There comes a time in most adoptees’ lives when the inevitable, unbelievably unnecessary question announces itself: why was I given up? The very nature of that particular question already has multiple trigger warnings and red flags surrounding it. Even the terminology used can easily contribute to the development of feelings of grief or abandonment.

Given up.

Given up.

Why were you given up?

It would be completely unethical for people to use such jabbing terms and not expect someone to be affected by that. Because the truth of the matter is that that question possesses the strength to overpower a mind. It has the ability to make one question almost everything about him/herself. Why was I given up? Am I easily disposable? Will anyone really ever be there for me?

As an adoptee myself, I have gone through each and every one of these feelings. Let’s start with grief. Although children are naturally curious and do not know how to properly address certain topics, hearing the words given up in relation to your life journey for years doesn’t exactly lighten your heart. I began to feel sorry for myself. I became upset, sometimes even sorrowful for how my life was. If my biological family did not want me, why would anyone else? If the people that brought me into the world did not wish to make me a part of theirs, how important could I really be? It really is a time of sheer confusion and sadness. However, the grief is not even the worst part. Once the grief settles in, the abandonment takes over.

Naturally, the topic of abandonment is one most adoptees struggle with. In the grand scheme of things, it makes sense. When your birth family relinquishes all ties to you, it is expected for an adoptee to feel abandoned at some point. That feeling is even more heightened if you noticeably do not resemble your adoptive family because that allows for more questions to be asked. Why don’t you look like your parents? That is one of the most popular and over-asked questions I have heard as an international adoptee. While that is not directly related to abandonment, that one question opens up the inner channels of the subconscious which are responsible for the creation of feelings of abandonment. Combine that with constantly hearing the words “given up” as part of your life story and abandonment becomes second nature. Was I really so easy to give up? Was I treated as if I was less than a person? Was I a mistake?

Although feelings of grief and abandonment are more present than most people would think, there is one distinction that I realized that helped me to understand that I was not abandoned, nor do I need to feel sorry about myself or my life story.

I was not given up.

I was chosen.

I was chosen to be gifted a better life than I may have had and was gifted with the most amazing family I could have asked for. How can I feel bad about that?