Get By With a Little Help

(Pictured are the first two people I’ve ever known myself to look like. I love my girls.)

Peer support is one of a kind. I say this as I socialize minimally and live out in the country on a road so narrow you have to veer off a little when passing other vehicles to make room for both. Peer support is why we gravitate towards certain people. They get us! Being with or talking with them feels good. I’ve never known anything quite like the comfort of an adoptee peer until several years ago a friend of mine who has three adopted children put me in contact with my friend Anne, a fellow adoptee. While I’ve only met Anne in person once, we text often. I credit Anne with finding my birth father for me. He was a parent/child match for me on Ancestry DNA, then I realized there were about a half a million people in this country with his same name. I had to stalk him first before considering contacting him.

Anne “gets me”. While she had a different experience with her adopted family than I, we took on the same burdens of guilt wanting to know about our biological selves and families. How would that impact our adopted families, our immediate families, and our biological families? We are programmed to take up minimal space and be grateful. Not seek more. She and I both fear rejection. We both grieve. We commiserate. It’s validating for me to know I’m not the only person feeling this way. We’ve also both experienced issues which manifested themselves later in life. And we both know together that IT’S OKAY!

The adoptee FB groups and podcasts have broken the chains free for me to express what’s eaten at me for way too many years. I love my adoptee groups. I love that I’ve never met any of these people, but connect and bond with them.

Published by Leigh Bailey

I'm a 44 year old adoptee who's experienced reunion as well as secondary rejection. I was relinquished at birth by my mother, and adopted at three days old. I was adopted by a nice family and given a loving home. But there were issues. Adoption was rarely discussed in my home. I felt I was to only be grateful, and not wish for my biological family. I struggled with confidence and feared rejection and abandonment in relationships. I've experienced reunion with my biological father who DID NOT know I existed. I've reached out to my birth mother who refuses to acknowledge me. I've discovered the healing power of verbalizing feelings which I've held inside all these years. I believe those who adopt need to understand the importance of being educated on the psyche of an adoptee. They need to fully understand the trauma associated with being given away no matter what age it occurs. It is imperative that adopted parents talk openly about this with adoptees. To acknowledge the trauma and address the grief that accompanies the trauma of losing your family helps to unlock your authenticity. Adoptees have an identity aside of their adopted family. It needs to be nourished and accepted. I'm very lucky to have a supportive husband who cheers me on as I journey. In addition, I have two amazing daughters who love and support me and have learned that life isn't always wrapped up in a pretty little package.

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