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Next Life, NO Kids: 8 Things You Probably Take For Granted If You're Not Adopted

April 16, 2015

8 Things You Probably Take For Granted If You're Not Adopted

1. Knowing what your parents look like:

Depending on the state the adoption took place, adoptees in the United States may get a very short description of their parents from the date of their adoption....if they're lucky.

I have an entire documented seven sentences worth of "unidentifying" information about each my biological parents.

2. Stories about your parents or birth:

How many times has someone in your family held you or another person hostage repeating the story about how your parents met or the day you were born? Maybe you've heard these stories so many times they've become an annoyance. 

The only detail I have of my birth is that it was via cesarean section. I don't even know the name of the hospital.

I also do not know the nature of my biological parents' relationship. Were they in love? Maybe. Did they get totally wasted, and make some bad decisions? It's possible.

I have only assumptions based on the knowledge that my bio father was present for the adoption proceedings and the spot-check "memories" of my second parents. 

3. Looking like a member of your family

I don't look like anyone in my family. 

4. Understanding of why you look they way you do

Even though you may not always appreciate being told you have your grandfather's nose, it's still pretty cool to know exactly where it came from. I have no idea if I look like my mother, my father, or the gorgeous mailman. 

Each of my children look completely different, and I would LOVE to be able to match their physical characteristics to a family connection. 

Honestly, I would settle for family connection of any kind. 

5. Knowing exactly how old you are - a confirmed birth date:

Who would ever think about having an accurate birth date as a privilege?

It is quite possible that the date on my birth certificate was altered to protect my birth parents' privacy. This was apparently common practice in private adoptions years ago. 

Many adoptees have no idea exactly they were born. 

Can you imagine? 

6. Knowing WHO you are

If you are not privately adopted, it has most likely never occurred to you how lucky you are to know what your name is.  

My original birth certificate, with my first given name, was impounded when I was adopted, and I was given a whole new one. Not only does the person I was no longer exist, I do not have any right to information about her (me). 

Granted, the name on that certificate has very little to do with who I am today, but it saddens me that a piece of my past might be living in a file cabinet somewhere in an abandoned warehouse. 

7. Filling out those pesky medical forms:

What a pain in the balls, right? So many medical forms to fill out in a lifetime, and how redundant can filling out your medical history feel? I wouldn't know. I get to write "UNKNOWN, ADOPTED" across that entire section. Thanks to the one of the seven sentences about my birth mother, I know that she was allergic to pollen and dust. That's the gist of my extensive medical history.  

Allergies: Pollen and Dust

The rest has been by trial and error. I don't know what chronic or fatal illnesses "run" in my family, other than what I have. Aside from screening myself for literally everything, I have no idea what to protect myself or my children from. 

I am my oldest, living relative.

8. Having an idea of what to expect from your body as you age:

Whether you look at your parents and grandparents and get super happy or terribly disappointed about what your future might look like, you have a window. You may know exactly what you will look like someday, thanks to the genes your family wear. You need to nothing more than to look around.

Adoptees have no window.  

I would give anything to experience the terrible disappointment associated with knowing I might look like a stretch-marked, wrinkly old pear when I'm eighty.

If you are not adopted, or if it was not through private adoption, you may never have to ask yourself questions without answers. I hope this will help you feel a little bit better about the answers you do have access to, even if you don't always appreciate them. 

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

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At 4/16/2015 , Anonymous Angela said...

You are so right, I can't even imagine this. I may not always like my family tree but I have the privilege of atleast knowing it. Medical history is especially important. But like you said, who do you look like? What were the circumstances of your biological parents? Anyone would yearn to know these things.

My husband's ex wife is adopted. The only thing she knows is her parents were Hispanic and that it was an adoption through child protective services. She once said that her son is the only proof she exists. He's her only blood relative. It saddened her greatly nut she also took comfort in it too.

I'm stretching my arms reallyyyy far to give you a squeeze.

At 4/25/2015 , Anonymous Kate said...

I wish you the best of luck in finding your biology family and hope that it brings you some closure. I was also adopted with a very different story. Everyone's story is different but I would like to add some things to the list (especially, for the adopted mom readers):

1) Knowing how bad your parents wanted you. My parents had two sons who died within 30 days after birth due to a rare hereditary disease (so rare that they didn't know it would happen with a 2nd child). They tried to adopt for years while being told that they were too old (they adopted me at 45 - certainly not an old age). We were only connected because the stars aligned.

2) Hearing the story of how happy your parents were when they learned about you/took you home/etc.

3) Having parents who love you unconditionally despite not having a blood relation.

4) Worrying about marrying a brother/sister and being none the wiser. (Because, seriously!)

It's incredibly important for me to note that when I use "parents," I refer to the people who raised, rather than conceived (and gave birth), me. To me, they are the ones who earned this title. I know that not all adopted children are so lucky but I am grateful that many adopted children are wanted and loved by the parents who adopted them. To all the adopted moms out there know that while your child may question where they got their nose and how the heck to fill out their medical history, your child will love you as though you carried them for 9 months, will want only you to kiss their booboos, and will want you next to them on your wedding day. Even if they are lucky enough to meet and establish a good relationship with their biological mother, YOU will always be Mom.


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