Thoughts on adoption

27 Jan


I mentioned I was adopted in my introduction and while I don’t want to blow the importance of that out of proportion, I thought it’d be a good thing to share some thoughts on it. Who knows, it might help a few people out there, who might be embarking on a search for a birth parent or a lost offspring. It is an important aspect of my life’s tapestry, and has had some effect on who I’ve become, but the story of my life is constantly being written, and there’s no reason why the uncovering of a previously secret history means you have to constantly look backwards instead of forwards. On the contrary, knowing your place in the world, which is hopefully what fuller knowledge of one’s origins can bring about, can only mean that you look forward.

In a bittersweet way, however, there is no way of getting past the fact that adoption is about grief and loss. I’ve always known I was adopted, but I’ve not always known about the loss or how to deal with it. It’s kind of been there, but wasn’t so great as to be recognisable. Some adoptees go their whole lives without exploring their past or feelings at all, which is ok, if they are ok with knowing no more.

Sadly, where it is needed, society doesn’t allow adoptees, and especially birth mothers, to grieve the loss and I’m only just starting to realise how damaging that could be.

In a way it seems impossible to experience grief for a loss you cannot remember (in my case), but when you are told of the loss and the life changing outcome, you have no choice but to react. But how do you react to something that society seems to ignore? To be involved with adoption is a lesson in loss. My adopted parents lost the dream of having kid of their own (although I would later become theirs), my birth mother lost me and I lost her and in the event lost an old life in favour of a new one. I also inherited two families- one I would grow up with and another I would never know.

The emotional aspect of this has been surprising and quite intense, as although I’ve now met Moira (my birth mother), and heard her stories, the story doesn’t end there. How we choose to work through our recently forged relationship, and what the perimeters of that relationship may eventually be, remains to be seen.

But knowing each other is alive and well, is perhaps the most important things for both of us, especially for a woman who had to loose a child and potentially never see it again.


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