I wanted to connect with a dear friend of mine, Dana because I knew that she had a story in dire need of being heard. We befriended each other during high school and I remember knowing that she was adopted, but I never knew the full story. I remember going to her house and seeing that her parents were white, and that kind of struck me, because Dana was black, or mixed but definitely not 100% white. She said quickly that she was adopted, and that was the end of the story.
But I couldn’t help but wonder
What was it like being adopted?
What was it like having white parents?
Did she know who her real parents were? Did she want to meet them?
Well, I connected with Dana to find out what it was like being adopted, and how that has shaped her into who she is today. I was honestly shocked at a lot of what she said during our meeting. This blog is going to include her testimonial writing followed by an interview done by me.
It all comes into perspective when someone from a ‘normal’ family says,
“…well she/he is the adopted one of the family”.
An easily cracked joke that bears more weight than people understand.
I have always laughed it off and pretended like it never happened…like it never hurt. I couldn’t blame them for their ignorance. Adoption is something almost as rare as a Ferrari. Seen, but seen far in between.
People will easily speak of adoption, for exactly what it is, as ignorant as they are. It is different. I can spend days analyzing why people would refer to the child who looks/acts different etc, in the family, as the ‘ adopted one’, but its simple. Adopted people are indoctrinated into believing they do not fit in. In our society, most people know just that; the one outcast in the family, could easily be labeled (jokingly) as “the adopted one“.
Throughout my life, I easily understood what it meant to be adopted. At a young age I was confused, but I knew that I was adopted from the earliest of memories. My adoptive parents are fully white, and I am half white and half black. There was a clear distinction between me and my parents to the outside world. People would always ask questions, or take an extended glance at my family make-up. I remember that I would make excuses for my skin coloring by telling people, “oh my grandfather was dark”. I just wanted to avoid the line of questioning that would surely follow if I told the truth, I just wanted to feel normal.
Once I reached adulthood, things changed. I had embraced being adopted in all its entirety. I realized that all my negative emotions surrounding being adopted, were not at all my own, but were the projections of others, on their feelings about adoption. I was okay with being adopted- but others were not. It was the judgments, the opinions, and rejection of others, that caused me to reject myself. I wanted to feel that sense of belongingness, but the world would not afford it to me.
There are heavy and irrefutable emotions that come with being adopted. Your brain is capable of thinking, based on reason, and based on experiences with the outside world. I could technically just speak for myself, but I could imagine other adoptees feeling the same way. We feel everything so deeply. There is this relentless and intense feeling of needing to be accepted, even when we are. There is this fear of being rejected, and this fear that “you are too different”. It is easy for me to put this on paper, but it isn’t as easy to explain, to someone who is not adopted. They will assume you are making excuses, but really you’re the product of society’s natural thoughts on adoption. Different, outlier, not from the same line. It isn’t necessarily always deemed true, but it doesn’t stop us from believing that we are what they think we are-outcasts.
But after all, this is why I am writing this: I need people, who aren’t adopted to understand, that the thoughts and feelings of adoptees, are different. We go through life a bit differently, but it is okay, and it is normal for us. The only thing making things feel ‘abnormal’ is the ignorance of most, and the deep emotions that could plague our mind, due to feeling that at first you were not accepted. You came into this world unwanted, ans unaccepted. Knowing that, could drive an anxiety ridden mind crazy. But it is important for adoptees to know, that they are accepted now. Their adoptive family saved them, as God, has saved all of us. We are all saved, we are all together, we are all equal, and we all deserve the same acceptance whether bound by blood, or by heart.
Do you want to meet your biological mother/father?
Yes I do, but just my mother. My father tried to take me away from my adoptive parents when I was two years old, but he didn’t have the resources or the ability to take care of me. They went to court and my parents won. My birth mother was still just a teenager when she found out she was pregnant with me, and my birth father was in his 30’s. Their ‘relationship’ started when she was 15.
All in all though, I’m not ready to meet her right now. When the time is right, the time is right- and I will make it happen. I have no animosity towards her, she knew that she could give me a better life.
Do you have siblings that you know of? Would you want to meet them?
Yes, I do have siblings that I know of…2. I found them through Facebook. They are white. My birth mother is now married and she has two kids- so I’ve got two brothers, and they actually kind of look like me.
I eventually want to meet them, Maybe when they’re adults.
