Another Story Of A Late Discovery Adoptee

It's July 4th, my favorite holiday. My parents and I are nestled in our camper. Its my summer vacation and I'm almost 24. We're drinking wine and it starts to rain. There won't be fireworks that night. Damn. I love fireworks.

My mother switches off the tv and looks at me. "Don't you want to talk about something?" she asks. I have no idea what she is talking about. "Remember all those questions you had in the car?"

On the ride to VA, I was grilling my mother about my birth. I asked her questions like C-Section or Vaginal, breast or bottle...etc. She laughed hysterically at me. Growing up I had been a naive child. There were no photos of my mother pregnant with me. There were no stories of hours in labor. I didn't really resemble my parents. I never considered the fact I might be adopted. No one had ever hinted at such a notion and I blindly believed I was born to my parents.

I was wrong. That July 4th, my parents told me I was adopted. At first I thought I was going to be the butt of some cruel "gotcha" joke, but then they started crying. They had kept this information from me for 24 years. New details regarding my identity began to emerge as I gingerly sipped my solo cup of boxed wine and tried to process this life changing information.

The story goes like this: my birth mother was 21 when she got pregnant by a low-life fisherman in South Jersey. She told him she was pregnant and he denied the baby (me) being his. I'm guessing because she was raised Catholic she didn't believe in abortion. So she carried me to term, drinking and smoking a little bit along the way. She gave birth to me and refused to touch or look at me (I get it, I am not offended) and I was cared for by nurses for the first two and a half days of my life. My little place card had her last name and "boarder" written on it, but my adoptive mother changed my birth mother's last name to her own to the point where you couldn't tell it had been change.

My parents spend 24 years erasing and hiding any evidence that I had been adopted. Family members were sworn to secrecy. I was to live a normal life and not know the truth. Looking back, I think the dynamic between my parents and I may have been influenced by this lack of biological bond that I didn't know was missing. I was a bit of a rebellious child, but wasn't so in an effort to seek attention or hurt my parents. I acted out and mouthed off for reasons unexplained.

My parents had sought out numerous occasions to tell me the truth. They thought I was "old enough" when I graduated high school. They planned to tell me but then found out some horrible news. My birth mother passed away. She was in her 30s. Sensing this information could cause an all out war with me, they kept quiet. After all, who would want to tell their daughter "Hey, honey. You're adopted but your birth mother just died and your birth father doesn't know you exist."

So they chose the 4th of July when I was trapped in a camper, unable to escape. I was so thankful for the wine that night. I think we all got a little drunk. I spent the next few days asking questions, drinking, processing, crying, and told my best friend about it. My mother insists that "I'm not adopted" and that they only missed 2.5 days of my life. While I agree this is true, I am still in fact...adopted. I could have half siblings though my birth father.

People don't realize how often adoption issues come up in a person's life. Well, non-adopted people, that is. I had to go back to my doctors and at every appointment when we reviewed the "parental history" tell them "erase all of that. I just found out I'm adopted." I go back to my doctors and am sometimes told "oh, hey! I remember you! You're the adopted one." Yes...this has happened.

I guess I'm grateful they finally told me. I've heard of late discovery adoptees finding out they're adopted long after their adoptive parents died. But at 24, I had my identity complete. I knew I was half Irish and half German. I knew my bloodline, what illnesses I was at risk for, all of that. I knew who my family was. That changed on that Independence Day. I have no idea what my heritage is. I don't have the same blood type as my adoptive parents. I don't know if I have siblings or family out there that knows of my existence. I give props to my adoptive family for keeping this secret and accepting me like their own, but I think I would have rather grown up knowing.

This will be something I will process for the rest of my life. I know that had I not been adopted, I may not be living the life I am now. I would have missed opportunities and turned into an entirely different person. I love my parents and respect them but I still have that adoptee yearning to know where I came from and what my birth family is like or where their ancestors are from. Since I was told so late, I may have missed my opportunity to find out this information, but I'm still going to try. It is important to me.
maphilly13 maphilly13
22-25, F
3 Responses Jan 18, 2013

Just as a question, and not to be rude, but although you say that you don't resemble your parents, are you an entirely different ethnicity? If not, it would be surprising, right? So as long as your parents love you, and you actually know even that small amount about your biological parents, remember that you already know far more than most adoptees.

I guess I just mean, would you rather grow up not knowing and finding out information about your blood later, or grow up knowing you look completely different and that your birth parents probably won't ever be found?

i can totally relate. I found out i was adopted 3 months ago. and i am 43. i feel betrayed and hurt. It wasnt my mom or stepdad that told me i got an email from my bio dad. words cannot explain how i feel or the pain i feel. so i def can relate.

I can understand you're feelings as I had a similiar experience regarding my adoption. I wasn't told I was adopted until I was almost 18 years old. I knew that something was different about me but I couldn't put a finger on it. I don't look like the family I grew up in nor did I have the same interests or hobbies that they had. Seemed like everyone in the family looked like clones of each other and shared common interest.

The one thing that I can say is that I never was directly lied to. People in the family seemed to dance around anything relating to adoption.

Thanks :) I always appreciate hearing from people who are in the same boat as I. Looking back, I'm probably better off and I know I wouldn't have been able to accomplish the things in life I have thus far if I hadn't been adopted but it is still an evolving process of acceptance.