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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why Adoptees Don't Let Go of the Past

Every adoptee needs one of these.

I found this journal when I was Christmas shopping at Marshalls on Friday night. I believe it was intended by the manufacturer as a joke. Whatever the intention, I love it!  I wish I could purchase one for every adoptee. This was an early Christmas present I bought, just for me. 

Healthy adoptees are perpetually processing not only our feelings but the reality of family, in order to move forward, spiritually and emotionally.

The Truth About Moving On

"Just move on. Leave the past behind. Are you going to waste a lifetime thinking about this? Don't you know God has bigger plans for you than that?"

I've heard this before. Maybe you have too.

Let's unpack that thought for a minute.

 I've been a pastor for 25 years, and in all that time, I've never heard anyone advise a non-adoptee:
"Just move on. Leave your family behind. Are you going to waste a lifetime thinking about your family? Don't you know God has bigger plans for you?"
No, you don't hear that, and it would be pathetic if you did. People are often encouraged, as it should be, to love their family, to be committed to them, to invest time.

Except adopted people.

We're expected to leave our families behind, shake the dust off our feet, and go on with our lives. And then we're supposed to profusely thank God we got the opportunity to go through it all. 

Here's truth:  

For adoptees, "the past" isn't just a feeling, but a present reality that involves but is not limited to:

  • Our identity
  • The truth of our origin
  • Our family

Who IS Your Family?

What some people fail to realize is that for an adoptee, our past is actually our present.

We will always be related to our original family no matter what a an amended birth certificate leads anyone to believe. 

Whether they like it or not, past is present. Because a piece of paper doesn't eliminate relatives, as much as some people would like it to. Does it legally eliminate them as a relative? Perhaps temporarily -- on paper, it does. However they are never eradicated from our life, from our very being. They are ever present, spiritually and emotionally.

They are there.

 And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I think of the adoptee who recently shared with me that a little boy was asked by his adoptive parents, "How often do you think about adoption?" He said, "hardly ever at all." The adoptive parents were thrilled with his answer, convinced their son didn't really care about his original family and was perfectly happy to be adopted. Someone gently suggested they rephrase the question. Instead they asked him, "How often do you think of your birth mother?" He got somber and said, "Every day. All the time..." to the shock of his adoptive parents.

Your Original Family is Your Present...Even if You Don't Know Them!

Many people who are not adopted don't consider adoptees' birth family as family. They consider them strangers out there in the world somewhere...who basically have nothing to do with them now.

 Did they ever stop to consider that perhaps the adoptive family are actually the "strangers"?  At least, it begins that way. Adoption is the only world where people think it's perfectly normal to take a child and place him in the arms of strangers and take him away, erasing evidence of the original parents through careful altering and sealing of legal documents. And they see nothing odd about this. 

The truth is that adoptees will forever be on a journey of reconciling past with present, because it's impossible to completely sever the two. Asking an adult adoptee to separate from their origin, identity and family is akin to asking them to cut themselves in half and keep on walking. 

Many of us adoptees know what happens when people try to do that...they can emotionally bleed to death. The sooner we come to grips with the reality that being an adult adoptee is a continual journey of wholeness, the better off things will be for everybody concerned, adoptee and non-adoptee alike. I say everyone because when adoptees aren't physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually healthy, it affects everyone in our world.

Here's to the continual pursuit of spiritual and emotional health!

I love all of you who read here, and pray much healing and wholeness as we go forward in the new year.

Pursuing together,



  1. My son's adoptive mother told me,"He always knew he was adopted. When he was little he would ask me to 'tell me about the lady who had me'.That was his favorite bedtime story."

