History Matters

My natural mom is currently visiting family this week, specifically my brothers, sister-in-law, and nieces. I told someone about her visit earlier this week, and they responded, “Why didn’t you go with her?” I stood there in stunned silence for what seemed like a really long time before I responded, “Because it never even occured to me.”

One of the fascinating things about being adopted and reunited is that you get to see the ties of genetics and still understand and respect the strength of history. For a lot of my natural mom’s life and the large majority of my natural brothers’ lives, their family unit was each other. For the majority of my life, my family unit was my adoptive parents and my adoptive brother. 

While I share genetics with my natural family and history with my adoptive family, my natural mom and brothers share both genetics and history. I’m not suggesting that makes their bond stronger, but it certainly makes it different. Different enough that I never had a single thought it would be desired or even appropriate for me to visit too. 

For some, that might be sad, but it’s really not to me. The fact is, my natural family shares a history that I have no place in, and while I am excited to create a history with them, there is also a time and place for them to celebrate that history without me. 

As I write this, they are enjoying their last night together for this visit, and I hope they are having a blast!


I am a Selfish Adoptee

As you might imagine, I read numerous blog posts about adoption. It’s helpful to see what other adoptees, natural parents, and adoptive parents say about their respective journeys. Most of the time those posts give me encouragement, but occasionally one will frustrate me. I read one of the frustrating ones about a week ago.

The writer was an adoptee who has been told it is “selfish” to search for members of her birth family. She posted questions that have been posed to her throughout the years, including: “Your adoptive family is so great! Why would you need anyone else?” She also cited an online comment regarding a question posed on Debate.org about adopted children seeking their biological parents without their consent. In short the comment read, “The adopted child should get down on his knees and THANK GOD who intervened on the child’s behalf and provided warm, stable, loving parents…”

If understanding where you come from is selfish…

If knowing your medical history is selfish…

If desiring to have a relationship with people who carry your DNA is selfish…

If wanting to expand your definition of family is selfish…

If hoping to find someone who looks like you is selfish…

Then I am a selfish adoptee. And I wear that moniker with pride because getting to know my natural family equals the blessing I had in being raised by my adoptive one.

For those who regard this as “selfish” in a negative way, I raise this simple question, “Can you ever really have enough connections to people who love you and understand you?” Because that’s what I have in both my natural and adoptive families. And I wish more people had that too!

Adoption and the Greeting Card Industry

Last night, I went to the local mall in search of Father’s Day cards. I found the card for my adoptive dad with ease. And then came the struggle. Finding a card for my natural dad.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me swiftly say that my relationship with my natural dad is progressing as expected. Not too fast, not too slow. Definitely not like my relationship with my natural mom, but that’s because she overwhelms my natural reservation about becoming attached to people.

No, the issue with finding a card for my natural dad isn’t because I’m dissatisfied with the relationship. It’s because the greeting card industry doesn’t think about situations like mine. So, when the very nice lady at the store asked, “Are you finding everything you need,” I found myself responding (very honestly) “Hallmark doesn’t make what I need.”

Because I can’t talk about how he’s always been there. And I can’t talk about memories from when I was a little girl. And I can’t say how lucky I am that he raised me. And I can’t say he’s always been my hero.

The cold, hard facts are that I don’t know him very well, though every discovery points to the fact that we are very similar. And I have approximately 8 hours of memories with him, not years and years worth. But that doesn’t change the other cold, hard fact – he’s my dad and I love him.

It’s not just difficult buying cards for him. I struggle every time I look for a card for my natural mom, my natural brothers, etc. etc. Despite living in a world where thousands upon thousands of people are adopted, the greeting card industry has yet to figure out that we need cards designed for our situations too. Perhaps that will be my next career – writing cards for adopted kids to give their natural family upon reuniting.

In the interim, I will search (and search) for cards that say something, without saying too much. And then I’ll write my own words to try to explain why the sentiment on the card is appropriate and legitimate. 

Oh, and just so you know, I did find a good card – well, it’s good after my additions!