gallery Dear Adoption, You Tried to Forget My Mother


Dear Adoption, You Tried to Forget My Mother

When I was in kindergarten you tried to made me forget her for the first time. I asked my mom where the woman was who carried me in her belly. That day my mom told me it was not her. “That woman was a drug addict and is most likely dead by now.“ I sat on the floor silently next to my mom. It was on that day, I realized, being an adoptee began to shape my daily life.

It was the legal lie on my birth certificate which started it. Stating my adoptive mother gave birth to me on the first day of October. My mom never gave birth to me or any child. That was the reason I was brought from a far away place to central Europe to live with a white, german couple. But that lie is still on paper. My existence and my presence is proof I am not physically related to them, but my own birth certificate denies that fact. The name of my mother was erased and was supposed to be forgotten forever.

My parents decided to make things “easier” and forget about her too. They had what they needed to make a family: her child, a falsedocument, and endless love. Just like they were told. Like you, Adoption, told them.

So I was to celebrate my birthdays without acknowledging that someone else gave birth to me; without hearing my mothers voice, or seeing her face. We celebrated without anyone even slightly considering she was the one who gave us a reason to celebrate.

I never heard the story of how I was conceived. I never heard the story of how I was born. I never heard the story of where my parents met. I never heard the reasons why they where gone.

But there is one story told to me repeatedly… The story of how I grew in the hearts of my adoptive parents. “You never grew in my belly, but you grew in my heart with the strength of that endless love I have for you.” So I grew from a fetus to a baby in a heart. That sounds unhealthy to me. Is this really what we are to believe? Do we really need the story of my life to be a fairytale? Am I not a human being anymore? As far as I am concerned I have a belly button. And the more you all forget about the existence of my mother, the more I hold onto her in silence.

My Birthday was coming up again. It was around my early twenties. I decided to sneak and steal my adoption papers. I was looking for names that were never heard spoken out loud; to find the truth about where I was from, who I was before I was “The Adopted Child”. I wanted to know. My hands were sweaty, my heart was racing. I was psyched and ready for some truth. But all I found was lacking documents, crossed out names, falsified birthdates and a foreign language. There it was again: your fairytale, Adoption. All my papers from my early existence looked like the first draft of a story someone expressively worked on; crossing out words, working new words in, and trying it all over again. The file felt like a heavy and dusty story book in my hands.

On that day I promised myself I will be skeptical of everything in those papers; as long as I will not see my mothers face again, hear her voice telling me her version of my story, hear her validating, what you Adoption made us all believe about her.

Dear Adoption, I will not forget my mother. All my existence lies in her. And I will not allow you to forget her either. I will show you her face.  I will show all the faces of those mothers you deny. And this will change your appearance for ever.


Yennifer has recently launched a campaign on Kickstarter; No Mother, No Child is a photography project in which she will take photographs of the Colombian mothers whose children were adopted internationally and tell their unique stories to make good on her promise. Follow up on her project on Facebook and Instagram.

Yennifer Villa was adopted from Colombia in the early 90’s. She was raised in Germany. Yennifer studied economics, sustainability and design. She is a Cologne based photographer, activist and international adoptee ambassador.


  1. Is this a forum for dissatisfaction?
    A place where pain rules?
    Does the advent of the internet make these things possible?
    Is this discontent universal?
    How many children of adoption suffer?
    Is there another side to this tarnished coin?

    I have too many ugly questions about things better left alone.
    I’ve aged out, moved on, been healed, had the scab scratched violently, and I’m still Dad.

    There is a time to come when resolution reigns and we make nice again. When the facts of the adoption have settled like the dust from broken holiday decorations that are repurposed in a mosaic. Broken but beautiful, made better with a new kind of glue that heals.

    I’ve been to therapy. I use to cry a lot. I know what joy can be found in the demands of a little child. I know the bruises that teenage fist can make. I know the shame of self defense.

    And, I know that things do work out. Even punk adoptive kids have their prefrontal cortex develope and forgive the people who chose to be their parents.

    All us move on.

