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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ask An Adoptee: Semantics

 The question being posed to us was as follows:

"I would like to know if those of you that have been reunited with your mother, realize that you were not 'given away'. I keep seeing that in most of your blogs and it must have been a terrible thing to have inside one's head, especially a child's head.

Most of the the mothers of loss that I know, including myself, did not EVER give you away. Most of us were coerced and had absolutely NO choice in the matter. Most of us had our babies ‘taken away’, never did we ‘give them away’. I would love to say to the children in you all, NO your mother did not give away. Be interested in hearing your comments."

A lot.  Several.  Most.

I have come to hate these words. 

“A lot of adoptees I know grew up happy and well-adjusted.”
“Several adoptive parents adopted because they wanted to save an orphan.”
“Most natural mothers did not give their children away.”

My own mother and I have a very special bond.  After our first contact, we clicked instantly.  Bonded immediately.  But she did give me away 37 years ago.  I was left at the hospital as she walked out…not adopted until six days later.

I was given up.  Abandoned. Adopted.

Honestly, the language doesn’t matter.  It all boils down to a mother and child being separated. 

Embrace your story...it's yours.  But please don’t take away mine.

 I'm not sure my adoptive parents ever actually said, "You were given up".  They just told me that they wanted another daughter and the agency called them.  The whole "given up" conversation never came up...and wasn't something that was ever explicitly said to me.  But it's how I felt.  Then and now. 

I deserve to live my truth.


  1. Personally, I don't think it matters what actually happened. The fact is "given up/away" is how it /feels/.

  2. Personally I think it matters a great deal what happened as it is part of who we are and our identity.Loss is loss and is the beginning of all adoption.For some of us,that feels like being given away and cannot be denied or made to disappear by the words of mothers who of course have a different experience, no less valid just different. Von

  3. I agree, Von. We feel what we feel. They feel what they feel. They can insist on using certain vocabulary, but that doesn't always change the way we feel.

    Love what you wrote here, Christina. Succinct and powerful.

  4. This is exactly how I feel

  5. Christina, I am so glad that you pointed out how your reunion has been a positive one but that you still feel how you feel. This is a point of view that offers a contrast to the thoughts of those of us who have had less-than-optimal experiences. And it helps me understand that so much of this is simply the effects of adoption.


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