Hola y Bienvendio!
Today, I’m going to talk about what it means to be an adoptee. What is an adoptee you maybe wonder? For those of you who don’t know what that means it’s an adopted son or daughter. A person who was adopted as a child. Most of you don’t know this about me but now you do. Here is my story.
Many people around the world are adopted and or have adopted a child. I was adopted at a very young age. Matter of fact, I was adopted @ the age of 5yrs old. Many adopted people don’t know they’re adopted or they know and simply don’t care. Kinda like my brother who was adopted @ 9mo, he knows but refuses to admit it. Which, is perfectly fine because he is Chicano and looks white like my adoptive parents.
I on the other hand being Puerto Rican and Mexican have a darker skin tone and don’t quite fit in with my all white family. When I was younger, I remember my first day of school which many people do not. Here is what I remember about it, when my dad dropped me off the parents were allowed to come into the classroom to meet the teacher and say their goodbyes for the day. When my classmates saw my dad, they immediately started to poke fun @ me. They said terrible hurtful things to me.
They asked me why I didn’t look like my dad, then because of his age they asked me if he was my abuelo. This, really hurt me. Until, I had went to school I really didn’t think anything of it, because he was my dad. One day, I asked my dad and my mom why I was the way I was and why my original family didn’t want me. I came from the isla, and I’m pretty sure I was happy there with my familia. Looking at old pics, I certainly looked happy. Then, I started to wonder did I do something wrong that made them send me away? So many questions and not enough answers.
My adoption was a closed adoption which means there is a lot of red tape to go through to figure out where and who my familia is. I sometimes had wondered do I have siblings, am I the oldest or the youngest, do they miss me and are they looking for me like I’m looking for them? All these questions I had as a young child and my parents couldn’t or wouldn’t give any answers for any of it. Although, @ an older age I have met my biological father once who lives in the Bronx, NY but we don’t talk. As, for my biological mother I have yet to meet her.
Through out my life as a child and a teenager my life only got more complicated and confusing. My mom and dad said I was their child and God gave me to them and that was that. In school, when people would ask if I had any siblings and I would tell them and point out my brother because we attended the same school he would deny me to their faces saying he was an only child and he had no earthly idea who I was. This made me angry and sad because we grew up together in the same casa.
More over they were confused b/c they’d see us getting picked up together after school which made for even more questions. Question, I could answer but at the same time hurt to keep explaining things over and over again. It seriously was like beating a dead horse figuratively speaking. To this day, he still doesn’t recognize me as his sister even though we legally carry our adopted parents last name. It’s truly sad.
When I was little my birthdays seemed to make me sad, Why you may ask? Birthdays are supposed to be fun and a happy time, right? Not for me. Every year, I celebrated I wondered to myself is my biological familia thinking of me and celebrating my birth too or had they forgotten about me and moved on with their lives and possibly other kids?
A lot of times, I wondered what my life would of been like if I had been able to stay with my familia. Would I have been happier would my birthdays been better with them being there with me? What would my life of been like? So many things swirled around in my head. Still no answers.
My mom and I were always butting heads when I was younger. My adoptive parents couldn’t have children so they adopted. Moreover I felt she treated me differently since I wasn’t her biological child. I felt she treated my brother better than she treated me. I always felt that I had to compete with him, like I could never measure up to him or her expectations of me. Like, he was her golden child and could do absolutely no wrong in her eyes and that I was the black sheep of the familia. Maybe, I was the black sheep. I certainly felt like it.
On the other hand, I was my father’s daughter his little girl….more or less a daddy’s girl. I loved my father and I tried my hardest to make him happy and never disappointed in me. Although, no one is perfect and I did do things that upset him and made him disappointed in me. But, in his eyes I was his little girl and he treated me as such. He truly loved me rest his soul. He was a good man. I truly miss him.
Please, don’t get me wrong my parents are good Christian people who love and fear God as anyone should. But, I honestly have always felt that the two main people in my life that love me the most is my father and my abuela. I never really felt close to my abuelo until he was going through dialysis and nearing the end of his life which is truly sad for me because he too like my father was a good kind hearted man. But, like my mother he favored my brother over me….I felt as if he tolerated me. It’s sad that I feel like this but I honestly feel it is true.