    1. If you did tell this precious story, I laud you for your strength and love toward him. It's too easy to brush the past away. What a gift you can give him to have a shared treasured story about him. In my house, as an young adoptee, we never talked about it. I wonder how much closer I would have felt to my adoptive parents if they had not been threatened by talking about my origins. Being an adult, adoptee and parent, I think keeping those stories alive really bless your relationship. I've been reunited with my bio family. And though they are a part of my identity, I feel closer to my adoptive parents. Shun the fear... which is of the Devil. God bless you. =)

  2. Enjoyed this post. My granddaughter was adopted by my brother-in-law and his wife. My husband and I are not allowed to know her. Her first mother, our daughter, has had two visits since her birth in 2010. Even though this is my husbands brother, we are viewed as "strangers", but I've often felt they are the "strangers". Even though we don't know our granddaughter, I feel she is more a part of us than them.

    1. Kellie C, how sad that you are so close in proximity yet kept apart! I don't believe it will be forever. In my heart I believe at some point, she will want to know. I pray she breaks free from the control and finds her way to you. I will be praying for you.

  3. How awful that perception of "ownership" of the adoptee by the adoptive parents is. Loved this thoughtful article; it's absolutely true. Your past is always part of you, particularly when the truth of it is kept from you. Having found my mother was wonderful but it wasn't enough. Only once I discovered who my father was, and the genealogy that is my birthright, did I completely stop having the suicidal feelings that have haunted me throughout my life. It was as simple as turning off a light switch. Imagine, living with that feeling as a "reasonable concept" simply because you were adopted and didn't know the truth. I am now completely free. These laws -- and people's conceptions -- must be changed. Too many people are still hurting.

    1. I agree with you...too many are still hurting. And it is not our role to just "get over it"...but for laws and perceptions to change. Bless you...

    2. "Ownership." Yes, that really rings a bell for me. I went through a fairly gruesome divorce twenty years ago; it took my soon-to-be-ex-husband and I almost a year to come to an agreement on a custody arrangement for our children. Through this long and often harrowing process, my attorney was always very clear with me: the law (and the judge) was not particularly concerned with the parental "rights" of myself or my husband. What WAS important was what was in the best interest of our children. I respected and accepted this, difficult as it sometimes was when I disagreed with my husband and the powers that be about what was best for my children.

      Now move to the laws surrounding adoption. You would think the same principle would hold, wouldn't you? But adoption law (at least in my state, at the time of my adoption many years ago--and I don't think things have changed all that much) really seems to be much more about property ownership than about the well-being of a child. The rights of the adoptive parents seem paramount; the state even provides them with a legally falsified birth certificate--maybe not quite a sales receipt, but definitely ownership papers. And, as we all know, if we seek information about that past that isn't supposed to matter to us, we are greeted with dismay that we have violated our adoptive parents' right to our lifelong, unquestioning loyalty. These laws and attitudes really need to change!

    3. Janet, I totally understand what you're saying.

      I feel a blog post coming on...lol

      When we as pastors in my faith background do what is known as the public "dedication" of children, we remind parents that they do not actually "own" their children. (This is for any parent birth or adopted) We remind them that children are a gift, sort of "on loan from God" to us to raise, but we do not own them. They are their own being and to have an attitude of ownership or total control to an unhealthy point, is very detrimental. Of course I'm not referring to the fact that we need to appropriately discipline our young children and just let them run amok and wreak havoc upon their surroundings. What I refer to is the fact that parents are simply stewards of their children, given them in this life as a gift from God to raise and release into the world to fulfill their callings. We don't own them. Ever.

      I agree with you that apparently some do not understand this. They hold so tightly, they smother. It is unhealthy. Ugly. Not love.

      It is all about the child but for some reason the shift seems to be toward the a-parents, particularly the adoptive mother. When I went into reunion with my b-family, nobody ever asked how I was doing. The #1 question I got, and still get, 20 years later, is, "how is your adoptive mother with everything?"

  4. Deanna,

    I really appreciate what you have said here. It is absolutely true! I am a Birth Mother who lost my only child, a daughter to adoption almost 27 years ago. My own mother, an adoptee herself is the one who forced ME to surrender my rights as my child's mother. Knowing she and her two full siblings did not grow up together due to adoption into three different families when they were children themselves.

