Thursday, June 23, 2011

Unhappy? No, just adopted.

My recent interaction with a new adoptoland friend got me thinking about something that seems to come up all too often. Whenever I talk about my feelings about being adopted, more often than not it is interpreted as me being an unhappy person, that I am generally angry and bitter. This is not the case. I am a reasonably happy person. I have a lovely little family, my hubby and gorgeous son, both of whom I could not possibly love more. I was reunited with my natural mother and my half brother and half sister over 10 years ago and I have a wonderful relationship with them. My nieces are all beautiful and are fantastic cousins to my lovely boy. I love my adoptive family for all that I complain about some members of it - who doesn't complain about their family, right? I have a comfortable life and a lovely home in this lucky country of ours.

So why do people assume that I am unhappy? Because sometimes being adopted does make me sad and angry and frustrated. When I respond to something adoption related, of course I will talk about that sadness and anger. That is my experience of being adopted - it makes me sad that I did not grow up with my natural Mum and my sister and brother, it makes me angry that the only reason she couldn't keep me was society's attitudes towards single mothers in 1972. It makes me sad that my natural mother was deeply affected by giving me up. It makes me angry that my fellow adoptees in the USA don't have access to their original birth certificates and genetic heritage. It makes me sad and angry that people use adoption to get a child at all costs when adoption was always meant to be about the best interests of a child.

Let me put it this way - there are things in everyone's lives that they are not particularly happy with - it could be their appearance, it could be a trauma of some kind, it could be an illness that they live with. Just because that one thing in their life makes them unhappy sometimes, does not mean that they are an unhappy person. Adoptees seem to be the only people who are told that the thing in their life that makes them sad means that they are just a miserable person. No-one would tell an amputee who was saying that not having a leg was difficult sometimes that they were just unhappy, would they? No, because that would make you a monster. So please, don't dismiss an adoptee's emotional loss the same way.