    This is for the men and women yet to adopt. It is hard to let your children grow when they choose to break away. You might remember your differences with your own, “do it yourself” parents.
    Don’t let the diatribe of young adults slinging blame at easy targets keep you from saving a child from foster care, or worse. Take a chance. Include a therapist. Don’t expect too much and maybe you will be surprised.

    On a bad day, my youngest was very angry at me. Another man who had observed our family from the beginning asked if I would do it again. I said yes. Say yes to adoption.


    • Diatribe! Yes indeed we have a diatribe and more against any who would blunt our reality of who we are, where we came from, and all who dare in any way our right to be ourselves and not some paper doll courts, agents and adoptive pretenders-who are NOT our parents- insist for us to be-who accept us as long as we play by their rules…
      On my bad days I really try very hard to find sympathy for those like you who have been brainwashed and deluded into denying your own reality. You are a classic victim of the Stockholm syndrome.
      On my good days I rebel against all like you and your deluded ignorant ideas. You and too many like you would be overjoyed if I followed your mauvaise advice to simply accept my lot so that you and your cohorts dont suffer any guilt or pangs of your own immorality to me and many others for the damage you do. You love it if we dont expect too much … after all everyone knows that adoptees are ingrates whom others didn’t want, and deserve less than the non-adoptees. NONSENSE!!!
      Grow up Jack! We are not children to be given a lollipop and a teddy bear and sent to bed to dry our tears-not as a child nor as an adult.
      To paraphrase Richard M Nixon, We are treated as chattel and we are as mad as HELL! And unlike you suggest, we are legion in our anger that your society allows us to be treated as 4th class citizens.
      By the way I am an adult in the 7th decade of my life … separated from my parents (by their hands and volition),my siblings, my grandparents ,my aunts & uncles, my cousins ,my heritage, my culture, my original religion, an my country of origin-worse, from my genetic ties of kith, kin and spaces and places. Diatribe you say? Back off, Jack! You have no clue! Even my 2nd cousin* -who actually had wonderful adoptive parents is in search of his OWN self and roots, not theirs. * Discovered via a DNA test.
      The agencies would love to take this passage of yours and send it out as a the FALSITY to lull others into continuing the odious and hurtful practice of taking our real identities and hiding them in deep dark caves where we are never to unearth them. Worse than any agency I can think of are people like you who live the lie a court forced and heaped upon you rather than to fight for your OWN place in your own family in your own culture in your own language and more importantly a friend to what makes you YOU-your OWN genetic inheritance and those of your children and their children.
      Do yourself and others a favor and re-educate your self to the realities of the adoptee who has been relinquished, abandoned and perhaps even fostered and hospitalized or institutionalized. All children deserve far better than these draconian measures which society dares to suggest is ‘in th e best interest of the child’-a too common phrase found in far too many court documents-and for the most part entirely opposite of the truth.
      All true guardians of children are DYS …However some are far better at it than others! Not many, but some.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course they deserve better.

        I suppose that it is some kind of ill fated compliment that I assumed you were twenty something.
        I don’t need your sympathy.
        I don’t have your anger.
        I don’t know what my children would have done without me.
        My instruction to not expect much was aimed at prospective adoptive parents, not towards you or any child.

        I’ve thought a lot about the ends and outs of adoption. There are no easy solutions to children who are orphaned or abandoned. Some find a place grafted into a family where they flourish. Others are not so fortunate. I offer my apologies if I made light of any difficulties you suffered through adoption.

        My concern is for the children without anyone to care for them.
        I’m also concerned about people who could care for a homeless child. To them I say, “If you have a chance to raise a child take it.”

        Now, my question for you. Have you invested your time in the needs of an orphaned or abandoned child?


  2. I would like to hear a better solution than adoption when the child cannot be raised by the birth mother or family. Would an orphanage situation be better? What other solutions are there or should there be?


    • There is never any benefit to be gained for a child by the production of a false birth certificate and the total eradication of all ties to biological family. That is what adoption entails. These things may create a false sense of security to an adoptive family that the child now belongs to them.

