How an adoptee handles being adopted differs from person to person depending on experience. I cannot speak for my older brother, but for me it has been an interesting journey with a lot of ups and some downs. Physically I resemble my mother, at least in my face. My body more resembles my adopted parents; which explains why it is easier for me to lose and maintain weight. My adopted mother is an organist and has never been athletic. My step-father is very intelligent and charismatic, again not much athleticism there either. However; I grew up playing all sports and was super active; baseball, basketball, soccer, and one season of football; I bruised my right Radius (forearm) during practice and could not play the rest of the season. Which at this point, I’m not too sure if my either birth parent played sports or were athletic; I do know however, that my birth father was in the military, so hopefully I received his genes.
It has always been difficult to describe exactly how it feels to be adopted, there are really no words in the English dictionary to describe it. Growing up knowing I’m adopted and my feelings about it has all been determined by my level of perception. And of course, as we grow up how we perceive things change and how we feel about things change. When my adopted mother told me I was adopted, at six years old, I didn’t care. I understood what it was to be adopted, I just flat out didn’t care; I was six years old.
Four years after I was told, now ten years old, I began having weird vivid dreams involving a little brother who was in distress and it was my job to save him. Now, I feel like I have to tell you that I have never believe that my dreams have meant much, but I was having the same exact dream every night. After two weeks of the same dream something inside of me was saying, you have a little blood brother. I asked, I asked my adopted mother if I had a little brother, and I in fact did. My adopted mother told me that I indeed had a little brother that was a few years younger than me. It was at this point that I started to care, not necessarily for my birth mother but for my little brother. I didn’t have a little brother, and I always wanted someone to look up to me.
Eight years later, I know a big jump, I started to view the world a lot differently. I was working, not in college, still with my adopted mother and step-father. Finances and planning for the future were on my mind. Moving out, because what eighteen-year-old wants to live under someone else’s rules? It was now that I yearned to know more about my heritage and background, where my relatives came from, where they went once they reached the United States. But of course, I was more engorged in finding love, a girlfriend, a companion; which at the time took more priority. Which is a shame because had I sought out identifying information about my birth mother, I may have known my grandmother, who passed away recently. It wasn’t until another eleven-years later that I finally pulled the proverbial trigger into the search.
I know, eleven years to find yourself, nineteen years after finding out is even longer. Especially to hear everyone around me talking about their heritage and having no idea where I am from. Not to mention the days of elementary school, when tasked to give a presentation about my heritage. I did not know then and not caring, it didn’t affect me like it did when I was eighteen, twenty-one and twenty-eight. Deciding to seek out identifying information can be overwhelming. There is so much tied to it; needing a Notary Public to sign paperwork, sending off the paperwork and no guarantees that you will find it. I went through the adoption agency that coordinated my adoption; and they turned me toward a larger organization that had more resources. Who in turn sent me a huge packet of information and paperwork. The wonderful woman I spoke to did in fact warn me it can be overwhelming, but gave me a tidbit of advice that I took: Get a copy of your original birth certificate. So, I did, I sent off for it. And when I got it, BAM, it hit me like a bag of bricks. There it was, a name, a starting point.
The search began and ended quite quickly. And finding out about my birth mother definitely shattered some fictitious dream that everything worked out. I don’t want to say that it didn’t work out for my birth mother, because again; it’s all about perception. She wanted to go to school for computers, but never did. She left her home town for a short time and moved to Maine then moved back. Finding out that she still lives in her hometown was somewhat crushing. We all grow up seeing our parents varying degrees of success and can say with certainty that they went somewhere. But for my mother, the only thing I place I can say she went was to Maine.
My experience has differed that the typical adoption in that I may have ended up the same or better, but we will never know. And frankly, I can say that I’m grateful for not knowing. Sure, I may have ended up working a six-figure job in IT or in Hollywood for that matter; not having things can really push one to have things. Alternatively, I may have ended up making minimum working in a factory or retail and amounting to a darn thing. As I have said, everyone’s experience is different, some have birth parents who were addicted to drugs who would have endangered their child by keeping them. Others were born to somewhat successful parents who just didn’t want a child, and it’s those I really feel for and need your support the most.
Being adopted doesn’t make us "dumpster babies," it doesn’t make us unwanted; it makes up stronger. Those things you take for granted every day like having known exactly who are and where you come from, from the very start is huge. It makes us unique, sure our birth parents didn’t want us, but someone picked us. Which think about it, how many of us can say; our parents didn’t get what they get and liked it, they picked me. Of course, being adopted is a struggle, every day with everyone. Friends, family, loved ones, and strangers; all judging. Not necessarily in a bad way, but they may say things like; yeah you were picked, like an animal at the pound. To which my reply is; Darn straight, I saved them.