    20 years after losing my daughter to adoption, I did search and found her, she has been raised by a good family for which I am glad to know, but she used the strangers line on me over three of her biological relatives when she learned of them from me to start with, she did not even know of them until our first and only meeting six and a half years ago. We met at her adoptive parents home, so yes her adoptive mother and father were there. They did not allow me to explain anything to my only child of why or how this adoption came to be, but, basically, at the time she was on the way, and prior to her birth, my mother told the agency that my daughter's birth father wanted to sell our daughter for money. It was a lie, and my mother knew this, for I had lived with the birth father for several months. I cannot drive, and told the agency and my mother I wanted this child and they did not listen nor did they care.

    Just as adoptee's "Don't forget the past" Mothers like myself who are coerced to lose their children through deceptive means also never forget. We love our children, and bleed right along with you and all adoptee's who want to know their stories of how and where they truly came from.

    Thanks for the post! it is spot on for you and Mothers like me who were pushed apart by others who thought they knew best when they knew nothing of what they caused for both the adoptee and their natural first moms.

    1. Sharman, my heart goes out to you. How devastating to be forced to relinquish your own child. I am so sorry for your profound loss. My prayers are with you.

    2. Deanna,

      Thank you for your response and sincere feelings for both my only child and I as the Mother of loss I know I am. I knew when I lost the battle to keep this child with me in my family of origin, I would have no others.

      I need to clarify on statement in my post above, My Mother, the adoptee in my own family told the agency director and caseworker my daughter's birth father would sell our child for money behind my back. They called her back to their office before I was placed in the unwed mother's home, she went alone that day, I never knew she had told them anything about selling my daughter for money until my twin sister through this line at me in an angry email one year before I found my long lost daughter.

      My mother's birth/first mother died in child birth when my mother was three years old. She never knew her mother for this reason. Her adoptive parents were BEST Friends of her natural family for ten years before they allowed my mother to go home with these people, who, allowed my mother to remain connected with them her entire life. As my mother's daughter for this reason I knew both her adoptive family and her biological family my entire life. As did my own sister and brother naturally. There is more to this but would take to long to explain the rest.

    3. Sharman,

      What a tangled web! Adoption stories can be so complex. I have to read this one a few times to understand it.

      So, you had no other children after you birthed your child that was relinquished? I am not sure but thinking by how you worded this that it was so painful for you, you knew you could not go through it again? (You said, "I knew when I lost the battle to keep this child with me in my family of origin, I would have no others..."

      What I am hearing is significant loss compounded by more significant losses. And I am so sorry.

      My prayer on this Christmas eve is that whatever needs to happen for God to heal your heart, would start right now. Much, much love to you, dear one.

    4. Deanna,

      Your thoughts on my feelings are 100 percent Right! I understood adoption long before my daughter was ever conceived or born simply because of the adoption story that had surrounded my mother and her biological brothers all of their lives, which also became part of our family history itself for everyone knew how this had happened to my mother as a child long before I would ever know that my mother would be the instigating force of the most heartbreaking loss I have ever known in my life. I know my daughter was and has been damaged by this separation we have had for almost 27 years now.

      At the time she was born, my mother said: Adoption HURTS NO ONE! I knew she was wrong when she said this to me when my daughter was on the way. Of course she would not understand the real pain of loss for one reason: She did not lose her family of origin, she gained another who would allow her to see them anytime she wished to do so. Imagine this: An OPEN Adoption from 1937! This was my mother's experience as an adoptee. Not for me or my only child nor for my mother's brothers who were adopted out through a children's home as kids themselves.

    5. Wow. I am so sorry she couldn't see how this would inevitably affect you and do the best thing for you and your daughter. How sad.

      I am praying peace, comfort for you in this season and always.

  5. It’s living a life of psychological torture. You never feel as if your adoptive parents are your real parents. You just know it’s not true, and there’s no use in pretending.

