How Being Adopted Has Affected My Adult Relationships

As an adoptee, somethings are just going to be a little different--but that isn't bad.

Rebecca Tillou November 07, 2016
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Being adopted has proven to be a good ice breaker in new situations. At my old job, we had to do what they called “Onboarding,” which is where they introduced us to the new systems and the ways of their corporation. We played a game called Two Truths and a Lie. Each of us had to think of two truths about ourselves and a lie about ourselves. I chose to have being adopted as one of my truths. In this situation many knew it was a truth because I was friends with them. There were a handful though that said being adopted was my lie. It opened doors to conversations with those people, and friendships were formed. I love how one fact about my life has made many friendships, and started many in depth conversations.

I was adopted at one month old, and I am forever grateful to my family for adopting me. It has made me desire to choose friends that care about their families and their communities. I hang out with people that feel for those children in foster care and desire for them to have forever families, and to stay with their siblings if they have them.

I do feel that being adopted brought with it a sense of needing to be wanted, by everyone, even if that meant being the annoying 35-year-old who met a coworker one day for the first time and the next day is asking them to get coffee with me and go shopping. This feeling of needing to be wanted is one that some adoptees can relate to. As a child, I had the same motive for forming friendships, but as a child, this motive was considered a normal part of childhood growth. As an adult? Well, it cam come across as creepy. I have pushed people away that didn’t know I was adopted, or did but didn’t think that I didn’t want to be rejected by him/her the way I felt my birth mom rejected me.

Being adopted led me to want to search for my roots. Well, I searched. I searched at the expense of time with my husband at night after our kids had gone to bed. This caused space and tension between us, and it took until after I found Joanie, my birth mother and her family to sit down with my husband and reflect on how we had become roommates instead of partners. It took a few weeks to rekindle the relationship with my husband that I had damaged. Over time, we did become friends and lovers again.

The adult relationships that were affected the most because I was adopted though was the relationship between my parents and me. When I chose to search for my birth family, our relationship became filled with tension. My parents understood my desire to search and that I wanted to know who Joanie was and what her life had been like. Although they understood, it didn’t mean they didn’t feel threatened by my search. In the way back of their minds, little voices were whispering, “What if she chooses her birth family over us?”

Over time, they have put their guards down and we have had discussions about my findings and about Joanie’s family life. I guess the old saying is true, “time can heal old wounds.”

If you want help to find birth parents or family, visit the new adoption search and reunion website.

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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 and to get the word out that there is hope, and that you are never too old to better yourself.

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