30 november 2018
do you know your real parents?
People used to ask me this more so when I was a kid which I’m not sure is better or worse but in any stage of my life, please don’t ask me this. There are several things wrong with this question.
For starters, and this is something I struggled with a great deal as a kid, this idea of who my “real” parents are. As a kid I definitely went back and forth a lot which was a source of frustration in understanding and processing my story and how my family came to be a family. In the beginning I felt like my real parents were my biological parents but over time I started to see my [adoptive] mom as my real mom. The one who is always there, the one who is raising me. I think the tension I felt even as a kid is I felt like having to define one or the other as my “real parent(s)” felt like I had to pick sides. I felt I was being disloyal to my birth parents or disowning them if I said they weren’t my “real parents” but I also felt guilty and bad if I said my adoptive mom wasn’t my “real mom.” So that said, I really hate this question because I think it forces someone to pick a side in an unnecessary argument. All three individuals are my parents. I like to just call my birth parents my birth mom or birth father and my [adoptive] mom as just mom, as that’s who she’s always been and always will be.
Then, to answer the question on where are my birth parents? I don’t know. Please stop asking…unless you know me well and we’re having a good chat. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know where they are, I don’t know why they left/abandoned/separated from me. I don’t know anything about them other than whatever they did led me to exist and the actions that happened since my birth led me here. I hesitate to say the decisions they made or the choices they made because I don’t know if it was a choice. I don’t know if I have siblings. I don’t know where I was born, I don’t know what time, I don’t know if I have siblings, I don’t know if I have grandparents or other relatives that were part of the process. I am comfortable sharing all these things but many adoptees may not be, so please don’t just ask an adoptee this question off the bat.
Even if you do know them well, many adoptees do not know and that’s a painful thing. Asking, even if well intentioned brings up a lot of feelings, thoughts that takes a lot of coping mechanisms to not dwell on in our every day lives. Thinking about it, for me at least, often leads to a rabbit hole, falling feeling in the pit of my body, the weight of not knowing or ever knowing. I’m going to cut this here as instagram’s character length is reaching soon but as National Adoption Month comes to a close, please keep listening to adoptee voices and keeping an open mind to preconceived notions of adoption and what it means to be a family.