Dear Adoption, I Never Would Have Chosen You

Dear Adoption,

Fifty-three years. We know each other well. In fact, we know each other so well, we finish each other’s sentences. Your influence has shaped me in fundamental ways that can never be undone. Like a knotted shoelace in the hands of a novice,

I could never untie myself from you.

The trusted professionals told my first mother about you. That my life would be better because of you…with you in it. That I’d have more opportunities…. They said that you would give me a better chance at life than my 16 yr.-old first mother could. That I’d have a family – a mother and a father – who could love me and provide for me.

Who could afford me and adore me.

They told my young mother many wonderful things about you. In fact, there was nothing said that would make her question the option of adoption for a fraction of a second. It seemed all rainbows and unicorns. So much so, that she felt guilty at the thought of keeping me even though she was never given this option. This adoption thing seemed like the perfect solution to the present problem.

You were the perfect fix for a girl like her.

Months later, they told my prospective adoptive parents that you and I would get along perfectly. We would become fast friends and that I’d never even remember my life without you in it. However, they warned her that she shouldn’t mention you to me. You would have to remain a secret. That she shouldn’t talk about you or even acknowledge you. I honestly had no clue that we were connected for my first 17 yrs. While I knew something was off, I blamed myself.

I always thought it was me.

But, no! It was you all along!

Finally, someone cared enough to tell me! My best friend knew that we needed to know about each other – me and you.

I was played the fool for 17 yrs. – the joke was definitely on me.

But I never laughed.

I lived in a jungle bulging with white elephants.

Looking back now, I see your face in every scene of my life. In every photograph. In every conversation. You were always there. Even though as a child, we were never given a proper introduction, I knew you. I couldn’t have called you out by name, but I could feel you. Much like feeling the wind, but not able to lay my eyes on it. I could never tell you what the wind looks like but as an Oklahoma girl, I know wind. The wind shows itself when our big sky takes on the color of our rusty, red dirt and when summer’s garden becomes winter’s tumbleweeds…

Adoption, you are my wind.

In every extreme, anxiety-ridden goodbye –

you were there.

In every mask change – to chameleon myself, to avoid rejection –

you were there.

In every one of my tearful episodes – begging my mom not to leave me alone – and then years later, my husband…

you were there.

Towering over both of my parents in Jr. High, I couldn’t find my ‘genetic mirror’ anywhere around me but wanted to believe more than anything that my adoptive dad and I had the same ears and hairy arms. I tried so hard to fit there

it was because of you.

In each moment with my perplexed mom as she tried to calm another exaggerated response to an episode of Lassie, who gets lost and can’t find her way home…

it was because of you.

At our small town diner with my mom and brother, with every whisper and stare and sideways glance that I could never properly file away –

it was because of you.

When making others laugh became paramount to understanding my own internal struggle and confusion –

it was because of you.

When I erected a fortress around my heart to protect – to avoid rejection…my 24/7 hypersensitive radar scanning for signs of it anywhere, ready to abort mission at the slightest blip.

It’s because of you.

When I abandoned myself in order to keep everyone else ok with their own toxicity – deception, secrets and lies – regarding the truth about you….

you. were. there.

I made myself smaller to accommodate you. 

I don’t really mean to be rude, Adoption, but if given the choice, I never would’ve chosen you. You see, for you to be in my life, I lost another life. My life that would’ve unfolded with my biological family.

It’s not normal for people to bail on their family – it’s their family. I’ve met few people who would give up/walk away from their biological families – even those that are challenging and far from perfect.

So, I’m perplexed about the mindset of far too many who believe that my “real” life began with you. They’re wrong. One life ended so that yours could begin. Please don’t misinterpret my transparency with bitterness or anger that too many humans like to label me.

I can grieve my lost life while simultaneously be thankful for the life that I live with you.

Thankful for you?

Probably never will be.

I never would’ve chosen you.

Nevertheless, Adoption, if I’d never been tossed by your wind, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t be me. And honestly, I’m proud of the girl inside who somehow found the courage within herself to fight – to finally find all of my pieces – in spite of the decades of lies, deception, strife, rejection, betrayal, narcissistic drama, character assault etc. It’s been a long, winding journey through a nightmare swamp that I never want to revisit, but I made it….by the grace of God and my hard head. 

It’s true…we can finish each other’s sentences and we’re inextricably knotted together in ways I don’t completely understand.

And even though I would never have chosen you, from my present vista, I wouldn’t UNchoose you.

Relationship status: complicated.






2 thoughts on “Dear Adoption, I Never Would Have Chosen You

  1. This is beautifully written. I feel like I always knew I was adopted and I still struggled to fit in. My adopted parents were wonderful, but I lost my mom when I was 8 then my dad when I was 25, with a whole lot of life crap in between. No one truly understands how we feel because they can’t walk in our shoes. I admire you for telling your story and I am finally getting brave enough to tell mine


    1. Thank you Suzi….It took me a half-decade to start telling it but later is better than never! I didn’t find out about my adoption until I was 17 from my best friend. Finally my life made sense up to that point. I agree that nobody can truly understand but I believe it’s so important for us to share our stories so that we can help them come closer. Too many adoptees struggle without any validation that their struggle is real – it’s a valid response to abandonment, grief and loss. I’m so glad you’re finding your voice! Thank you for reading here! Look forward to hearing your story 🙂


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