Assembling Self

Sunday, August 12, 2012


The term "related" takes on a whole different meaning for adoptees.  It's a strange concept misunderstood by most and continually being redefined by adoption agencies, groups, and the people involved in it.  But good or bad adoption law or term depending on the viewpoint, it doesn't change the emotional course being adopted sets you on from birth as an adoptee.

Being adopted you have two families.  Whether you accept one, the other, or both, even if you don't know anything about the one you were born from, they are still out there existing and always a part of who you are.  Even if you deny any acceptance and live only within and from your adoptive family there is no way you can not look in a mirror and see the evidence every day staring back at you.

One family you share years, stories, and a history with.  Another, you share biology, genetics, and genealogy with and then pass them along to your own children.  Sometimes you can piece the two together to form lasting bonds, but many times you can end up feeling disconnected from both due to a wide variety of reasons.  I am nothing like my adoptive family and not accepted by my biological family in fact, not even recognized at all.  More like swept under the rug and forgotten without any recourse to get closure about who I really am.

I also feel left out of a large part of the world of adoptees as well.  I am stuck in limbo without the ability to find my biological family.  Four court petitions have been denied to receive identifying information and there just not enough I have to go on to find.  Obviously a good amount of secrecy was requested by my biological grandparents which my biological mother feels allegiance to still.  A great amount of apathy from my biological father who walked away from my mother and me 53 years ago, and then denied any information upon my urgent request for updated medical information via the adoption courts.  Neither of my "parents" will tell their children I exist.

I've sat back in the corner for over thirteen years now watching reunions, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I'm fully aware of the difference between rights and reunions.  And now, all I am asking for is MY information.  Plain and simple I want MY truth.  Adopted or not, it is what all people deserve to have.


  1. Beautifully said, Karen. There is so much heartbreak, ambivalence, and frustration even in the best-case scanarios. It is about loss and coming to terms with it, and realizing we have to find our own way. Often alone. xx

  2. I completely understand your feeling of being disconnected from both of your families. Even though I've spent time with members of my birth family, I still feel this way. But there's a third family I belong to, the one I created myself, with my husband and my own children. This is the family I do feel connected to, and I'm so grateful to be able to experience that feeling.

  3. I totally agree with you. I'm an adoption social worker, and for the last give years, I've had all of our incoming adoptive parents repeat back to me, several times each training, "Kids have the right to their own story."