Wounded by adoption remarks
Dear Amy: I was adopted at 5 months old, in 1947.
I am very happy with my adopted parents and never knew my birthparents. I was completely loved by my adoptive family and always felt like a “real” family member.
When my children were small, I tried to find out about my birthparents, only to be told the files were sealed.
My problem is that occasionally someone who knows that I’m adopted will say I’m not really part of my adoptive family and can’t claim the family’s history as my own. I’m really confused and hurt.
My father and grandparents always taught me about our family history in our state, so I could tell my children for them to carry on the family history.
A lot of people I know don’t understand why I didn’t/don’t want to find my birthparents.
I had wonderful parents. They are the only parents I have ever known, and, according to them, I picked them, so to me that means we were meant to be a family!
And they loved me from the beginning. So to me, they are my parents, not my “adoptive parents.”
Why are people so picky about who my “real” parents are?
Do I need to think about this differently? Adopted in Colo. Adopted in Colo.: My own experience in helping to raise adopted children — and as part of a large family with many adopted family members — has taught me that there is no “wrong” way to view your own adoption story. I further know this: No one can tell you who your “real” family is.
Your own reaction to your family is completely appropriate. Their history is your history. The only thing your very loving family did not contribute to you is a matter of DNA, which, given your very long history with them, is of no consequence if you don’t want it to be.
I will never fully understand the impulse to question or challenge someone’s parentage. It simply is unkind to do so. I think you should respond proudly, “Well, you don’t really have the right to question my relationship to my family, so I would appreciate it if you kept your views to yourself.” Dear Amy: I think you dropped the ball on “No-win,” the couple in their 80s where the wife wanted to move to live near her son.
It’s obvious they can afford two homes, so why couldn’t they split the year and live together at both places? Seems like a much better idea to me, and everyone wins. WinWin Win-Win: I got the sense that the husband didn’t want to relocate to that extent, but, yes, this is a great solution. Amy’s column appears seven days a week at washingtonpost.com/ advice. Write to
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