Different. Incomplete. Alone. Angry. Confused.
These are just a few ways adoptees are describing themselves on social media lately as National Adoption Awareness Month looms in just a couple of weeks. And as part of the ongoing effort by adopted people to #flipthescript on the whitewashed adoption dialogue we’ve been fed all our lives, adoptees on Twitter have for months been putting their thoughts and experiences out there, sharing their posts with the hashtag
The posts are raw, uncensored, heart-rending — and need to be acknowledged if we’re ever going to put adoptees at the center of discussions around adoption where we belong instead of shuttling us to the side as afterthoughts.
Join the conversation: If you’re adopted, leave a comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag
If you’re not, I suggest you just try to hear what we have to say.
#BeingAdoptedMeans I always expect people to forget about me.
I was adopted 50 years ago today. #BeingAdoptedMeans I haven’t gotten over it yet.
#BeingAdoptedMeans I have never mourned. Not one soul. Found out today my birth mother died 15 days ago. I will never meet her. Never hear her voice. There will be no closure. She was cremated. There is nowhere to visit. At age 49, I’m using WikiHow to learn how to mourn.
#BeingAdoptedMeans when I see my brother for his birthday on Friday, we’ll be meeting for the very first time. We’re 51.
#BeingAdoptedMeans this will be my third DNA test. Eventually I WILL find my biological father.
#BeingAdoptedMeans you got me to fix you, fill a void, make you whole. Even though I tried and tried and tried. I couldn’t and I didn’t. In your quest to be whole, you fractured me into a million pieces scattered all over the universe.
#BeingAdoptedMeans My brother passed away this morning. I only got to meet him once. I should have known him forever.
#BeingAdoptedMeans Today I’ll SPIT my wonderings, hopes, and DNA into a tiny tube.
#BeingAdoptedMeans your voice (even as an adult) is rarely valued with the same weight as an adoptive parent’s opinion.
I’m in my dentist’s office’s waiting room. The receptionist’s toddler was just here. Now everyone is talking about how much she looks like her mother. You can never escape. I wonder if they know how very lucky they are to look like someone.
#BeingAdoptedMeans having all your birthrights given away. And being given a completely random family’s in return.
#BeingAdoptedMeans you feel the same as if you are cheating on a partner when you are communicating with your bio and adoptive family at the same time.
#beingadoptedmeans you feel terrified your adopted mother will forget to pick you up from kindergarten but you are only 5 so you can’t explain it.
#BeingAdoptedMeans adapting every second, every hour, every year, to a constant “otherness.” A life’s symphony of syncopation.
#BeingAdoptedMeans first appointment with a new doctor and filling out a survey asking for family history of cancer. I just scrawled “NOT KNOWN – ADOPTED” across the whole page. 😑
#BeingAdoptedMeans you never know if your role in your adoptive family is considered legitimate by anyone other than your adoptive parents.
#beingadoptedmeans I had a different life, not a better life.
#BeingAdoptedMeans having to humiliatingly scavenge around the internet on the off chance you may discover any information/photos about bio-family that non adoptees just take for granted.😠
#BeingAdoptedMeans I don’t have the same rights as everyone else. I can’t have a record of my birth that is factual. All I get are lies on a piece of paper.
#BeingAdoptedMeans NEVER feeling complete. #theresalwaysapieceofmemissing
#beingadoptedmeans my natural mother and I could walk into NY vital records (holding hands) asking for my original birth certificate and they still wouldn’t give it to me.
#BeingAdoptedMeans we are the eternal scapegoats for anti-abortion agendas.
#BeingAdoptedMeans even though we are tax paying, voting adults, people want to own and treat us like children for life. When was the last time your gov’t denied you a right all other adults have?
#beingadoptedmeans finding out a bit about your birth father, realising he sounds rather similar to you, but knowing that, apart from one or two people, no one else gives two hoots, whereas in reality it’s like winning the lottery…I mean come on: I’m like someone 😱
#beingadoptedmeans some days there’s a little child screaming inside your head and nothing will shut it up
#BeingAdoptedMeans that the state still treats me like a child, too irresponsible and impetuous to know my own history. I’m 42 years old.