When I reached my younger adult years I set out to try and reach out so to speak to find my familia. Nothing. I called the adoption agency went though a lot of red tape myself in search to find them find out where I came from. Still nothing. I was told that they couldn’t get into contact with my familia. This made me sad and angry at the same time. So, for awhile I decided I’d stop trying like it didn’t matter. But, it did matter. I was holding a huge grudge more or less a chip on my shoulder that I had carried since I was a child.
Around the time I turned 27yrs old, a letter came in the mail stating the adoption agency had heard from my birth mother trying to get in contact with me beacuse she had some important health issues she felt I needed to know about. So, as the letter stated I needed to get a form notarized and send a copy of my driver license to prove that I was who I am and who the adoption agency thought I was.
So, I did as they letter instructed. Time to wait for whatever was to come. Surprisingly the letter arrived on my birthday. I didn’t know what to make of this. What did she really want? Why now? Maybe, she was reaching out because she wanted money or something. All these questions.
A few months later another letter showed up with her first name only in the letter and the health information she so desperately thought I should know about. Some of the things in the letter mad me angry. Why didn’t she inform the adoption agency prior to the adoption that I might possibly have or could have the same things she did? How inconsiderate I thought.
When, I was 13yrs old I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or JRA. She, has RA….how she didn’t think this may have been vital for my parents to know this information was beyond me.
For my parents, I could only imagine how scary this was for them not knowing what to do other than to take their child to the doctors and try to help their child who was in sever amounts of pain sometimes even crying myself to sleep because I was in so much pain.
For those of you who don’t know or have never heard of Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), it is often referred to by doctors today as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), is a type of arthritis that causes joint inflammation and stiffness for more than six weeks in a child aged 16 or younger. It affects approximately 50,000 children in the United States. I just so happened to be one of the children who had this condition. Lucky me, huh?
From the age of 13, I was in and out of doctor appointments with the Rheumatologist and the Physical Therapist. I don’t know many other teenager that were having to take meds on a daily basis or for that matter having to give themselves Enbrel injections in the thighs and stomach region. I did it myself, because I couldn’t stand for anyone else to do it for me and on top of that my parents were scared to that they might hurt me. I did those injections until I was 21yrs old and off my parents insurance because I wasn’t attending school.
Dramatic improvements in the way rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is treated have given many newly diagnosed people the hope of achieving remission or at least getting inflammation under tight control, a state doctors call “low disease activity.” Either goal is easier to achieve for some than others. This was the case for me, I stopped taking medication for the condition years ago as it had went into remission. Some how, I got used to or should I say immune to the pain. I still have pain but, I think now it just comes with age and getting older.
The other conditions in that letter I had one other which was asthma, which I discovered it in my late 20’s. Everything else, I got checked for to make sure I was good but sufficed to say you can’t check for a lot of things until you progress in age. As, for my birth father I have yet to find out anything about his health conditions if any or his side of the familia which comes from Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Skipping a lil ahead the adoption agency also sent a little more information to me such as why their reasoning to why I was adopted. I was told by letter that when I was born, my mother had no idea that babies ate more than 3x per day and that I was sent to the NICU at only a month old and stayed there for several months until I started to gain my weight that the doctors felt was a healthy weight. After which, I was sent home with them. Supposedly, my father wasn’t around much when I was little because he worked a lot so I was mainly under her care and my abuela on his side of the familia.
Still, something wasn’t quite right. The letter also had informed me that once she left my father she came to the states because her family lived here which is my Mexican side. I was informed in the letter that some male family members of hers did very bad things to me when I was little and so I was taken from her and put into the system. Not sure how old I was when that happened to me. Shortly afterward, I was being shuffled from foster home to foster home within a matter of months until I was finally adopted by my now family.
This, made me livid! How could she let them do this to me? I was her baby her daughter. Did she not love me enough? Where was she when her familia was doing these unspeakable things to me? Did she know? Did she even try to stop it? More questions that there are no answers for.