    But you have to depend on them for your survival, so a bond forms. You don’t like being with them, but you have no choice. After a while you realize it’s too hard to fight it all the time, so you pretend your situation is livable.

    You feel like a fraud. You can never be what these people want. You can never be their child. You’ll only be a pretender.

    Finally you grow up and leave home.

    When you find your real family, they are strangers to you. They tell you that you belong with those other people now, you’re not part of our family anymore, we gave you to them. You are theirs now.

    So you really have nothing. You could never belong to your adoptive family, and your real family doesn’t want you back. And, you’re supposed be grateful that this happened to you.

    1. Dear Adoptomuss,

      Sorry to hear your birth family rejected you.

    2. adoptomuss, I am so very sorry for your pain.

      I hear your heart, loud and clear and I am so sorry you are in such turmoil. I say this not as a cliche or pat answer but truly from my heart...I am praying for you, dear one. xoxo

    3. So true .... well said ... 2 mothers, 2 fathers and nobody's child.

    4. I understand your pain as I have gone through a rollercoaster ride with this myself, adoptomuss and Anonymous. I don't say this as a pat answer, but as reality so please hear my heart. You may, in this life have 2 mothers, 2 fathers and not be those people's child. It stings, the pain seemingly unbearable at times.

      A scripture that has come to mean a lot to me in this regard is Psalm 27:10: "Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me."

      I know it hurts in a way that defies explanation when parents reject. And I want you to know, you are loved by God and He is there for you.

      Being that my column is "Spiritual Side" I feel within bounds to tell you this and to pray for you here.

      God, I come to you right now on behalf of Adoptomuss and Anonymous 12/24/2012 6:45 AM, and I ask you to show Yourself strongly to them. May they feel Your presence right now. Though earthly mother and father have rejected them, Your Word says you receive them. We know You get blamed for a lot of things You never cause. Human beings have a free will. Adoptomuss and Anonymous' parents have exercised their free wills in a way that greatly harms. I know Your heart is broken to, as you see Your children hurting. I ask that You wrap your loving arms around them now, give them peace that only You can give, the peace the Bible says, "passes understanding." It is a peace we feel but defies explanation in the midst of our trauma. Let these dear friends feel Your love right now. Amen.


    5. I have had the exact same experience as Adoptomuss. Obviously, I have a huge bond with my adoptive mother/siblings etc., but I don't fit in at all with them. I did trace my actual parents (i.e., the parents from whom my genes/ very being actually come) and was met with nothing but indifference and rejection. This is where the real alienation comes in: wanting to connect but having nowhere to turn. Having said that, even though my birth family were not kind, their conversation and they way they processed the world felt familiar when I spoke with them. From a young age, I was naturally inclined towards their inclinations and not the inclinations of my adoptive family. Without being able to label it, I was continuously frustrated, unfulfilled and angry inside. My birthmother could not look more like me if she tried, and I feel as if I innately know all her thoughts. This said, while I long for a connection with them, I can't but reject the notion, given that they place absolutely zero value on my life. I also find it difficult to know that I come from such unloving and cold people. I am very sensitive and if I had a child out there, I would spend the rest of my life trying to make up for abandoning her/him. I resent the time spent in confusion as an adoptee; a different kind of identity search goes on outside of that of the non-adopted person. I love my adoptive mother and she is my real mother. But it annoys me to have to play the game of house and to take on the identity of her relatives etc. They are not actually related to me. Adoptees are never allowed to complain - even writing this, I can hear the typical thoughts of non-adoptees who are always quick to comment on adoptees. Many people say they, too, wish they were adopted; however, like wealth, you have to have it in order to hate it. Being abandoned by your family is the worst feeling in the world. Everytime I hear parents speak of their precious children/grandchildren etc. I think of the people who do not give me a second thought and who are content to live with the knowledge that I feel utterly rejected by them.

