Adoptees are always looking. I’ve been asked, “When did you decide to look for your biological family?” When have I not? We look in any crowd of people for familiar faces. We look when we travel places. We look for people we’re told we look like. We’re always looking just in case our biological family might be among us. And we’re always looking to possibly, finally look like someone else.

I’m grateful to have been adopted, but I don’t necessarily like that I’m an adoptee. It saddens me that life with my biological family evaded me. It’s tragic that my biological mother didn’t tell my biological father that she was pregnant and going to relinquish me. There’s a huge release for me in writing this.

Growing up I was often times bordering on angry. I never quite knew why at the time. It’s rear view mirror for me now. I felt out of place. I was trying my best to conform to my adopted family, but felt vastly different inside. I’ve “enjoyed” all the typical adoptee comments about how I “really do look like my adopted family because when we live with people long enough we start to look like them.” That always makes me want to SCREAM! Aren’t we lucky we were chosen? Well, I had to be available to be chosen in order to achieve that status. My favorite is when my adopted family tries to act like I inherited certain talents or abilities from them. NO! All I ever wanted to be was my own person and for everyone to stop sweeping under the rug that I genetically and biologically originated from others. It’s part of my soul and my truth. Pretending to get this or that from my adopted family, or to supposedly look like any of them is absolutely ludicrous. It gives merit to the “illegitimate” status we have as adoptees. It makes me feel bogus and phony. Like there’s something wrong with being who I really am. I want to be me and to be accepted for the me that my biological parents made. These are the things adopted families need to know. There’s trauma in being relinquished by your birth family, and tragedy in not living life with them.

The “ghost trauma”, the trauma not acknowledged by families who adopt, isn’t cured or healed at the time of adoption. That’s where it begins. It hides itself in the form of guilt, shame, fear of rejection and abandonment. It manifested itself later in life for me once I was able to become my own person. I’m a 44 year old woman who is just now dealing with all of these issues that were suppressed for all these years.

It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to speak out loud the reality of being an adoptee. We’re not programmed like that though. I wasn’t. I felt I was to be grateful for a home and seldom spoke of or asked about my birth family. In the last few years I’ve experienced the joy of reunion and the sadness of rejection. I’ve recently been listening to the podcast, Adoptees On, and have been so empowered by the familiarity of those telling their stories. It has replaced my exercise music and my drive playlist. I’ve also recently read You Don’t Look Adopted which was like reading my own thoughts. Very profound impact!!! Both of these have empowered me to tell my story, which is still evolving. It’s continuous. I hope to share my thoughts and feelings with others in an effort to continue to heal myself, and hope to spread the healing to others. Adoption is complicated.

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