Guest blogger, Winnie, shares her personal story of her journey as an adoptee. She shares that adoption is not all unicorns and rainbows as the media tries to portray. When in fact, there is a lot of pain and feelings like abandonment ignored. Please note this is her personal story and we all have our own voice to share, please respect her journey she has chosen to share with us. Thank you :)
Many people view adoption as a happy thing. Not knowing there's all this turmoil that comes with it. You only see the happy side. You don't see what really comes with it. My name is Winnie. Most people growing up are able to define who they are. Many take traits to define themselves but there's no label on it. It's different for me. It's just a label. My label? Adoptee. And it's a label that is stuck with me for the rest of my life. I was born in Hyderabad, India. My birth mother was too sick to take care of me. She was poor, had some health issues and no help. My father left her when she was pregnant with me. At some point, my mother placed me in an orphanage in Tandur, India. At the age of 2, I arrived to the U.S. from India and my adoption was processed. I came to the U.S. with my social worker, clothes and my Raggedy Ann doll... leaving everything behind... including my first family...my birth family.
I was adopted by a white couple and raised in Washington DC. I had never paid attention to the racial difference. My parents would always tell me to say that I'm adopted and that they were my parents now. I always get asked if I knew I was adopted and my answer is yes. With my parents being white, obviously I would have figured out that something wasn't right. My adoption didn't start to make sense until I was 6. Everything started to click. At the age of 6, I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The moment I realized that there was an Indian woman out there that gave birth to me and my white parents weren't really my parents, everything switched. I was processing things that a 6 year old should not have to process.
People ask what is it like to be adopted. My answer? You know how it feels when you experience your first heartbreak? Imagine having that feeling everyday. Being adopted is by far the most stressful and draining thing. You have to fight to be strong everyday. Because being strong is the only choice we have. To make it worse, it's only other adoptee's that understand and will have the same feelings, no one else. It's a lifestyle that us adoptee's don't have a choice or say in. Yes our birth parents may feel like they're doing the right thing, but the aftermath is stuck with us permanently. The trauma of being taken away and cut off from your birth family is something that can never be reversed. Therapy won't help, and sometimes finding your birth family doesn't help. Finding your family does help with closure, but it doesn't take the pain of abandonment away. I always considered my birth family as my first family. I don't believe in the quote "blood doesn't mean family, it's about who raised you." My first family is my blood and is still my family regardless. I hate how people just assume because you have a "new" family that you should forget your birth family and where you come from. Sadly, most of the time, it's actually the adoptive family that have this mindset. I honestly don't have sympathy for a lot of adoptive parents. At the end of the day, us adoptee's are filling a void for you, your not doing anything for us. Our voids are stuck with us permanently.
I was 6 years old when finding my mother became an obsession. My adoptive parents would tell me the same quote that I think every adoptee experiences "your mother wanted you to have a better life." When your younger, you just accept it, but when you get older and start to understand the process of adoption and learn more about it, you start to question if that's the truth. I honestly feel like it's just something that adoptive parents say to make themselves feel like they really did do a good deed and "saved a child." You wouldn't think at the age of 6, I would understand that a white woman doesn't give birth to an Indian person. I knew I had a birthmother and I just wanted her. It definitely caused a disconnect with my parents but I didn't care. My parents would see my interest but would ignore it. Becoming a woman is something that should be explained to any daughter. All these changes were happening but my parents wouldn't explain what is going on. If you think about it, how can they? Since they would never tell me anything it drew me more to want my birth mother. Each time my parents would reject me it would cause me to get depressed and more upset that my mother wasn't with me. I just constantly felt alone which increased my depression. At one point I started to hate everything. I remember dealing with depression at 7 and it never went away. Middle school was when my suicidal thoughts started. I started to hate my birthdays and I would start to act weird on Mother's Day. Before I was celebrating my white parents but then I started to acknowledge my birth mother on Mother's Day and on my birthday. Which I feel like I have every right to do. My birthday started to become the most depressing day for me. Your birthday is supposed to be a celebration and a happy day. That wasn't the case for me and it still isn't. The pain of celebrating a day without the person that gave birth to you is indescribable. Slowly Mother's Day became a holiday that I refused to acknowledge. So much to the point where I choose not to celebrate it with my parents. I felt like it wasn't fair that my birth mother wasn't able to see my growth from child to adulthood and see the type of woman I've turned out to be.
At a certain point I felt like my parents weren't my parents. They weren't acting like it. What made me more upset was how they acted like my birth mother didn't exist. There was no sympathy for her. People refuse to acknowledge what a mother goes through in giving their child away, especially when it's forced. People fail to understand that international adoptions are worse and more strict than U.S. adoptions. In some countries, the adopted child isn't allowed to look for their mother or family because of certain laws. So please tell me how adoption is a happy or lucky thing? Probably one of the most frustrating things about adoption is not having someone you can talk to about this with. Not even family members.
When your in a situation where you just want answers and it's not given to you because your adoptive family feels a certain way or because certain laws prohibit it, you will definitely start to go mentally insane. Some people find it hard to believe that in some cases an adoptee would probably have been better off staying with their birth family. Not every person that wants to adopt is meant to adopt. People praise adoption, but abandonment is ignored. Society has made it that adoptee's need to just shut up and be grateful. Why do you think so many adoptee's don't come out with their stories. There's so much that comes with adoption that no one acknowledges. I want to be the voice for adoptee's and let them know that it's ok to share your story and that they are not alone. Everyday is a battle to stay strong and live life. The trauma I've experienced is unimaginable and definitely not expected. If I can make it so can you.