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On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adoptees - Twice Lost

Adoptees - Twice Lost

I read the “Ask An Adoptee” question about adoptees feeling given away, and finally have my own response to it.  I’m having a tough time with feeling unwanted lately, and lost more than usual.  Dealing with multiple debilitating health issues is hard enough, especially without any family.   It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.  I’ve been down this road before and walked the path of despair and I know the way out.  It’s through coping tools and mechanisms like writing, adoptee support groups, allowing myself to feel emotions and not deny or allow them to come out in some unhealthy manner.  Ok, except for screaming at random objects left on the carpet I trip over, or the cats in my way, or my son’s failure to take out the trash when asked three times. But, I know it’s really not about the tripping, or the cats, or the trash.  It’s about adoption.

I have no real relationship with my adoptive parents and I haven’t for a very long time.  Although we’ve come to the point of not rehashing the abusive past they have apologized to me for, the rejection continues.  The lack of my adoptive parents visiting has been blamed on me living so far away.  But, many families live far apart and see one another when they can.  It’s a five hour drive at most.  It’s Arkansas to Texas for God’s sake not cross country.   There are planes, trains, and automobiles readily available.  There are telephones, and email, and regular mail for communication when travel is not possible.  I know, I am the one who uses them to visit and contact them!

Neither of my biological parents can step out of the veil of secrets and lies that cover up my very existence.   I have had the times and circumstances explained to me over and over.  I get it!  I grew up in “those times” of shame and stigma in unwanted pregnancy and girls sent away.  But, this is not about “back then” it’s about now.  

The truth is it’s a sad, sad, sad, story about two people who gave up their child for adoption and went on with their lives, and adoptive parents who couldn’t bond with these children, and then had a biological child they did and went on with theirs.  But it’s not just about my personal situation with adoption it’s SO much larger than that.  It’s about the system of adoption that failed us all.  We are genetic beings created from our heredity and biology, not generic interchangeable family parts.

The whole truth is that the system of adoption lied, and is continuing to lie, to us and to the rest of the world about the realities of all of this while they continue to profit.  I wonder and think about the brothers and sisters I was told I have out there who don’t know about me, and may never know because of closed adoption records.  I am still on my fourth petition to the adoption courts over the last thirteen years.  My pleas and cries still fall on deaf ears, hearts, and minds.

The final truth for me is that the system of adoption has left me in the dust without either adoptive or biological family.  And that’s a tough life sentence to be given especially when the only crime you seem to have committed was that of being born.


  1. I am very sorry for your losses of both sets of parents. I have had to deal with the shame concerning losing my daughter to adoption but I don't think it gets in the way of me connecting with my daughter in reunion.
    It's not the same but I have had to deal with the rejection from my Mom who lives in the same town but chooses to be so distant from myself and my kids. We actually have more chance encounters of running into each other than arranged meetings to see each other. She barely aknowledges my sons and they really don't rush up to hug her like a lot of grandchildren do.
    I didn't tell you all this to suggest that we have the same pain but to tell you that I can relate to the things you written about from my side of adoption.

  2. Thank you birthmothertalks I appreciate your understanding. I can remember living in the same town as my parents and walking to work and they passed me in their car not stopping to offer me a ride, there was no sidewalk either I was literally walking down the side of a road. We had been distant with each other for months. I think that's when I really knew they had no feeling for me or real love. It's tough.

  3. Karen I know the feeling, the only time my mom calls me is when she needs money. The day I told her I was broke she stopped calling. The first 3 years of my life I was back and forth between my grandmother who loved me and my parents. My grandmother told my father as an infant I was being molested (my father claims my mother did it and I know I was molested by him at age 8) I can't talk to my father as he feels sexually attracted to me which disturbs me. For me I have my husband and kids. The extended family I have doesn't know me or make much effort to know me. My grandmother passed away and the mother I adopted pasted away when I was 18. I feel alone alot of the time and rejected. As a teen I was told I was nothing than an child support check and income tax refund - the whole reason my mother wanted to keep any of her kids money. My mom admitted to me when I was 18 that yes she slapped me as an infant for crying. I was told from early on that I was an accident a mistake. That I wasn't good enough and couldn't be because I am a girl yet I am told I love you. Yeah right that's not love.

    I am sorry for the rejection some people place on you. Remember it's not you it's them. It hurts like hell to know those that made you want nothing to do with and especially those that raised you. I was told many times I should have been put up for adoption for being brain damaged, and my mom had her feelings hurt many times back by me saying your aren't my real mom your baby was a still born and I am the replacement they gave you - me at age 5. ~ Allie

  4. Although, my adoptive parents are both now deceased, I can totally relate to your feelings for so many different reasons. That's why we are good friends :). Only difference is mine would have never apologized. I wonder how many of our fellow adoptees struggle with our adoptive parents having a bio child and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would have given us back if they had an out. Within the last few years of my adoptive mother's life, her "real" son felt it was important to share with me that, "Mom admitted she couldn't love a child that was not her own."

    How I see the adoption issues is that they lump all of us affected by adoption into one "problem." I feel like I have a voice, but it's not being heard by the right people. Can you imagine a judge answering one of many baffling questions? Hey, Judge, when you gave me the sparse documents in my sealed adoption file, did you happen to notice I wasn't really adopted and it contained another adoptees file as well?

    My heart goes out to you Karen. I wish I could go talk with your mother and tell her what a wonderful, loving human being you are. Love you.

  5. Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking. No child should have to endure such things...Trish

  6. I've always been the black sheep who was never allowed into either flock.

    Adoption is a disease for which the world needs to be cured of.


  7. I think anyone who has to make it through life without a true support system (source family, or spouse, or children) has a reality that others cannot even BEGIN to fathom. Add the abandonment issues of adoption, and rejection of the a-family, and that is one awful reality to live in day-to-day. People who have at least one someone don't understand this.

    Although my a-family doesn't love me, barely tolerates me, and only pretends to consider me part of their family because of how it would look to others if I wasn't, at least I have someone to call if I ever end up in an ER somewhere or something. That is a lot more than some people have.

  8. I appreciate the understanding more than you could know. I hear all the time from my friends "I can't stand my family" yet they don't realize how much they are talked about, even if it's one of two, how much of their world revolves around holiday plans and family events. I remember my adoptive mother saying "Well, we love ya, but we just don't like ya much" in an intense conversation we were having about our lives. I was never a hellion as she tells people I was a normal child who grew up different than them, but to them I was an abomination. I grew up believing I was bad, the black sheep as Mara said. It took me far too long to realize that I only thought I was bad because that's what I had been told over and over and over again! Thanks to lots of adoption counseling, therapy, and support groups I no longer believe it. Thanks all

  9. When I was reading this I literally thought this was me -- as if someone had reached into my head, or I had written this in my sleep. This is my experience.

    I'm single, never married, and now my only child is growing up and ready for college and I find myself in a place that I can't describe - nowhere.

  10. I feel very similarly, not belonging to either family and having neither family to share true deep connectivity and love.

    And Kari..Im going through the same thing. I am single and my only child is 16 years old and the reality of his leaving our home for his own life is indescribably painful..so if you ever want to share/support each other please email me. erinnearth@yahoo.com


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