Growing up, I used to hate when my adoptive mom would brag to perfect strangers about how she adopted my brothers and I as if she deserved some kind of award or something. Don’t get me wrong, she honestly did deserve one since she was raising us with the little money she had …..so for that, I give her props.
Being adopted is honestly not too bad as a child because you do not know anything else. At a young age, you do not technically understand how you entered the world or how you were created, so to me, adoption was the norm. As far as I was concerned, everyone in my eyes was adopted. As I grew older and started to learn more about adoption, I used to wonder how in the world could my biological parents ever give up three children? I wondered if it was something that my brothers and I did. Did they see something wrong with us? Did we put them through absolute hell? My adoptive mother would always tell us how “special” we were, and I did not understand how being given away made us so special.
When I was old enough to truly understand adoption, I became very curious about my biological parents. What did they look like? Why were we given up for adoption? Do I look like my mother or father? Whom do I take after? Do I have more brothers and sisters? etc. etc. etc.
I thought I would never meet them since it was a closed adoption and my birth name was changed. My birth certificate did not have my birth name nor did it have any parents’ names on it. It was ridiculous how, at that time, in the state of New Jersey adoptees could not get their original birth certificate. Therefore, I never knew the name I was given at birth until I met my biological parents.
I grew up feeling guilty because my adoptive mother told me she did not want me to meet my biological mother because “she was my mother and raised me.” My intention was not to replace her, it was just to learn about my background, and about who I truly was if this makes any sense. I was curious to know whose mannerisms I had. Where did I get my creativity from? etc. etc.
I also knew that I could face a lot of disappointment when I met them, but I didn’t care because I just wanted to meet them. I would deal with the disappointment later on……which I did.I have always pictured the day I met my biological parents……running towards me hand-in-hand tears streaming down their faces. My mother sobbing while my father falls to his knees. This was not the case.When I first found my biological father, he was a prison inmate for burglary. My mother was only 20 minutes away and worked at a supermarket. Ok, at least one of my parents wasn’t such a disappointment. I would write letters to my father (whom I refer to and call Ralph (his first name) ). Ralph was very sincere and apologetic. He was much more loving than my adoptive father, so we wrote back and forth for a few months. He was easier to contact than my mother.
At the time, in a closed adoption in New Jersey, your adoptive parents change your name and you can never meet your biological parents until you are 21. On the day when I drove down to visit my biological mother, I surprisingly was not nervous. I felt no emotion really which is strange because I expected the complete opposite. I just wanted to see what she looked like, hear her voice and wanted answers as to why. Why was I given up for adoption? Do I have more brothers and sisters? Why is Ralph in jail? Whom do I take after?
Before driving down there, I prepared a box filled with pictures. Pictures filled with important memories and events from my life. I included pictures from my childhood, Halloween, Christmas, prom, high school graduation, etc. etc. I pictured her eager to learn more about my childhood and upbringing while tears streamed down her face. I pictured her asking me so many questions that I would be unable to keep up with answering them. I imagined her analyzing each picture carefully as she took them out of the box delicately, one by one. Did this happen? Nope.
She just sat there and apologized for not responding to a letter I had previously sent. She said she thought it was a nonprofit trying to get a donation. Prior to meeting her, the adoption agency said to write a letter and that they would mail it to her. Once she received the letter she was supposed to contact me. I ended up calling her a few times until she finally faced reality.
She tried her best that day. She made me dinner and we talked for a bit. She honestly is a very nice lady. She was embarrassed and it was very obvious that I served as a reminder of the many bad memories she had with my biological father. It turns out she had kept four children and gave away myself and two brothers. My father had a daughter with another woman. I definitely didn’t expect that at all but why would anyone keep some of their children; which I still do not get. Anyway, I did get some answers and for that I am thankful.
Stay tuned for more of my blog posts about my experience as an adopted child.