Here is a small window into the world of an adoptee that has come to grips with many of her feelings.
I'm hoping to do this in a kind gentle way.
I was adopted at 2.5 and before that I was moved around a lot with my birth mother and with other family members. I know who my birthmother is, and we speak at least once a month. I know who my birthfather is and spoke to him once before he died last year. I met them over the telephone about 3 years ago.
My mom and dad (I call my adoptive parents mom and dad, they earned it! my birth mother is Carla) gave me a wonderful life. Although they have faults they did their darn best. I was rarely spanked and brought up to be very tolerant of others. My parents now believe that no child should ever be hit and that if they could go back they would not have spanked me. I can be very abrasive but I have a soft heart. My parents bailed me out of all kinds of muck.
Just over the last few months as I've really begun to come into myself I have realized more and more how much I really am like Carla. She has had Cervical cancer (only had one pap smear in 40yrs...good advertisement for your womanly visits), and some other health problems related to the chemo and radiation. She and I share many of the same feelings and thoughts about situations. We are both married to wonderful charming men, who worship the quicksand we walk on. I love my mom and dad, but feel extremely attached to Carla in a way that I cannot explain to someone who is not adopted.
What I really recomend to people who's children ask about their birth parents and for those that can't find or don't want to find the birth parents for whatever reason you choose (I am not judging you for making this choice...there are still people in this world who are not fit to be parents, even if they can procreate) is to find an adult who was adopted who had a good experience. Someone who fits in with your lifestyle of gentle parenting etc. I have spoken to many young adoptees about how they feel about being adopted and what it means to them. I speak to them frankly and honestly, but don't cross any lines that the parents have set up. I feel so strongly about this that I am getting my BA (and hope to someday get my masters) in adoption social work. I found the most difficult time for me was as a teenager. I was trying to find out who I was and it was so incredibly difficult. I think it was doubled because I had no one to look at and say "oh, that's where my thick eye brows come from, and oh, that is where my sarchasm comes from. It's really difficult for an adoptive parent to totally understand this, no matter how educated and how much you care. My parents are incredibly educated and wonderful kind gentle people. There was not way they could have ever known.
I am incredibly attached to my birthmother. Do I feel my mom and dad did me a disservice for not being in contact with her, no! They did what Carla asked of them (actually she stated this her wishes for the person or people who adopted me) and took me out of the area where I was born and where Carla's crazy mother was. She wanted something better for me.
Carla is not my mom, my mother, or my mommy. She is Carla, and she is who I look like and who I blame the crazy thoughts that come into my head on..HA HA She gave me some insight into some of the reasons I may the way I am, ie the obesity, and the mental illness (I have clinical depression as did her aunt and her mother). As for my birthfather. He was a sperm donor. It was the 70's. I spoke to him once and spoke to his mother a few times and spoke to his son (my half brother) once. I also spoke to my uncle once (his brother). Turns out that my birthfather was not a very nice person. I guess that helps me be not so attached. I do look like him though. My hair, my eyes, and my smile. His mother says I look like his other four children. It's nice to know those things. It makes me feel good.
I have gotten many things from my mom and dad. They are both truely dedicated to education, and although I don't want to teach in a classroom, I consider myself the original teacher as a mother. I am truely dedicated to my children! The list could go on for hours of how I identify with my mom and dad.
Separation from a birthmom can have a long lasting effect, but so can the love and caring you can give. Doing your absolute best is all that can be asked of you. Finding a friend who can mentor your child through the difficult times in his/her life may help.