  6. I completely understand. The wholeness didn't even come together when I found the birth mothers family. It came when I found my Dad. I wish more people understood this. I hate the lies that adoption has brought to my life. I have finally freed myself from some of them by finding my family. But I have also found acceptance to the horrible thing in my life. Adoption has haunted me as long as I can remember. The lies and secrets need to be taken out of adoption. My past is finally in the present.

    1. It's interesting how wholeness comes for people in certain "areas" of their reunion. For me, it is more with my birth sister. So much healing has come to my life through my relationship with her.

      Thank you for sharing.

  7. In explaining why she was reluctant to come to my state for a visit, my mom said, "Here (where she lives) everyone is your family -- we are all related. But out there (where I was adopted to, and still live) I am not related to your adoptive family; to anyone else." My response: "I'm not related to any of these people, either, Mom." She laughed. I'm glad, as that was the reaction I was going for... but I think it was the first time it occurred to her that I am no more 'related' to my adoptive family/people than she is. I was hoping she'd decide to come (and maybe she still will someday) but 7 years later, she still hasn't. We both traveled to a halfway city to meet -- just the two of us. I have also been out to where she lives once and traveled with my hubby twice to join family vacations scheduled around a holiday, so we have spent a fair amount of time together (for people who live 2,000+ miles apart) but I'd still like to show her around where I grew up. I don't actually care if she meets any of my adoptive family if she doesn't want to... I'd just like her to visit.

    1. That is totally understandable. It makes sense that you would want your mother to know your surroundings as a child, what your environment was like, etc.

  8. I am sitting here crying today and then I find this post. More tears. As I write this; my adoptive father (who I KNOW LOVED me but Mom ruled the house so we hardly ever saw him because he worked 2 jobs) is laying on his death bed in another state. I have searched for my birth family for 30 years and recently found I was never adopted, just given away and the Dr wrote I was born to "P&M B.." I have adopted children and some of their family has been in contact with me wanting to see them. Only one of them is over 17. All three of them are in counseling. I understand their needs but worry because of the family who didn't help these abused children are back! I worry about losing my children-and yet, they aren't mine. I am so lonely, scared, mourning. The Dr who gave me to my 'parents' is 86 and refuses to tell me anything. I am afraid he will die and I will never know. I have done DNA but nothing has come of that. I have attempted suicide twice in my life but now I won't because I am a Christian and I believe it is a sin. But there is no peace in my heart. My 'mom' does not love me and has hurt me in so many ways for so many years. When daddy is gone; I won't be anybody to her anymore. I am...Nobodys Girl

    1. I am so sorry your father is in such poor health, especially at the holidays. I know it must be so hard for you at this time, compounded with all of these other hurts, pains and fears. I know you may have already done this, and what I'm telling you is nothing new but will you please consider going to talk to a therapist? Not just any therapist or counselor but one who can understand things from the adoptee viewpoint, please? You need some support up close and personal, my friend. I call this kind of support, "Jesus with skin on." You need a real live person sitting next to you to provide some support, in my humble opinion. It just breaks my heart that you have already attempted suicide twice. I know you say you're not going to attempt it again because of your beliefs but to me it's not just about a possible suicide attempt but the pain that is very evident that remains! You have said you have no peace. My heart breaks for you.

      Your last line, "I am nobody's girl" just slays me. You've said you're a Christian so can I just remind you, you will forever be God's girl. When people ask me who I am I often introduce myself as "daughter of God." My favorite worship song is, "You alone are Father and You alone are good, You alone are Savior and You alone, are God..." I understand, my friend. My original father rejected me, would never even acknowledge my original mother's pregnancy and said I didn't exist. My adoptive father divorced my mother and moved 1,000 miles away. Things changed. I was devastated. I thought I'd never get up, emotionally again. But I did. Only through God's help.

      I know it totally sucks what has happened to you. I am not minimizing that at all but suggesting that God loves you and you are His daughter. It sucks. He knows it sucks. And He is wanting to comfort you, too.

