to look out into a crowd and see a mom and dad and just know their history; the privilege of having their mother’s eyes or their father’s chin. And for me, as I got older, my mother was often assumed to be my girlfriend. Waitresses were the worst. “What can I get the happy couple today?” No. She is my mother.

Others have the luxury of a history. Mine is a blank canvas. While I understand that life in India would not have been easy, the undeniable strain on my psyche of simply not knowing who my mother and father are is frustrating. It would be for anyone.

So I am left to question every aspect of my existence due to a drastic lack of information. There are the simple questions: Am I going to be tall or short? How will I age? What possible genetic disorders exist in my family history? However as life goes on the questions become more pressing. Perhaps the most pertinent is the question from my son or daughter when they get older: Why don’t we look like the rest of our family?

While adoption has provided me with a great opportunity to live, I find that I am left with an origin shrouded in mystery. It is a mystery that few can understand. A burden to bear. A question which will be forever unclear.

Paul Mulloy is currently living in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he is a substitute teacher. Prior to this he taught middle school in Beaverton, Oregon. Four years ago, Paul married his elementary school sweetheart. Together they are raising their two great kids.

8 comments

  1. I would love to hear more from Paul on what he thinks his adopted parents could do / have done to help him through this ? We have a child adopted from Ethiopia, we are white. he was abondoned and we have no details of his parents. We have tried but we can not find any information. If we could we would absolutely Ensure he remains connected as our goal is to love this child with every bone in our body and do everything we can to give him the best upbringing we can. But I worry about exactly what Paul talks about. I want to do everything I can to give my child the support to work through the feelings that will come as he gets older.

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    • That is a completely understandable concern and thanK you for sharing. Congratulations as well. My only suggestion is to keep your child connected to those who share his experience from Ethiopia or even other countries. There is a bond there that can be supportive. I was the only one and often felt alone. Any connection to others will be beneficial.

      The other aspect seems to be completed which is to provide a wholesome home for your child. My adoptive family was a mess filled with alcoholism and abuse. This didn’t help my yearning for questions to be answered.

      Best of luck and in the end we can only do the best we can.

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  2. Hello Paul;

    I am an adoptee as well. I was born in the USA and so my story from the external geography standpoint is different but the internal psychological impact is the same. One other difference, I am female. This may seem irreverent but think about it for a moment. Typically a women clings to her family of origin and her husband joins her after marriage. The family male child will go with his new wife upon matrimony. I was left understanding my birth parents were close yet unavailable to me because of a closed adoption (back in the covered wagon days). I have no connection with my family and I had to teach myself to deal with it! My adoptive parents are late now and all at once, I knew I was an orphan all over again.

    I am now an Adoption Community Life Coach and I am in the process of becoming certified by Professional Christian Coaching Institute. I have 50 more coaching hours to attain my certification. Here is my website: http://www.coachingtoimpact.com. I would love to talk with you. Please let me know if you would like to meet (virtually) for a discussion. (oh – my biological son looks like my man as well – don’t feel alone in that regard)

    Blessings,
    Sharon

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  3. Unquestionably consider that that you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be at the internet the easiest factor to understand of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while folks think about issues that they just do not realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other people could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you|

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  4. Hello, Paul. You share the same concerns that we all do who are adoptees- who am I and where do I belong. I can empathize with you, as can, I am certain, many, many adoptees.
    No matter who we are, or where we came from, we have been stripped of our identities, cultures, religions, genetic family-including siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. You highlight the largest problem with international adoptions because of the distance and the severance of all that should have been yours. You have my great empathy.
    Have you considered having your DNA analyzed? That would allow you to discover a broad picture of who you are, and could possibly scare up a cousin or two. If you decide you might like to do this, I would suggest the National Geographic Geno2 Project which has a broader international base than others and which does ancient DNA (mtDNA and Y-DNA) in addition to the Y-DNA. You would have a chance to transfer the autosomal data to FTDNA for searching for genetic ties.
    Good luck and good hunting. Your Gordian knot may just become unraveled. Don’t give up the search or hope!
    Kind regards.

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  5. Thank you Paul :). I’m an adoptee as well and reading everyone’s stories is healing for me. Very painful but healing :). I was born in rapid city before I was shipped off out of there. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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