‘What are you?’ I used to get this question a lot as a kid. As you can see from my picture, I’m not blonde, blue-eyed, and perfect looking. Before I discovered my flat-iron, hit puberty, and became reasonably presentable, I was an odd-looking child. My hair was frizzy and virtually unmanageable. Even though being 5’9″ is great now, it wasn’t so awesome when I was 12 and taller than everyone in my class, the boys included.
I will admit that I don’t look that different from my parents. Aside from being fairer skinned than most of the other Greeks we know, I look like I fit in my family. I won’t lie. I’m glad. It prevents the endless, often times hurtful questions.
‘Don’t you care about your medical history?’ This one isn’t hurtful, but not something I often think about. When I would go to doctors’ offices when I was younger and they asked about medical history, I would tell them what I knew. My mum suffers from haemochromatosis. My father had cancer a few years ago. It wasn’t until I started reading various adoptee blogs that I realized this information was not relevant to me. It was an incredibly surreal feeling.
Still, when people find out I’m adopted and apparently happy, it’s often snidely suggested that I am clearly unwilling to confront my demons. Why is it so important that I be damaged due to being adopted? I’ve had 25+ years of other experiences. I’ve traveled, I’ve attended university, I’ve explored various cultures… all of it has shaped who I’ve become. Why is it that this one piece of my life seems so much bigger to others than it feels to the person who’s actually living it?
Writing this post is harder than I thought it would be. I am well aware of many of the anti-adoption voices out there. In discussing adoption, I understand I am opening myself up to criticism from them. You may even be asking yourself why, if I’m so content, I bother to discuss certain comments at all. I can only say that I want people to hear my side, and because November is National Adoption Month, what better day than today?
Do I believe I was unwanted? No, not really. I was very wanted so very much by the two people who raised me, and that’s ultimately what matters. Do I have a better life because of them? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. I certainly have a different life.
For some adoptees, their history will always be important. Being adopted will always been a large part of who they are. I will never begrudge them that. My heart breaks and goes out to those who feel abandoned, whose situations were far less idyllic than my own. With that in mind, I won’t apologize for my views. More than that, I refuse to apologize for the family I have, for the life I’ve led. Please educate yourself on adoption, its pros and cons, its known issues, but know that not all of us are angry adoptees. If you want to think I’m full of shit or too afraid to face my demons, that’s your right. I can only tell you I have a family who loves me, and I am their daughter in all ways that matter.