Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Student Guest Post: My best friend is adopted

by Anonymous

My best friend is adopted. We have been friends since we were 12 (I am 25 now) and she was the maid of honor at my wedding. I talk to her almost every day sometimes multiple times a day and I feel like I know everything about her. Yet I realized that I do not know anything about her feelings about being adopted. I decided to ask her a few questions about her thoughts on adoption and her experience being adopted. When I called her I found myself feeling a bit awkward and nervous about asking the questions. This is one of the people to whom I feel closest and who has been by my side since childhood and yet there is this huge portion of her life that I am totally unfamiliar with. I’m not sure if she never talked about it because she was uncomfortable with the subject or just didn’t really care about it enough to bring it up. All I knew before our conversation was that she was adopted and her birth mother was very young.

I told her that I had to write a blog post about adoption for class and asked her if she was comfortable answering a few questions about her experience and she agreed. My overall impression from the conversation was that she feels lucky to have been adopted by a loving well-to-do family and she chooses not question it. She sees her adoptive parents as her only parents and does not feel the need to seek out information about her birth family. I asked her if she were ever curious about who her birth mother and father were and she replied by saying that if someone presented her with the information it would pique her curiosity but she would not seek it out. I also asked her if she ever asked her adoptive mother about her birth mother and she said she did once but she would never want to press the topic for fear of hurting her mother’s feelings. Eventually she cut our conversation short and said she had some things to do. I took this as a sign than she didn’t want to delve much deeper into the topic. I decided not to try to continue the conversation another time.

Although my friend was born somewhere in South Florida she tells people who don’t know her that she was born in Peru which is where her adoptive family is from. She has completely taken on their culture and family identity as her own. Some might find this to be strange but I think why not? This family who raised her is her family. Her entire Peruvian extended family does not question that she is one of them. She finds peace and comfort knowing who she is. Just because she is not related to her family by blood means nothing to any of them. It is almost as if she has rejected her identity as an adopted person.

After taking this course about adoption I have learned (and I suppose common sense would tell you) that many adopted people have an almost primal urge to know about their biological roots. Knowing myself, I think that I would be one of those people who would feel a deep need to know. As counterintuitive as it sounds, my friend seems more than content not knowing. Who am I to question how she copes with her feelings about being adopted? As her best friend, I just want her to be happy and I will always support her. Should her feelings one day change, I will be there as well to help her look.


Lora said...

Until I was proabably 40 my best friend could have written this post about me. Don't you think its a little odd that you have known this person since you were 2 and yet this is the first time adoption has come up?

For me although I did not talk about it or awknowlege that it had any infuence on my life, I always felt like I was a bad person and had to keep that bad part shut down. And I knew my adoptive mother would be hurt if I was too curious so I shut that all down too.

It was only after my a parents had passed away that I was able to deal with my big black box of shame and badness that I always carried with me.

I hope you can keep an open mind and accept your friend all through her life no matter where her adoption journey takes her. Don't be shocked if one day what you hear is the exact opposite of where she is now. Try and keep the dialog open and allow her to explore her feelings in a safe place if she wants to.

Lora said...

I just wanted to add that this post is a bit triggering. Because alot of people use the phrase" my friend is adopted and she is fine with it" in order to shut down people who are not fine with it.

And often times people seem like they are fine with it, right up until they aren't any more.

Anonymous said...

So many things factor into being an adoptee.

Parents who are great...
Loyalty to parents and family...
Fear of hurting someone by your actions or words...
Fear of the unknown...
Fear of rejection (again)...

Also at 25 how many lived life experiences has she really had? Just barely started, married?, children?, career?, loss?.

Sometimes for closed adoption adoptees it is not until we are middle aged that we can deal with it, and may never tell those closest to us.

Whether being adopted will or won't be something she has to sort out is unknown - it is too soon to make that determination.

Have you confided with complete honesty ALL of your feelings on a deep painful subject to her?

Linda said...

Lora- the same could be said for most of the adoptees I know, too. It's too complex for non-adoptees to understand, so many of us "don't go there" with non-adoptees.

I didn't see this as triggering, but can understand some adoptees who would. I find it very common that people, even those closest to us, perceive us to feel lucky to have been adopted. But that doesn't mean we do feel that way. And the "tell" with anon's friend is that she said she doesn't want to hurt her adoptive Mother.

To me the statement "she has rejected her identity as an adopted person" is frightening. I cannot change the fact that I am adopted any more than I can change the fact that I am a woman. Actually, I CAN change the fact that I am a woman, through surgery. I will ALWAYS be adopted.

But this post shows the complexities of adoption, and people's perceptions of adoptees.

Robin said...

I don't think that not talking about something means that the individual has no problems with that issue. I stopped talking about adoption, too, for a while because I was so often dismissed and made to feel that something was wrong with me (especially by my a-family but by others as well). Many people are reluctant to talk about painful issues in their lives especially if they don't feel they will get the support they need.

Actually, I am more than tired of the "I know someone who was adopted and is fine with it" comment. It always implies that there is something wrong with the adoptee who isn't fine with it. And 9 times out of 10 the comment is made by someone who is not adopted.

I do believe that there are adoptees who are fine with being adopted and feel fully integrated into their a-families and feel that this is their only/real family. But this is far from the case for all of us. And those of us who didn't find adoption to be such smooth sailing need to be respected and validated for our viewpoint as well.

Also, adoption is a lifelong journey and the same person can feel differently about it at different times in their lives.

Alexa Oviedo said...

Hi!!! I would like to adopt the baby that has been trhough into a toilet!!! Im married but i have endometriosis!!! Can someone help me? I think that boy is a miracle