gallery Dear Adoption, It Worked!

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Dear Adoption, It Worked!

I turned 17 today and I have spent most of my life telling my [adoptive] parents that I’m okay and that I’m happy.

The confusing thing is that I am okay and I am happy most of the time just not all of the time .

Okay so my story is that I’m one of those adoptees who had a really good life and a really good mom and dad that took great care of me.

There weren’t really any bad parts of my life growing up like being abused or ignored.

All of my life my [adoptive] parents wanted to just make sure that I was okay and that I was happy.

I never wanted to hurt my mom and dad so I always said that I was okay and that I was happy.

It worked.

I thought about being adopted a lot except I never said anything about that stuff to my mom and dad (and they didn’t ask me really). I was the happy, good kid that never really got into trouble or did any bad stuff.

I thought about my birth family a lot. I have a ton of questions that I really want answers to. I never shared that I was scared I might not ever meet them because I was too worried about my adoptive parents.

It worked. Everybody still believes me that I’m okay and that I’m happy because I tried my whole life to make sure that my adoptive parents knew I was grateful, okay and happy. I always felt like it was my job to protect them from my worry because everybody said they did such a good thing by adopting me.

I never could have told them the truth and I don’t know if I will.

They are really great parents but I wish they would have told me when I was little that it was okay to feel worried about my birth family and to miss them. I always wanted them to say that they would be okay even if I didn’t always feel okay and happy.

It is my 17th birthday today and in a year I’m going to get my real birth certificate. I wish I didn’t have to keep it a secret from my [adoptive] mom and dad.

They think I’m just okay and happy and that makes them okay and happy.

I protected them and it worked.

This piece was submitted anonymously by a 17 year old, domestic adoptee in the US. 

26 comments

  1. This sounds so much like me! Pretending everything was great. Protecting the adoptive parents. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I found my natural family.

    I felt like Pinocchio, because I found out I was a real girl after all.

    We understand. We are here for you.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Dear 17 year old adoptee. It is very sad what I read. It can not be otherwise or you are sad. My son, who was taken away from me immediately after birth and adopted, has never been able to talk about his thoughts to me. He was very happy when we met. I hope you will look for your family once. I hope you can tell your adoptive parents what’s on your mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, I understand, and it is ok to think of the feelings of others too. There is nothing wrong with that. How nice they worried about your feelings. And now you are becoming an adult, it maybe sad to not share everything with your parents, but there are many things you will begin keeping from them as you grow older. Welcome to becoming an adult adoptee.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, anonymous teen. I’ve heard your story from other adoptees and tried to figure out how to keep my 6- and 7-year old from feeling like they have to protect me. We talk openly about their birth families and have met my oldest’s family twice. My son gets really sad because his birth family doesn’t stay in contact with us and he doesn’t know if he’ll ever get to see them. I’m going to try telling them that it’s okay to feel anxious, scared, sad and anything else they feel; that it won’t hurt our feelings if they aren’t okay and happy all the time. I know this can’t just be a one-time thing and may not be a magic bullet, but it’s worth the shot.

    Like

    • validate their trauma Go overboard on cuddles transparency and reassurance in that order; and, no, it’s definitely “not a one time thing”. Initiate conversation about their relinquishment and adoption with them frequently and regularly, never assume that since they don’t bring it up they must be ‘happy adoptees’. fact is they won’t bring it up at all if they can help it for very real fear of being shipped off back to the adoption agency; they will bury it as deep as they are able, with disastrous psychological consequences, if left to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Some advice from an older adoptee:

    1. Never put others’ choices, wishes, beliefs before your own. Your purpose is not to protect anyone except yourself. You have civil, human, federal and constitutional rights to your own OBC* and to know the circumstances of your DNA relatives (including siblings) and those of your adoption & any institutionalization before that. These are your rights, rights which give you equality under the law.