#BeingAdoptedMeans virtually everyone having an opinion on what #BeingAdoptedMeans for you and getting inexplicably angry with you if you disagree with their interpretation of your life
#beingadoptedmeans that my original birth certificate was replaced with an invoice and my entire identity was re-created to protect the purchaser. It was never about me.
#BeingAdoptedMeans Waiting and hoping a biological relative who has your contact info contacts you and spying on their Facebook page only to see that they post every single day but won’t contact you. It hurts.
#beingadoptedmeans When you find answers that you should rightfully know, your adoptive family now are the ones turning against you.
#BeingAdoptedMeans my story will always be a joke to people. A “friend” lied to me and said he was adopted. I was so excited that I was not the only #adoptee in our group. We swapped stories and opened up about our struggles. Then he said, “lol nah I’m just kidding”
#beingadoptedmeans a visceral terror ripping through your veins for the immigrant children being separated from their parents. Their cries are our cries. It’s not the same, yet somehow it feels like it is.
#BeingAdoptedMeans Two years ago today I told my biological sister who I am, and she blocked me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I don’t know if she didn’t believe me, or just doesn’t give a shit.
#beingadoptedmeans feeling the need to be perfect and never disappoint anyone, ever. But only after you acted out and disappointed everyone. #willtheysendmeback ?
Being an #adoptee is exhausting.. mentally and emotionally. Everyday is a fight to shed the fear, anxiety and insecurities that are the result of adoption trauma. I believe this is why #adoptees are stronger than everyone else. Doesn’t mean it’s easy… #BeingAdoptedMeans
#BeingAdoptedMeans that at age 56, I finally must accept that the only real family I’ll ever have in this life is my husband, son, and best friend. #adoption #adopteevoices
#BeingAdoptedMeans, I’ve always felt a little lost in this world. I believe that’s why I work so hard, because it’s how I make this life make sense. #adoptee #adopteevoices #perseverance.
#BeingAdoptedMeans people asking me about my “real” parents as if my mom and dad who adopted me aren’t real. They’re the realest it gets and the only thing I’ve ever known
#beingadoptedmeans slowly coming to the realisation that you were a sought-after and sometimes interchangeable commodity when you were small and cute, but that the shine soon wears off when you start speaking out about how that makes you feel. #nationaladoptionweek #flipthescript
#BeingAdoptedMeans you question what the feeling of ‘home’ means.
We see adoption differently than our adoptive parents. And that’s okay. #BeingAdoptedMeans #adopteevoices
#BeingAdoptedMeans feels like losing a limb and then having everyone say the prosthetic is the same. It’s not. A piece of you is still missing.
My adoption blogs put me in touch with thousands of other adoptees who encouraged me to write a book about my journey to find my birth mother. I appreciate those votes of confidence, but instead of writing about me, I have decided to write a book about you – the adoptees I’ve already met and those I plan to meet the next few months.
In the coming months I’ll be interviewing Baby Scoop era adoptees about their experiences to get to the heart of what it means to be adopted.
The book’s focus
I’ll be speaking with adoptees who have searched and those who choose not to, those in positive reunions with biological family members and those who did not connect or whose reunions have fizzled. We’ll discuss:
Despite the spotlight on adoption these days and the movement to open birth records that is gaining momentum across the country, all too often adoptee voices remain absent from the discussion on adoption.
We are viewed as forever children, with the media and pro-adoption groups often speaking on our behalf as though everyone else will always know what’s best for us.
Or we are portrayed in stereotypes: the people-pleasing adoptee, the selfish adoptee, the angry adoptee … or worse.
The truth is that while we have some shared experiences and insights, each adoptee story is distinctive. Each of us deserves to be heard.
Movements like The Lost Daughters #FliptheScript initiative and adoptee blogs like The Declassified Adoptee have started to shine a light on the subject. Adoptees’ memoirs and anthologies offer poignant individual glimpses at what it means to be us. But more attention is needed if we’re ever to move past the secrets and lies that are the hallmarks of our stories.
The book is all about you
My book will bring together a large cross-section of adoptees whose stories will support, connect and inspire adoptees and the people who love them.
More than 30 people — many of them strangers — have agreed to speak with me in just a few weeks of my making casual requests. Many of them have already shared their journeys with me.
That tells me I’m on to something. I hope you’ll agree.
If you’re a Baby Scoop-era adoptee willing to share your story, write to me at email@example.com so we can arrange a time to chat.