gallery Dear Adoption, Are You Proud of Me?

Dear Adoption, Are You Proud of Me?

Am I everything you hoped I would be?

I complied choicelessly when you took me from my mother’s authorized 10 minute embrace the day after I was born, such was your generosity. I did not resist when you placed me into the hands of strangers who fostered me, and then did it again two months later when I met my adopters for the first time. Why did everyone smell and sound and feel so strange? You gave no reply. 

You did not ask for my consent when you changed my name and falsified my birth records and hid my family from me. But I went along with your interventions, as a child must. Why, though, did you put me with a couple who would soon despise one another? Did you not see that coming? Oh, but I endured the divorce like a champ, buttoned my lip. Always your faithful servant. I must say, you almost broke me when my adoptive mother then decided she didn’t want me anymore and relinquished me when I was nine years old. But I endured. I always endure.

Being adopted a second time as an older child was pretty awful. Tough love from dear adoption. Tough it out. You changed my name and falsified my birth records again, and now two families were hidden from me by force of law. Wow, that was hard. I mean, the impressions I retain of my first family are strong and enduring but you did succeed in stealing their names and their identities from me. Did you really think, though, that I could forget the people I knew at nine years old? Well, I tried. God knows I tried. 

Remember the time when my second adopters unknowingly took me to my old neighborhood, where I lived with my first adoptive mother who I am supposed to forget? You sure put me in some unique and challenging circumstances. Builds character, I guess. Is that what I should call you? Character builder? Anyway, we went into an ice cream shop. I was in my own world, really, trying to puzzle things out, or just leave the real world behind. I was fantasizing about having the superpower of being able to disappear, to make myself invisible, when some old friends from my old elementary school walked in. Talk about awkward! You said the first nine years of my life never really happened. What was I to do? They noticed me, called me by my old name. I froze. I was trying to be faithful to you! You told me to forget my past but you neglected to tell me that it might sneak up on me again like this. I had to wing it, which is a lot to ask of a child. Too much, really. So I just stood there, mute, numb. You really should have given me an instruction manual for such anomalies. My new adopters weren’t much help, either. They were as mute and numb on the car ride home as I was. Pretend nothing happened. Hey! That would make a great motto for you, don’t you think? Dear Adoption: Pretend Nothing Happened.

I do say, as compliant as I am, I have to question your judgment. How could you have put me with yet another couple who would come to despise one another? Was that on purpose? I guess you must have had some high expectations for building my character! Well, there was another divorce but I was used to that by then. Getting thrown out of my house…wait, was that my house? Well, whosever house that was, being forcibly made houseless at sixteen was a bit of a curveball but, hey, I’m made of tough stuff. You made sure of that!

I walked away from my adopters’ home for good with a large plastic garbage bag of clothes and other belongings slung over my back. It was the middle of the night. I had nowhere to go. You cut me to pieces and left me bereft of family, of friendship, of kindness. You shaped me to be so utterly alone. You placed an impossible burden of forgetting on my shoulders and forced me into roles and relationships that didn’t fit, that were disposable. And you disposed of me. I should call you mother! You broke me down and scrubbed me clean so that you could create me according to your own image. Surely, as I walked into that uncertain night, I had no mother but you. I slipped my hand into your cold, ghostly grip. Now it’s just the two of us, you whispered, as you wrapped me in privation and ushered me into the world.

Julian Washio-Collette leads a mostly quiet life with his wife, Lisa, in a cabin tucked away behind a monastery in the glorious coastal wilderness of Big Sur, California. He blogs occasionally.


  1. It’s so sad that people adopt children trying to ease their issues of infertility, feeling unloved, crappy relationships, etc. and in the end all they do is see nothing will save them but themselves because you are a child and not a bandaid for pain. Then instead of seeing how they’ve screwed up a child’s life in their own quest for happiness and help that child, they just move on. It’s shameful of them to do that to you and I hope you have persevered. I talk to everyone about the negatives about adoption and not one person I spoke to has thought of those things. All we can do is keep talking and letting people know the deep trauma of it. Sending you healing vibes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience Julian. I’m hoping that your writing purges you of this horrendous past to some degree. I admire your inner strength and vulnerability. Sending much love to you and Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. No matter how many adoption stories I read each one is unique in it’s own way. And still shares the same emptiness we have all lived with. Have courage and take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for writing! Very profound! Hoping that infant adoption is outlawed one day. Few other things surpass the cruelty it inflicts on the lives of those it is part of. Hoping that you have peace. 💖

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Juilian, that was so powerful! My heart and gut felt for you as I read your words. Resilience is also what I felt from your story. You must surely have that and a strong spirit. No human deserves what you went through.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have always said that social services do not care about the birth parents and even less about the children, you sir have my utter respect to make a life for yourself.


  7. To all adoptees; please, try to find your real parents it is the only way you can ever find out the truth. They are not allowed to find you but I know from my work with so many that they have never, ever forgotten you, never recovered from loosing you, never stopped missing you, never stopped loving you, never lived a day without the agony of not knowing where you are and how you are. So many loving parents continue to stay alive only in the hope that they may one day hear from you again. Adoptions in the UK take place in secret courts – vast sums of money are made. Social workers fabricate reports with ease and impunity. A few of you may have been ‘rescued’ but make no mistake, more of you have been trafficked.


  8. Julian, I am so sorry for your adoption experience. Have you had an opportunity to find/reunite with your birthfamily? Maybe they would welcome you home!


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