      When all efforts to keep a child within his or her biological family have failed, permanent care arrangements should be the next on the list. This should be focussed on the need of a child for stability, love and security, not on the needs of adults to ‘have’ a child. If there is any possibility of maintaining connection to biological roots, this should be encouraged. If we are truly concerned with the needs of children we wouldn’t fabricate truths, nor remove their connections when it is unnecessary to do so.

      Liked by 3 people

      • My experience as an adoptive mom has proven to me that the bitterness, shame, and struggle with identity that adopted teens and young adults often have is common even in cases where all the known facts have been on the table from the beginning and even in cases where bio family is still in the picture. Part of the problem is that adoptive parents immediately fall head-over-heals in love with their children, assuming the children will reciprocate. That usually doesn’t happen. If the parent can learn to understand, tolerate, and validate the child’s deep sadness and fear, things may eventually improve. When my daughter was 22, she cried, “I feel like a volcano that can’t stop erupting…some day I hope it all comes out and I can sleep.” That is exactly what happened in her late 20’s. She is now in her 30’s and, guess what, says she is thankful that I am her mom. She is the loving, lovely person that I knew she would be and thoroughly enjoying a child of her own. My adopted son is now 22, and he is just as hateful and threatening as our daughter was. Of course, the ending may not be the same, but I have hope that one day he will be the strong, caring, content man I see.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah Yennifer, you open wounds with your words because your pain is -even after all these years-mine, as well as many others.
    I sincerely hope that you can locate your mother … you and she share 50% of your genes… and you may well have already seen her face unknowingly when you peer into your own mirror.
    Stay strong and continue to share your story and your voice with those who have no clue what we who have been adopted loose in the process.
    We make up only 2% of the global population … a tiny minority amidst billions who know who they are and therefore no clue what it is like to be denied that knowledge. Never settle for less than the best nor less than what others are allowed.
    Vaya con dios!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My adoptive parents were much the same. I found my mother when I was 48, and lost her to death 4 short years later. Not enough time! We lost so much.

    I wish you the best and hope you find your mother someday.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jack, you are a dullard-stuck in your own saviour mentality and convinced that your ideas are the greatest… people explain in detail the real situations most of us encounter. Since you can’t see beyond yourself and your need to present yourself as the poster boy for adoptions, foster care, etc. you have the audacity to say to one who very clearly says NO to any who take away a child’s rights ‘have you invested your time…in x-y-z …
    Never assume, Jack! And do rid yourself of your pretentiousness.
    Here’s a sage piece of advice: Charity is best left between the benefactor and his/her/their recipient(s) under the watchful eye of the creator by whatever name you may call him.
    And by the way, unless you have fathered those children, you have no genetic tie to them … NONE! They are controlled by their genes, NOT yours!
    Children are not grafted like a cherry branch to an apple tree. They are to be nurtured and understood as the persons they are-not as the persons YOU want them to be.
    Take your arrogance and your ignorance elsewhere. I speak four languages and have a broad education and have travelled to many countries.
    I don’t recall offering you my sympathy-and your blunt retort show\s your level of anger, not mine.
    Only the delusional would have th audacity to say “I don’t know what MY children would do without ME”-from your bombastic words, I suspect that they would do better without you-regardless of your statues concerning them. Children are very resilient -we survive much!
    You should look up the word chutzpah… you certainly have an over abundance.
    As I said before, you need to become educated about the reality of others -particularly the vulnerable children of this world. A child who is in peril will seek out the love he or she doesn’t receive from where the child perceives it to be. The perception of a child is not mature… A child sees from a child’s eyes, and many adults do the same… Adult bodies are no guarantee of a mature mind, nor of someone who can think clearly with reason.
    I am not ill-fated … and hardly in need of your council or advice, and certainly have no obligation to answer your very intrusive question about how I may utilize my time. You aren not qualified to ask about my life.
    Be careful when someone tells you facts not to assume that they do so in anger or despair or hopelessness or without understanding. I was born with many assets and tools to enable meto survive for which I am eternally grateful.
    You told your story but left great holes in the narrative. I responded to it with the knowledge of having been there and done that… Unless you’ve lived my life -or any other’s-I suggest you be careful about what you say and how you say it and to whom you say it. Case in point, this:” not towards you or any child.”… I haven’t been a child for many a moon, and was caring for myself well before the age of five. Your words just highlight what I’ve said about us who are under the ill-conceived ‘law’ of your society. As Dickens remarked in David Copperfield, if the Law supposes .. the law, sir, is an Ass … I and others concur.
    I leave this laughing at your male need to control and to man-‘splain.
    As Glynda remarked in The Wizard of Oz, ‘You have no power here! Leave! Or someone may drop a house on YOU!


