Growing Up Adopted
At barely three months old, my parents adopted me. From the moment I came home, my parents shared my adoption story with me, about my amazing birth mother and that she gave me the greatest gift - not only life, but the best opportunity for a good life. Read on to see what it was like growing up adopted.
So growing up adopted, I knew I was special; after all, my parents chose me. My brother, five years older than me, couldn’t understand why Mom and Dad had to go out and ‘buy’ another baby. Typical sibling stuff that any parent of multiple kids can identify with. At least when an older child sees his/her pregnant Mom, there is plenty of time for Q & A, processing, and hopefully enough time to get to love if not at least accept a sibling. As we grew older the sibling rivalry continued. You know, like trying to kill me on a daily basis. If not that extreme at least a good brotherly beat down and taunting.
Being the ever so clever older brother, he told me that our parents adopted me, and that my birth mom didn’t want me. HA! I know, that's why I'm special and you're not! Being adopted gave me a badge of power and courage. I thought I was actually better than my brother, and most others for that matter, because I was ‘specially selected’ where as mom just popped him out. Pretty sure mom might object to the 'popping'...Seriously though, I really thought I was hot shit!
Having grown older, I knew everything wasn't all sunshine and roses. However, I did come to truly understand that my birth mother did make a huge sacrifice and that it was the ultimate act of love given her situation, whatever it may have been.
As time passed, I really wanted to know the details of the how and why of my adoption. Did I look like him? Did I look like her? Why did they choose to give me up? Do I have any siblings? What is medically in my background? Are they smart? Did they go to college? But more than anything, I simply wanted to look like someone. Every time I saw someone with strawberry blond hair and freckles, I gave them the full, hard stare. Could we be possibly related...could she be my birth mother? Could he be my birth- or half-brother?
I don't think I shared with anyone that my desire to really look like someone had affected me so deeply. I'm nearly 50 years old and I still look and wonder, anytime I see anyone that resembles me, even though I have since found my birth family.
As a kid, my Mom and I often received compliments about how much we looked alike. Every time, like clockwork, we'd look at each other and all but completely fall apart from laughter. We both had blue eyes. That was about it! Pre-teen I was pretty slender like my Mom, but once the boobage and hips came along, not so much. I have strawberry-blond hair, fair-pink skin and lots of thankfully light freckles. Mom has blondish-brown hair, thank you Miss Clairol, is fair in the winter months, but comes from Spaniards, so she has an olive complexion and gets an amazing tan. So yep, same for my brother.
Bottom line, my family and I really look nothing alike. But we do have all the same mannerisms and sense of humor, quite warped. During the summer months is when I would particularly pine to look like someone. Even my Step-Dad, got tan! How rude... So basically, I was the vampire of the family.
As part of the adoption process, I did have some information; physical descriptions and some generic family history. I needed more. Even tough I've always had free access to all my available adoption information, I knew I was going to need help from my folks. I did not want to shatter my parents, particularly my Mom, even though they both told me that I could come to them should I decide to try and find my birth family.
I told my Step-Dad my plans and swore him to secrecy. He helped me as much as he could then I went to my Dad for more help. This was a years long process, so it gave me plenty of time to think things through. What was I really going to do or say, should I find them? She/he had made their decisions and I completely respected that. But, I had some health scares as a teen, and more than anything, I HAD to know what I was going to pass along to my baby.
Needless to say, my Step-Dad finked on me, as any good parent would. My Mom was a little sad that I didn't tell her directly, but I can't imagine, even until this day telling her my (what felt like) evil plans. "Hey, Mom, it's been a good ride, off to find the real parents!" That was what it sounded like in my head. Well, peachy. But, I felt it had to do it for the sake of my baby.
So as you know, I actually did find her! O M G...now what? I literally had years to figure this out. But now it was crunch time! Naturally, my whole life, she lived in the next town over and had just recently moved out of state. Figures...so much for just driving over there. But, since I only had her address, I wrote her a note and prayed that only she would see it. I gave my birthdate and said to call me about it. What if she didn't want to? Maybe she never told her new family? What if she is in an abusive relationship and only he gets the mail, puts two and two together and hurts her? Every worst case scenario went thru my head.
For days, I was sick with worry that I had made a terrible mistake and what if I now destroyed her life, just because I was selfish and wanted to look like someone and because I wanted to make sure I wasn't passing on any bad cooties to my baby? Because really, how would that change anything?
When I came home from the store, my answering machine blinked, I pressed it, AWWWWWWW you found me, I'm so excited!!! Here is my number, call me tonight. Ugh, I had to wait, again, after all those years of waiting already! I don't do stress well. When I stress, I clean. Thank God I don't stress much because I hate cleaning. So I made the house spotless.
We spoke, there were tears and it was wonderful. I got my answers, no scary hereditary diseases, and I look just like her and him. They were just too young (17/18-ish), not married, did't want to marry and were not ready to be parents.
How could I be so lucky so many times in one lifetime? I don't know, but I am grateful every single day. If you are considering adoption, DO IT. Tell your child when you bring him/her home how special he/she is. Tell them every day.
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