11 Comments

  1. Tim

    I read your passionate piece. Let me start with full disclosure. I was not adopted, so I can’t see your own pain. But I did not have a particularly loving or supportive home. I have different pain.

    All I want to do is to pass a thought to you. It isn’t right, wrong, critical, the holy grail. It’s just a thought.

    The media is full of “I was adopted and I must find my birth mother” stories. It makes great television, it sells magazines. It makes news, well, pseudo-news. It glories in the happiness or otherwise that those whose adoptive parents chose to love them find.

    What if, just what if, that media attention, prevalent during all of your life, what if that media coverage has created the inner turmoil that you find?

    • I am happy to provide my response to your observation, Tim.
      I think it is reasonable to consider the effect of exposure to media and other influences, but in all honesty, no!
      That exposure does resonate and can often for me give rise to emotional pain, but that is about all. The sense of enduring emptiness, loss and a lack of true identity rises at those times, for sure.

      I have always been ‘different’, and known this. It wasn’t until it was confirmed, aged 11, for me that I became more accepting of my uniqueness – within my adopted family.

      Decades on and I’m still somewhat ‘lost’ as an identity ‘in full’, recognising myself as partly the conditioning of my life and it’s events (cognitions). The part I cannot reconcile myself entirely with is around whatever I have inherited. I cannot ‘know’ my biological parents; mother having been confirmed as dead before I had a chance to find her – and my father being an ‘unknown’.

      It’s not pervasive in my everyday thoughts; arising only when the media you describe does it’s thing. Long before it became ‘fly-on-the-wall’ material, I had a yearning to ‘know’ and to try and resolve that inner turmoil.

      Thanks for the question, Tim. I do appreciate that.

    • Hi Tim,
      Thank you for considering what I wrote. I have never been asked this before. To be honest, I never compared my story to anyone else that was published in the media. The only way I looked into media was to find community with other adoptees. I really didn’t entertain the possibility or eventuality of meeting my birth family again.

      I just read your disclosure as a lead up to the question. I never planned on choosing my birth mother over my adoptive mother. I was prepared to foster both maternal relationships in my life. It just so happened that I was already at odds with my adoptive family. I don’t want to dishonor them online as they have done many things right with me.

      Additionally, when I met my birth family, I had a flooding realization that my adoptive family was very integral to my identity, more-so than my genetic “family.” They didn’t know me like my adoptive family. My adoptive family had all of my shared memories. I didn’t add this to my original post and this could have assuaged your curiosity. Many adoptees have a vast range of experience according to their stories of origin enmeshed with their adoptive experiences.

      I currently only hold “media” connection with my biological family. I maintain a space in my heart and life to reconnect with my adoptive mother as my adoptive father has passed away.

      Again, thank you for your question. I am open to your additional questions.

      Meredith in the USA

  2. Tim

    Forgive the long gap. I have been away, or I would have asked my next question sooner.

    I accept all that you say. Yet I want to ask about it in order to learn. Again this is not critical, it is just my desire to know more. You have known that you are different. Are you able to define the way ‘different’ felt for you prior to your knowing you had been adopted?

    There is a back story to my desire to know more here. I have a cousin who was adopted. She had a difficult adoptive mother and a rather useless adoptive father. Her relationship with her adoptive mother deteriorated as she found her birth mother, and as her adoptive mother showed increasing signs of early onset Alzheimers, now fully blown Alzheimers.

    I do not understand why there appeared to be an automatic rejection of the woman who chose to love her in favour of the woman who chose to pass her to another mother. Knowing more about the feeling if difference and anything else you feel able to share will enhance my understanding.

    One could ask why I need it enhanced. I do not. I wish for it.

    • Hi Tim, yes, very content to clarify and share a little further. Thank you for your interest.
      It is, and was primarily on reflection, that I can specify at least some of the aspects around how I appeared to be different from the family who adopted me.
      I was more introverted, less tolerant and prone to angry emotional outbursts to relatively trivial things. I can recall a number of times – and this continues today, how if someone made me ‘jump’ by jumping out at me from behind, I would reactively and protectively strike out! This, I’m fairly certain was due to the awful babyhood I experienced. Neglected – and abandoned a number of times, I can only guess at whatever else happened whilst I was crying and distressed but I have read reports that at times, prolonged times, it involved no-one was coming! I also react poorly to individuals ‘shouting’ in certain environments.
      I can reflect and recognise that my childhood values and beliefs were separate from those of my brothers. My security programming that would allow me to feel safe, loved and nurtured was bereft, despite being in what was for a few years at least, in a safe environment. (Aged years 3 to 8).
      As I grew in childhood, it was clear I had a greater propensity for ‘naughty’ behaviour. Not all the time; I knew how to behave but when I was out ‘playing’ with friends it was noticed how I was often swearing, without anger – for instance!
      These may appear subtle, but when I compare my childhood and adult self with that of my two older siblings, we always have been so very different. This isn’t a result of consistent family values and nurturing, this is from during – and perhaps even before my birth and formative early years.
      Genetic? I think for sure that has played some part, but as I alluded in my last reply, I can only ‘know’ so much from the time before my birth.
      I hope that sheds a little more light, at least from my perspective.

      • Tim

        That sounds awful. And these periods of neglect were after you had been adopted into an ostensibly loving home? You were treated differently from your (new) siblings?

        I think I want to go and chastise your adoptive parents if that is so.

        My wife and I were infertile and had considered adopting. As we were discussing it the infertility treatment worked, albeit just the once. But our view was that a child we adopted would know the precise treatment of a child born to us, no more and no less.

        Do you feel, had you been shown that care, treatment, call it what you will, that your knowledge that you were somehow different would have been, well, different?

        • No Tim, I don’t. I should clarify that I wasn’t necessarily treated differently, just that the family broke-down, which in itself something of an indictment! I remain certain that if the family unit remained ‘stable’, I would still have been able to recognise significant differences in my psyche.

          • Tim

            Setting aside the adoption issue and the feeling of difference, children are to be loved, cherished, nurtured , respected and given trust and space to grow.

            I know that does not help you and that only you can make things better for you. I just wanted to make that statement.

  3. Ryan Biddulph

    Meredith, thanks so much for sharing with us. Despite your pain and suffering experienced, you continue to share remarkably clear, heart-felt insights. I love your style my friend 😉

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