    • I don’t think you liked my question about whether you invested any time in the life of an orphan or abandoned child.

      I just kinda think that maybe you shouldn’t down adoption if you haven’t tried doing any of the work.

      I don’t know four languages.
      I don’t know all the answers obviously.
      And I haven’t received such a boxing of my ears since grade school.
      So make fun of me, patronize me, bring the house down, just answer my question.


      I realize that not everyone believes in family.

      I’m leaving now.


      • Hey it is Yennifer!

        I was living in an orphanage for more than a year as a baby girl. I still have my emotions from back then. I will never forget that.

        Have you lived that experience to be in an orphanage, too?


  6. Oh, how I loved that last paragraph!

    It took me 32 years to find my mother, but find her I did. It made all the difference in my life. Finally, AUTHENTICITY! My feet finally connected with the earth.

    I endured a lifetime of my adoptive parents’ delusions, fairy tales, and lies. Their narcissism. They’re both dead now–I rarely think of them.

    Good luck, Yennifer. I hope you find your answers, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really don’t like Jack. What a pompous ass. And to answer your question- we are the abandoned and orphaned child we have invested in!!!!!!!!! Hope you don’t fall of your pretentious pedestal Jack.


  8. Wow! I’m an adoptive Mom of 5 – all knew from the beginning that they were adopted. Recently, I looked and found my oldest daughter’s bio Mom. She wanted nothing to do with her, begged me not to contact my daughter’s bio half siblings. She said her half siblings never knew she was PG and didn’t want them to find out now. My daughter says she doesn’t want to meet her bio Mom, so I never told her I looked and found her. I feel like she would benefit from knowing her bio family, but in the face of neither of the bio-related people wanting to meet, I’m not sure there is anything I can do.
    I just want to say, I love my adopted kids and I don’t regret adopting them and I don’t think they regret that we adopted them. I don’t mean to replace their bio family or pretend. I’m not sure that love freely given should be so reviled and rejected. I’m not the one that chose life for their child and chose adoption as an alternative to parenting, but I am the one that excitedly loved the child that someone else gave birth to. I feel like you are angry that adoption was a part of your life and therefore, you feel adoption is an ugly thing. My experience has been different.

    Good luck in your search, I hope you find what you are looking for and that it gives you peace.


    • Lyn, what the world doesn’t need is another adoptive parents feeling entitled to lecture adoptees on “finding peace” because “her experience has been different.” Of course your experience has been different as you don’t have to live with a falsified birth certificate and the loss of your cultural heritage and your entire family. The assumption that adoptive parents can fill that void with their love is incredibly narcissistic and profoundly unhealthy.

      There far more humane ways society can take care of children, like family preservation or, if the family is not merely poor but truly incapable of taking care of the child, guardianship. Guardianship makes you the guardian of a child, adoption makes you the owner. Adoption literally is an ownership transaction, something that should never be applied to human beings. Because, let’s face it, at the heart of adoption is power. The power of adults over children, the power of rich people over poor people, the power of institutions about disenfranchised women.

      Adoption is on the wrong side of history, and so will be its defenders one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My daughter found me when she turned 40. It was beyond anything I ever dreamed. I recently received copies of the adoption papers….all the “in the best interest of the child” language. I was 16 and I believed them when they told me she would be embarrassed to have an “unwed teenage mother”. I thought she would not know any difference, that she was too young to miss me. I knew the opposite was true the first time she hugged me. I hate we have missed so much but I am trying to be the best mother I can be now…whatever kind of mother she needs me to be. I am so sorry for all the times she thought she was unwanted, unloved and the result of my “biggest mistake”. I thank God for bringing her back into my life, and for the grace she has extended to me.


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