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.