I am Cindy, and I was adopted. I am not Cindy who is adopted. Along the way of my adoption journey, I searched for and found my biological mother. I also discovered that I am special, but not because I was once her daughter or because I became my adoptive parents’ daughter. I am special because I believe I was made to be so!
“Her daddy’s a doctor and she’s adopted!”
My second-grade girlfriend slanted her eyes towards me, cupping her hand around the ear of another friend. She viciously “whispered” my non-secrets just loud enough for me to hear. For the first time in my precious life, I felt different.
And not good different.
My adoptive parents had always emphasized that I was special because I was different. They chose me out of all the other children they could have adopted. They said the ways I was different from other children made me special, like I was meant to be in their family. And yet now here I was, feeling like a leper.
The thought had never before crossed my mind that have been adopted was taboo. So, I pretended not to hear.
But I had heard. The words my friend had whispered rocked my safe little world.
I Was or I Am?
Having been adopted never mattered to me before then, but overnight it became so important. I questioned what I’d been taught by my parents. I wondered why they hadn’t more adequately prepared me for the harshness of the world—a world that, in general, didn’t understand the beauty of adoption. Instead, it seemed the world only saw that my adoption made me less of a person.
The feelings that bubbled up after that experience—and in many experiences that would soon come—were difficult for me to deal with. Ultimately, I had to overcome the belief that those whispered words and judgmental glares had instilled in me: That I was less.
Root of Rejection
Many adoptees suffer from an emotional “root of rejection”—a dangerous root causing us to readily believe we are reject-able. This can draw us dangerously inward and downward with strong feelings of isolation.
As we accept the truth that we are special—not because we are adopted, but simply because we are—we can begin to see and appreciate the beautiful gift of adoption without tying our self-worth to it.
As an adult, I sometimes consider what I would have said to that second-grade friend if I were given the chance again. With the knowledge that I have now, I like to think that I would have smiled, taken a deep breath and told my story. I know my story is just as beautiful than her own; no more and no less. I also would have told her that I am special, not because I’m adopted, but because I am.