Hi everyone,
I am new to this forum and I am so grateful to have found it. I am a 32 year old adoptee . Last night I had a triggering experience when conversing with a member of my adoptive family and I woke up today on a mission to find some help in this world. To gain some inner peace and share with like minded individuals. I want to share my adoption story and maybe get some much needed feedback from anyone that wouldn't mind taking the time to read this .
I was adopted at 8 years old ( with my biological brother who was 4 at the time ) out of the foster care system. We moved into a beautiful town, into a gorgeous house, a dog, had a white picket fence ( literally ) and two parents with a stable income and desire to have children. A huge extended ,supportive, adoptive family came into our lives and considering the multiple foster homes and bouncing back and forth with our birth parents struggling with addiction for the first years of our lives... this was clearly a good thing. My adoptive father was a very kind , mild mannered man from a very nice family. My adoptive mother came from an abusive home of her own in childhood ( her sister abused her ) and her first husband left when they could not have kids. She was not warm towards me.
To put it mildly, I was a handful from the start. I remember my adoptive mother and I fighting immediately. Finding myself in a life with structure and rules and adults that I was supposed to respect and love was a foreign concept and one that I did not transition well into. My brother was thriving. He was young enough that he did not see what I had seen and experienced what I had in foster care, or at least did not remember it.
As I got older things got worse. I had proved I was intelligent in academics but fought my parents from the start in school. I lied to them constantly. I fought. I was emotionally unstable ( either dying for attention or ignoring them ) . I caused a tornado in our household. I recall very early on ( around 9 or 10 years old ) hearing my adoptive mother ask my adoptive father if sending me back was an option. I would often be asked by her why I "couldn't just be grateful to have been adopted " .
My behavior did not improve over the years, and thus our relationships did not thrive. I remained incredibly close with my brother and relatively close with my adoptive father. My adoptive mother and I were like water and oil. And it caused everyone else misery to watch and hear us. I was always kind and polite and surrounded myself with nice friends , but I had an innate tendency to lie and argue whenever possible. Thinking back on this I imagine I must have been like living with a person dealing with addiction. The lies, the arguing, the chaos, the instability. It must have been hell for them, and yet I had no professional help given and did not have the words to explain all the pain I had inside. I was simply guessing at what normal should look like and trying to attach to people when my entire life had previously been one in which I knew I would be left by the very people who should have loved me.
My parents eventually did not regard me as part of the family based off how I behaved. They turned to punishment and a certain neglect. At some point in middle school I was no longer allowed to enter my home after school. I had to enter through a tiny door in the backyard that led to the basement where I was to wait until they got home. I found myself in trouble at school as things got worse. My teeth were horribly crooked and I needed braces badly and they refused because " beauty isn't eveyrhnig " ( we were an upper middle class family , this was not a financial decision ) . In middle school and high school I was ashamed to ever smile and starting cutting class when I knew I had to speak in front of my class. Cutting class led to more punishment. One day my adoptive mother cleaned out my entire room of all my belongings and told me I had to earn it back. Now a teenager I panicked at the thought of not having any beauty products to use for school ( acne problems etc ). I snuck some products back into my bedroom. When they were found I was not allowed to leave or come into the house without getting patted down or emptying my pockets. My adoptive mother did not hide her disgust of me. At family holidays she would refuse to sit next to me. members of my family remarked that she was very cold to me ( and many people in general ). For many years I could not see friends or have social plans. People often asked me why when they came to my house they were always sent away. My friends would later tell me they knew something wasn't right in my household.
When I graduated high school I told my parents that I wanted to move out. Looking back at that I can not believe my 17 year old self set out into the world alone. Absolutely horrific.
For the next couple of years I did not do anything too extraordinary. Learning to socialized find myself. Worked a serving job and tried some therapy so sort out my childhood. As I went through therapy , I kept hearing things that resonated with me in regard to why I had a hard time connecting and how the trauma I had experienced influenced my behavior in a lot of ways. I reached out to the my adoptive parents to try to explain this. Try to mend things. They were not having it.
When I was 20 years old, I received an email from my adoptive mother that read
" Ashley, after thinking about this for a very long time, we have painfully come to the decision that they was a failed adoption. The connection with you as a child was never established and we no longer wish to be your parents. Your bother will have to decide what to do with you as a blood relative when he is older "
I begged and pleaded to heard. To be forgiven. Anything.
Nothing. A few years later I received a response that was a single line .
" we are sorry you can't cope with our decision but it is final " .
Life has moved on. I think about that email, at least every other day . Around 25 years old, my uncle from my adoptive family agreed to have dinner with me ( I had not seen or heard from anyone in years ) . He told me up front that he refused to get in between my parents and I and that he could know me in private but refused to make waves with them. Our of pure anger and sadness I shared with him what it had been like growing up with them for the first time to anyone ever and then never heard from him again. I was told by a few family members that I should apologize to them for how bad of a kid I was .
My younger brother secretly kept in touch with me for years. One year he told me that he had asked them for christmas to "just reach out " to me and make amends. Heart breaking. Eventually he turned his anger towards me. Said that they had told him I was horrible in childhood and that he could not disrespect them by knowing me. He completely repressed the memory of me over the years. He would develop a drinking problem in his 20s but did get sober and says our adoptive parents are the best people on the planet.
As an adult and social media became popular , members of my adoptive family followed me on facebook. They would wish me a happy birthday, happy holidays etc. I would always get sick to my stomach when this happened because for them it was casual, but for me it was a small reminder of the family I was told I could not have. Our of respect for my bother I did not drag anyone into the crazy that was our household growing up, and no one asks.
I am 32 now and have a wonderful relationship with an incredible man, for 6 years now. His family took me in as their own. We have a beautiful house and I am in nursing school :) I reached a point in my mid twenties where everything clicked. I lead a good life, as a good person. My emotional growth was stunted, but I made it. I have never done a drug and never got into drinking ( both things my adoptive mother often told me I would turn out to be , " just like your birth mom" )
Which brings me to last nights triggering moment. My adoptive cousin messaged me on facebook and said " I always want to acknowledge your posts on facebook and tell you how proud I am but I don't want to make you sad or open old wounds. I share with everyone how well you are doing. " This made my heart soar and sink at the same time. We started talking and I asked her what she thought my adoptive parents would react like if I sent them a letter ( now 14 years later ) . To my surprise, She asked me why I was not trying with my brother. I informed her of how desperately I had tried to no avail and that he was told he could not have me in his life. She was stunned and said " that's not how we do things in this family " and said she wanted talk to family members about the situation at hand. I got the strong sense that My adoptive mother never did reveal her email to anyone and that the assumption has been that this " failed adoption " was me just running away. I was floored. I do not want to blow up my brothers world by involving myself in the family with this info but it am also incredibly curious as to what is going on.
I have a very happy life but the adoption door is wide open and needs to resolved or shut. I am at a loss as to how to feel . As an adult I can look back and reason that it must have been incredibly hard for them to deal with me, but are we not also supposed to have unconditional love? I often think about if I could turn back the clock how I would be the perfect child and be worthy of their love. Alas I can't so I am trying to navigate life as it is and make the most of it.
Thank you for your time <3
I'm new to this site, didn't think there was a forum for adoptees until I came across your story.
I was adopted when I was 5-6yrs old and only stayed with my adoptive parents til I was 10-11years old. My adopted parents gave me away to the people who helped them adopt me (private adoption) I didn't think they were allowed to do that and it was legal.
After 25 yrs later I still try to understand why they did it; I still have their legal name so am I still a part of their family?? Are there any rights for adoptees ??