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WORKING TOGETHER TO UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF ADOPTION

MY LIFE AS AN ADOPTEE 

I have always known that I was adopted.  My parents did not make a secret of the matter. They felt that we needed to know and they felt we were special because we were “chosen”. 

I was teased unmercifully as a child in school, because I thought nothing of telling teachers and others that I was adopted.  The children were very cruel and always told me that I was not wanted.  As a child it can hurt your feelings immensely, but as you get older you realize that they have no idea that you are a special person and the words they said last forever.

My brother, who is also adopted and 3 years older than me, has always been treated different that I was.  I always heard it was because he was older, then because he is a “boy” and then I realized it was just because he is who he is.  My paternal grandmother was not nice to me at all, until she got older and I grew up and was the one who took care of her and watched out for her.  I was always humiliated by her and told I was only wanted because someone wanted to “hang onto her son”.  It was not until I got older that I realized she just didn’t like “girls”.  But being family, in spite of all the pain she caused me I was always there to take care of her and make sure she had everything she wanted.  She died after I left Florida to move to Arizona, a few days after my birthday.  My maternal grandparents always gave me so much love and always made me feel I was their own.  I was very close to them.

What I grew up with as a child, no adoptee should have to go through.  But it can make you a stronger person and you can change your life.  No one else can change it for you, no one owes you anything, and you owe it to yourself.  I grew up making sure that I would never treat my children as I was treated, and that no one else would either.  I raised 2 boys alone, without any help. I am very proud of my children and they always thank me for what I gave them, because I went without myself. 

I didn’t find out until my adopted mother died that I had two sisters and then had to deal with the feelings of why someone would keep two others and not me, but in time I realized it was her decision to make, not mine.

I have tried to find her off and on for years, just to see what she looks like and find out medical information, which all children need.  As I have gotten older, I have to deal with medical problems and in this day and age people need to know what is in their history. I have no idea if cancer runs in the family, or other genetic diseases.  Doctor’s are very caring and take the extra precautions to make sure.  I have a seizure disorder, and no one knows why, and I have been told it could be from being born prematurely.  I have arthritis, and other minor things.  It seems since I hit “40” things just started falling apart.

Children need to know what is in their records as everything was such a secret when I was adopted.  The world treated unwed mothers in a different light than they do now.  No one is perfect and things happen but they shouldn’t take it out on the babies.  Give the birth mother’s and children a chance to get to be around each other, they both deserve that right. I don’t know if I’ll ever find my birth mother or father, but I would always want them to know that I have no hard feelings and understand why she did what she did.  I was placed with people who did care about me, as I am very close to my adopted father.  My adopted mother had problems, as a lot of people do.

My children are starting to have medical problems, and I have no answers as to what is in my family genes.  All I can tell them is to ask their father as to what’s in his, or what I’ve had.  I just had a cancer scare with my 22 year old, fortunately it wasn’t cancer, but the problems he’s having could be hereditary.  My oldest, 26, has to go see an eye doctor due to him more than likely having glaucoma. 

What the state did 47 years ago was to protect the mother and father, but did nothing for the children who needed the information.  As today, people are required to give all medical information, family history of everything.  I feel that the state should give all information to the adoptee’s to have for themselves and families.

I have been searching off and on for a number of years, but until recently have not spent a lot of time searching.  I have to get more information and find out as much as I can. 

You see people on TV who are reunited with their birth mothers/fathers, but people have no idea what it feels like to be on the other end of that.  To search for so long, and then the people you find may not want to talk to you or might not like you.  There are situations as with mine where only one person knows of your existence, my birth mother, not my father, siblings or other family members.  Can anyone put himself or herself in the situation of trying to find out the information and being scared at the same time? It is very difficult.

With all the diseases in the world today, people need all the information possible to protect themselves and their families.  They shouldn’t take the adoptees for granted and act like we are not here.

Cecelia Bradham