Adoption: Three Stages to Acceptance

2 Dec

November was month National Adoption month. I came across this information late in the month, but I felt it was necessary to write about and it gave me a chance to share part of my story.

Sitting back, I can describe the three stages of my experience as an adoptee. From a youthful pride and exuberance to a heart-aching wonder and finally coming to grips with it.

Pride

My parents never lied to me. I knew I was adopted from the day I could understand the concept. I felt pride in articulating that I was “special” and that I had been “chosen.” It’s something I did on a fairly regular basis, before understanding that there was a slight ‘stigma’ with being adopted.

That stigma came from kids in elementary school. Most of them didn’t live in an economic bracket to understand formal adoption, they were familiar with the hood kind. So, a lot of my pride went out the door when Ray Ray and Sheniqua would tease me about not know who my parents were. Of course, now, it seems ridiculous. A good number of those kids didn’t have knowledge of their biological history, but didn’t have a problem making me feel like something was wrong with me -like I had been discarded, instead of saved.

So I became the type that chose the wooden spoon instead of the silver spoon I had been given. It’s a shame how much time I wasted wanting lesser things. For example, do you know a kid that WANTS free lunch? Well I did. It was a status thing. The kids I knew, some of my closest “friends,” had free lunch at the elementary school I attended. Being able to pay for lunch made me stand out amongst my peers, as if being the Principal’s daughter wasn’t enough.

I escaped this early childhood ridicule when I changed schools and I kept knowledge of my adoption to myself.

Wonder

Just because I stopped talking about it didn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about it. For quite some time, I was curious about my biological background.  Of the little information that I had, I figured that my biological mother had gotten pregnant in college and had good enough sense to give the baby up to a family that wanted to give love and provide a home that ‘they’ could not.

It wasn’t until I was nearly 25 that I confirmed these facts and learned a few more. I added that to the knowledge that I had been born in a home to a midwife, rather than at a hospital, which would make my search a little more difficult. I also learned that one of my parents studied English (interestingly, my best subject in school) and the other studied law (coincidentally, my career interest area). Makes you think about how strong your genetic bonds are, huh?

I bonded with a few friends after discovering that we shared adoption as a common denominator. Each one of us deals with it in different ways. Some of us have better relationships with our adoptive parents than others. Some of us have actually met our biological parents.

It goes without saying, I want to sit down and ask my biological mother, “Why did you give me up?” and countless other questions. I want to know what her life was like before and after giving birth to me. I’m sure she’s thought of me, just as I’ve imagined and wondered about her. Did she and my biological father stay together. What is her family like now? Does she have children? Do they know about me?

All of these questions have so many consequences.

I have thought about how pursuing knowledge of my biological parents would affect my adoptive parents. I am sensitive to this. Ultimately, I believe my desire and right to know supersede their feelings. But I have not searched for my biological parents out of a certain respect. My adoptive parents have given me more than I could have ever imagined and I have had a blessed upbringing.

Content ?

What is family anyway? People that love you and raise you and give you the best of them.  It’s funny, just over the Thanksgiving holiday, an aunt of mine commented that I’m beginning to sound like my Mother on the phone. For years, I’ve been told that I look like my Mother; that’s a tremendous complement to me.

There is still a good deal of wonder on my part, and I’m sure I won’t truly be content until I have my personal questions answered. So wonder still remains. But as of today, I’m content with the life I’ve built.  And I’m driven to build an even better one, no matter the question of who my biological parents are.  I’m thankful for the life I’ve been gifted and that I was chosen by people that had the means and desire to share love with a child that didn’t share their blood.

My story, just a bit of it. I’m sure there will be more to come.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

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14 Responses to “Adoption: Three Stages to Acceptance”

  1. Dana December 2, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Najeema December 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading.

  2. ebonifire December 2, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Stories of adoption always speak to me. Mainly because I’m an adoptee myself (never used that word before I just typed it) and I almost never tell my story. It’s not because I’m personally ashamed or anything, its more because of the stigma you spoke about. That odd judgemental feeling that the kids in elementary school started out with remains with people into adulthood and people look at me “feeling sorry” for me when there is no need to feel sorry.

    The complicated part for me is that I have biological family that I know. My mother passed away young (never naming my father) and wanted her good friend to raise me and then I was adopted by them. Needless to say…its along story 🙂

    I just wanted to say, I feel your story and thanks for sharing.

  3. EvolvingElle December 2, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    This was beautifully written. And I appreciate your honesty. My first cousin and her husband adopted a 4 month old baby girl 9 years ago and never hid the fact from her that she was adopted. They actually make yearly trips to Florida to visit her foster parents. I often wander if she will seek out her biological parents when she gets older. I personally think you should seek out your birth mother. I know you have to be sensitive to your adoptive parents, and your seeking your biological family is not a slight to them, but a curiosity of wanting to know from whence you came.

    • Najeema December 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement Elle. I believe “wonder” is starting to set back in and I may be interested in going down the path of identifying and locating my birth parents. I’ll be sure to keep the blog updated.
      Adoption is a wonderful thing, please give my best to your cousin and the family that they are building.

  4. ichoosethesun December 2, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Great post….thanks for sharing lady!

    • Najeema December 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      Thank you for reading. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this post. But this is what the blog is all about, opening up. Thanks again for your comment.

  5. 05girl December 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Funny there’s that negative stigma to it. I’ve always viewed adoption as kind of cool. Makes you different.. if anything you are indeed special to your family.

    • Najeema December 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

      It is strange that something so positive has a negative stigma. One day perhaps we’ll overcome that. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comment.

  6. Penny December 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    What an incredible perspective!!! Thanks for sharing! You MUST addthis post to our Adoption Blog Hop!
    http://foster2forever.blogspot.com

  7. Sonya December 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Great post, Najeema. I loved learning more about you.

  8. Afropolitan December 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    What a beautiful story. You ARE special my friend, special indeed.

    I will also point out that according to Judeo-Christian text/history, Moses was an adoptee, and chosen to give his people the “laws”, guide them through the desert, and out of Egyptian captivity. The story says that despite being sent down the Nile river in a basket, he was raised to be great, to be the greatest leader his people had ever known, etc.

    It makes you wonder what combination of nature/nurture (biological family conditions verus adoptive family conditions)spared him from a particular fate, and created the space/opportunity for him to fulfill his mission.

    What do you think?

    Oh, and don’t think I am not going to clown you about wanting a free lunch card. Cause I am. Just now now.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Adoption: Three Stages to Acceptance « Hell In A Handbag -- Topsy.com - December 2, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Najeema and Najeema, Natalie Hopkinson. Natalie Hopkinson said: Good post by @OriginalNajeema on being adopted. School kids were used to "hood" kind and she wanted the free lunch! http://wp.me/puzlk-px […]

  2. "How did you cope with adoption", asked by somebody in early recover | Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction - February 11, 2011

    […] Adoption: Three Stages to Acceptance (originalnajeema.wordpress.com) Uncategorized    Mood Disorders and Adoption Can Be a Sure-fire Combination to Equal Addiction » […]

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