      My friend, I beg you right now to click on this link and listen to this message I recently preached at our church.


      I share my story there and a message of hope and healing for you.

      You will forever be somebody's girl! You are precious! You are loved!

      I am praying for you.

      Much love

    2. You have to copy and paste that link in to your browser, then go to the message...thanks. :)

  9. My son is still walking; walking, talking, happy as a clam; one big family. One big family that does *not* include us, his original family, including three brothers, grandparents, cousins . . . many people.

    1. For now.

      Those are the operative words: FOR NOW.

      First, adoptees (especially guys) live in denial for a long time, many times. And for some, post adoption issues don't seem to start for a while. We're not cookie cutter human beings, maru67.

      Second, I recently became friends with an adoptee who told me that she seemed fine for 40 years and then all of a sudden on her 40th birthday month, she totally fell apart over post-adoption issues. She's been a mess, unpacking all of it every since.

      Your son is "walking, talking, happy as a clam, one big happy family...yada yada yada" AS FAR AS YOU KNOW...FOR NOW.

      God knows I'm sure you don't want him to be falling apart or a mess, you simply want a relationship with him. I totally get it. Let's pray that God will open his heart to that. Who knows what pressure he may feel to keep that "one big family" happy by not rocking the boat?? Who knows what's going on in his head?

      I am praying for him, and for you, that the desires of your heart be met.

      Much love

    2. I am 46 years old. I got a degree in counseling and social work, worked in the adoption industry for a bit, and also adopted a daughter. I studied about attachment and all of those other adoption terms. I was SO disconnected from all of it and never fully understood that all this applied to me. The say before I turned 46 I contacted my original dad after knowing his name for 19 years.

      So many lies and cover ups. I am mad and yet there is no one to really be mad at. I want to forgive and yet there is no one real person to forgive.

      These emotions are so powerful...your son is in survival mode for so many reasons.

      I am praying for you and your son. He will always be your son. I am so sorry that you are hurting.

    3. Julie, thank you so much for bravely sharing your wisdom here. <3 I appreciate you

    4. Thank you for your response. My son has said he has no pain and he is happy, that we are not his family and I should be happy with what I have. He is a 'raring to go' kind of person and seems to be superhuman. How hard will it be when it hits him? I'd rather he not arrive at that bottomless pit of pain and despair and hope he is truly happy, but I can only go by what he tells me and have to take him at face value because I love him, even though we don't speak and don't have a relationship. I went into our first meeting expecting an angry young man, and I was ready to shoulder the burden for actions that even I was not responsible for, but instead he was very sweet, yet indifferent. If his adoption issues come up I do hope he has loving support from whomever is in his life when that happens.

      Likewise, much love

    5. maru67, I don't know your son and I can't answer definitively one way or the other.

      I'm also not as versed on this as say, Amanda (LD founder/blogger) is on these issues. (She's what I'd classify as adoption researcher extraordinaire!)

      One of Amanda's posts I really appreciated along these lines is here:


      I share simply by what I've seen so far on blogs and other support sites where both female and male adoptees share, as well as those I've met. There seems to be such a common experience.

      I am not so naive as to believe that there aren't happy adoptees. I don't consider myself unhappy. Just because we are not happy about adoption in it's current form (with the current structure/laws) doesn't mean we are unhappy people.

      Your son may be truly happy in life!

      He may also have adoption issues unaddressed despite the general happiness he has in life. I can't imagine that someone has absolutely zero post adoption issues to settle, but I guess all things are possible and there are rare exceptions. Again, that is my opinion.

      I know you just want the best for him and you would never wish on him a bottomless pit of pain and despair. Heavens no.

      I am so sorry that it hasn't worked out for him to be in close relationship with you and the other family members. <3

  10. As much as I loved and identified with the original post by Dianna, the comment section has been a magnificent testimonial of just how right on Dianna is. I'm not much in a talkative mood right now, so I'll just nod in agreement with everything that I have read on this page.

