adoption, reunion

Family is for other people, but not for me.

My therapist says there is no way I will ever be accepted by my real family. Maybe he’s right, maybe it’s just an impossible dream. Either way, I’d like to try and explain my side of things.

Finding my family opened up feelings I never knew I had. Suddenly I realized how much I had missed out on in life. Seeing my own mother for the first time when I was 48 years old did something to me. I realized that I lost my whole world when I was 5 days old, and I was never going to be able to get it back.

Growing up without any family is a strange and terrible thing. Imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner with your family, and looking around the table and knowing that all the people around you are strangers. They are related to each other. You can see the resemblance in their faces, and hear it in their voices. They all have the same laugh, so different from yours.

I knew I had a mother and father out there somewhere, but I wasn’t allowed to see them. I wasn’t even allowed to know who they were, or what their names were. I wasn’t allowed to know my real last name, I guess because my adoptive mother was afraid I would find my family, and love them more than I did her. I wasn’t even allowed to ask questions about my family. My a-mother would scream, “I’m your only mother, you don’t have another mother”. After a while I learned there was something wrong about what happened to me. I learned not to bring it up anymore.

I was brought into the home of an infertile woman who had been trying to have her own baby for years. She did everything she could to have a baby, and when everything failed she resorted to adoption. My a parents had been married for 10 years and had a loveless marriage. My a-mom had endometriosis, which caused painful periods, She was practically bedridden at least 1 week every month. She was much too sick to adopt another child, so I was raised alone. My family was poor, and could only afford a 1 bedroom apartment. I had no backyard, not even a room of my own. I shared with my a-mom while dad slept on the sofa in the living room. I wondered why this was happening to me, but I knew I was an orphan who was lucky to even have a home, so I never complained, or asked why.

I survived, and left home as soon as I could. I was 19 when I moved in with Honey, and had a happy life with him. Honey and I had a nice wedding, but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t know why, but now I do. There was no one from my family at my wedding. Honey’s family was there, and my a-parents family, but not one member of my family was there. I couldn’t wait until the whole mess was over.

I don’t think I can ever properly express the lost feeling of being all alone in the world that I felt until I had my son, Lil Honey. The first relative I had ever seen, and he looked just like me! For the first time I felt that magical pull of blood that I had dreamed so much about. I was real, part of the real world. My past was still a great black hole that sometimes threatened to suck me down into it, but I had a family. I wasn’t all alone anymore. I was the happiest I had ever been in my life.

Life went on, but the longing to find my family grew stronger. I was afraid, afraid of what I would find. I wanted to be the one searched for, the one sought out. Years passed, and no one ever came looking for me. After 48 years I began to fear that my parents were growing old and might die before I could see them. I desperately wanted to see my mothers face in this lifetime, so I pushed my fears aside and found my parents.

Everything seemed good at first, but there was definitely something going on underneath the surface that didn’t feel very good. As I learned the story surrounding my relinquishment I began to feel cheated. I realized my father had a great, supportive family and I wondered why my parents chose to give me away instead of asking for help raising me. I learned that I wasn’t my parents first pregnancy, and my mother had aborted her first child, and my father paid for it. I couldn’t believe my parents had been legally married, but still chose to give their child up. I still don’t understand that, it just doesn’t fit the usual adoption story, girl gets pregnant, boy won’t marry her so she gives up her baby. My story just doesn’t make sense, and I hear different thing from my mother and my father.

I wish I could know what really happened.

I guess I reacted badly, but I was very angry, mostly at my father, because he seems a lot better off than my mother. My mother seems to be very damaged by life, both before and after my birth. She got pregnant, got married, had a baby, gave her baby away and had her marriage annulled within 16 months, when she was 18-19 years old. I can’t imagine how horrible that must have been for her. And yes, I blame my father. No one has been able to tell my why I shouldn’t. He started with my mother, a poor desperate mentally ill girl from the wrong side of the tracks when she was only 14 years old. She ended up with nothing, no husband, no baby, no money. I don’t think my father suffered as much as she did.

Maybe you can tell me someday that I’m wrong about all this, but until that day I guess I’ll just have to draw my own conclusions, with the little information that I have.

I always thought of family as a magical thing. I really thought that blood was thicker than water. I still think it is, but once your parents give you away some people think that you’re just not part of the family anymore. I didn’t choose to leave my family. I never signed away my rights. I know there is no way to get back the lost years that would make me part of my family. I will always be an outsider , even to the woman who gave me life.

All my grandparents have died, and I never got to meet any of them. I’ll never look into their eyes, or hear their voices. I have no pictures of me and my mother together when I was a baby, or little girl. All that is gone, and I can never get it back. I wake in the night, and toss and turn.

I guess what’s gone is gone, and I will never really be part of your family. When we get together it’s awkward and painful, and I don’t know if it’ll ever be any better. If anyone ever wants to talk to me or see me, I’ll always come running. I’m not ready for a big gathering. The July 4th picnic was wonderful, but it just showed me how much I’ve missed. I don’t have an extended family. It’s just me and my a-mom. We never had wonderful gatherings like you have. You all have each other, but I am still without a family. My parents both went on to keep other children, and that is very painful.

My birth certificate was altered, and the real one sealed forever. They changed the facts on my birth record, but they couldn’t change my body, or my feelings. I am still the same person I was when I was born. If future generations try and trace their ancestry, they will be deceived into thinking that I’m Girl Russack, child of Russian and Polish immigrants, not Girlie McIrish, who can trace her ancestry back to the revolutionary war. It’s just legalized lies.

I still would love to have pictures of my family. I’ve never seen my father as a child, or young man. I have no pictures of my parents together, I think Mom destroyed all of hers. I’m as proud of my heritage and family as you are, I just don’t know much about it. I would have been so proud to see my grandparents as grand marshals of the parade. How I wish I could have been raised in my true family, as the first grandchild on both sides of my family. I lost my birthright, my name and my identity.

Please try not to judge me so harshly, I’m not a monster, just a hurt and damaged person.

4 thoughts on “Family is for other people, but not for me.”

  1. I just stumbled upon your blog by clicking on the adoption tag. I’ll say upfront I’m an adoptive mother.

    Words fail me in expressing the pain I feel reading your story. I admire your courage in writing it. I wish your a-mother had been supportive of reunion. I wish your family had welcomed you. Life is so broken sometimes and the immense unfairness of it all is overwhelming.

    But as another human being to another I just want to say I’m sorry.

  2. Recently I read a book called Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier, it talks towards the wounds from adoption. It’s a good read and it helped me feel not so alone. I don’t know if you’re a part of any adoptee communities, but there is a bit of solace in having a community that can understand your experience. I’m also sorry for what you had to go through, my heart goes out to you.

  3. Your story is very similar to mine. I totally know what you’re saying, and I don’t think you’re a monster at all, but I do know the experience of being thought of as one because you have very natural feelings towards all that has happened, through no fault of your own. The whole thing stinks.

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