Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interview with an Adult Adoptee 61/F

Puzzled Piece
Adult Adoptee Interview

Age : 61

Gender: F

1. What age were you when you were adopted?

age 6

2. In what State were you adopted?

North Carolina

3. Was your adoption open or closed?


4. How old were you when you were first informed about your adoption?

age 4. I met my adopted parents then, and they took me home with them for a “trial”.

5. Have you considered searching for anyone from your birth family?

I have searched for years.

6. Did you inform your adoptive parents of your plans to search?

No. My adopted mother had already hired a private detective when I was a child to look for my birth parents because, as she said, I looked too much like my adopted family not to have some roots there (my foster mother was her aunt – there were many secrets & skeletons in their closets).

7. Were your adoptive parents supportive in your search?

They died before I began my search.

8. Have you actually started your search?

I began when I was 27.

9. Do you know any member of your birth family?

Not that I know of (see question #6).

10. Were you adopted with a sibling? (If yes, male or female sibling?)


The following questions were asked to get a better understanding of some hereditary conditions that may have been avoided if the adoptee had access to their medical history

Autoimmune Diseases: No
Cancer: No
Diabetes: No
Hair Loss: A little
Heart Health: Rheumatic fever at age 6 months. Heart murmur. High blood pressure. Angina
Lung Health: Pleurisy
Menopause: Of course!
Mental Health: Diagnosed as manic-depressive at age 13
Multiple Sclerosis: No
Reproductive Health: I have 4 kids!
Sarcoidosis: Not that I know of.

In your own words how do you feel about being adopted?

"I feel cheated. I wanted to stay with my foster parents (and they wanted me to, (but it was not allowed in those days). I thought that, since they were related to my adoptive parents, I would be allowed to see them but, after they had visited only once, I was told that they couldn’t come any more. I cried inconsolably for a very long time. After my adoptive parents died, I visited my foster parents often and took my children to meet them & play at their farm.

When I read your book Loved to Death, except for the fact that I am alive, I felt that you had been the fly on my wall all of my adopted life. My mother reminded me often that she had never wanted children and showed me her hysterectomy scar whenever she was angry with me to prove it (my foster parents wanted to keep me but couldn’t, according to law, so they begged my mother & father to adopt me to keep me in the family), My daddy loved me to pieces, but wasn’t allowed to touch, hold or kiss me because “all men are only after one thing”, according to my adoptive mother. Therefore, I don’t remember ever being kissed or hugged, or told that I was loved during my entire childhood. My mother passed away first, and it was after that that my daddy then lavished all the love he had wanted to, all those years, on me. But by then I was grown and it was awkward and though I tried, I just didn’t know how. I am only just these past 2 or 3 years learning how to say “I love you” to my children & grandchildren as well as to hug them and outwardly express love & emotion.

I still think of my birth mother & father almost every day and wonder if they are still alive and think of me sometimes. After my adoptive parents died, my foster mom told me all she remembered about them, but she had never learned their names, as it was forbidden for her to talk to them. But she did hear them talking to me, even as a baby, and knew they both loved me, especially my father, who wanted to keep me and raise me, but my mother’s family (who were very wealthy), filed some sort of court document stating that he was not my father and demanding that he give up all rights ( my mother was only around 17, and my father was a soldier). It was even forbidden that they come to visit me, but after the courts found out that they were and demanded that they stop, my mother’s sister still came to see me until I was old enough to remember her visits (around 2 or 3).

Yes, I feel like a big, important, chunk of my life was denied to me, and there is a hole where there should have been sweet memories."

Puzzled Piece and Rosa Elmore Ferguson would like to thank this participant for her candid answers about being adopted. It is my desire that these interviews will give voice to adult adoptees who were silenced for so long!

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