    2.* Do check the laws of your state regarding that which the state will and will not grant you and how to obtain whatever they are willing to provide you; be certain you understand what y ou are ‘entitled’ to and in what form it will be given IF you meet the requirements. All laws are not the same or even similar, and many restrict in totality or in part your ability to ave that information you so desperately want. Adoptee Rights Law is a fantastic website created and managed by a young attorney who is himself an adoptee whose OBC is so far unavailable to him. It is updated frequently and contains much information. (adopteerightslaw.com ) Although 18 is the federal age of majority, states may and do make it different (often 21); ascertain if there are limits to who may or who may not have the document in terms of year of the adoption/birth or other documents which preclude providing it.

    3. With regard to OBCs, please know that if you are not born in the state in which the adoption took place, there will be no original birth certificate on files. Relinquishing mothers are not provided with it, and abandoning parent(s) don’t carry one with them as incriminating evidence of the crime they commit in the abandonment act.

    4. Currently only 9 states grant unrestricted access to adoptees requesting their own orignal birth certificates. 22 states deny access to adoptees; 19 offer compromised access – meaning the complications involved all but preclude access in most cases. And know that just because some state allow petitions to the court of adoption for access to the OBC does not guarantee the petition will be granted. Judicial discretion is all encompassing, and what you believe to be a compelling reason may not be what the court sees as such.

    5. Have a DNA analysis done in the major commercial venues-give yourself an 18th birthday gift. Unlike all the adds suggest, getting a parent-child match is slim to none (ca 2% possible out of a huge data base); however, cousin matches may be the key to discovery, because cousins sometimes know parts of your story that you will not know or would consider. And be prepared for unexpected information which can and often does crop up in your DNA reports…

    6. Keep hope alive, but know in advance that an adoptee turning up on a doorstep or via a message in the mail or email or phone is not always welcomed with open arms, hearts or minds, for myriads of reasons.

    I sincerely hope that you will find out names of parents, and some or all who are your DNA relatives and that hey will welcome you into heir hearts and homes. More importantly, I hope that your life will be simply amazing, filled with what you did not have as the child of adoption.

    One last piece of advice: Love does not refuse nor deny the seeker. It does not seek ownership. Love frees. It does not restrict. It includes. It does not exclude. Vaya con dios young man.

    Liked by 4 people

    • RE #3 above: OBC stay in the state you are born in. That’s state law has nothing to do with the mothers who lost their children to adoption – often under pressure and duress! Stop blaming others for what they have no control over. Focus your anger where it belongs!

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      • Just who are you shouting at Try reading instead of shouting… the statement I made is true. If you are NOT born in the state in which the adoption took pace, the Original Birth Certificate will remain in the state of BIRTH and not in the state of ADOPTION. There was no anger in my post-just years of experience, education, a stint in Viet Nam as a nurse, and work and advocacy for changing laws where adoptees get short shrift or children in general get the same. BTW, I was reading at 2 years of age and understood Freud at age five. What were you doing at those ages? Drs. Crick and Watson were my heroes in 1962 and before.

        It would appear that you need a course in anger management. I know more about mothers who relinquished their children and how it came to be than you ever will. And I know more about children who have been abandoned, fostered and/or institutionalized than you ever will.

        There are 3 statements in my #3. Each are very true. there is no blame-there is simple fact…. points of law and legislation. State law certainly does have every thing to do with child adoption and placement. As does federal law. I suggest that you become educated in the law and not your own angst from whatever source it arises. And while you are at it, do get some remedial reading help so that you comprehend what is written.

        So let me help you understand exactly what I said … wh9oat is y our level of reading comprehension?

        3.

        a. With regard to OBCs, please know that if you are not born in the state in which the adoption took place, there will be no original birth certificate on files.

