"Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say."
"Always look on the bright side of life?"
"No, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.'"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Explaining Adoption, from the Child's View

This weekend, my husband received an email from a member of my family. In that email the following was said regarding my biological family:

"... In all honesty that is the only word i really need to say... adopted... she never would have been part of this family if her own parents loved her enough to keep her no matter the hardships and make sure she grew up knowing who her biological parents are. ...perhaps is what caused Tamy so much internal conflict the fact that her non-adopted family abandoned her and only her, not her sisters, that she was without their love until she tracked them down, until she said hey here i am... and they said oh yeah oops hope you had a good life so far now that you can take care of yourself want to be part of our family".

After getting past the knife to my heart over those comments, I decided maybe I should give a little insight into my upbringing.


I realize in this day and age, unplanned pregnancies are normal and even rewarded, some people do not understand the need or reason for adoptions; it is considered giving up or being selfish. This couldn't be further from the truth. I can only speak from personal experience but very few people understand the feeling and emotions of an adopted child. Only children of adoption themselves can truly empathize.

I was one of the lucky children who always knew I was adopted. The family joke was if my parents hadn't told me, my cousin Suzie would have. But honestly, it would have been a short secret any way. By the time I was 10 years old, I was taller than almost everyone on my dad's side of the family (not the marry-ins). I have dark hair and brown eyes and a completely different build. My family was varying shades of blonds and light brown and blue eyes. Either short, really thin or "meaty" or very tall and thin. I looked Italian and German, they didn't. It was obvious.

My mom would tell the story about how I told a cousin that "My mom chose me. Your mom was stuck with you." (I got in trouble for that one, lol) I was told from early on that I was special and that God sent me to my parents because I was just what they needed. And that it broke my biological mother's heart to give me up but she wanted me to have a life she couldn't give me.

See, my biological mother was raped. She dated a guy a few times and he got her drunk and took the one thing she wouldn't give him, her virginity. Shortly thereafter she met her husband. They struggled for months trying to decide whether I would be better off with parents who weren't tainted by a rape. Though it was the hardest decision a 20 year old could make, my mother made it. She did what was ultimately best for her child, disregarding her own pain and loss. That takes courage and strength most people will never understand or fathom. As an adult, I can only hope that if I had been in my mother's situation, I could have had the same courage she did.

She made the right choice. I never lacked for love from my parents, grandparents, cousins, etc. Aside from a few bumps in the road, I had a happy life.

When my mother's bipolar disorder finally presented shortly after I turned 13, I was a bitter kid. I was angry at my biological mother for giving me to this crazy woman. I was hurt because I didn't understand why she didn't want me. It was hard to understand in my adolescent mind. At 13, most kids are all about themselves and I was no different. But when I grew up, the understanding came. My mother (Donna) did the best she could with what she had; because of that I will always love and respect her.

At 20 years old, I found my biological family. Not because I felt unfulfilled or unloved by my adopted family, not because I was insecure about the love I was given, but I was curious. I wanted questions answered and medical history. I planned on nothing more. I was lucky once again; I gained another set of parents and two of the most amazing sisters a girl could ask for. There was no need to place blame or accusations, I understood.

I now have a beautiful and loving relationship with both my biological family and my adoptive family (well, for the most part. Everyone has those few people in there family that are a thorn in their side). And for that fact, I truly have been blessed.


Anonymous said...

That's beautiful, Tammy. You are a credit to both "sets" of parents and truly a good hearted woman.

jennifercarol said...

You really are an amazing woman Tammy!

Jewels said...

((Trig)) Wow, your story brought tears to my eyes, I'm so glad you shared that story, I am so heartbroken with my sons biological father leaving when he was 8 months old, and now, at age 12, his emotions about it are higher than ever, he almost obsesses on why his father walked away, he’s so angry, hurt, sad and curious and I don’t know what to tell him, I hope someday he can forgive his biological father, my son was meant to be, I was meant to have him, and Reed was meant to be his Dad.