I believe one of the most surprising aspects, of finally knowing my family’s origins (both of my parents were adopted), is fully realizing the suffering and/or sacrifices my grandparents experienced that enable my own existence.  That may seem like a self-evident conclusion but it actually was not.

Not only did I finally feel whole but I was compelled to understand the realities of adoption for ALL sides of the equation.  While I may never personally know how it feels to be adopted, I have 4 adoptees to inform my perspectives for not only were my parents adopted but each of my sisters surrendered a child to adoption.

So I have two birth mothers who are very close to me as siblings and a niece and nephew who have reunited with our family, so I’ve seen that aspect as well.  I also had two pairs of adoptive parents (the grandparents I knew as such my entire childhood into early adulthood) to inform me.

Due to an adoptee group I have joined at Facebook, due to TONS of reading from all sides of the adoption triad, I am much more fully informed than I was my entire life and that has been the side effect of learning my origins.

Origin information is very important to any person who has been impacted by adoption and that is something that those not impacted seem to struggle to fully understand.  If you’ve always known where you came from, even if you were not all that interested, you can be forgiven for not knowing how truly important that is.

A Thread of Connection

The author at age 3

I believe there exists an unconscious connection between an adoptee and his or her biological family.

There are two adoptees who are also my parents.  It is interesting to see how the naming of the children of those two in my family turns out to be the same as a name chosen by ancestors for another person in our genetic lineage.

I was named Deborah.  I was told it was because my paternal adoptive grandparents were worried about my soul when I was conceived out of wedlock.  Now that I have learned about my original ancestors, I know that my own father’s genetic great-aunt, who died at age 3 when she was run over by a car, was also named Deborah.

When my own daughter was very young, a woman I worked with lost her young son the same way. I put the fear into my daughter to protect her until she was old enough not to need such a protection, even though at the time I did not know this story of my own ancestral Deborah.

My parents named my sister, born 13 months after me, “Lou” Anne.  Now that I have learned about my original ancestors, I know that my mom’s natural mother’s name was Elizabeth “Lizzie” Lou.  When I tracked down one of her nephews, he referred to her Aunt Lou.  Our youngest sibling always calls my sister “Lou”.

In the adoption file I received from the state of Tennessee were 4 black and white negatives.  One turned out to be my mom’s original mother holding her.  The first time I saw it, I thought of my sister and feel she bears a strong resemblance to the woman.

I’m a believer that these threads of connection remained even though the ties back to our ancestors had been severed by adoption practices that took from us this knowledge until less than 2 years ago.