        [In states that do not have the original birth certificate of the child not born in the state (of jurisdiction): on the amended, revised, court-prepared BC a statement will be made that said child was ‘born in the US’ PERIOD. (Mine stated that I was ‘born in the continental limits of the US’ PERIOD. This statement however will not give the information needed to obtain a US passport., nor will the shortened version of it.)]

        b. Relinquishing mothers are not provided with it-whether forced, coerced or voluntarily giving up their child

        {Although I haven’t exact numbers. I can say with confidence that most relinquishing mothers do not assist in the information on the OBC because they have ,for whatever reasons, given the care if the infant to the authorities be it social services, a court, or a private agency. therefore the OBC is completed by the staff and the child is called baby boy/girl X -often with ‘father unknown’ even if the girl knows who impregnated her. As the child has already been relinquished, and the official document not yet prepared, the birth mother will most likely never see the OBC of her child.]

        c. and abandoning parent(s) don’t carry one with them as incriminating evidence of the crime they commit in the abandonment act.

        [No need to explain this.. it is easily understood by those who actually read what was written. Parents don’t often carry their child’s birth certificate when they are away from home, whether for a trip to the pharmacy or on a rans continental holiday-or whether it is an OBC or a revised -adoptee certificate with every thing but the date of birth a falsehood. And trafficking a child (I. e., carrying them across state lines or international borders for purpose of committing a felony (abandonment being a felony, selling a child is also a felony, and other acts which are deleterious to children are felonious.)]

        Before making a fool of yourself, be sure that you know what you are saying and to whom you are speaking, and that you have the background necessary to tackle an issue of such great magnitude. You do not know me, and I have no wish to know you. But before making accusations, you had best be aware that slander of any degree is punishable by law. Writing a blog or a book or mouthing off makes you noting but a bore, if not a total ignoramus … When I was five I knew that no one had the right to steal my identity from me- I screamed at the juge as he read the bit about ‘the child x shall henceforth and forever be known as Y.. and will be treated as any child born in wedlock is treated… ‘ (My parents were married and produced three children m during their time together.. but of course in the era in which I was born, adoptees were always product of illicit affairs… I was no more born out of wedlock than Barack Obama was born outside of the US)

        To date, only ONE state in the US advises an adoptee that if they are not born in that state, there is no OBC on file, and that state is Maine. Other states don’t even address the issue unless it comes up and the person is persistant enough to compel whatever department is responsible for OBCs to explain to the adoptee that thier OBC is not available because they were NOT BORN in that state. Neither I or my younger sister were born in the state in which our separate adoptions took place. My sister may not even to this day know that she is adopted, and certainly has no clue that she was not born in the state she probably thinks she was born in.. unless she applies for a US passport (or any other country for that matter) where certain information must be provided: City/county/ state/province/ country/territory. ALL must be provided. If one item is missing, no passport will be issued. I know where my sister was born and have her OBC, as well as that of my brother’s (he was not adopted), and my parents’. And I also know the effort I made to locate and retrieve my OBC-with only a surname and DOB as identifying information. There was no internet, idiot indexes, adoptee groups, advocates or any other aids beyond my own pluck, persistence, intelligence, and intestinal fortitude-and the good fortune to find the one person willing to actually listen to my narrative and then go beyond the boundaries of the limits proscribed by the law to help me obtain the information that person knew was my right to have.

        So familyadvocate (FRAUD), you bark up a wrong tree, and I suggest you back down and stand off. When and if I need legal advice, I know far more educated people than you-some who took the CA and MA bar exams and passed -the first time around. When and if I require a lecture on the subject of adoption, abandoned and abused children or any other subject concerning vulnerable children, I will seek aout a qualified educator -assuming that I cannot find my answers via a little habit known as proper research.

        I have survived much in my almost 3/4 of a century of life. I have been deprived of much- a DNA family, my siblings, my own religion, my culture, my heritages, my rights … but most I have regained because I had the wisdom not to listen to people like you insult my intelligence and attempt to belittle me or to deprive me or worse treat me like a little kid. I wasn’t even a child when I was a child because I had to survive the brutality I received at the hand of a brutal environment. I have regained my original languages, and my religion, and have years of study and practical experience. As far as I am concerned, you can take your US naivete and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. I have lived in 3 continents, and have been in five. That makes me a citizen of the world.

