An Adult Adoptee Shares Her Story

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Not every adult adoptee feels the same about their adoption, but as an adoptive mother and adoption professional, I love to hear personal accounts of adoption from every perspective in the adoption triad (birth parent, adoptive parent and adoptee). Those stories can help adoptive parents to raise their children to feel as comfortable and secure in their own personal adoption story. Today, an old friend and adult adoptee shares her adoption story and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did!

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I was adopted when I was 3 days old. When I was brought out, I had a fierce scowl on my face and my adopted dad took one look at me and said, “uh oh.” While that story always makes me laugh, he was right to be alarmed, I was not the happiest baby and cried all the time until I was 7 months old and could walk and be independent. Not much has changed in that aspect of my personality, I still like my independence fiercely. My adoptive parents accepted that about me and never questioned their decision to take on a grumpy and difficult baby. 

One of the most positive things my parents ever did for me as an adopted child was to always be open about the adoption. Anytime I had any questions in regards to myself, my adoption, my birth parents etc. my mom and dad where happy to discuss it with me. I never felt ashamed, like it was a bad thing to be adopted. My mom told me that I was special because she picked me. 

My birth mom had left me a little size sliver bracelet with a turquoise stone in it. My mom kept it under her bathroom sick in a container that held her other precious jewelry. I would go into her bathroom any time I needed to and pull out that bracelet and stare at it and wonder endlessly about my birth mom. My mom also kept my adoption papers in a location that I could always go and look at them, which I did a lot. I love that my parents cultivated, supported, and embraced my adoption and encouraged me to do the same. I was never loved any more or less than my other siblings which was important for me to see, although some of my siblings (there were 9 children total) may tell you that my other adopted sister and I were loved more because we were adopted. From my perspective, I didn’t see that, I think my parents just tried to keep the balance and make sure my sister and I did not feel left out. The funny thing is that even when my siblings would say they thought mom and dad loved us more, I never felt they were bitter or angry about it. I think they understood that my parents were just trying to make sure we also felt accepted and loved.

Growing up in a white home when I am half black wasn’t a big deal to me. One of my other sisters who was also adopted was half black and half white as well. My parents taught us that race has nothing to do with love. The color of our skin was irrelevant in relation to what is in our heart. My parents did ask me numerous times throughout my childhood if I would like to learn more about my black culture and were open to anything I needed to learn about it. To be honest, I appreciated then, and now, their total acceptance of me as a person without a color attached. 

The bad side of being adopted was that I often felt different from my family and still do. The truth is that genetics are very strong and they do play a role in family. They don’t play a role in love, but they can make someone who is adopted feel a little different. I still to this day struggle with feeling as if I totally fit. Honestly, it’s not anything my family has done, I have most of the same beliefs as they do because of the environment they raised me in, however, there are some fundamental things that make me different from my family due to my genetics. It doesn’t make me feel less loved by them, but they don’t understand certain aspects of my personality and I have had to do a lot of soul searching on that and on myself.

However, I have met my birth mother and my birth father and I have to say that they made the best choice. After meeting them and realizing they were way too young to raise me, I felt grateful to be adopted into the family I was. Also, my birth parents aren’t completely put together people and I am sure it would have been damaging for me to be raised by them. So, no matter what some of my struggles have been as an adopted child, I have never felt regret I was adopted.

I also feel no anger toward my birth parents. They made a difficult choice to place me for adoption. I credit my adopted mom and dad in encouraging my attitude about that. My mom always told me that she couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for my birth parents to make that decision and that she respected them for doing it. That was the perspective I grew up with so I never harbored ill feelings towards my birth parents.

As I am writing all of this I realize what an amazing job my parents did making me feel completely accepted and loved. They were always very open to me about my adoption and understanding of my needs. The total acceptance of me as one of their own, their decision to be open with me about everything and the fact that my adopted mom always talked positively about my birth parents has made me a very comfortable and healthy person about my adoption.  

Katie Zimmerman