Adult Adoptee Interview
1. What Age Were You When You Were Adopted?
4 years old
but I had been with my adoptive father from age 2
2. In What State Were You Adopted?
3. Was Your Adoption Open or Closed
My adoption was complicated. It was either the very first times, or among the first times, a single father adopted a child in the state of Oregon. My mother's name had to be left on the birth certificate, even though she signed over all her rights, because there was no other mother to take her place on the paperwork. My original father was removed and replaced with my adoptive father, and my name was changed.
4. How old were you when you were first informed about your adoption?
I knew about the adoption process because I had been 2 when I went to live with my adoptive dad, and then at age 4 I was put into foster care as the state studied him and his ability to provide for me. I had also met many of my siblings, both older and younger, so I knew from the age of 2... except I don't know if I really understood it until I was older.
5. Have you considered searching for anyone from your birth family?
I found my birth mother when I was 17. I met many of my older siblings. Three of my younger siblings have been located (they were all adopted into the same home), but have no interest in reunion. I don't know enough about my birth father to search, just his name. My birth mother assures me that his family are probably all dead.
6. Were your adoptive parents supportive in your search?
My adoptive father knew I wanted to search. He never says much about it. We don't really talk about it. I think it makes him sad. I can't complain about it to him, either. He won't tolerate any complaints about my birth mother or her family - he expects me to be kind to them. That has worked in my favor in some ways, because I haven't been able to draw my adoptive family into the drama. It's healthier.
7. Were you adopted with a sibling? (If yes, male or female sibling?)
no, I was raised as a singleton. I am number 6 in 10 siblings, with the older 5 staying in the family and the younger 5 adopted away. 3 of my siblings are half-Chinese, and the state placed them together. By the time they went up for adoption, I had already been adopted away.
8. Do you know any member of your birth family?
My adoptive father had limited contact with them and their caretakers for a short time.
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- Yes (throidectomy and fibromyalgia)
Cancer- No (benign cancerous growths and tumors)
Mental Health-Yes (anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders synesthesia)
In your own words how do you feel about being adopted?
adoption is difficult to put into words. It means being part of two (sometimes more) families, but not being a full member of any one family. There is always that missing history, or missing DNA, or missing level of understanding that limits your ability to fit in. It's a struggle and it doesn't always seem worthwhile. It can be very demoralizing, confusing, and heartbreaking. Reunion isn't always what it's cracked up to be. My older siblings sometimes still refer to themselves as a family of 5 siblings, but I am number 6. I feel like a nuisance, a bother, a bore. They already have that connection with each other, and it was effortless because they had each other the whole time - creating a relationship out of thin air (or blood) takes more work than many people are willing to put into it. I don't have any support network because my reality affects so many of the people who would normally be supportive in an intimate way. How do I complain about the antics of my birthmother to her other daughters, or to my adoptive dad who doesn't want to hear about the difficult nature of my adoption and reunion? I can't. I can't explain to the family how betrayed I feel, how abandoned I feel, even by the older siblings. I can't explain how important it was for me to find my heritage, my blood, my people. I was raised by people who looked completely different from me, and I felt outcast and strange. I needed to know where I came from, who I looked like. I couldn't ever get that through to people - people who take their connections for granted. In many ways, adoption creates more ties to more people, but the ties themselves are weakened. In many ways, I feel like an only child and an orphan, despite having as many family members as I do (on both sides). I wish I knew my fathers lineage, but I never will. I wish my birth family would take the time and make the effort to get to know me, but they never will. I am always being compared to an ideal they had in their mind, and I will never measure up to the younger siblings who were removed by the state and not simply signed away. It's complicated, it's messy, it's a drag.