Last week was national adoption week.
I missed it.
Never even knew it existed. And still I feel the need to address it. Honor it.
Being adopted was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
If I had not been adopted I would not be who I am or where I am.
So therefore, it is the best thing that happened to me. It was the first step toward getting me where I am and where I am is pretty damn good.
Having said that I will also say that being adopted is sometimes hard.
Some of the difficulties are trivial:
my brother is model good looking and I often wished as a teen that I could have enjoyed some of those genetic good looks
To the not so trivial:
Most people thought my father was my stepfather and wondered how I could be so fair growing up with "black" parents. I suffered from racism from all sides.
And even with all that. I never thought to look for my birth parents. Never felt a need or a loss or anything challenging like that.
I have always known I was adopted. I don't remember a time that I didn't know. It is a part of who I am but it is such a small part. Such a tiny insignificant part.
But I had some "adoption trauma" moments.
When I was a preteen I became convinced that my aunt Sheila was my mother and that she had given to me my mom to raise. Some old family story about how she watched me when I was a baby convinced me that I was her love child.
I was terrified that she would want me back. I stopped hugging her and wanted no part of her for most of a year. Then my hormones calmed a little and I forgot all about it.
Then as a teen my dad and I had some pretty tough times and I started to imagine what my birth father would be like. In my imagination he was a king, a rich, nice, sweet king and he would bestow a bunch of money on me and leave me independently wealthy.
I never dreamed that he would be my dad, just my bank.
And that's as close as I ever came to any real issues with my adoption.
Then I read an article in Brain, Child (awesome mag btw) written by a birth mom about how much she misses her child and how she still thinks of herself as her daughter's mother...etc. And as a mom I started to think about this wonderful woman. This woman who had given me into a life I adore.
And I wondered if she worried about me.
And I wondered if she felt an empty part of her because I was and unknown. A lost child.
So I called my dad and told him I was thinking about finding my bio mom. And he said "It's about time, I don't know how you waited this long" and went about finding whatever records he could behind my mom's back because we both believed that even now, she wouldn't take to the idea.
Turns out we underestimated her. I told my mom. And she said, "I can understand that, she has grandchildren now."
And I said, "no, you have grandchildren. She has no claim on them. None whatsoever." and that was all it took for my mom. Apparently one level of removal was enough for her.
She would not have been nearly as understanding if I had made this decision at 18 but now, she's okay with it.
So. Using the information I had gathered from the little bit my parent's knew, I called the adoption agency that handled my placement and left a message for the woman the receptionist guided me to after explained what I wanted.
Two weeks later, I called again and left another message.
And I waited again.
Then I poked around on the internet and registered at some sites that help children find missing bioparents.
And I was done.
And I sit here wondering if I will ever go further...and doubting it.
I am my mother's daughter.
It has always been enough.
So to the mystery woman who gave birth to me, named me Jennifer, cared for me, and then handed me over to the NJ adoption agency at the age of 6 weeks I say a heartfelt thank you.
And to everyone who is looking to adopt I say good luck. Like I said, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Happy belated National Adoption week.