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Being adopted can mean constant fears of inadequacy

Updated on April 29, 2016

I'm glad that I am adopted. I enjoy the special feelings I get from simple, everyday things; I like that I have two names, that I was virtually the only Asian-American in my town, that I don't look like my parents (I have a feeling my parents aren't as into the last point, but I guess that's something they had to get over to adopt).

What I don't like, however, is battling feelings of inadequacy. As an adopted child, you do tend to feel more ashamed - even guilty - about losses, failures, or fights. You think deep down inside that your adopted parents might regret having chosen you for a child, that maybe things would have ended up better if they could have had their own children. Maybe they would have been more intelligent and successful, more beautiful or popular.

One thing that my mother tends to do is designate other girls as "daughters." I know she doesn't do it to intentionally hurt me, but how would you expect it would make me feel? I can't help but feel somewhat inadequate and jealous when my mom introduces me to her "blond daughter" or "brunette daughter." She talks about how smart she is or how beautiful she is. She tries to make it lighthearted, like a little joke. If she connects well with another girl, then that girl becomes her "daughter." And I can't help but think, "You know, I think they get along better than we do."

What's worse is that the ones she "chooses" for her pseudo-daughters tend to look a lot like her. I wonder how much she has fantasized about what her biological children might have looked like. I wonder if other girls feel my jealousy and disappointment to the same degree I do when their mothers talk about other girls.

There have been several occasions in which I knew I didn't fit in with my family, including aunts, cousins, and other members. At holidays, they would joke around, but I wouldn't think they were being funny. They would poke a little fun at me for sport, but I wouldn't laugh. They would gossip, but I wouldn't be interested in what they were talking about, or even have a clue about it. It's gotten better over the years as I learned more about how people interact and how to do so better myself with others, but I still compare the relationship I have with my mother to those of my cousin and her mother, or even my friends and their moms.

Is that weird?

I don't really have any other issues related to being adopted. I've never felt angry about it. In fact, I seem to thrive off of my individuality. It is difficult to ponder and work through something, however, when there's no one around to help.

I let my mom have her replacement daughters because I'm sure it's not easy for her to look her daughter in the face and see nothing of herself. It's a little frustrating to do so well in school, sports, social life, and still need to be replaced, or at least supplemented, for something I could never achieve.

"It's not fair"


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