gallery Dear Adoption, You Are a Controversy Disguised



Dear Adoption, You Are a Controversy Disguised

When people asked me how old I was when I found out I was adopted, I laugh. I have always known. It’s sort of impossible to not know I am adopted. I am a dark-skinned Indian girl with long, black hair. This is a stark difference to my family’s caucasian skin and light features. I always knew I was ADOPTED.

I think the more appropriate question would be asking if I understand my adoption story. I would answer, “I’m still trying”.

Adoption, you are more complex than I ever could have imagined. My child self has ingrained on it that “I was a gift. I was loved. I was loved so much that someone wanted a better life for me” in order to combat any negative feelings I might have about my adoption. Unfortunately, the feeling of unwantedness cannot be eliminated through these words.

See, adoption is much more than an alternative way to form a family. Societal, political and socio-economic influences have constructed my adoption story. As an adoptee, I do not want to be told I would have been aborted if I had not been adopted.

To be factual, my story didn’t begin with the decision to abort, kill, or relinquish me. I had already seen the world for a few months in the arms of someone before I was relinquished. Now we’re back to the truth.

Adoption, you are controversial because the elements of adoption are too complex for us to understand. Because of you, I see my own community of adoptees divided in their beliefs and experiences. Even if you have known adoption intimately your whole life, as I have, I challenge you to see another side of adoption. What is the experience from the birth mother’s perspective? The adoptive mother? The ADOPTEE? The adoptee experience is as unique as a snowflake. We cannot assume that one adoptee’s experience is representative of all adoptees.

I have many discrepancies about you, Adoption. I am trying to understand why I’ve been led to believe one thing but feel like I have been greatly deceived. You’re right that I was fortunate enough to have a family who loves me. Fellow adoptees may not have been so lucky. Denied citizenship, neglect and abuse are traumas that other adoptees have endured in place of your gift. Birth mothers are forgotten. Each time I hear a birth mother’s story, I realize that many were heavily coerced into relinquishment so they would be accepted by uncompromising societal standards that shamed unmarried, pregnant woman. Others found themselves expecting due to a traumatic sexual situation which I believe can silently and blindly haunt an adoptee throughout his or her life.

Adoption, I never thought I would have to defend my own feelings about my life experiences. A very traumatic event occurred in my life, but I am told not to feel this sadness because I was rescued. My abandonment and my adoption do not cancel each other out. They are two separate events that occurred early in life, and greatly altered my path.

Adoption, your promise of “a life with many opportunities” is only the surface. I am grateful for what I have, but I want to acknowledge the truths in my journey. I see you. I see that you are a controversy and I’ve seen how you manipulate.

Adoption, I’m not sure when I will be able to see the full light. It seems to fade in and out. I am so in love with many facets of my life experiences but so troubled by others. I may never know your full truth but I do know this: You are no longer disguised as a perfect chance; these opportunities I’ve been afforded empower me to speak loud amidst your controversy.

Harley Place is a teacher in New Jersey with a degree in elementary, ESL and bilingual education. She is passionate about languages and culture. Harley is fluent as a second-language learner of Spanish and is pursuing other languages as well. Harley dreams of teaching abroad and becoming a published writer.


  1. I can relate to “the adoptee experience is an unique as snowflake”. As an adult adoptee that practices adoption law, I am reminded daily of the reality of adoption… Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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