        Save your babbling for a child’s romper room. Better yet, go soothe your feelings of inadequacy with a lollipop or some ice cream. Come to think of it, as Rhett Butler remarked to a certain Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind: A buggy whip would benefit you immensely! ( If only for your pretentiousness and lack of knowledge.) but relax. You are safe … I left my buggy whip in a tac room somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line eons ago. A carrot is better for the obstreperous mule than the lash of a whip used in anger.

        Like

      • Ms Mirah Riben, aka familyadvocate: (author of The Stork Market):

        Again, you need to read before using amo to attempt gun some one down. Any five year old knows that my ‘… if you are not born in the state in which the adoption took place, there will be no original birth certificate on files.” pertained to the fact that those OBCs from another state would not be on file with the state of the child’s adoption. I knew that as do many others…. You are too, too “American” to shoot first ‘… and worse, to play the deluded JP. As New York-ese intones, you certainly have Chutzpah! Careful, Ms Freelancer, your insecurities are showing.

        Here is what ME has to say about OBCs of those NOT born in the state:

        “Rev. Stat. Tit. 22 § 2768. Access to original birth certificate by adopted person
        An adopted person, the adopted person’s attorney or, if the adopted person is deceased, the adopted person’s descendants may obtain a copy of that person’s original certificate of birth from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, referred to in this section as “the state registrar,” in accordance with this section.

        1. Requirements. The adopted person must be at least 18 years of age and have been born in this State.”

        (The partial portion of te ME Statute is taken from Adoptee Rights Law Center, adopteerightslaw.com, with thanks to Greg Luce, attorney, the creator of the site who maintains and updates it)

        As noted earlier, Maine is one of the rare states, if not the only state, to actually address the out-of-state OBC. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I was neither born nor was I adopted in the state of Maine.

        PS My dear: Storks do NOT deliver babies and have nothing to do with adoptions! Nor do all adoptees come via some commercial venue whose coffers are filled by the desperate or delusional ….

        Like

  6. This dear adoption post is very touching. I am learning so much from this website and all the wonderful contributors. My daughter was born and surrendered in 1970. I grieved for her for 35 years in silence. Total silence. It never occurred to me, honestly, that she would miss me or want to know me. I was told at the time of her birth I had no rights, and her family that she was adopted by was her family. That her “curiosity,” was just that -and that if I ever opened that door I would be doing everyone a grave disservice. Now I know differently. But it has been a very painful education. Worth every tear, but now I see my five friends with adopted grown middle aged children who are pretty darn sure their “child” is perfectly happy not knowing anything about their original parents. I wish there were a way to open more windows so we could all learn from each other. Thank you for this . I hope when you do search out and find your birth parents that you find a joyful embracing all- encompassing loving kind generous thoughtful happy people on the other side. It is a journey that requires a lot of love and patience but it sure can be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Gazelle's Scirocco Winds and commented:
    This piece was written by an adolescent minor about his relationship with his adopters … wherein -like too many adoptees-he unknowingly was made to feel that his feelings were not significant because they did not validate them; that he was made their protector instead of them being his. the adopters have invalidated not only hos own voice, but him as the person he really is, highlighting again that too many adopters believe they own the child they adopted, and that he/ she owes them obeisance and unquestioning allegiance. (His centimorgans tell him otherwise-that his genome has produced him and his responses to the life provided not by the adopters, but by those who came before him: parents and ancestors. It is their genes which make him, him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I felt exactly the same and waited 50 years to take the plunge for fear of hurting my parents and isolating my siblings. Turned out my mom was delighted as she had always wanted to meet and thank my birthmom. My siblings were also very supportive. Turns out I waited 4 years too long as I found out my b-Mom has passed. Do share your feelings and your plans with your parents-you may be pleasantly surprised at their reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This blog post couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I had a conversation with a male adoptee just the other day who told me that he was fine, perfectly fine. He loved his adoptive parents; they treated him well throughout his life. (He is middle aged). He didn’t do drugs and wasn’t an alcoholic. He has been in business for himself for years now. He had and has that “good life” we all hear non-adopted people talk about, because that is what adoption is all about, isn’t it?

