This is the eleventh post of "30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days," a series designed to give a voice to people with widely varying experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption.
Stop Asking Adopted Kids If We Want To Find Our Real Parents
Written by Marianna for Portrait of an Adoption
Everyone looks at a photo of our family and says we look like a Benetton ad. All of my siblings, including myself, were each born on a different continent: Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
My sister was born in Thailand; I was born in Chile, my oldest sister in England, and my brother in Michigan.
We were one of the only families in our school with adopted kids. My older sister wasn’t adopted, and my little brother wasn’t either. Just me and my other older sister.
Now. It’s cool to be adopted. I tell people my parents were the ORIGINAL Brangelina, picking up kids from random countries and giving us a better life. And they did. I think that adopted kids should have a secret handshake or one of those cool rings like Green Lantern. So that way we know who’s adopted and who’s not. Because unlike non-adopted kids, our parents actually did CHOO-CHOO-CHOOSE us.
Also. We know we are adopted. Even if our parents didn’t tell us, I’d hope that we were smart enough to see that me being 5’3 with dark hair and my mom being 5’10 with blonde hair, that something was up. People who are adopted usually know that they are adopted. So stop acting like it’s some after school special secret.
Speaking of which: I hate that, in the 80’s, TV shows made people totally weird about adopted kids. We are not all like "Webster" or "Different Strokes."
Or there’s always that dumb episode of every sitcom where a minor character finds out he or she was adopted (at age 18 of course!) and then goes and finds the birth parents. READ: Skippy from "Family Ties," Steve Sanders on "Beverly Hills 90210" and I’m pretty sure there had to have been a “very special” episode of "Saved by the Bell."
I wish TV and films would stop doing that. I love Wes Anderson to death, but when he made the two main characters in "The Royal Tenenbaums" fall in love, and it was supposedly okay because Margo was adopted, I was sick to my stomach.
What I want people to know is that we aren’t any different from you. My siblings are just that -- my siblings. I don’t think of them as anything else.
The only real difference between adopted kids and not adopted kids are the following things:
- Feeling pretty punk rock that when I go to the Doctor it takes me half the time it takes other people to fill out those forms, because for the part of family history, I simply write “ADOPTED” across the top. Time saver for sure.
- In science class in 6th grade when you get to the DNA part and you figure out the breakdown of your father’s DNA and your mom’s and why you are how you are, you just sit that one out. Maybe read quietly or sit outside in the hall.
- You have nobody that looks like you.
- Having people think your 6' 6" blonde brother is your boyfriend. GROSS! I will usually loudly say “Hey MOM called; you gotta call OUR MOM BACK!” if there’s a cute guy at the table near us. So he knows, “ah, that’s her brother!”
What bothers me about people who find out I’m adopted is that they always have the most typical response, “Do you want to find your real mom?” Are you serious!?
My real mom is an accomplished author and teacher. That’s my mom. There’s no such thing as a REAL mom and a fake mom. Sure, there’s my birthmom, but I don’t ever care or think about her. She did a very selfless thing to give me up, so why would I want to bug her? That’s incredibly selfish of me. My dad, he’s British and is an Architect and is one of the nicest people ever and is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. Those are my REAL parents. So when you ask me if I want to find my REAL parents, I’ll simply tell you they live in Michigan.
My view is a controversial one. I don’t think adopted kids should seek out their birth parents. It’s selfish. It’s rude. You’re gonna break her heart just because you are curious? It would not only break my REAL parents’ hearts, but who knows what kind of life she has gone on to lead?
Sometimes birthmoms have moved on and have entire families of their own who never knew about the baby they gave up.
Please. People. Stop asking adopted kids if we want to find our parents! You’ve been asking me that my entire life! Are you serious!? I’d be dead of starvation, or poor on the streets of Santiago if it weren’t for my parents. I have the best life and the best family anyone could ever have asked for. I got so incredibly lucky. Kids who are adopted got the best thing of all. They got unconditional love from people who chose to have more kids because they had so much love to give.
I always tell people “Sure, your mom gave you life.” But my mom? Gave me A life.
Portrait of an Adoption is hosted by Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. If you have a story you would like to submit as a candidate for next year's series, please email it to her at email@example.com.