gallery Dear Adoption, Hush Now


Dear Adoption, Hush Now

“Where is my mother?” I cried.

“Hush now.”

I screamed for hours as an infant. “It’s colic,” they told my adoptive parents. Colic just lumps excessive crying into a tidy diagnosis. It only means that nothing but a pillow will silence it. I wonder why they didn’t send me back for a quieter baby.

“I want to die,” I cried.

“That’s not true. You have such a great life.”

I stared at the knife in the kitchen drawer often. Quickly slamming it shut when I heard the truck door slam as my parents returned home from work. I desperately needed help. I told a friend about my plans for suicide and she told the principal. I was twelve. There was one meeting at school with my parents and then nothing.

“I found my birth mother,” I cried.

“Wow. How are your real parents taking it?”

My birth mother’s mailbox swallows my letters. I can’t even remember her voice. You silenced her when I was in her womb and my grandmother spoke for her; you silenced her when I came back into her life. I imagine she has a million words stored up for me, yet you steal them away from her pen. She’s too scared, too hurt, too fragile to commit them to paper.

“I’m adopted,” I cried.

“You’re so lucky. I wish I was adopted.”

I used to be grateful for the ‘better life’ I was given. In university I’d leave my television on all day in fear of the silence that would await me in my dorm room when I returned. You creep into any space that I leave available. I can’t let my mind drift because I’m not ready to face you. I’d have to say that you’ve ruined me; and I’m grateful and feel guilty; and I’m not brave enough to tell you.

“I wish you’d interview adoptive parents on your podcast, there are too many adoptees”
she told me.

I cried.

You’ve smothered our voices for a long time. Now I will steal silence from you, adoption. I will not allow another story to go untold. The only silence I allow is when I’m listening to another adoptee tell me their story. I fill my space with powerful voices who can’t help but scream their stories because you’ve stifled them for so long. You muffled my cries, but you can’t silence theirs. I will amplify their voices so we can know we’re heard, we belong, and we matter.

“Where is my mother?” I cried.

“Hush now.”

Haley Radke is the creator and host of the Adoptees On podcast (also available via iTunes). She is an adult adoptee experiencing a healthy reunion relationship with her biological father as well as secondary rejection from her biological mother.

Haley desires to connect with fellow adoptees and share their stories. She believes that having deep and meaningful conversations with adoptees will help to spread the truth about the adoption experience.

If you are struggling with or entertaining suicidal thoughts, please seek help ASAP! EVERY life has value; YOUR life has value. National Suicide Prevention / 1-800-273-8255


  1. […] Haley Radke is a fierce advocate for adoptee voices to be heard worldwide. The creator and host of the podcast, Adoptees On, Haley has talked with hundreds of adoptees about their adoption experiences. She believes that sharing these intimately personal stories will help change the traditional adoption narrative. Haley has experienced both secondary rejection (from her first mother) and a wonderful (only after plenty of therapy!) reunion with her first father. Haley has a BA in psychology and is passionate about de-stigmatizing mental health issues. Adoptees On has been downloaded over 200,000 times in 90+ countries worldwide.  […]


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