If you’ve searched for or are thinking of searching for your natural family, what would you say to those who think your desire to search means you are unhappy in your adoptive family or had a bad childhood? If you don’t have a desire to search, what would you say to those who wonder why you have no interest in knowing where you come from?
I get this one a lot. As a preface, my adoptive family is great. They are not perfect but I don’t know of any parents who are. They made mistakes along the way because they are human. That being said, my parents are amazing. They sacrificed a lot for my sister and I growing up. My dad worked seven days a week. My mom baked cookies just because. My birthday was treated like a national holiday. We have a vacation home, a family dog, and a wonderful extended family. I have more support than I sometimes know what to do with and I grew up loved and felt it. My parents are proud of the person I have become and they love to brag about my accomplishments. They have stood behind me at every crossroad of my life and have supported me. They haven’t always agreed with all my choices, but they have done their best to be there anyway. The only real thing we disagree on is my reunion. I will admit however that I did blindside them and that I did keep things from them in regards to my reunion. I screwed some of that up, and that’s partially my fault. So no, my adoptive parents are not bad people nor did they fail as adoptive parents. Actually they’ve done quite the opposite.
My parents raised me to be a strong, independent woman. They used to tell me that I was smart. I had potential. I could go to college if I wanted. In fact, they knew I’d get into a good college if I put my mind towards it and they’d do anything they could to help me. I could be whoever and whatever I wanted to be. I told them I wanted to be a lawyer. My blue collar parents bite their tongues and told me that was amazing and they were proud of me. I told them that I wanted to be a teacher, and they said I’d be great at that because I’m so good with kids. I told them I wanted to do accounting and they said I was always great with numbers. When I told them accounting wasn’t for me and I wanted to be an engineer, my parents told me that I’d be amazing at it because I had a gift when it came to computers.
I remember have trouble with boys and my mom used to pull me into her arms and tell me that someday I’d find a boy who loved me for me. She would tell me never to settle and that I deserved a great man. I needed someone who would respect me and who would push me to be my best self. Until I met that man, I shouldn’t settle. I could be independent. I could have my own career. And someday, I could have a family too. Anything I wanted, I could have and she’d be there supporting me no matter what.
I grew up with a strong support system. I believe that people are inherently good. I have compassion for others. All of these things I attribute to my adoptive parents. They raised me right. And because I had received nothing but love and support from them, I had the strength to search. I knew there was a chance (a strong one) that I wouldn’t like what I would find. But I searched anyway because I knew my adoptive parents would be there for me if that was the case. I knew they’d help me pick up the pieces and I knew that they raised me to be strong enough to do so on my own if I needed to.
My parents didn’t fail. In fact, they succeeded. They raised a confident, strong, independent young woman who isn’t afraid to tackle life’s challenges. It’s not always easy. And I make mistakes. And I’m far from perfect. But they did right by me and I’m proud of the person I am today. I searched because they did their job right. I searched because I had a good childhood. I searched because I didn’t need to replace the family I already had, but instead because I wanted to find those missing pieces that only my natural family could fill. My adoptive parents gave me the strength to put in the work and I’ll always be glad for that.