“Lion” Roars The Language Of An Adoptee

Exploring if adoptees are happy to be adopted.

Rebecca Tillou March 05, 2017
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So when I choose to write this article, I was actually supposed to have it completed a while ago. Well, I’m a couple days late, but I believe sometimes timing has a mind of its own, and sometimes, late is for a reason. I think, at this moment, this article was supposed to be written, by an adoptee. I think it was supposed to be written by me, an adoptee who just came back from watching LION.

Now, I didn’t know much about this movie, except it had an adoption theme, and Nicole Kidman was in it. So, given it was a Tuesday night, and my parents had our children overnight at a waterpark, I reached out to my husband to see if he would accompany me to this flick. This movie speaks to its audience, whether the audience is adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, or ANYONE!

It tells how one adoptee, Saroo, goes on a search for his birth family. The movie shows glimpses of his childhood and his growth as well. It shows him happy with his adoptive family. He appears happy to have been adopted. He was. He is. He also has longing for his past. He has a tenacious spirit that takes to searching for his birth family in India, in a town he can’t seem to find on any map. He makes a statement at the end of the movie that solidifies his feeling of happiness from being adopted.

With the happiness, though, came sadness. When Saroo was a child, he got lost in India and separated from his family. His birth mom had probably been looking for him for 25 years. Frustration seeped through the wall of happiness as he tried to search, to pinpoint his hometown in India, and failed for a few consecutive years.

I watched this movie. I felt every emotion Saroo felt. I embraced him with my heart, encompassing his brave, tenacious spirit as he searched…and searched. I went down his path of obsessing over searching. My search did CONSUME me, as it consumed Saroo.

So, did we let it consume us because we were not happy being adopted? No, it had nothing to do with our feelings towards being adopted. It had everything to do with those feelings of wonderment and curiosity about our heritage, our genetics, the lady that carried us for nine months, and in Saroo’s case, the lady that had no idea he had left one morning, not to return. It has to do with curiosity about whether the need to search was felt and fed on the other side as well.

Adoptees are members of your family; we just became members in a more formal fashion.

When your son or daughter decides to delve into the searching realm, please try to stay away from the edge of negative thoughts. Don’t be thinking it is because he or she is unhappy with being adopted. More times than not it has absolutely nothing to do with that. If anything, he or she feels enough love from you that your child feels confident in searching. Your child feels he or she can trust that you will be there throughout the journey, right beside or in the distance. We as adoptees are not searching to replace what we already have, but to hopefully replace questions with answers.

I, like Saroo, am happy to have been adopted. My life had I not been adopted…well I tend to think I would have been raised in a bar, probably following the path of my birth mom. My life is amazing. My childhood was happy, carefree, full of love and laughter. I was given life; I was given everlasting love, at one month old. It still pours forth today from my family. I am happy.

I am not sad or angry about being adopted at all. I do have moments of sadness when I stop to ponder the plight of my birth mom. I do have moments of anger when I think how she drank herself to oblivion while pregnant with me, and maybe I would have had a different, less difficult learning curve had she chosen to be sober. As far as being adopted though, I just have happiness. Gratefulness.

My parents had a baby girl. She got sick, and she passed away. My parents grieved, they still grieve to this day. Yet, they put their trust in a higher power that they were meant to have another baby. I was meant for their family. They have shown me life lessons in love, friendship, kindness, and tough love. I am who I am today because of my family. I am proud of who I am, who I have become, and the person I am evolving into because of the amazing family base I have.

I am not going to say all adoptees are happy to have been adopted.

I was in an adoption group on Facebook, and there was a girl who despised being adopted. Why? Unfortunately her adoptive family was horrible. They treated her like an object, and did not show her love or kindness. They showed her nothing but abuse. So, yes, there are those out there that think they would have been better off not adopted. It is unfortunate, but it is true. I will say I have friends and acquaintances that were adopted, and each of them is happy to have been adopted. Yes, each of them will tell me the trials of family life, and how family members can be annoying. That is not unlike anyone who has a family. At the end of the day, they would still tell me they are grateful for being brought into their family.

So, if you are a parent who has adopted, and your child gets angry on occasion and lashes out, please know it most likely has nothing to do with being adopted. It has everything to do with being human, having emotions like everyone, and dealing with life’s daily struggles. Adoptees are members of your family; we just became members in a more formal fashion.

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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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