Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

Adoptees, were you completely truthful with your adoptive parents?

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Growing up, when you were asked how you “felt” about adoption did you tell the truth? Or if you were asked if you wanted to “find” your parents, were you honest with your adoptive family?

I had wonderful parents and, as a kid, when they wanted to talk or asked how I felt about searching, I didn’t want to hurt their feelings so I told them I had no interest.


The only people to inquire about adoption were strangers upon first meeting me. Because I was sheltered, my parents were always right there. Nobody ever asked me how I “felt” about it. Instead, they framed the questions in such a way that there was no answer I could possibly say except what corroborated their own conclusions.

For example:
“you must feel very lucky such nice people adopted you, don’t you?”
Meanwhile, mommy and daddy are standing right next to me smiling, nodding, and expecting me to nod too.
People were not really asking me how I felt. People were really praising my parents and admonishing me to feel grateful.

With that much pressure and so little interest in what I actually felt, honesty was never really an option.

The truth is, I didn’t know how I felt about adoption.
The truth is, every time that question came up it paralyzed me.
The truth is, I wanted to believe with all my heart adoption was great and wonderful.
Even during all those years I was being abused, I wanted to believe with all my heart adoption was great and wonderful!
The truth is, I had to search for and settle for breadcrumbs and leftovers of affection and it was anything but wonderful.

If I could have verbalized the truth I felt, my truth would have been that having the distinction of being adopted made me feel like the loneliest child on the planet, because I was the only adopted person I’d ever met.
The truth is, I knew no one wanted to know the truth.

As for being asked about looking for my birth parents, the only people who ever asked were new friends. I always felt other people were living out some talk show investigative adventure fantasy through me, and I didn’t want to contribute to that. I didn’t want to be a novelty, a freak or oddball. I already felt odd enough as it was. The truth was I was the odd man out. I was the only person of color I knew.

When I actually did consider searching for a moment, I would look at the sea of white faces around me that I didn’t know and think about the impossibility of finding a Korean face, thousands of miles away, in a sea of black hair and black eyes, in a country I couldn’t remember and couldn’t speak their language, and be sad that I could say, “all asians look alike.” They were all aliens to me. The possibility of finding my mother was absolutely futile and hopeless to me as a child.

Still later, when asked that same question, I would reflect on the many years of abuse I’d put up with and how I’d been abandoned to begin with and think, “families suck.” So finally, as an teenager when people asked me, I would say “i can’t handle one family. How can I handle two? No. I don’t need the heartache.”

It wasn’t until my parents died two years ago that I could finally be truthful publicly about how I feel about adoption. It took over a year to wrestle with a lifetime, over four decades, of being a brave solider and suppressing never being allowed to express how I really felt about adoption.

Today I am forty four. Ask me today and I will tell you how I feel.

Adoption hurts.

Written by girl4708

September 21, 2008 at 8:51 am

Posted in Q&A

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