    Trouble is, I saw right through this man’s exterior. When given the chance, he opened up that there was, indeed, unanswered questions that he had inside himself. I gave him information about the current New York State legislation to be voted upon this session. His eyes are open.

    I told him that this is typical of many male adoptees, specifically, and many female adoptees in general. Society expects adoptees to be grateful, to not upset the apple cart, to not question the homelike they have, to not hurt the parents who raised them, to not want to search for fear of what they might find.

    I am glad for you that you have opened up your own self to your self. You have more insight into yourself and adoption than many other adoptees do. It is a blessing for you that you will take steps to further know yourself and your origins. Unlike other adoptees who barely touch the surface of their questions, you will explore. Some other adoptees may be able to stay in that happy place all their lives because that is what is expected of them. You know that you must be true to your own self. Congratulation on the beginning of the rest of your life. Seek Knowledge!

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  10. I played the game to . The day my adoptive mother died was such a relief like a tonne of bricks was gone from my shoulders . I was finally free to be me and not to be the adopted perfect daughter . I slept soundly the night after her funeral and now are free to be myself . I moved states when I married so my children didnt have to be the sacrifical grandkids who had no genetic conection at all.. my family circle had begun..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never ever ever want my daughter to feel this way… your post scares me… our daughter was in foster care because her birth parents did not want her… she was born with a small jaw and has a trach and a Gtube,,, her jaw is growing well and she should be losing the trach soon and the gtube when she is ready to eat… I never want her to feel this way about us… we love her so very much and our son who is adopted… help me to understand why you felt this way? How can I ensure she won’t feel this way?

      Like

      • Your comment about your child’s parents is disturbing to me, an adopted person. “our daughter was in foster care because her birth parents did not want her”.

        Are your sure it was so simple? Her parents simply did not want her? And neither did any other family members? Usually there are other factors that go into losing a child to foster care, besides simply not wanting the child.

        I think you should honor your child by honoring her parents. Try not to see them as unworthy, but rather damaged in some way themselves. This will help this child very much.

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      • Beautiful. Yes to every kind and loving word you said regarding this child and her original parents. She needs to feel-and deserves to feel- that everything about her is worthy of love. Many kids end up in foster care- because the parents have problems -financial, emotional. but the parent still loves the child. It’s better to feel loved by many,

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      • I’m sorry, but your outlook is Pollyanna-ish when you say “… but the parent still loves them” … My first response is: Just how could you possibly know this? Are you voyeur, or mind reader? Did these parents contact you to inform you of this? Or do you, like too many others, simply surmise, and worse, generalize? Or maybe, like one other person in this group, believe the stork brought you and the rest of us….after of course someone paid a gazillion dollars to the stork consortium… but I digress.

        Here’s a dose of reality for you and others: When my parents abandoned me and my sister many years ago, one of them had used my legs to snub out their smoldering cigarettes, and one of both left scars on my head and face. I will leave out the other things done. When they left us with strangers it was with this statement: ” we don’t want the girls, but will keep our son” (my and my sister’s brother) My adopters added to the abuse in other ways, with the aid of the court, the agencies and the society who enabled them.

        No doubt a Juge named Hathorne, who sentenced my 7th great aunt to hang for crimes never committed by her or the other victims of the Salem Witch Trials in the 17t century New England, proclaimed that his acts were performed in ‘ love’ ….

        To paraphrase a statement made in the NYT many years ago to a little girl named Virginia, “Yes Virginia, there are indeed parents who not love their children, just as there are juges who act without mercy or justice.”

