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Someone had been curious about my adopted back story (and OH! don't I have many) and so I decided instead of linking back to the badly written post from a year or so ago, I'd make a better go of it.

My biological mother (Jane) was 17 when she had me. Her parents were "upstanding" folk (read: high school principal) and I doubt she was given much choice in the matter. In fact, my grandfather accepted a transfer to BC for the year when she was in the family way, and the only came back when she was about to give birth. Or so I was told. It doesn't make much sense to me.

I was adopted by a man and a woman, Marie and Francis, who couldn't have children. They already had my brother, also adopted. He's 6 years my senior, give or take a few months. I had an incredible childhood, for the most part.

I always knew that I was adopted, just like other children knew they had blue eyes, or long legs. It was part of me, part of my identity. No one ever said it was bad. It just was. I remember my father telling me that they picked me special, and they still had the receipt just in case they wanted to take me back.

And they really did. I don't know what it was for exactly, but it was a receipt for 8.75 I believe.

As the years went on, it became obvious I was not the "fruit of their loins"-I hit about 5'9, my brother about 5'12 or 6'0, and our parents are/were about 5'0, Marie being about a half inch taller than Francis, which she exploited. But I didn't feel weird about it, it never bothered me. Of course, I was busy at the time with my mother dying and all. It just was. It was always a good lesson in acceptance.

Since I was young, I knew I would want to meet my biological parents. Like many adopted children, I made up stories about where I really was from, and who my parents were. I shared this story with a guy I hung out with once when I was 9 or so. All I remember is that my parents were from some planet called 'Jeremiah" and that I had to be safely stored on Earth until they could come for me. He had a similar story, but I forget it now.

It's not that I wanted to escape, I just wanted to belong. Heritage Days were hell for me, because I did not know WHO I was. Sure, I had a sheet of non-identifying information, but all that told me was, basically, my parents were skinny, into gymnastics and young. It claimed I had an English/dutch background, but nothing more. No details like the other children had, carrying heirlooms from their grandparents who fled the Nazi's. Nothing like what my father had done about his Irish background, pure Irish on both sides. He drew up his coat of arms, traced his lineage back.

I couldn't help but notice that his blood was dying out with him. Sure, his brother had a daughter, but it wasn't the same. (This is a very large part of why my daughters carry his name, out of respect and honour. Because a man as good as my father deserves to be honoured.)

I'd sit in the back of the room, close to tears because it was the one day of the year that reminded me I knew nothing about what I was. I knew who I became, but I knew nothing before. For a girl raised to be a history buff, it was painful, and irritating. I watched my schools be so careful to be inclusive to everyone, and yet I had the choice to either sit and watch, or "pretend" my adoptive family's history was my own.

I hated the idea, I hated the teacher who suggested it. I couldn't stomach the idea of pretending to be something I wasn't. And I knew I couldn't do it anyway, as I watched the pride on everyone else's faces.

They didn't get it, the teachers, my parents, friends. It solidified my resolve to find my family, my history.

A few years went by, and I didn't think much of it. After my mother died, it was rough, and it was really the last thing on my mind. I knew my father was supportive-he thought it would be crazy to NOT want to know who I was. I knew it hurt him to say this though. I'm sure the secret thoughts told him I might not love him as much, that they would be better.

I don't think I could have ever, could ever convince him that this would never be true. I love my father in a profound deep way, and part of that love is due to the fact that he never caged me or stopped me from doing the things that were necessary, even if painful.

A few more years, a lot more shit in my life, and I finally end up under his roof again at 17 or 18. I argue with my brother about attending a 'ParentFinders" meeting, something he is vehemently opposed to. (He's never had any interest in finding his parents, and we wish he would.) I go anyway, and add my name to a list, along with my "code" and the part of my birth name I was given.

I go home, deciding I'm not ready for any of it. But I don't remove my name from their list.

About 8 months later I believe, a few days after Christmas, I receive a phone call asking me if I'm sitting down. They found my mother, who had been searching for me. She wants to call me, can she call me? Am I OK with that?

Is anyone ever prepared for that phone call? Hi, we found your PAST, would you like to talk to it?

About an hour later, the phone rang again. It was my mother.

It was weird, and uncomfortable, and surreal. My MOTHER. The person who carried me and bore me and likely, if my own children are any indication, cursed me as I sat on her bladder for months. This is the girl who had to let her baby go. The person I wondered about for ages and ages.

I don't remember the phone call. I remember feeling that I should have been more excited. But I felt nothing. I forced myself to cry, but I really didn't FEEL anything.

And to make a long story short, the woman who is my mother and I didn't really get along. Too many expectations, too many assumptions. I fell in love, and wanted to go, get into the world out of high school, she wanted me to live with her. She wanted me to become some automatic daughter who listened and sat up straight and didn't smoke pot with her husband.

I wasn't what she expected. She had expectations, whereas I was just hoping she wouldn't be a bitch.

The only Christmas I spent with her, she became very ill, and I felt like my world was just shitting all over me, and I silently thanked myself for not becoming invested emotionally. I stood next to her while she was in bed, as she screamed for me to get out, to leave her alone, and I stood outside, shattered as the ambulance took her away. It was too real, it was too eerie and similar, and the rest of the family didn't know what to do, what to say and again, I was just a girl left out of everything, trying to find her place.

I can't say that I tried very hard after that. We'd talk, but when I got married, I could tell she was unimpressed, and the entire family (and my biological family is big) showed up for the wedding. I had no idea why. My mother seemed surly about the whole thing, and insisted on paying for the cake, despite me knowing she didn't want to. I didn't want her there, yet I did. From there on in, it only got more strained. The last contact I had was a birthday card unsigned. That was the straw on my back.

