I am so happy to have found this thread—I was doing a search for maternity leave and for some reason this thread came up & caught my eye and I could not stop reading!
Thank you all for being so open with your stories—-it is so healing to discuss these painful & complicated feelings related to being adopted. I’ve been lurking for months but I was so moved this is my first post to MDC.
As another adult adoptee I can relate to so much that has been said here. I was born in the early 70’s in a closed adoption—-I searched for a few years but with limited $ means and no success. (Records remain locked up tight.) Well, there was some success in the way searching put me in touch with feelings—-deep grief and some anger that had been buried my whole life under depression. It was very empowering for me to acknowledge the painful side of being adopted—-I feel more “whole” as a person and my relationships have improved a great deal. Have any of you experienced this as well?
Emilie, congrats to you for having the courage to pursue this journey (which in some ways is terrifying!) with both sets of parents. Although my a-parents have always been deeply loving, there has always been an insecurity there—especially with my mom that I am not their flesh & blood child. The situation with me is a bit different. My parents are not well educated, while one of the few things we know about my b-parents is that they were college students. My b-mom’s mom was a third grade teacher, so she must have been a college grad also, while I am the first person in my family to get a BA. So my mom has always felt threatened by what she imagines my birth mother is like—smarter than her, more on my level. And although she doesn’t intend to hurt me this way, my mom always reacts negatively when I express my differences—-they are quite mainstream and I’m fairly “crunchy”, very bookish, etc. I have two younger sisters who are their bio-children. I think they all are more comfortable glossing over the differences between us, although I’ve always keenly felt that “otherness” some of you have mentioned. I can’t say they treated me any differently than they did my sisters—-my mom drives us all a little crazy.
: With me there is just this added edge of insecurity because we don’t have that biological bond. It was VERY hard for my mom when I started searching and she is still touchy about it—-like if I found my b-mom and we “cliqued” I would just ditch her—-like mothering me for the past 34 years means nothing! I think it prevents her from fully accepting me as I am and that hurts.
Anyway, I agree with PP’s about the good books out there—Betty Jean Lifton’s books and Nancy Verrier’s Primal Wound helped me understand myself and start the healing process.
I also appreciate what TigerTail said about being drawn to AP—does anyone else here feel their experience as adoptees influenced their parenting choices & values? I am pregnant with my first child now, but I’ve been reading Mothering and thinking about becoming a doula & CBE for years. What I learned about attachment theory led me to want to advocate for AP methods & values even before becoming a mother myself.
And mb722toddler, I know what you mean about feeling what was lost. Even though I haven’t found b-family yet, that lack of connection is there—-just an aching hole inside. Being around newborns puts me in touch with that grief, although I live with it better & better each time. I had the honor of being present when my sister gave birth a few years ago—-it was amazing even though it was NOT the birth experience I would want (HUGE episiotomy she needs surgery to repair). But I also felt deeply, deeply sad afterward—my niece was SO wanted and welcomed into the world by all of us who loved her from the moment my sister announced she was preg. It hurts to know I didn’t have that—-I don’t know what anyone felt or how many people even knew I was born, you know?
So I am a little concerned about what my postpartum period will be like. I am sure I will be in love with my baby but there will be a twinge of sadness.
I’d love to hear more about others experiences as parents coming from this place of being adopted! Thank you for letting me go on in this long post and I look forward to keeping up with all your touching journeys.