Assembling Self

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adoptee's Genetics Speak - Please Listen Carefully

“DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”  ~Bill Gates

I grew up within an adopted family genetically opposite of everything I was and grew up believing that everything about me was wrong.  Being relinquished for adoption and transplanted into another family with which you share zero genetics or biological traits can be extremely confusing.   Being told you are just like every other child is not the truth, nor is the denial of the very basic facts of life everyone else has.  The lack of recognition of these issues too complicates bonding and forming functional and lasting relationships with members of your adopted family because they have no understanding of your loss, pain, and ongoing frustrations with trying to fit in.

I hear from many people when I talk and write about  how being adopted can feel say they feel like adoptees do too unwelcome, or rejected, like a foreigner even when surrounded by their biological family and relatives.  The difference is that as ostracized as they can feel, they at least grew up with and or have the knowledge of who they are and where they came from.  What they can not understand is the foundation they were given that when taken away or denied adoptees, can have negative and devastating impacts.

I do not think that my adoptive family and I could be any more different.  But, that is the lottery system of adoption.  Even with trying to match backgrounds genetics speak loudly and clearly.  Unfortunately the "voice" of an adoptee's genetics are usually ignored, the blank slate theory, and expected to be drowned out and unheard and rematched to those of the family they are placed in. 

My adoptive family is the polar opposite of me.  Neither is wrong or right, they are just VERY different.

They are a soft carefully patterned paisley.  I am a boldly colored bohemian print.

They are a predictable, well manicured, and designed English garden.  I am wild flowers growing where the wind blows me.

They are a safe, secure, home in a small residential community.  I am a city abode bustling and surging with lights and sounds and energy.

They are stoic, quiet, and reserved.  I am emotional, loud, and demonstrative.

The information I have received, even if not names, photos, or anything identifying at age 39 about my biological family changed the way I saw myself, my place in the world, and abolished immediately all the unfounded beliefs and incorrect theories I had compiled since childhood about myself.  The surprise of it is almost always reassuring and empowering to finally understand yourself as a unique individual yet belonging to a larger whole, and as a person most other people have always known themselves to be.  After growing up and living without any awareness of any of that, or comprehension of how crucial and vital is it, how positively life altering it can be once obtained and realized. 

However, I will never recover those lost decades of feeling incomplete, unaccepted, and disfavored and feeling somehow it must be my fault.  And that is a huge tragedy in adoption.  A tragedy only adoptees have known and lived for far too long.


  1. Thanks Peach I thought most adoptees would. :)

  2. I liken it to having lived with only one lung your whole life, but then suddenly getting full access of both... You don't know what was missing until you find it...

    For us closed-system adoptees, the "it" is our genetic tribe, who are family but strangers (our adoptive tribe being strangers turned family).

    It's very heady to get that full dose of oxygen, when all along you thought you were just fine with only one lung.

    For me, once I realized what I had been missing (genetic mirroring), I was angry about adoption in a way I had never been before.

    Thank you for this post!


  3. Thank you Carrie for your comment love the analogy. Makes sense.