Appreciation vs. Curiosity
I never read Lane's comments in the August 6 issue. I must say, however, that I found the responses fascinating. I am a 57-year-old adoptee and was not told that I was adopted until the year that I was 21 and then, only indirectly. I certainly don't bear my parents any ill will regarding this; they did the best that they could and it was a very different time. I have never considered that I was given up. Particularly after having given birth
to a son 14 1/2 years ago, I appreciate that it took an incredible act of love for my birthmother to let another person raise me and take her place as a parent.
Having my own child made me appreciate even more how difficult it must have been for my mother. She always said that the "acorn does't fall far from the tree", and I can see how right she was when I see my son repeating all of the things that I used to do and which drove my mother crazy. My mother is still alive at 98 1/2 years old (I only regret that I have no claim to her longevity).
What I have always felt as an adoptee, however, is a lack of connection. My son is the only person in the world that I can look at and see anything of myself. I have no history and no claim to my adoptive family. It doesn't matter to me any more that my father spent a number of years in prison, that my uncle was an actor, or that my grandfather on my mother's side was an accomplished story teller and a minister. These are not my people and their heritage is not my heritage.
Of course I am appreciative of the life that my adoptive parents gave me. I do appreciate that to give a child a home is an incredible gift and certainly there is the argument to be made that if someone actually goes to all of the effort to adopt a child, you had to be wanted very badly. That does not mean, however, that I don't want to know who I am. Why I am the way that I am. It is curiosity, not ungratefulness that causes adoptees
to search, or want to search.
I am concerned that my birth parents may be dead. When my birth mother made an effort to contact me about thirty years ago, I thought that it was my adoptive mother "testing" my loyalty and I soundly and cruely rejected her efforts. I would like her to know that that is not how I feel.
There are no magic answers. We all make decisions and take actions based upon our own experience and the information that we have at the time. Dialogue and acceptance is important. The most important goal that any parent can have is to raise children who can grow into emotionally healthy adults able to contribute to society.
Carolann (born 6/23/45 Seattle, WA)