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      • I’m sorry you are so angry.
        No I don’t know the child’s parents but thank you for asking.’ I do know many women who lost children to adoption. To a person they loved their baby- and more not less, as the loss spread out through the years. Some people are terrible, but why burden a child with “insight” into just how awful their biology is.
        ” they didn’t want her” could also mean ” they were unable to care for her as she deserved”.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this. It will help, as our child grows up, knowing that being open and asking specific questions (not just if they are happy, because one can be both happy and troubled or sad simultaneously), about their identity and what they lost through adoption. Best wishes with your journey! I do hope your adoptive parents can share and shed light on some of these burning questions, and embrace the parts of yourself (including your birth family) that you are just now getting to know.

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  12. Florida Girl/Flagal: Be wary of confusing facts with anger or thinking that because you are aware of a few situations that you ‘know’ all situations. You made a statement suggesting that all relinquishing parents -whether to fostering or adoption-love their children, one that is patently without merit. I countered with facts, which typical of your ilk you dismiss as anger. Foolish woman! It is your presumptuousness and pretentiousness, as well as that of others, that cause anger-anger because they and you mislead others-and worse have deluded yourselves into thinking you know my story and my life better than do I. If you don’t like to be challenged, don’t comment… or as Harry S Truman is reported to have said, ‘If you don’t like the heat, stay the H*** out of the kitchen.’ And if you don’t want a truth, don’t make unsubstantiated statements.

    Adoptees make up approximately 2% of the global population, all of whom have the set of parents who conceived them and the mother who gave birth to them, regardless of the circumstances before or after. Some of those adoptees were not relinquished at birth, and fostered children do not do well as children or as adults because of the many traumas they suffer; abandonees also have great difficulty as child and later adult; and the at-birth relinquished child also has problems in consequence of having been separated from the parent. All of these adoptees are ruled by their inherited gene pools from millennial ancestors stretching back of the mist of time and space, myself included.

    Yes, my dear, there are indeed mothers who, as minors were made to hand their baby over to others-aided by thier own parents, agencies, and society, and in consequence who do indeed grieve over the separation which may be forever from their child. But there are also those who happily relinquished the newborn without remorse or regret. Legions of these have signed no-contact agreements which are valid through eternity. Others end upon their deaths. But whichever non-consent agreement is made to deny thier child the basic right to know not only thier names but also refusal to allow the child to have their questions answered, neither even suggests love for that child.

    The mothers who were coerced or forced to relinquish thier child fall into two camps: the activists who make effort to find that child and those who merely grieve. Of the first group, if they are eventually reunited , there are often great barries to overcome. The relinquished child meets the mother not in love and ‘I know you did this out of love for me so that my life would be better’ but rather with YOU ABANDONED ME!!! WHY DID YOU DO THIS? Many mothers are coming forward with their narratives of finding the child taken and the great problems which come with the reality for that child. Of the second, they too are in denial, leaving the past buried is easier than facing the truths of that child and of the individual who left if behind or so they believe.

    It isn’t only adoptees that are relinquished or abandoned… millions of children are separated from their parents by famine, poverty, war, disease, and social and political injustice. Only for most of these children there are agencies who truly care about them and their welfare, and separated parents who search the globe to find their lost children.

    I leave this discussion with a combination of proverbs attributed to indigenous ‘Americans’:

    Never criticize or judge another until you have walked ten thousand miles in their moccasins; and never marry until you have summere4d and wintered together.

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  13. As an adoptive mum, of two siblings (7 and 10) I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared for if/when my boys look for their birth parents. Scared that they will love them more than me. Scared I will feel like a “carer” and now they don’t need me anymore. Scared of rejection.
    They may choose not to meet the BP’s when they are old enough – but I am already preparing myself for when they do. If I were in their shoes, I would want to know where I came from and answers to the many questions I would have.
    I will fully support them when the time comes, despite my fears, because I want them to know who they are, not live with unanswered questions and feel able to mentally digest their past.

    Like

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