Then, I wondered why didn’t my Puerto Rican familia not try to fight for me? Did they even try to stop her from taking me? Did my father not love me enough to stop her or was this totally out of his control? Did my Boricuas not want me? I was confused. Still more questions going unanswered and still unanswered.
At this point in time knowing everything the adoption agency knew or was willing to legally tell me, I was so far past angry and the chip only got bigger. I needed an outlet, I needed to let her know how mad I was she needed to know. The adoption agency allowed me to write and email a letter written by me that they would forward to her last know physical address and email. Having this new found freedom to express exactly how I felt I let loose! I basically let her have it, I let her know how angry and hurt I was she needed to know how I felt she needed to read it!
Yes, I went off on her for the terrible things I read, yes I let her know how I felt. I sat down on New Years Eve night 3yrs ago and wrote that email it was time I felt to let go release my rage and remove the chip off my shoulder. As soon as I wrote and proof read the email it sent it into cyber space to the adoption agency. After I wrote it, I felt free I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders! I let her know that her oldest child was doing great in life, grew up in a good Catholic familia, and that I had a great job and was going to college. She needed to know her child wasn’t a fuck up so to speak.
When, I reread the letter I saw just how upset I was @ her. I tried to put myself in her shoes reading it. I thought to myself, if I were her I’d totally abort mission on trying to reach out or get to know me. I also, thought putting myself in her shoes wow my daughter my first born really hates me. Honestly, I rarely ever use that word because “hate” is a very strong word and not to be said unless you really mean it. And, I did hate her for many years but since then I’ve gotten over it and forgiven her for myself so God could forgive me. I stopped being angry and holding a grudge against her. To be honest, I thank her from the bottom of mi corazone that she gave me up. I wish she would of given me to my father and his familia but not knowing the whole story maybe they did what they felt was right.
A few weeks later the adoption agency told me they read my letter before they sent it to her. They said, they were sorry I was so angry and that I needed to seek counseling. To this I replied back that I had seen them when I was younger and in my professional opinion it was a huge waste of time and money on my parents part. To be honest yelling,”fuck,” at the top of my lungs is much faster and cheaper. And that’s real.
I later found out that they were unable to successfully get the letter to her because they felt she may have been in jail or moved addresses. They also, informed me that I was the oldest child of 3. I’m the oldest, I have a sister who is 2yrs younger than me and another sibling that they have no idea the gender of.
They’re not my fathers children they are hers and that makes them my half siblings. The adoption agency has no idea what happened to them only that they were given the same fate as myself. Which, means to me that my birth mom is and was an unfit parent.
I honestly hope that they are alive and well and hopefully have familias of their own. I thought of trying to find them but that is nearly impossible because they can’t find my birth mom and they don’t know the names of my siblings. I started thinking that they maybe just like me and think they’re the only child just like I thought I was. How ironic is that? Or maybe, they know but like me have no idea how to find me without finding her first.
I feel that if it’s meant for us to meet some how some way God will make it happen. As, for right now I’m living my life the best way I can and am very successful at doing so. I went to college, I am able to support myself and my lifestyle, have my own place and vehicle and feel I’m adulting pretty well for myself.
Yes, I’ve made bad decisions and a few recently, but it hasn’t killed me I’m ok and I will be ok. They say damaged people are the best at surviving and I am living proof of that. They also say that damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive this is also true.
You maybe sitting there wondering to yourself is she truly ok? The answer to that is,”yes!” Then you maybe to wondering is she still angry because it kinda sounds like it. The answer to that is,”no I’m not angry I’ve finally let it go years ago and I am better for it.”
The moral of this story, is that all of this made me who I am and who you currently see before you. This journey has shaped me and molded me into the wonderful kind hearted person I am today.
I honestly feel like if I hadn’t been adopted I’m really not sure where I’d be today for that matter I may not of been alive to tell you about it today. Never ever judge a book by it’s cover because you never know that persons struggle and what they’ve been through to make it to where they are today.
As, always I hope you have kept an open mind and enjoyed reading a little more about me and getting to know a little bit of my back story.