Why Does It Matter ?

Someone once asked me if the adoptive parents are good parents and the life of the child is basically happy, why should they care about where they came from ?  As I tried to explain it to her, she realized she didn’t see an issue because she took the family history that was hers for granted.  It was just there and she knew it.  That not knowing, that uncertainty, didn’t exist for her.  But it does exist, it is the very existence, of adoptees who don’t know anything about their origins.

When I was a school girl, my friends were all bragging about their ethnic backgrounds – I’m French or I’m German, or whatever.  I went home that day and asked my mom, What are we ?  She replied “American”.  Yeah, but all of my friends are American, what else are we – what country did we come from ?  She said we don’t know, both your dad and I were adopted.  I thought they must be orphans without a family “out there” and that wasn’t true either.

When a person is adopted, their name is changed and their birth certificates are altered as though the truth of their very being never existed.  How presumptuous we are with another person’s true origins.  For a long time, I would tell people I was an Albino African.  I actually suspected that my mom’s origins might have been biracial and then the National Genographic project who tested my maternal DNA told me we did come out to Africa but that her people ended up on the British Isles.

Though my parents died knowing next to nothing about their origins, I now know a lot about mine.  Probably, I know as much as most people do who really don’t care.  My dad seemed not to care.  He seemed to have accepted his fate in ways my mother never did, though she tried and could make no headway on the matter.  My dad was a good ole boy – he liked to fish, drink beer and eat Mexican food – heck he liked to eat period.  That’s how he earned the nickname Fat Pat.


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