gallery Dear Adoption, You Don’t Define Me


Dear Adoption, You Don’t Define Me

You don’t define me even though you stole me from my birth mom and she didn’t even have a chance to see me after she gave birth to me.

You don’t define me even though I was never allowed to discuss you as a child because my adopted mom was so protective and fearful of allowing me to share my feelings openly.

You don’t define me just because I had a positive adoption experience and was brought up in a loving home. I still struggled to find a connection to my adopted mother and I lost my adopted dad when I was 4 years old to cancer…a loss I still grieve.

You gave me a fake birth certificate with a new name and new parents to live with when I was 6 weeks old but you don’t define me.

You took a young girl’s first born son away from her and never gave her the chance to nurture her boy but you don’t define me because today I have a wonderful relationship with my birth mom.

Growing up, I had to suppress so many emotions that I struggled with from abandonment to loneliness and fear of people I loved leaving me but today you don’t define me.

You don’t define me because now I have a wife and son who love me and family that cares about me. Ive found my birth family and they are wonderful people and the relationship I have with them today is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Yes adoption, you took a lot from me but I stand today by the almighty grace of God! I am His child and I’ve been brought into His family and that can’t be taken away!

Adoption…You don’t define me!

Adopted at 6 weeks old. Born and raised in North Carolina, Patrick Hawes always wondered about his biological mom but was never really allowed to talk or ask any questions about her so he didn’t search for his biological mom until after his adopted mom passed away. He received non-identifying information in 2003 but due to being in the military and moving every 3 years it was difficult to do any searching. Then in 2015, while Patrick was living in Virginia he joined a Facebook group for adult adoptees from North Carolina. He put in the basic info he had available and that started his reunion to his sister, maternal aunt and finally to meeting his mom in June 2016. Patrick’s journey has been filled with ups and downs, but mostly ups. He wouldn’t change it for the world and wants to encourage all adoptees by saying, “Don’t ever give up!!”.


  1. Hello, Patrick.

    You write about what you lost and then conclude that ‘adoption didn’t define me’. What was taken from you was the impetus to your search culminating with the reunion with your mother, siblings, etc.

    Had you not been wrested from the arms of your mother at birth, or shortly thereafter, no one could have taken from you what they had no right to take. You even admit that you still have difficulty connecting with your court-appointed caretaker who insisted that you call her ‘mother’, who like most adopters put an invisible mark on you which says ‘MINE’ when in fact you were nor are not hers…. Instead you are the DNA-son of the mother in whose uterus you were nurtured and whose voice you knew as well as her heartbeat long before you were born, and from whom, with your father, you received the genome which makes you YOU, ‘Patrick’. You share half of her genes, and half of your father’s, a quarter of each grandparent, etc.,etc. You share no /DNA with the woman who refused to discuss your adoptive state…

    If the adoption had not defined you and shaped your life-as all events shape and define each of our lives-you would not have gone in search for that chunk of yourself missing-your mother. It is that kernel of us that defines all adoptees whether or not we believe our life was beneficial or deleterious in consequence of the adoption and whether or not we accept or decline our reality -the one of the adoptee.

    Any child separated from his/her mother -whether by legal baby snatching from the hospital to the agency or abandonment by parents or lost from his/her birth mother -like in Macy’s having scooted away from her to see the trains, we all want to know who and where ‘my mother’ is. That separation indeed defines us.

    I leave you and your readers with this link to an animated version of PD Eastman’s ‘Are you my mother?’

    Think about the narrative …. it should resonate more with an adoptee than with a child who has only been temporarily separated from his mum. The kitten was not his mother, the hen was not his mother, the dog was not his mother …. I did have a mother, I know I did! I have to find her!

    Best wishes, Patrick. Enjoy your fortune to have found you mother, sister, aunt, etc. They are yours and your are theirs. #DNA_R_Us


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