Are My Past Choices Linked to Being Adopted?

Filling a void with the need to please.

Rebecca Tillou April 24, 2014
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Before I started the search for my biological family–the search for my roots–my life had been full of ups and downs. While searching for my birth mom, I started searching for reasons why I made certain decisions in my life; decisions that altered my life in negative ways. I started searching for links between being adopted and my poor choices.

I searched and searched, and only came up with little sparks of possible connections. Nothing concrete that said, “This is why you could have done this.” I spoke to a counselor about the possible connection, and he said there could be one. I thought I would outline my experiences for those adoptees who are in search of answers for their choices in life. Your choices may be influenced by your adoption. They may not. You can draw your own conclusions based on your past.

When I was a little girl, I desired to please people. Especially those who loved and nurtured me. I remember frequently putting my plates in the dishwasher, washing the coffee pot, and then telling my parents what I had done. I craved that praise. I was very passive. I did whatever my parents wanted me to do.

My mom signed me up for Girl Scouts. I didn’t like it but I didn’t want to upset her, so I stayed in it. I was the daughter who never did anything wrong. Until I was 17 years old. Looking back, I wonder if there is a link between being adopted and craving praise from those who adopted me. I have read adoption books that state those who are adopted feel a sadness when they are taken from their birth mothers. The innate bond is broken. Subconsciously, did I think the bond between my adoptive parents and myself could also be broken? Is that why I tried to please everyone all the time?

I have taken a look back at my life, and there is a definite pattern of wanting to please people. Even at the expense of those I love. I always felt a void in my life, and I never knew how to fill it. The void where my birth mother would have been. I always received constant attention and praise. Shouldn’t that have filled the void? I thought so, but it didn’t. I went looking for praise and attention from everyone. Including those I should’ve stayed away from. It was an insatiable need to feel wanted, and that need would be fulfilled momentarily before I would search for it again. I still find myself trying to understand why I made the choices I did. I feel there is a definite connection between being an adoptee and feeling the need to please and be praised, and to fill that void.

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Rebecca Tillou

Rebecca was adopted as an infant. She found her birth family in May of 2013 and continues to keep in touch with them. Sadly, her birth mother passed away in 1999. She and her husband live in New York and are the parents of two beautiful little boys, Dominic and Nicolas. They also have a German Shepherd mix named Chester. She was recently diagnosed with FASD at 34 years of age. She is currently working with nofas.org and thearg.org to get the word out that there is hope, and that you are never too old to better yourself.


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