    Wishing love and healing to all of my sisters here

    1. Good point. Often my favorite parts of a blog post are the comments. :)

      Lifting you up in prayer today, anonymous.

      I have lots to pray about after the comment thread, and it's a privilege to lift all of you up!!!


  11. Great post Deanna -
    I'm an adult adoptee. I contacted my birth mother by phone about 15 years ago, but my calls and letters eventually went unanswered, and so I stopped writing, not wanting to intrude, and not wanting to seem too needy, too desperate. Now I go back and forth between wanting to try again and giving up the idea of some sort of reunion relationship entirely. I never got to meet my birth grandmother (she passed away after I made contact). Now, I hate that I'm still so torn. I hate that I'm still my BM's shameful secret, even though I'm a married mother of two pre-teens. I get frustrated that this is still an issue in my life. I often wish it were really as easy as the adoption agency people told my adoptive family it would be - that I'd just forget all about my birth family, (and my past, and my truth) and I'd just be happy someone "chose me" and someone else "loved me enough to give me up", and that we'd all move on and the matter would be as sealed and fixed as my original birth certificate. But here we are. Our past is our present, just as you say. We are still trying to cope. We are trying to find our place. We are still on that journey. Love to all my sisters here.

  12. "I often wish it were really as easy as the adoption agency people told my adoptive family it would be..."

    So many adoptees report this experience.

    "I get so frustrated that this is still an issue in my life."

    What frustrates me, PattiH, is that non-adoptees often think we have a choice to make it a non-issue. If they classify denial a non-issue, perhaps. The reality is,it's "still" an issue because you're "still" adopted. If they'd just change that...


  13. thank you, you say it perfectly, adoptition is like a monkey on my back and no one seems to agree with me ...except you : )

    1. Well Anonymous, let 2013 be your year for health and wholeness. I believe it can be!

      I'm not the only one who agrees with you, I assure you. Lost Daughters is full of folks who understand just where you're coming from.

      Finally, a place where you're very much understood. Welcome. <3

    2. I always told my aparents that I wasn't a puppy

  14. This was a perfect adoption message for this time of year, as Winter begins and we face a new beginning in 2013. As both my birth parents and adoptive parents are no longer here, I am free to completely redefine what "family" means to me. The process of turning my old diaries into a memoir, THE GOODBYE BABY, has brought me to a fresh understanding of how my assumptions shrank my ability to love. My birth mother was not the heartless villain I'd imagined her to be nor were my adoptive parents saints. They all did the best they could. The fault was with the times, the shame and secrecy then surrounding "adoption." If only my parents were still here, I could relate to them with such love and compassion...All I can do, however, is to build on THE NOW.

  15. You say: "The fault was with the times, the shame and secrecy then surrounding "adoption."

    So true in so many adoptee cases.

    I so agree with you that we have to "build on the NOW" and that means continually putting ourselves in position for health/wholeness.

    Love your idea of turning your old diaries into a memoir and love your title!

  16. Deanna...how is it that you can say all the things I think feel and want to say just about every time you write. I may just get brave enough to share this on my FB page...

    1. (((((Julie)))))

      My new friend of just the past few months...

      On this Christmas Eve can I say what a blessing it is to have "met" you this past year?

      Now that I've said that, let me say that I wasn't always this brave. If you read all my posts on LD you will clearly see that. And well, as for bravery, I still don't blog about adoption on my daily blog. I'm sooooo much a work in progress!!

      I have only been blogging about adoption publicly since July and decided to do it first here on Lost Daughters (if accepted as a contributor). I had hopes of getting my feet wet in writing about adoption in a supportive environment, all pro-adoptee.

      I've been characterized by some as brave for other things I've done or overcome throughout my life, but adoption was one place I couldn't go. I was in terrible fear of this prior to coming to LD. The place this touches in my soul was far too sensitive to be left in the open to be trampled by uneducated, and sometimes cruel people who just don't understand. (You know, as an adoptee, you've encountered them too, throughout your life.) I always assumed this would be the one thing I couldn't bring myself to write about. Then last October all that changed and I knew I had to write, I just didn't know how I'd manage to do it. (Emotionally) A few friends spurred me on -- non-adoptees who are extremely understanding and believe in me.

