How do you explain to someone what it’s like to be adopted?
Adoption is one of those things that is completely unique to each person. It’s no different to two women talking about giving birth, while they have both experienced the same thing, their experiences are completely different.
I am one of the lucky ones
I believe that I am one of the lucky ones, I have known all my life that I was adopted. I was ‘chosen’. My mum tells a funny story of my older brother, who was three at the time, trying to push me off mum’s lap saying “she’s not your real mum you’re just chosen!”
When mum signed my adoption papers for some reason the courts never covered up the information of my birth parents and mum remembered their details because she knew that one day I may want to find them.
No, years and years of looking for me! No siree, I was getting married at the grand old age of 18 (don’t ask as that’s another story!) and I knew that my birth parents may want to be there for that. Even though I had known all of my life that I was adopted I had never really thought about meeting them until this life-changing event.
Connecting with my birth parents
30 years ago I decided to write to them.
I didn’t tell mum what I was doing, it wasn’t so much about not hurting her but more I was scared of rejection. What if they didn’t want to know me?
I was wrong, they did want to know me! I got a letter back from them with photos of them, my sister and brother. I suddenly had a real sister and brother. All of a sudden, I had this other family and that’s when the confusion began.
Mum and dad adopted me because they had three boys and mum was obsessive about having a baby girl and figured adoption was a guaranteed way of getting one! However, when my brothers found out that not only had I found my birth family but I was flying over there to meet them, they were incredibly pissed off.
They didn’t understand why I would want to meet them. I knew they were my family, but they belonged and I didn’t. They had the mannerisms and looks of both mum and dad. Me? I started going grey at 13 and had no idea why? I didn’t take after anyone, I didn’t look like anyone, I had no idea of my medical history.
I was highly emotional stepping off the plane. What if I couldn’t find them? What if they didn’t like me? What the hell was I doing?
Then I saw them. The four of them standing there and me the spitting image of my mother. I burst into tears.
Where do I belong?
I took my son to attend my birth grandfathers 90th birthday. As I was driving from the airport to my birth parents home I said to him that I have difficulty spending time with them.
Even though I have the same humour and the same laugh as my birth mother and I feel like I fit in…I don’t belong. They aren’t my family. There’s always an element of belonging somewhere else. Even though I want to be in their family properly, I never will be.
Heading back to the airport, my son turned to me and said ” Mum I get it. I get what you mean. I felt like I fit in as well, more than I have anywhere else”
And while for the past 20 years I would sob coming home, because I wasn’t and never will be a part of their family, I’ve worked through that and am now content to be part of their lives. I’m one of the lucky ones to have found them and have them to welcome me with open arms. It hasn’t been an easy emotional journey but one that I am glad to have travelled.