The Need to Know My Birth Mother
Summer Hayworth is a blogger and an adult adoptee of a closed adoption through Catholic Services. Read more about her thoughts on adoption at The Adoptee Factor.
Mine is not a story of hardship, resentment or anger. Mine is a story of an adoptee wanting so badly to know her past and her birth mother but my adoptive parents never wanting to talk about it. It was the biggest known secret in our household. My adoptive parents couldn’t have kids. They had tried over the years but had had numerous miscarriages. Bless their hearts, they decided to adopt.
They adopted my older brother, then two years later my older sister. Both were adopted through Catholic Services and closed adoptions. Enter me. My parents received a call from Catholic Services once again; there was a baby that was due soon, and would they be willing to take on another child? They now had had six years with just two children and for one reason or another decided that, yes, they could raise another child.
Again, I was a closed adoption. My parents picked me up from the hospital the day I was born and that was that.
The Secrecy of It All
I don’t know exactly how I was told that I was adopted. Probably my older brother. As I grew up, I wanted to know more. My family and I aren’t alike in the personality or looks departments.
I quickly learned to not ask my parents about my adoption. My adoptive mother was a closed door, and just said, “You are our baby and there is nothing else to it.” I’m pretty sure she thought that the conversation would be over, and I would forget about it. But as most adoptees know, we need to know the past! Once that spark is lit it is game on and research time. My adoptive father never said anything.
I remember there was a day, maybe I was in middle school, when I crept into my parent’s secret filing cabinet to see if I could find any information. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I was willing to try. In their filing cabinet there was a folder with my name on it and in it was a paper with descriptions of my birth parents and not much else. I was enthralled with that information but over the years I let it go. There was no point searching or discussing my adoption while still in my parent’s house.
I went to college and later found out I could request my original birth certificate from the capital of the state I was born in. I received my original birth certificate, and it had my birth mother's name on it!
Cut to meeting my birth mother. I made the long drive to see the woman that was a mystery to me and held so much of my past. The unknown. We had corresponded through email and she did know I was coming. (More of the details on my website www.theadopteefactor.com)
I was amazed at how much we looked alike and at how welcoming and warm the entire family was. I didn’t have any animosity toward her and certainly understood when she said, “I was in college and just couldn’t take care of you. It was the hardest day of my life when I gave you up. I always prayed you went to a good home and were taken care of.”
I was. I had everything I needed from my parents. Just not their support on the adoption matter.
Dealing with the Fallout
I did tell my adoptive parents about meeting my birth mother. They went berserk. My mom thought I was looking for a different family. That I was disrespecting them for even looking. That I didn’t love them enough. Etc.
Years later I am best friends with my half-sister, text my birth mother occasionally and have constant wars with my adoptive mother about ever meeting my birth mother. I knew that my parents wouldn’t approve but it stands now that either we pretend “those people” don’t exist or there’s a big fight about it. On the other hand, I have no issues with my biological family. I know that may be unusual but here we are.
I am very grateful that my parents adopted me, but it’s as if they never thought meeting my birth mother would ever be a factor. Disillusionment, I suppose. To this day I am happy to have both sides of the story, but I am constantly walking on eggshells.
I started my blog to let adult adoptees know that they are not alone. They have a voice and, even if they don’t want to share their story with me, maybe just relating to some of mine and others’ stories can help them know that we are all in this together. Every story is different. Every story matters. I am always listening and trying to write the stories I’ve been given with truth and understanding.
For the full version of my story or more stories to relate to, please visit www.theadopteefactor.com.
Thank you to American Adoptions for letting me give a snapshot of my story.
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