OKAY SO WE GOT SIDE TRACKED, AND STARTED JUST TALKING ‘NON INTERVIEW’ STYLE, AND I WAS SHOCKED AT THIS PART OF HER STORY:
So, her adoption was a closed adoption. She wasn’t supposed to know about her birth parents, and her birth parents weren’t supposed to know about her. But one day her adoptive mom just happened to stumble upon her name on Facebook (her birth mother). So now, her birth mother doesn’t know that she knows about her. So Dana knows what she looks like, what she does, everything- and her birth mom knows nothing about her, AND she lives on Long Island, where Dana lives.It gets even interesting-er. I just made a word. Anyways, so originally Dana was supposed to be adopted by a different family. Then, the family found out Dana was biracial, and didn’t want her anymore, they wanted an all white baby. Now, get this- the guy was Puerto Rican, and the woman was white- like y’all would’ve had a biracial baby anyway. Anyway, that blew my mind. And they knew that Dana’s *now* parents, were looking to adopt, and they told them about her- Thank God!
Are you fearful of rejection if you decide to meet them?
I don’t really feel that that’s something I can beat myself up for. They already rejected me, and I’ve healed from that.
What do you want to know from your birth mother?
I just want to know our family history,medical history, and culture. Those are the really important things. All the other things like “why”, and all of that- I feel like I know already, and I respect it.
What is it like being biracial, and having white parents?
Its weird. Um, it felt normal at first, but like people really do look at you strange- and ya know, you’re gonna feel like you’re not like everyone else, and you can’t hide that you’re adopted. When I was younger it was hard for me to grasp that concept, but when I grew up, I just went with : “it is what it is”, but um, racially and culturally I still get a bit confused.
I’m starting to learn the other side of me now (the black side), from outside sources, really just doing my own research. I just feel like there’s a lot I need to know, but either way, I don’t consider myself white or black. I was raised in an Italian household, and so, I only had my Italian culture.
Do you think that being adopted will have any affect on your parenting when you become a mother?
Yeah because the way I was raised, I wouldn’t want to raise my kids like that. My parents were kinda tough. I just don’t agree with their way of parenting, and their ideas. It might be difficult when I’m a mother. My parents are excessive, theyre very traditional. Traditional meaning 1950’s type shit. That’s not something I want.
Do you think they’re harder on you because they’ve adopted you?
I feel like they’re going to feel like they failed if I don’t live up to their standards. My parents try to make everything perfect. They’re very careful. I’m not a very careful person.
What affects has being adopted had on your relationships?
Wow that’s a good one. So yeah, I always feel that I need to feel wanted, and coddled. I always need to feel like someone will be there to wipe my tears, and I feel like that’s because I was adopted. When I get into a relationship, I put all my trust in them- I need to know that when I’m not good, you’re going to be good to me. I feel like I rely on people too much–because I’m constantly searching… for someone to accept me. Right now, I’m scared to lose my boyfriend, and he loves me so much, and that’s why I’m scared to lose him.
Do you feel whole?
No, and that’s a very nonchalant ‘no’ though, because I feel like in general, people don’t feel whole. There’s a part of me that I haven’t understood yet. There’s so much that I have to experience- like meeting her.
Thank you so much Dana for telling your story ! Her story has given me new knowledge and insight into adoption, and for that I am thankful. Remember to email subscribe and share 🙂
Thank you for sharing this, it is so important for adoptees to share their stories!
Striving for well being and making sense of one’s life is at the core of human nature. Knowing your genealogical history is an inalienable and entitled right of every person that has far-reaching implications for behavior, motivation and relationships.
There is a natural instinct in everyone to pierce the surface reflection to see what lies in the depths below, to solve the mystery of the labyrinth and discover the events that caused the unpredicted deviations in their life’s trajectory, and the reasons for our birth. Adoption searches are highly emotional experiences of the mind and spirit for most adoptees, a journey that most adoptees are forced to make alone because others have very little understanding of what it really means to be adopted.
The world is littered with individuals haunted by the past, shackled by the burdens of secrecy and separated from their lost because it was necessary, by chance, or because someone chose a different path for them. Perhaps, there would be more happiness in the world if more people exercised their natural right of self-determinism and fewer people exploited the weak by exerting their dominance over them.
Life is different today thanks to simplified low-cost DNA testing, open records and computers. There are more access tools available for genealogical searching than ever before. More people today are realizing the joys of searching, learning about the past, and the value of knowing something about family medical history. It has been my experience that with age comes wisdom and an ever greater sense of forgiveness.