Tag Archives: acceptance

Feeling Different

Today’s post is from John, an adopted adult who shares his views and feelings…

When reading the stories of other adoptees, I often feel that I am odd or unusual. Going for a walkTheir stories talk of a yearning to find out their roots, or of feeling a sense of loss or anger. Yet, I have never had a deep longing to discover my roots nor I have ever felt a sense of loss or anger. I have always just accepted my adoption as a fact of life and feel secure in my identity as my adoptive parents’ son.

I have met my birth mother. She gave me up voluntarily and clearly loved and cared for me. I wanted to let her know that things had turned out well. We do get on and I do see our similarities but, for me, there is not the deep connection others sometimes speak of.

I often wonder what makes my story different from so many others.

I was given up voluntarily by a loving, responsible birth mother who cared for me in the womb and for the first week of my life. I believe that I was given up because of her love for me. I am sure that she would not have given me up had she not felt it was in my best interests. I was also adopted as a month and a half old baby into a well matched, loving home by parents who were utterly devoted to me and who told from me from an early age that I was adopted. I cannot remember not knowing. I also look very like my adoptive parents so I could easily hide that I was adopted if I wished. I did have difficult times in my teenage years but I don’t believe these were any more difficult than any other teenager trying to find their place in the world.

I have been reading the Primal Wound. As an adopted person, I do not particularly recognise myself in it but I do believe what it says is true of other adopters. I see much of what it says in the experience of my sister. She has felt a deep sense of loss and anger which she has had to work through over many years.

Clearly, there is something subtly different in my sister’s experience of adoption and my own experience. We have both enjoyed a similar upbringing and much of what I describe above about myself is true of her yet her emotional response to her adoption is completely different to my own. I have my theories on why this is. From reading the Primal Wound and from considering my own experience and my sister’s experience, I believe that first few days after birth are critical. I was cared for by my birth mother for a week after my birth. She was not.

This is why it is so important to hear from adoptees. Each adoptee has their own, distinctive story of adoption. We need to hear their story to understand why one adoptee has one experience of adoption and another a different experience so that we can use this information to improve the experiences of the adoptees of tomorrow.

We must give adoptees the space to share their story. It will be in this patchwork of adoptee experiences that answers can be found that can help the adoptees of the future.

Helping with acceptance

This week we have a problem from a mum of 2 – a birth child and an adoptive child who just can’t seem to get along. Do you have any advice for Jan?

Our family is made up of myself, my husband, our birth son, and our adoptive daughter. A Problem Shared

Our son Jack is 8, and has always been a pleasant, well-mannered, relaxed, happy child. When, after some time, it became clear that another birth child wasn’t going to happen for us, we turned to adoption.

Mia has been here a year now, and is now 5. She has settled very well, and we’re lucky that at the moment she’s not showing any signs of attachment issues or anything else really. She’s a happy, playful little girl, talks about anything and everything, is a big fan of Disney princesses, enjoys school and loves affection. Mia clearly loves her big brother and attempts to play with him, share her things, placate him by letting him lead or do what he wants – she’s happy to follow as long as she spends her time with him.

Jack however just can’t seem to accept her. He was involved in every step of our adoption journey towards Mia, and had a big say in whether we had a boy or girl, what age etc, and our social worker was happy that it was a good decision for him too. He just seems to absolutely hate her, and I mean, really hate her. He is jealous of the time we spend with her and of the things we buy her (even if he gets new things too!), he even seems jealous that she has another family. He won’t share with her, won’t play with her, wants to pick fights all the time. He’s not trying to get her into trouble, more like he doesn’t seem to care that his actions will get him in trouble.

We’ve tried all sorts of things to support them building a relationship together, and we also make sure to give each child time without the other. We know it’s hard for older siblings – of any kind – to suddenly have to share their parents, but whilst we were prepared for it to be rocky with Mia, we didn’t really expect Jack to react quite this badly, for such a long time.

Is anyone else in the same or similar position? We really don’t know what else to do and our social worker is like a chocolate teapot!