Simply put, I was adopted. If you need to keep things simple for yourself, then stop reading here. All my life I had to listen to everyone else’s version of the truth. I was expected to just accept that, and be happy with it. Being often told and reminded that being adopted made me “special”, and somehow that would make everything else OK. Special is really just another way to say “different”. And yes, I was different.
As the story was told to me many times while growing up… If I had been a girl, then some bar owner near my dad’s business would have adopted me. But, since I was a boy, and that’s what my parents wanted, they adopted me.
Decades later. A whole lifetime passes before some answers are found, and I can begin to understand. A few years before my adoptive father passed away, he said two things to me that I can still sometimes hear as if he were speaking to me now. The first statement was both intimidating and motivating each time I tried to find myself. My roots. My birth family, heritage, ancestors, and beyond. Each search was a quest to find myself, and that was something I needed to do. My dad had said to me, more than once, “I’ve fixed it so that you’ll never know, or be able to find out anything.” My dad knew a lot of people who were in the right kinds of places, and I knew that he meant it when he told me that he’d fixed it, and most likely could back it up. That statement was like a wall in front of me, and it was formidable in many respects. The second statement, he only said once, but once was enough. It was at the end of a big fight, and argument. It was him and my mom versus my wife, with me trying to bring it to an end, break it up, and pull them apart. Once everyone was separated, my dad looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “You’ve been a heartache to me since the day you were born.” It didn’t hurt me. It didn’t even sting. It was just good in a way to finally hear said out loud what had been felt, but left unsaid, while I had been growing up.
Much later in life, in my 30’s, I finally tracked down and located my biological family. I got to speak with all of them, some more than others. I had known that there were two older brothers. I discovered that I also had a younger brother and sister. That made for a total of 5 children that my biological parents had together. Out of the 5, I was the only one that was “given up” for adoption. The two before, and the two after, all remained together.
I wondered why I was the only one they gave away, and knew there was a reason. Of course, I heard different stories, different versions, of several stories. My bio mom blamed my bio dad, and vice versa. And each had their own unique spin to what they told me too. During my search, I had even heard stories from my adoptive dad’s brother. Even lately, conversations with some of my adoptive relatives follow what I had been told about my adoptive dad possibly being my bio dad too. This would later be absolutely disproved. The fact that I share the same biological parents as my older and younger biological siblings would be confirmed by a DNA test in a round about way. I did a DNA test through a genealogical site. A short time later, unknown to me, a cousin of my biological father also did a DNA test. We showed up as a match, cousins, once removed. The DNA can’t lie. So I know without a doubt, my biological father actually is my biological father. Sound confusing? Yeah, it is…
There were two basic questions that have lived in my mind for decades. As far back as I can remember, it seems like these two questions have always been there. Waiting for an answer, an explanation, a clarification, so that I may understand.
Even before I ever knew any details about anything, I always wondered about why I was given away, given up, in the first place. I had no idea of what the actual reasons were, or what the circumstances were like. So, I had no clue about what the real motivation to get rid of me was. It’s been over just the last few years that I’ve discovered the truth. Pieced it together. After being spoon fed made up fairy tales and bullshit during my life, I’ve learned how to find the point where something is proved or disproved beyond a doubt. So, why did they keep the two before me and the two after me? Why?…
In a nutshell, they needed money. Maybe my biological dad really didn’t think I was ‘his’, and that helped him justify finding a buyer for me? Maybe my biological mom was also unsure enough about who my real father may be, enough so that she could also justify selling me and not feel so bad about it? It was all prearranged before I was even born. I wouldn’t be staying with them. They needed money. What bothers me the most isn’t that I was sold, given away like an extra unwanted animal in a litter. What bothers me is knowing how cold hearted at least one had to be, and both to a high degree, in order for them to do this. They weren’t starving. They weren’t about to be homeless. There was urgent need for anyone else in the family that they needed money for. The reason? They wanted to buy a piece of farm equipment. Something like a tiller…
Next, why was I adopted by the people who adopted me? That is the second question. Asking ‘why’ encompasses a lot of ground, as there are many reasons adding up to make the definition of the ‘why’. This isn’t simple either, but I believe I refined it down as much as I ever will be able to. Enough so that I can understand why, even if it’s just in general ways, based on my own observations and some common sense.
As I had mentioned, there was fair degree of presumption that my adoptive dad was also my biological dad. I’m not going to judge anyone’s reasons or morality, simply because that’s not what I’m here to write about. But, when I think of my biological mom and my adoptive dad maybe being ‘together’, only one word comes to mind. “Ewe”. If my adoptive mom had been aware of any of this, I wouldn’t know. She never mentioned it. As for my adoptive dad wanting to adopt me, I take several things in to consideration. For one, at the time having his own successful business, he could afford it. That is, paying for me. Plus covering the doctor, hospital, lawyer, and court costs, to make it all happen and be official. He also knew all the right people so this could happen without a lot of questions being asked. Maybe it also served to help him avoid some guilt, and issues with my adoptive mom by keeping her in the dark? Did anything happen? There were rumors that it did, and that’s all I can be sure of. Rumors are just that. Maybe true, maybe not. Fairy tales and bullshit are rumors too… Just because some believes something, repeats it, doesn’t make any of it true. I think he adopted me because he could. It would serve him to save face, plus to also try to make my adoptive mom happy too.
Why would my adoptive mom want me? They were old enough to be my grandparents when I was born. They already had three daughters. The oldest one being old enough to really be my mom. The second oldest also old enough to be my mom. The third oldest, not old enough to be my mom. They are approximately 20, 15, and 10 years older than me. They had also had a son, between the oldest and second oldest sister. He died as a child, no more than five years old at the time, at most. His name was Dennis. There was a large photo of him, sitting on a tricycle, usually kept on my dad’s dresser. Every year, my mom would go in to a deep state of ‘mourning”, days before and after the anniversary of his death. She would spend a lot of time in her room just weeping, and I wouldn’t see much of her as she shut herself away from everyone. My dad would usually get pretty somber and quiet as well, not saying much. They must have loved him and missed him very much.
It wasn’t a secret. They wanted a boy. Lucky me.
The circumstances just worked out and there I was, a replacement for Dennis. As I grew up, the older I got, the more apparent it was to them that I was not Dennis. Nor was I turning out to be anything like what they might have hoped that Dennis would be. I have to give them credit in that they gave everything their best shot, so to speak. They did the best that they could. Everyone did, including me.
After reading all of this, you’ll probably have some thoughts and opinions. Maybe about myself and the people involved? All I can say is that it’s best not to judge, but that’s what everyone almost always does. The reason being that unless you become someone, more than just trying to mentally walk in their shoes, you’ll never understand any of what is them more than they do. I’m talking about what someone was thinking, feeling, and what was going on in their world, at any given moment. The only common denominator is that we’re all human and no one is perfect.
There were times along the way, from my childhood on, that I felt varying degrees of resentment, anger, frustration, and disconnection. I was a trophy child of sorts, in the sense that I believe there was a set of expectations that I needed to fulfill and live up to. The older I got, the worse I did at being their ideal child.
Looking back at my beginnings from these days, from my point of view, I see a bunch of people wanting things, and me, to just be just what they wanted. Turn out the way they wanted things, and me, to turn out. The one thing that stands out to me is that it seemed as if no one ever considered me as a unique living being? Maybe that’s why I had such a hard time then, and even now, feeling a connection with people at times? I took orders. I played my part as best I could. I tried to be who I was told I was supposed to be. I never made it and I was never good enough. I turned out to be me.
My biological parents, my adoptive parents, they all were doing what they thought was best at the time and just being human. God bless them. God bless them all.