All of you non-adopted people.
None of you know what it’s like to be adopted.
No one expects you to, either. You can’t possibly understand fully because you are not adopted. However, there are a few things I would like to address, and hopefully clear up.
You don’t know what it feels like to grow up without anyone related to you by blood. To constantly wonder what the people who do share your DNA look like. To look around you and see not a single face that resembles yours.
You don’t know what it’s like to yearn for someone to share your traits with. Your freckles, your closed earlobes, your hair, your laugh, your smile, your eyes, your weird taste buds, your interests.
You don’t know what it’s like to be told you look nothing like your parents or siblings, or what it feels like to be told that you do. To fumble with the dilemma of either telling this person you’re adopted and risk hurting your parents, or shutting your mouth and hurting yourself by keeping your truth a secret.
You don’t know what it’s like to be told you are ‘lucky’, that you were saved from a worse fate, or to be expected to feel grateful for the people who adopted you. Your parents. What if abusive people adopted us? My dad is a narcissist who, even after thirty-one years of abuse and finally cutting him off, I am still grateful for. I am grateful for the woman who took me in and loved me as she would her own biological child. But who are YOU to tell ME or anyone else what to be grateful for?
You don’t know what it’s like for us when we find our biological families, or when they find us like in my rare circumstance. You don’t know the feelings of joy, wholeness, nervousness, and excitement that come with creating relationships with these strangers who oddly don’t feel like strangers. You don’t understand how it feels when you finally see resemblance in people when you’ve gone your entire life thus far without that.
In cases not like mine, you nor I know what it’s like to be told that you don’t matter to the people who gave you life, to the person who carried you, or to the siblings, aunts, uncles, or grandparents you may have.
You don’t understand that even if we are rejected, finding these people and learning about our heritage is something most of us NEED to do for ourselves. We want to get questions answered, find our roots, discover who we were and who our families were before we left. You don’t know what it feels like to grow up with none of that, or very little at the least.
You don’t know what it’s like to find out that your parents had information about your biological family and lied to you about it. The rage that ignites. The betrayal, the pain, and all of the what-if’s and could-have’s that flood your head. The fact that you could have known these people and gotten answers so much sooner.
So, of course you don’t know what it’s like when we find people who can give us answers – but refuse to.
I personally don’t know what that’s like because I am one of the very lucky and rare few who was accepted by all members of my biological family. But I have seen this happen to people in my adoptee groups, and now it has happened to someone close to me, sparking this passionate letter.
I am addressing ALL of you non-adoptees because it pertains to you. I am angry for this person. I am furious for them, hurt for them. I cannot understand why anyone would shut a door to someone else’s information just because they feel ‘uncomfortable’.
YOU’RE uncomfortable? Why? Because one of your parents may have cheated on the other and you’re afraid of rocking the boat on your supposed picture-perfect vision of your family? YOU’RE uncomfortable because your parents may have given up a child for adoption and never told you, and you don’t want to share? YOU’RE uncomfortable because your sibling gave up a child for adoption and you want to respect their wishes because they don’t want to be found? YOU’RE uncomfortable because you fathered a child you never knew about and need time to process?
WHAT ABOUT US?! What about the products of your or your family member’s lies, mistakes, decisions? We have the RIGHT to know our roots, our family members, our biological history. We have the RIGHT to, at the very least, know who gave us up. We yearn to know the what, when, where, why, and how as well. We understand the situations are sometimes traumatic and we don’t want anyone to relive that. But we still deserve to know.
You have all the right in the world to want nothing to do with us. You have the right to your feelings and decisions. You have the right to process this Earth-shattering news. You have the right to refuse a relationship with us, and, quite frankly, you DO have the right to refuse to speak with us, to refuse to give us the information we seek. But do not expect us to go quietly. The internet is a powerful thing, and someone else in your family might be far more willing to talk than you.
We do not know what it’s like to suddenly have our world shaken up by someone crashing down our views of our families, or opening up a giant secret. But guess what? We had our entire world shaken up from the very beginning.
So if someone comes to you because you matched on a DNA test or have some other source, if someone messages you or calls you saying they were adopted and believes you are their biological father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandchild, cousin, or whathaveyou – PLEASE don’t shut doors in their faces. If you truly want nothing to do with them, give them the information and go on your way.
We are adoptees. We are people who know little to nothing about our beginnings. We have no roots to reference, no heritage to learn about, no nationality to be proud of. We are just looking to put together the pieces of our pasts.
At the very least, please give us the answers we are seeking.