- Family and Parenting
A Message To Adopted Kids Everywhere: Stand Proud!
To all of you who were adopted I want to say first of all that I understand completely how you feel. I was adopted at nine months of age after spending time in eight different foster homes so I have the background to base this letter upon. I knew as a young child that I had been adopted (and I’m grateful that my adopted parents told me)so I grew up asking myself many of the same questions you have asked.
Why did my birth mother abandon me?
Why didn’t my birth mother love me?
Was it my fault that I was given up?
Am I unlovable?
What’s wrong with me?
You see, for those of us who were adopted those questions are as natural as breathing. There may be times when we can’t vocalize our true feelings but the doubts are deeply rooted inside each of us and at some point will rise up and trouble us.
The Ever Present Questions
Let’s take a look at each of the questions and try to find some answers. First, why did my birth mother abandon me? In my case I simply have no idea. She may have been raped or been the victim of incest or conceived me out of wedlock and couldn’t take care of me by herself or accidentally conceived me and chose not to raise me. The possibilities are endless and since I have chosen never to find her the answer will have to remain a mystery.
Why didn’t my birth mother love me? Who says she didn’t? The act of going through labor and then giving me up for adoption may have been a significant act of love. I cannot put myself in her shoes because I did not know her; I have no idea what circumstances led to the adoption so how can I possibly make a judgment about whether she loved me or not?
Was it my fault that I was given up? Let’s be real for a minute: how could a child just born be at fault for anything? What, I cried too much that first day? I made a mess in my diapers and because of that was instantly to blame? As silly as those two instances sound many of us still harbor thoughts that somehow it was our fault for something we had done which led to the adoption.
Am I unlovable? This, my friends, is a biggie and for many of us (at the very least for me) this question stayed with me and haunted me for years. The thinking goes something like this: if mothers by their very nature instinctively love their children then there must have been something in me that led my birth mother to give me up. She must have sensed that I was damaged goods or a bad seed or would turn into trouble along the way and that negated the natural motherly love and led to my adoption.
As silly as these questions may seem to those of you who have never been adopted I promise you that they are constantly lurking in the subconscious of adopted kids; and as illogical as they may seem to be they are still very real and troubling.
I was raised in an incredibly loving home. My adopted parents gave me as much love as I could ever ask for and not once in my time with them did I feel as though I were a burden or that I was receiving less love than anyone else in the family. I never lacked for anything and the lessons they taught me about love and family have stayed with me a lifetime. They were supportive of me in my every endeavor…..and yet those nagging feelings of unworthiness were always lurking.
Finding the Answer
For me it just took time. As the years passed and as I faced the questions I listed above I came to realize just how illogical they were and just how much positive energy they took out of me. You see, being adopted, being given up at birth, has nothing to do with who I am or what type of person I am. When my time on earth comes to an end I will be judged for the type of person I was as shown by the type of life I led over my lifetime and not for the type of person I was at the ripe old age of one day. I have come to realize that I am, indeed, a very lovable person who is gentle and kind and loving in return. I have, in fact, learned to stand proud and see my adoption for what it truly was: one small part of my life, a part I had no control over, and it is no more or less than that.
Today I tell as many people as I can that I am adopted; I have always made it a point to tell my students about my adoption because if there is any chance that I can help one of them to deal with their adoption then it is worth it. There is no shame in being adopted, and looking back at my life and who I have become I can say today that I am proud to have been adopted. Stand tall all of you; stand proud all of you.
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)