Today’s story –
I’m an infant adoptee, adopted within family – I was raised knowing my natural mother as my cousin; my natural mom’s uncle is my adoptive dad. I didn’t know the family relationship until 10 years ago, in adulthood.
In 2 weeks, I have a work trip to the city where my natural family lives – mother, father, full brother, and grandmother (adoptive dad’s sister). Since this trip came up a few days ago, I’ve been debating whether to reach out to my family and try to meet up for an afternoon. My adoptive parents have both passed away.
Background: While I remember always being told I was adopted, my adoptive mom was always really vague and acted like she didn’t know who my natural parents were – even though we had been in the same room with them multiple times! We didn’t see them often, just a few times a year until my adoptive dad’s parents (my natural great-grandparents) passed.
When my mom was pregnant, she had already secretly set up an adoption to strangers and kept her pregnancy quiet – but when I was born, my great-grandmother demanded that I stay in the family, and my adoptive parents suddenly got a call. So there was a ton of drama and secrecy there from the start.
I haven’t seen my natural parents since I was about 14, at my (great)grandfather’s funeral. We’ve chatted a couple of times via Facebook, but haven’t had much communication, and it always feels so weird after so much secrecy for so long.
Part of me thinks it would be nice to know them better, and seize the opportunity to see them for the first time in 20 years. Part of me wants to put my head in the sand and let sleeping dogs lie. I’ve been feeling really stuck, and need to make a decision soon to plan.
She then updates to add – I sent my natural parents a message this afternoon. They haven’t seen it yet, so we’ll see how it goes.
Today’s story – As much as I love the holidays coming up I usually struggle through them. This year seems to be hitting me harder than usual. I always knew I didn’t belong in the family that adopted me and I was blessed to be able to start my own little family but still I struggle. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that my divorce number 2 will be finalized right after Christmas or that my adoptive mom was diagnosed with dementia and gets mad any time my adoption is brought up or my adoptive dad disowned me for my birthday this year or that I will never get answers about who I am because my biological dad is unknown and biological mom passed away about 5 years ago. I just feel so lost this year. I feel like I’m failing as a mom to a very awesome 13 year old. I know I’m not because I see how strong she is, but I still feel lost. I know my adoption caused a lot of trauma and I have worked really hard to overcome a good portion of it.
An adoptee asks her – have you by chance tried something like 23 and me? When I did it helped me and brought me so much joy because I got to see where my ancestry is! Maybe you’d find some close relatives on there? I just had to reply – 23 and Me really helped in my case. They are all dead – my adoptee parents (yeah both) who died knowing next to nothing about their origins, the adoptive parents and the birth parents all dead. However, a cousin with the same grandmother (my dad’s first mom) did 23 and Me and not only could she tell me about my grandmother but that led me to another cousin in Mexico who had all of my grandmother’s many photos (including a bread crumb hint about his father).
Someone also suggested Ancestry DNA and I have done that too and it does help with people who never knew you existed to prove that you actually are family. Like her, I have found I have an overwhelmingly HUGE biological-tree and it happened suddenly. Only a few years ago, I only had some names for my first grandparents that didn’t reveal much.
Another adoptee had a sympathetic response – is very understandable and appropriate considering you currently navigating a divorce, a parent with dementia and being disowned by the other. Any one of those things is a lot for a person to handle individually, but you have a stack of upsets. It’s ok to feel lost for a while as long as you don’t forget things can and will get better. I say this as a person who also had a stack of life in their hands for a 4 year period (my mom passed, we moved my dad, who then had a major health crisis, and I also had discovery and reunion and estrangement with parts of my biological family in there as well). It got better. It continues to do so. One day at a time. Be kind to yourself. Don’t forget to slow down and breathe sometimes. You’ll make it through.
Finally another adoptee acknowledges that the layers of loss are surreal for most to understand. She is parenting 2 daughters and not with either of their fathers. Seeing her 11 yr old’s abandonment/ trust issues pulls up her own feelings at that age. She finds that she is reparenting herself while she parents her daughter. Finally able to understand emotions she’s never been able to sort out before.