Once Upon a Time…
… without any input from you, decisions
were made for
your life that forever
in ways that
(or may not)
now feel were truly
best for you.
We were there at the start of your adoption, and we bore witness to all that went on. The decision to place you for adoption was NEVER simple nor easy. You need to know that at that point in time, your birthmother was facing what seemed to her to be insurmountable obstacles.
But you weren’t the obstacle— know that. (It wasn’t because of you!) You were a beautiful, lovable child that she would have loved to parent, given different circumstances. It was just everything else that was complicating her ability to raise a child (or another child) at that time.
And although her reasoning may or may not make sense to you today, believe us: at that point in her life, given the options she had to work with and her lack of resources back then, she truly believed that giving you another family, with a safe and secure home, was her very best chance of giving you the very best life she could. It was the hardest choice she ever had to make, but it was one she felt had to made… for your sake.
Because she couldn’t live with feeling she’d done any less for you, however much she longed to keep you with her and raise you herself (or with the help of your birthfather.)
Today, she may wish she could’ve made a different decision, or you might be wondering why she didn’t? Or you may appreciate the choices she made, and you might worry that feeling that way is somehow disloyal to her? Or she might be at peace with the plans that she made, and you might be dealing with other thoughts and feelings. Whether your birthmom or your birthdad feel ready to be in contact with you or not, that’s not about you– it’s about them, and how they’re feeling about the choices they’ve made. And whether you’re ready to be in contact with your birthmom or your birthdad can also depend on how you feel about the choices that were made for your lifetime. (So give it time, if need be. Sometimes a “no” just means “not just yet.”)
If your birthparents have had other children whom they chose to parent, remember– that’s not about you, either. That’s about that time in their lives (and their resources at that time) being different. It doesn’t mean they loved those children any more or less than you. It just means that sometimes, timing changes everything.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to feel, and whatever you’re feeling, you’re not alone! Some adopted people really struggle with a sense of loss because they didn’t get to grow up in their family of origin, or because they didn’t feel they fit in with their adoptive family or because they didn’t have any say in the matter. Some adoptees are very happy to be who (and where) they are. Some feel angry or rejected. Some resent feeling as if others expect them to somehow be “grateful” for having been adopted. Some feel doubly-blessed to have grown up with two families they know love them. Others try not to think much about any of it at all. If you feel you need help dealing with your feelings about adoption, please tell someone. Let your parents and/or Abrazo know, or contact a counselor through your school or your church or community, because talking things out really can help you make better sense of it all.
You can also find support from others who understand the things that kids who were once adopted sometimes wonder about on Abrazo’s Forum; our online community is filled with folks who will offer support if you need it. Many of them were adopted, themselves. They’ll really “get” where you’re coming from, because most of them have been through this, too, in one form or another.
And know this: your parents just might be more understanding than you think. While some once-adopted people sometimes worry that their questions about their adoption or their interest in their birthfamily might somehow hurt their adoptive parents’ feelings, the truth is that most adoptive parents would actually prefer for their kids to involve them in their efforts to learn more about their adoption and who was a part of it.
Because like your birthparents, they too were part of Chapter One of your life story, when everyone came together to try to build the best possible future for you. Whether or not it worked out that way, know that at that point in time, everyone’s hearts really were in the right place. And most of all, know that you were– and are– very much loved. We know, because we were there. We all did the very best that we knew how to do, in that moment in time.
Here’s hoping we all did right by you, and that (whatever life’s bumps and bruises may have been along the way) you continue to live happily ever after!
The Abrazo Staff