For many adoptees, simply the fact that their original family is not raising them is a rejection. That is why this story really touched my heart.
I’m an adoptee that’s been recently reunited with my first mom and her side of the family. They have been so welcoming and want a relationship with me, and it’s been so great getting to know them. Unfortunately my adoptive family isn’t taking it well. I’m just so sad that they can’t be more supportive and are taking it personally. I’m not surprised at all by my adoptive parents reacting this way, but my one safe person (my adoptive paternal aunt) is also taking it badly. I wish I could just have the joy of reunion without the overwhelming guilt. Their rejection of my biological family feels like another rejection of me. I so wish they could share in my happiness. They say they can somewhat understand my curiosity about who my biological family is but they don’t understand why I want to have a relationship with them. My biological family on the other hand has expressed wanting to meet my adoptive family and it breaks my heart that the feeling isn’t mutual. I hope they have a change of heart, but in the meantime I am grieving.
My first awareness of the impacts of adoption on my parents was the Georgia Tann, Tennessee Children’s Home Society scandal. There are a huge number of adoptees that have been impacted by what happened in Memphis.
So, the only “anger” I was aware of was related to criminal behavior in adoption practices. I thought that was what the anger was about.
As I have revealed my origins, my original four grandparents (both of my parents were adopted), I have also become involved in more generalized adoptee groups. I have begun to learn what the issues are and also about how those issues affect not only the adopted child, but the original parents as well as the people who adopt and raise these children.
It has finally coalesced for my own self to be about identity. It was a lack of identity beyond my two parents that troubled me in my middle school years. It is interesting that the issue of not knowing where one originated troubles adoptees almost universally, while many people who have no adoption impact in their own families seem to not even care about who their ancestors were.
I think it is because the adoptee KNOWS that they don’t know. While any other person not affected by adoption “knows” that if they ever became interested, someone in their family line could clue them in.
There are some descendants who I am grateful have embraced me and my need to know. Others seem dismissive or reluctant to welcome in “the stranger”. I simply have to accept that I have been given some gifts of identity that some adoptees are still struggling to obtain.
Sealed adoption records which began as early as the late 1920s have done a lot of harm to an adoptee’s ability to know where they come from. Unbelievably about half of these United States still refuse to open the records to adult adoptees. This is simply wrong. No other citizen of this country is denied knowledge of their origins.