“I Wish I Was Adopted”

I never understood why I didn’t like when people say they wish they were adopted until I read this excerpt this morning. I get that those people are hurting and have experienced trauma, but adoption is also trauma. A whole other different world of trauma. And while traumas should never be compared, they are different. Having not experienced one, wishing for that life is ignorant and hurtful to those who have. It invalidates their pain and experiences.

Adoption isn’t just you growing up with different parents who love and respect you. It’s growing up with people who are not biologically related to you. It’s being placed with complete strangers after bonding with someone for nine months. It’s being ripped away from that bond and learning at an early age that you can’t trust anyone. Of course it’s possible to learn to trust people again later on, but that very first connection you had was severed. It is enormously difficult to trust other people after a trauma like that.

Adoption is growing up wondering who your biological parents were, what they were like, if they had the same smile, hair, skin, dimples, laugh, walk, eye color, and personalities as you. It’s growing up around people who look nothing like you, and more often than not, you were lied to about your story. Not told everything. Made to feel inadequate, guilty, and like you can’t be yourself or your parents won’t love you.

Adoption is being given family tree homework and having to say you don’t know, because you’re adopted. It’s getting to genetics class in middle school or high school and feeling frozen because you don’t know what traits your biological parents have. It’s having to tell your doctors that you have no medical history, and being bombarded by this your entire life. Even after being reunited with your biological family; how awkward do you think it is to ask them for their medical history? If they have a history of this or that in their family? These are strangers, even though they gave you life.

Adoption is being ripped up and planted somewhere else with no watering, no warning, no adjustment period. It’s very much like digging up a tree, cutting off most of its roots, and expecting it to be fine.

Roots don’t grow back. You grow new ones. The old ones are severed, dead. Even if you meet your biological family later in life and learn about those roots, they’re gone. Knowledge is not the same as feeling, it’s not physical. Knowing where and who you came from, your family history, genetics, and their personalities, is not the same as growing up with those people, nurturing those roots.

Adoption is not some fix for your pain. Wishing you had different parents is very different than wishing you were adopted. Please mind what you say. The grass is always greener on the other side in your head, but for someone else, it could be a dark and haunted place.

*Excerpt is from the book You Don’t Look Adopted.

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