And who knows, maybe I did something, and I don't remember. That's always possible. I don't know.

My brother, who had sporadic contact with my family, told one of my cousins I was pregnant, and I received a call from my grandmother, who was awesome. I regretted not having more time with her. We talked about the family, she talked about my grandfather having heart problems, and how happy they were to be grandparents.

What she didn't tell me was that she was dying from terminal cancer.

3 weeks after Vivian was born, my brother called to tell me she had passed. I signed an online condolence book, leaving my email address. I regret to this day not knowing her better, the one and only thing I really regret. My mother contacted me again, and we talked on and off, via email. But neither of us ever called. And again, we slowly lost contact.

Some days I want her, my entire family in my life. Other days, it makes me feel like a traitor. I want my girls to know where they're from, I want my mother to be a grandmother.

But my emails go unanswered, And I'm too chicken shit to call, afraid of what might not be said.

So that's one of my stories, one of many. I know that many of us who have connected have similar stories. Please share them as well. I feel so alone with this sometimes.

A Perfect Post

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My adoption story is amazingly similar to yours. My biological mother had me when she was 19. Her parents were rather strict, and insisted that she marry my father, or give me up for adoption. Obviously, she chose adoption. I was adopted by a pastor and his wife who were infertile. Like you, I always knew I was adopted. People always ask me, "What was it like when you found out that you were adopted???" I just always knew. As time went by, I realized how different I was from my parents. (Besides appearance, I could never quite grasp their religion and I became quite rebellious.) I followed in my bio mom's footsteps by delivering my first child at the age of 19. My parents had always kept in contact with my biological family, and after my son was born, I met my "real" mother.

It's been 8 years now, and we still communicate. It's always awkward though. Every once in awhile, we visit. She has two other daughters, and there is a part of me that is jealous about their bond. More often than not, she is sending money or doing extravagant things for me...I'm sure to help with the guilt.

I'm definitely glad I met her. It explained a lot of things for me. I remember the first time someone said "Wow you really look like your mother." It was such a strange thing to hear. I had never looked like anyone! I wonder if it will ever really be less awkward.

I cannot imagine what that must have been like. I've always wondered why some people have an intense desire to know where they came from, and others just don't care.

a belated happy birthday to you. Sorry I missed it but Bloglines is to blame.

My story's from the other side. My mom gave up a baby girl when she was a senior in high school. My half-sis is 18 months older than me. It's strange to try and build a relationship with a sister you met when you were 21. We try and she's become much more a part of all of our lives. I know it's hard for her, coming into our lives partway through. Her biological father's family has really opened their arms to her, but his other kids were much younger when she found him. We joke that we should come up with a line of greeting cards for adoptees and their families.

My parents couldn't have children. I've always known I was adopted, and I sometimes made up stories about my "real" family when I was little. But that's about where our similarities end. Overall my attitude about the whole thing is very different from yours.

I don't know why. I'm not sure where or when it all cemented. But I know zero about my real family, and I'd kinda like to keep it that way.

I know that I have always considered my parents cultural heritage to be mine. Not because I'm pretending, but because I just really felt that culture isn't something that's in your blood, but rather in how you live. So if people ask I say French, Hungarian on my mom's side, Scotch, Irish on my dad's side. I mean... that's the kind of food we ate, those are the kinds of traditions we embraced, therefore, that's my cultural heritage. When we had a cultural heritage day at school I brought in tortiere.

I guess part of me is curious about my biological mom and part of me is afraid of what I would find. My oldest brother (we were all adopted) leached off of my parents until the day they died, then he called me and started asking for money. When I told him to grow up and be a man (he's four years older than me) he quit calling. So... what if I find mommy and she's a loser? What if she see's a nice big house, a nice big bit of property, a nice big SUV, a nice big family and then wants to leach off me?

My other brother, who is 17 months older than me, feels as I do. Who knows what kind of people your real kin are? For us, the fact that we were given up for adoption tells us we had parents who were "at risk" for negative life outcomes. The fact that my oldest brother is activily looking for his real parents tells me he's looking for someone new to leach off of.

I may have to do a post on this someday.

Maybe I absorbed this from my mom--I know she had a fear of losing us, which is not uncommon among adoptive parents. And given how case law in the US favors biological parents, this was a valid fear. I was afraid of being taken away from them when I was little.

Also, my mom was illegitimate and was adopted by my grampa when he married my gramma (my mom was very young when this happened and she never knew her "real" dad). So you're really talking about two generations of adopted women here. Technically, my mom was French and had no Hungarian in her, but she sure did learn to make a mean chicken parikash.

Holy crap. Look how long this is. I guess I should do a post on my own blog. Ha!

Buy hey, Thor, thanks for the great post.

Every story is different, and few are easy. I'm sorry that things don't always work out the way they should, but as long as you have love and happiness, who really cares if it's biological?

My wife was adopted and, I think, we will probably want to adopt a child of our own. My wife has contacted her birth mother once after finding her and hasn't spoken to her since (about 13 years ago).

Now that we have children I think she's leaning toward contacting her mother again - if only to find out some more about her family that we can see in our own children.

I can't imagine how she must feel knowing she has siblings out there that she does not know. She doesn't talk about it and I'm sure she's not quite ready to talk.

Thanks for your lovely story.

Gals
You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever. http://bit.ly/bllhx1

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