Mar 19 2009
08:10 am

I'd like to point to the story of a woman that gave up her child for adoption. It is the most heart-wrenching story, and I will warn you to bring your tissues.

Birth mothers are a demographic seldom heard from, and then generally only in the context of how soon they want to "replace" their lost child. This is a huge WTF to me. I went into a self-destructive tailspin for over a decade, and never once thought that maybe a new doll would do the trick. Yet every support group, every online forum, every possible resource I found, all zeroed in on this one-size-fits-all panacea. I didn't want a new baby. I never wanted any babies in the first place. I also didn't want an abortion, and I don't see how any of my reasons for any of this are anyone's business, either. It was my choice to make, and that is that.

What I didn't realize at the time - because not one person in my whole life had ever seen fit to mention the possibility, including the pre-adoption counselors - was that I'd spend so long hovering on the edge of suicide, desperately trying to find some way to deal with an all-consuming pain I had no idea even existed. I had never needed help so badly, and I doubt I ever will again. I've known a lot of birth mothers, and I consider myself lucky; I'm less broken than many of them, somehow. Maybe it's because I never did get any kind of therapy. I couldn't find any that didn't make me feel inhuman.

Please go read the entire entry...
Now that you have read that, here is a quick recap of my emotional well being -- having been an adoptee.


I have known that I was adopted from the time I was 8. For the past 40 years, there has been a huge disconnect between my parents and myself, especially with my mother. For the longest time I have thought that there was something seriously wrong with me, because I did not have the close relationship that many of my friends have with their mothers. Our relationship is contentious at best. My relationship with my father got better over time, and when he was diagnosed with cancer he gave me some of the information he had on my adoption in case I ever got sick.

There is something very surreal knowing that you truly do not "belong." There is no way to fully explain this feeling -- you are "wanted" but you are not a true part of the (family) structure. It is like you are a spare part, or an after market part to replace a missing original part. Granted, there are many adoptees that do not have these feelings, but I am here to tell you that being adopted is not the be all to end all for the adoptee.

Being good parents, my disconnect with them alarmed them and so they sent me to a psychologist. In fact, I have seen several psychologists and counselors during my lifetime. The very funny thing is that not a singe psychologist that I have seen, throughout the years, has ever made the connection that my tenuous relationship with my mother is related to being adopted. No. Upon hearing I was adopted at birth, the overall response, just as you find in many so-called pro-life circles is, "you should be thrilled, your parents really wanted a child." Except this is at odds to how I really felt.

The fact of the matter is, I have lived for 40 years with people handing me nonsensical platitudes that I should be truly grateful for being adopted, without so much as helping me to no longer feel like a piece of clay or like a monster that cannot feel grateful that someone thought well enough of me to "give me a life." Would you expect your child to thank you over and over to be given their life? Do you encourage your natural child to thank you for their life, or encourage them to be grateful for their life? No. So, why should an adoptee be encouraged to behave that way, because, in real life, this is often expected of adoptees.

Granted, not all adoptees have these feelings and will willingly admit to being completely grateful, and those that do not don't often talk about them. But, as an adoptee, I have lived in an almost alternate universe on the same plane as this universe. I have carried a set of emotional baggage that no "natural" (non-adopted) child ever has to carry.

On top of that, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I could not give my doctors a full medical history. I am virtually a medical black hole, although, since my adoption in 1960, many states have change their adoption procedures to include birth parents medical histories for adoptees. Time and time again, the lack of a medical history has caused me a tremendous amount of grief, from having to have extra tests to the emotional re-upheaval of being what I can only describe as being the ultimate non-person.

As the males in the TN legislature try to make a woman's uterus more important than her life, it is time to break the silence. And, yes, I was spurred on by the post on Shakesville.

There are more sides to the abortion or adoption debates than most people care to admit. Those sides are the real-life emotional well-being of birth mothers and adoptees. It's not so easy to give up ones child for adoption, nor is it easy having a totally different set of expectations thrust upon you to be extra thrilled just to be able to breathe the air. And these MUST be brought into the light.

(edited to include "not" here: and those that do not don't often talk about them)

Nobody's picture

CE thanks for sharing. Both

CE thanks for sharing. Both your experience and the post you linked to were truly eye-opening. We as a society need to start talking about this side of things. We need to figure out a better way of dealing with what is obviously a very traumatic and life-altering event for everyone involved.

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