An Adoptee's Quest to Find Her Past
Jishnu Arpita Bandyopadhyay
- 4 Posts
- Age 20
People would always tell me that I resembled my mother --- we both had brown, curly hair, deep, brown eyes, and a tall build. I was always proud of the fact that I did, in some ways, look like my mother. I felt that our resemblance connected us in a way that could not be described by words. It was an invisible bond that could only be shared between mother and daughter.
I was 11 when my parents dropped the bombshell --- I was adopted. I could not believe what I was hearing; it was like one of those scenes in a television drama.. At first, I thought they were joking, that they were only teasing me. But the sad, guilty, worried look in their eyes said everything. All of a sudden, the world stopped spinning. All my life, I thought that I belonged with them; the resemblances that I was once proud of suddenly meant nothing. Maybe because I was just a child, I could not process it fully. I had so many questions, and although my parents reassured me that I was still their child and they loved me just the same, I was deeply hurt that my real parents did not want me at all. Why did they choose to give me up? Was I a naughty lousy baby? Why did it have to be me? Who was I before I came to this family?
It’s been a while since the day I found out I was adopted. Along the way, my adoptive parents, who will be referred to as just parents from now on, have been nothing but kind and loving. Their unconditional love and continual support allowed me the space to process and ponder everything. I am eternally grateful to be their child; raised as if I were their own biological child. Still, I yearn to get to know my birth parents. Who are they? Are they together? Do I have siblings? Did they have other children after me? Why did they put me up for adoption? I desperately want answers to these questions but something just doesn't feel right. It is like I am betraying my loving parents by seeking another family, the family that did not even want me. And never have I intended to hurt them that way. But there is a part of me that is missing and I does not feel complete.
I am still learning to come to terms with the fact that I was adopted; it has not been easy but I am still trying.
Sometimes, I wish that my parents had not told me the truth. Perhaps I would feel more secure about myself. Perhaps I would not be struck, out of nowhere, with thoughts that I was abandoned as a child. Of course, I would be living a lie; however, as long as I never found out I was adopted, I would still be carefree and happy. I would not be haunted by all the unanswered questions about my biological parents, about the family I could have had, about the life I could have lived, about the person I could have been, simply just about me.
The pain and confusion felt by adoptees often goes unnoticed as they struggle to open up for fear of being portrayed as ungrateful to their adoptive families. We, as a society, usually think highly of adoption. Many of us think these kids should feel “lucky” that they are adopted. A lot of feelings are invalidated just because we think adoptees should feel lucky and grateful. By turning a blind eye to adoptees’ opinions, we are refusing to let their voices be heard. It may be uncomfortable to find out adoption is not as great as we believe it to be, but often adoptees are struggling. They are hurting. And we need to do something about it.
If you are an adoptive parent, be supportive of your child’s will to find out about his or her biological parents. We believe, positive communication is always the key to better understanding; therefore, don’t hesitate to sit down and have an open, honest talk with your child. Find out more on how you can help your kid here.
If you are an adoptee, please remember that you have every right to know your past. If you don’t want to know, it’s okay too. Whatever feeling you may have, it is totally normal and understandable. It’s a shame that sometimes you feel reluctant to share your story and reach out to people for fear of judgment. Your voice should always be heard.
To the rest of us, let’s be more understanding of adopted children’s sufferings. Each of them has a unique experience with adoption and should feel comfortable to reach out to their biological parents if they want to. Let’s show them that we are behind them to help and support them in their quest.