Yes! I knew I was adopted growing up 🙂
I get asked this a lot. So, yeah, kudos to my parents for being up front.
I actually didn’t remember the exact time they told me, so I had to ask my mom and she said I was around 3 1/2 years old.
The earliest memory I have regarding the knowledge of my adoption is from when I was on the swing set at school, as a little girl. I remember, as I swung from high to low, pumping my legs to get higher and higher with a big smile on my face, I excitedly told my friends, “I’m adopted!”
So, I remember my friends asking me, “What is that?” and responding with something like, “It means my mom couldn’t take care of me and so I had to get a new mom!” I don’t remember discussing the issue any further on the playground that day but did I share a lot about my adoption as I grew up.
Almost anyone who I met would find out at some point that I was adopted. It was my little secret, and the thing that made me unique & special, and since there was no shame involved surrounding the adoption I had no reservations in sharing it.
My mom was transparent about my adoption as far as I can remember, and the issues surrounding it. Sometimes she would answer ‘I don’t know’ when she wasn’t sure about some detail. One thing was clear though, that I was now safe, and well taken care of. I was loved and had everything I would ever need.
Over the years my mom would reveal more details as I grew up and became more curious, and able to comprehend the complexities of my birth family. As more was shared, it felt like we were opening more doors. I never got the sense that she felt threatened in any way, by the existence of my biological family. I feel that we have a shared sense of curiosity and caution. Once she even gave me a poem on a pretty decorative piece I could hang on my wall.
Here is that poem…
Legacy of an Adopted Child
Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives, shaped to make your one…
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One gave you up … that’s all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me, through your fears,
the age old question unanswered throughout the years…
Heredity or environment, which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling neither.
Just two different kinds of love.
~ Author Unknown ~
I can say that there was no shortage of love and care for me as a kid coming into their home. If you ask my mom she will tell you how much she spoiled me with hugs and kisses, toys, food and fun!
Looking back, I wonder if it was difficult for her to make decisions about what to share with me and when. For one, I was a HUGE blabber mouth, and an open book. I mean, I started our weekly “show and tell” in my first grade class because I had so many things to talk about. I’ve told my adoption story a million times to pretty much anyone who would listen, my entire life. So, since I have a tendency to make myself more vulnerable than necessary at times, I think she had a heightened sense of protection over me. I imagine it was tricky.
As an adult looking back, I don’t feel my mom ever inappropriately withheld information from me. I feel she did her best to take care of me with the little information she had. She told me once she tried contacting the foster home but they had no leads for her (or maybe weren’t willing?).
I was pretty lucky to end up in the home that I did. I wouldn’t change a thing.