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Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Adoptee - Through The Looking Glass

I had a major realization about a year ago when a coworker who was older than I was asked me when I was going to change my "Alice in Wonderland" look and begin to act my age.  I was not shocked by this comment as this woman was from a different era and twenty plus years my senior.  But I did began to think about the fact that I was still, at age fifty, trying to keep myself like that youthful little girl I had always been.  And, being the introspective person I have always been wondered why I have never really changed my look or my hair style much over the years.  And then I had an epiphany.

It's hard to grow up and into "yourself" when you are adopted and don't have the foundation to build upon in knowing where it is you came from.  Or, the situation for many adoptees, that of not fitting in where you where placed.  There is a lot to be said for the knowledge of roots and family history, something adoptees have no say in or right to in most states and adoption situations.  I have to tell you I DO feel exactly like Alice in Wonderland in Through the Looking Glass.  Well, why shouldn't I resemble her then.

Adoption is such a surreal experience for so many adoptees.  Sometimes I feel as though I am trapped in a  dream I can't wake up from.  With all sorts of characters and people trying to tell me what and who I should be that doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.  A land where everyone feels at home and I am a foreigner searching for some sort of normalcy.  A world where everything I feel and experience I have to question because I am told it is wrong and admonished and reprimanded for not adhering to the status quo.  And just as Alice, when I try to voice my opinions or what I think, I am treated as a perpetual impertinent child who is incapable of behaving properly and as expected.

Adoption as it has functioned will never make sense to me.  I feel as though I don't fit it to this world.  I know I am far from the only adoptee that feels this way.  Most times, I just feel invisible.


People look right through me as if I don't exist.
Like I am invisible and easily dismissed.
There are no explanations, or reasons simply defined.
This life that I am living, it's doesn't feel like "mine".
I watch as people act their parts as if the world's a stage.
I feel part of the scenery and not part of the play.
The sham I run is innocent always pretending all is well.
Hidden deep below the surface are secrets I don't tell.
Playing roles to fit the story changing day to day.
As a ghost bound to it's castle, so I am I to this charade.


  1. I so understand this and thank you for voicing it.In some ways I don't think I felt truly grown up until all my parents were dead and there's a double whammy for adoptees!
    Part of us may never grow up, that hurt baby who cries out sometimes when we least expect it.We can learn to give that baby comfort and care and I guess we can learn to 'pass' as adults in how we dress and look if we need to but hey isn't this us and shouldn't others learn to accept us how we are? Von

  2. Having been in multiple placements, I consider myself lucky to have been adopted at age 12 by a family who had lost their own young daughter. Adoption was not the pleasant distraction they thought it would be. Not one person in that family had any knowledge of, or sensitivity to the emotional needs of a late term adoptee. I had no sensitivity to the depth of their sorrow. Sadly, Mrs. A. made sure people would not mistake me for her biological child. “She’s adopted”, was a phrase that became her instant claim to admiration and respect. When she was angry or disappointed it became her exoneration and my indictment. Being adopted, in my case, was a mixed bag. It was difficult for all of us but it did afford me some wonderful opportunities and stability for the first time in my life and I will be eternally grateful for that. But the truth is that being adopted did not make me a member of a family no matter how hard I tried Not one adoptive relative has ever even tried to include me in their lives; no celebrations, recognition for accomplishments or invitations. Not one has offered to be supportive in any way even when I was a student, a working single parent and even when I have been seriously ill. A document signed by a judge does not ‘a family’ make.

    I relate so much to you. Like you I still feel there has always been that great invisible divide that I could not cross because it would require me to have had an entirely different past. Although I have spent over 40 years in one form of recovery or another, I still have scars I try to hid. I think being invisable is too easy. You inspire me to keep trying. Thanks!

  3. Thank you both. I wish I could expound upon what I wrote but due to a recent back injury my post was shorter than usual. Being adopted into an abusive family who had a biological child who was loved and adored and then later in life being rejected by my biological family I still feel like the lost child, a baby really, crying out for acceptance and love even at my age. I'll do a part two when I am feeling better. I am thankful to have this place to come and do so. Karen

  4. You are so beautiful!

    Yes, I always, always have to remind myself "you're a grown up now, Amanda."

  5. Thank you for your words. Most of the time I can not even put into words how I feel about being adopted. This mirrors so many of my feelings.

  6. Thank you for giving us insight into your life as an adoptee. I was not an adoptee but born into a violent abusive family. I spent the rest of my childhood living in different home and feelings of never belonging. Most of what you have expressed, I have felt everyday of my life. Being the 'victim' of abuse, I was shunned, ignored, and blamed even into my adulthood. Families both bio and adopted have choices to love or hurt children. This generation, my choice was to make sure everyday my children knew they were loved, wanted, and are very special. We all can make a difference.


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