I'm different; it's as if I was born-again the day I learned I was adopted. So, really I'm about three and half years old now... and yes, marshmallows are even more fabulous than before. I'm trying new things, discovering so much, and feeling my independence.
For instance, have you been amazed by a humming bird lately?
Or really marveled in the details of a flower?
My identity was entangled in my adoptive family, only that which was vital to me came to the surface. My foster care focus was like scarlet strands oozing from my play dough press when I was a kid. I always knew I'd be a foster mother. It was a direct path for me and it didn't matter that my family didn't "get it." I was 27 when we first started and it fit like a glove. Oh, I understand now why it made my mother uncomfortable, but I didn't have a clue what a "rub" it was at the time.
Can you imagine; a woman adopts, keeps it a secret, only to have to her daughter be obsessed with helping foster kids?
I imagine most adoptees feel an added dimension to their life when they learn of where they came, who their first mother was, and of their genetic links. In time, we all want to know about our biological family. Who wouldn't want to see themselves reflected back, even if it's just through a picture?
But, what if a picture isn't enough? What if you find yourself desperate to know more about your family? No matter how easy it seems to put those desires on a shelf, many adoptees find the desires right at their feet, daily. We wonder... Maybe there's someone like me? Or a family that needs me? A sister waiting for me? A place I belong...
Often times, we find what we need but not what we wanted. I didn't need those things, I needed to find me, put my identity-pieces together and be who I am supposed to be in this world. One thing is for sure, I'm a Late Discovery Adoptee who feels a sense of belonging with other LDA's, www.latediscoveries.com , and in the adoption community. Together we advocate for all adoptees to have access to their original birth certificate. The American Adoption Congress has a new messaging campaign, ADOPTION: NO SECRETS. NO FEAR. Amen! Now lets change laws in all states and promote openness and honesty in adoption!
We deserve to find our connections in this world, but I acknowledge that our first family has equal rights in deciding whether or not they want a relationship. Trust me, an adoptee knows going in that it may go well, may go poorly, or it may not go at all. To say we anticipate knowing our family is an understatement! For me, it didn't go at all, as my mother is deceased, and then it went from okay to poorly with the rest. I publicly shared their "likeness" - if you will, in my memoir, Late Discoveries, An Adoptees Quest for Truth. A few were not happy, and couldn't see the rest of the book, or me - only their dysfunction on a few pages. I had to share their issues because life is that way; adult adopted people search and sometimes find families with real challenges and socially muddied lives. (To be clear, their names, details, dates, and places were all changed to protect their privacy.)
In my bright, new and inviting world of nearly four years, I refused to sit in the corner with a pile of disappointment, broken things, and missing pieces. Even if that is what my birth family would have preferred.
Many adopted people "found," and have yet to find disappointment, it's the way things go. Maybe my story can be a support, a friendly arm around a shoulder or by-your-side affirmation. Together we can use what we find as a guide to our best path. Maybe it's not what we wanted, but truly what we need.
Through finding broken pieces we learn what we need in order to go our own gifted-way. And, I'm thankful for it all.
Life is amazing, be sure to show up!
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