      I contacted Amanda Woolston and was overwhelmed by how she and the LD community welcomed me. It has changed my life.

      Why do I share all this...well, just to say I was where you are just a few short months ago. You ARE going to get brave enough. And we're all here to help you.

      You have something to say in a way that only you can say it. I can't wait until you do!

      I knew in my heart last October when I first came here that I would one day put myself totally out there for public consumption on my own page. But I couldn't stand there by myself...yet. I needed the help, the support, the healing elements of this community. I will always be here, no matter where else I write. It's a place I love to be. <3 The cool thing is, even thought almost all of the LD bloggers have their own adoption blogs none of us ever "stand alone."

      I am still working on my adoption blog. A good portion of it is ready to go, but I've had to set a deadline for myself to publish it. To be honest, right now I'm sort of like a baby bird that is very comfortable in the nest. It's so warm here and safe. Like, why would I wanna write outside of this? LOL Even when I receive the occasional zinger or two from outside of adoptee world, my sisters are here to soothe it away. :) What's not to love? :)

      Thanks for your comment, sweet friend. Much love, and remember, you're brave too!! <3

  17. Thank you , Deanna. It is nice to have this kind of friend. I value your wisdom and your bravery.

    I just wish we all didn't have to be so brave.

    I was telling my counselor the other day...my biggest wish in all of this is that I didn't have to be my daughter's mother. I wish my daughter's mother in China could have kept her. I don't know the circumstances of course, but I am so sad for her mother, my own mother, her, me and both of our fathers.

    I miss my dad on Christmas Eve, even in the midst of all my family, my husband's family, friends, Jesus and Joseph and Mary. I still miss my dad. I have longed for him so long. I know he is at home and he loves me...I still miss him. I have always missed him. It will get better.

    I went to a funeral for a young friend yesterday (she is 52). The pastor said, we have to grieve, but we have to grieve with hope. I am grieving with hope.

    1. You said: "I just wish we all didn't have to be so brave."

      I know.

      I think all this should be a no brainer.

      I am so sorry for you with he loss of your father and will keep you close in heart and in prayer.

      The pastor is right...we do grieve with hope. He speaks of I Thessalonians 4:13: "And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope."

      THANK GOD we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

      We have hope. Cling to it.


  18. Deanna,

    You may have misunderstood....I have my real dad and talk to him several times a week. I am just still mourning the loss of him in my life for 45 years. He and I just have the best and sweetest relationship...in some ways it is like he raised me, and in other ways, clearly not.

    I just still feel the loss of him every day. Like some other person wrote we have to stand between two families, never totally being a part of either one.

    I cannot imagine, however, having a better relationship with my father. I knew from the moment I met him that he was the real deal.

    I totally have hope...

    1. Ohhhh yes, I did misunderstand! Thank you, for clarifying. <3 So glad you still have him. Soooo glad!!

  19. Wow, you are really amazing Deanna. I am so glad you are here.

    1. Thanks Anonymous! I'm so glad I'm here too! This place has changed my life. <3

  20. Deanna, what a good post. I've been connected to adoption personally and professionally, and I always cringe when folks say things along the lines of "I knew a kid who was so happy with his adoptive family that he didn't care about finding his birth family." Happiness with the adoptive family shouldn't preclude a relationship with the birth family. Thankfully, it's never been adoptive parents, birth parents, or adoptees who've said this to me; usually it's (older) relatives of the adopting parents. I wonder if the fear of openness might be less prominent in today's parents than it was, say, 30 years ago?

  21. Deanna, what a wonderful post! I could identify with everything you said. Hugs, Mary Payne

  22. Mary, thank you so much for reading and commenting. Much love to you


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