She Was Raised To Believe She Wasn't Adopted, a DNA Test Proved Otherwise

I've received yet another email, that I want to share with The Adopted Life readers:

 

Hi Angela,

I was placed for adoption at birth. I was adopted by an African-American family, and my parents decided to raise me as if I wasn't adopted. In middle school I asked my mom if I was adopted because I have a lighter skin tone than the rest of my family. I stuck out like a sore-thumb, and wondered if I was mixed race. 

My employer launched a pilot program where we were given the 23 and Me DNA test, so they could study using genetic info to improve health. Through participating in this program not only did I contribute to their research, but I was finally able to learn my racial background! In addition to this, I was also found to be a high-match with a woman who turns out to be my birth-mother's 1st cousin. She was able to provide me with my birth-mother's full name!

That cousin reached out to my birth-mom to share this news, however she refused contact and I found out that I was a product of rape. I was devastated.

I have been experiencing so many different emotions as I try to wrap my mind around the fact that I'm adopted, and that my birth-mother doesn't want to know me. Reading your blog, watching your documentary and watching The Adopted Life series has given me a new, positive outlook on being adopted. I want to thank you for making your adoption journey so public. Through you work I have learned that I am not alone.

Sincerely,

a fellow adoptee (I'm still learning to embrace being adopted, and many friends don't know I'm adopted, so I prefer to remain anonymous)

An Excerpt From A Transracial Adoptee Following The Election

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Since last Tuesday, my inbox has steadily filled up with messages from transracial adoptees. In an attempt to summarize the wide gamut of emotions expressed by so many of the hurting & grieving, I'll share one excerpt:

I'm black. I grew up in a predominantly white town, and practically all of my friends are white. As an adult I have kept in touch with many of my childhood friends, vacationing with some of them, making FaceTime dates with those who are long-distance, Facebook relationships with others. I've never doubted that we had a genuine friendship, until now. 
I'm stunned by the number of my friends who decided not to vote during this election. Many others have posted on Facebook asking everyone to "wait and see" how Trump's presidency pans out. They don't think about me and how I might feel hearing Donald Trump refer to black people as "the Blacks," or the fact that he is being sued for not renting units to black people, or that he refuses to condemn the white supremacists who support and counsel him. 
It pains me to know that they aren't even considering my emotional and physical safety at a time like this. Am I different because I was raised by White parents? Am I less black? I'm struggling to find an approach to converse with them, without them thinking of me as pulling the race card. After all, I'm their only black friend - I'm outnumbered, yet they're all I have!
I wish I hadn't assumed that the friends that I grew up with weren't racist. But then again, how would I have known?
-Anonymous, Transracial Adoptee

I realize that this experience is not particularly unique to adoptees, as many folks are grappling with how to engage with loved ones who have opposing views and have become emboldened by Trump's hateful rhetoric. However, my intention on sharing this particular excerpt serves to underscore my steadfast belief that healthy transracial adoptive parenting must include ensuring that adoptees have the ability to create community and make friends with others who look like them, starting as early as possible. Transracial adoptive parents must also create a safe environment for their child by making sure that their community is comprised of ally's committed to anti-racism.

Best Adoptee Blog of 2016

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It's wonderfully validating to begin November (National Adoption Awareness Month) with an email honoring my blog with being named one of The Best Adoptee Blogs of 2016! Healthline.com thanked me for my work to "...educate, inspire, and empower your readers with frequent updates and high quality information." 

What began as an exercise in self-care and a place to share my experiences grew into a resource for adoption education and propelled into an adoptee empowerment movement. The decision to be vulnerable has led to connecting with so many adoptees, adoptive parents and others within the adoption community, for which I'm humbled and simply grateful.   

Thank you for the consistent support and interest in hearing my perspective.

 

#FlipTheScript | #NAAM2016

Busting Through the Bars of Depression: Deborah's new chapter!

Inside her tummy, I heard her voice, I tasted what she ate, I ingested her cigarette smoke and became intimately familiar with her deep, gunky cough. This was the beginning of our attachment, our love and bond to each other. Little did I know, I'd soon begin a26-year long game of hide-and-seek.   

My birthmom has asthma and smokes a lot, which has turned her voice deep and raspy. Her lungs often revolt daily - working hard to cough up the gunk. Her rotted teeth reveal the depth of poverty and lead directly into her already deep well of shame. When we met, her head hung with shame. Years of weightless thoughts built up inside of her leading to a deep depression. Her depression lifted a bit after our reunion, which is a testament to the power of our attachment. 

Her lifetime of complexity meanders in to all facets of her being. Including her voice. Her beautiful, deep, resonant and powerful voice. It bellows with force and influence in a way that I have heard only from those who have lived through such poverty while holding tight to their faith, like a tongue on a frozen pipe. 

Deborah has stated her desire to join the workforce since our reunion. Longing to contribute to society through steady employment, she has worked very hard to make this a reality. Her mind may have been shackled, but her dreams weren't.  I'm thrilled that Deborah has begun a new job where others will be able to experience her beauty, complexity and kindness. My thoughts are with her as she embarks on this exciting new chapter, which will allow for even more growth and healing.  

 

**I know you’re reading this, Deborah...Thank you for allowing me to continue to process my feelings about adoption on this public forum. I hope you can feel my excitement for you all the way across the country.
— -Angela