Writing prompt for today: Childhood Adoption Narratives. Describe the story your adoptive parents told you growing up. What age were you? What feelings and questions did you have about this “adoption narrative”? Was it a satisfying explanation for you? Explain. As an adult, whether or not you are in reunion, comment on how much of that story turned out to be true. Has your adoption narrative changed? What story, if any, do you share with friends, acquaintances? How do others react to your narrative? Are they curious, supportive, silencing?
There was never one specific day that my parents sat me down and told me that I was adopted. I just "always knew". My baby book was geared toward adopted children with lots of flowers and bunnies and "This is where we brought you after we picked you up from the adoption agency".
The story goes like this:
My parents had adopted my sister back in 1970 after trying to have a baby of their own for eight years. They had to wait a few years to put their name back on the list to adopt another baby girl. And wait they did. It would two more years and by the time June of 1974 came along, they were seriously considering telling the agency to forget it.
Imagine my mother's surprise when on the morning of June 25, the Social Worker called while my mother was home with my four year old sister. "We have a baby girl for you".
The problem was, the house wasn't ready for a baby. No crib, no toys, no high chair, no diapers, no clothes..nothing. My mother called in the neighbors who rushed out to get supplies for this infant. She then called my father at work and told him to come home so they could go the agency and get the baby. Once he got home, they headed out immediately, leaving their friends in charge of getting things ready back at the house.
The baby wasn't at the agency yet, they were bringing her from the hospital and would be there in a hour. They killed time by grabbing a bite to eat and then sat in the waiting room, eagerly anticipating their new bundle of joy. Thankfully, one of my mother's friends had given her a "Going Home Outfit" that she put on the baby and after taking some pictures, they drove home.
A sign had been erected in front of the house, hurriedly put up by the neighborhood.
"Welcome home Baby W....... #2". That's how it all began.
I spent the bulk of that first day laying in the middle of my parent's bed while they put up the crib. For the first two weeks, I didn't have a name...ironically enough, they called me Princess. It makes me sad that I went three weeks without an actual name, but it was par for the course I suppose.
Looking back on my narrative, I truly just feel sadness. I often think about being in a bassinet in the hospital without my natural mother or father, no one to claim me until a stranger came and whisked me off to the waiting arms of two more strangers. Was I cuddled in the hospital, or left alone unless I cried?
The only thing my parents would say about my parents is that my "birthmother" was a teenager and that she gave me up to have a better life..that she wanted me to have a Mommy and Daddy and God brought you to us to have for our own. That has never sat well with me. The hypocrisy of their words hits me in the very core of my being. I always felt gypped out of that "better life" that I was promised. I had a Mommy who yelled all the time and a Daddy who was a monster. Nice.
Now that I'm in reunion, I don't tell the story that was forcefed to me about rainbows and sparkles and "Ohhh, isn't it CUTE that you didn't have a name and we called you Princess??". I simply say, I am adopted and my mother found me after 34 years apart. I tell about how beautiful of a person she is and how she has become more of a mom to me than the mother I grew up with. I talk about our reunion story and still get choked up when I describe how incredible our first face to face meeting truly was.
In the beginning, once people found out that I was reunited with my natural mom, they would say, "Wow, how does your adoptive mother feel about that?". I would shy away from the question because it made me angry that they weren't asking me how I felt about it. But now, I say, well, my childhood wasn't the best and while I respect my adoptive mother's feelings, my reunion isn't ABOUT her. It's about me.
Most people are very curious about how I was found...and for the most part, are very supportive. I have run across some that are not as nice and judge me for being ungrateful. Honestly, I lived too long with negativity and abuse and I usually just stop discussing it because only I know how I feel.