My hope would be that in blogging about this and opening up this part of my life that I can in some way help you or someone to understand that it’s OK to hope, it’s OK to wonder, it perfectly understandable to be angry and to deal with abandonment issues and on and on an on.
I haven’t posted for a bit about this and I’m not sure why. I think in part it comes from having felt I was “the little secret” which even now as an adult some still hope to keep that way. I do need to clarify though that the implication of “being a secret” did not come from my adoptive parents but others. However, we are here now and when asked a question I will answer it best I can without hesitation. I’m stepping outside my norm to put this out here so feel free to ask away.
I’ll start to journal my story as I know it and just let it runs its course over the time to come.
I was given up and adopted at birth and as mentioned before I don’t recall ever not knowing this. I was adoptive by a couple of of newly landed Dutch Immigrants, John and Nellie, that came from Holland to start a new family here in Canada. Circumstances brought them to adoption and in 1960 they adopted a boy and then me sometime later.
Unfortunately, my adoptive father died when I was a young girl and some years later my mother went on to marry again; a man who was a widower and had 4 children of his own. That itself brought more issues and in turn fed to the want of finding my roots & my family, with the hopes of finding something better.
Over the course of my life, there was this innate feeling of abandonment and I always had the want and the need to know who I was, who did I look like and where I was from. When I passed someone on the street I would wonder if we could be related. When people would say “Oh I saw your double today (which we all hear) I would hope it was literal and want to know where. Naturally, when my adoptive father died I know now that added to the abandonment issues. Because I was only 5 I don’t know what immediate impact it had, but as the years’ went byand life’s losses happened I felt that feeling rise within me. Over the years this fed into my need to go in search of my biological family.
Broaching that subject with your parents is always difficult. We don’t want to hurt them, we don’t want to make them feel as if we don’t love them enough, we don’t want them to be disappointed in us….we basically don’t want to explain ourselves but feel that we have to. And I don’t know about you but no amount of explaining ever makes you feel good about your choice and in my case, I try to reassure my mother of our bond and I went forward with it. I wasn’t concerned with my stepfathers’ reaction but only hoped my mother understood. Whether she did or not, she allowed it. I was 17 and found and found a search and support group and because I was a minor she had to sign off on my search and she did. I can not imagine how difficult that was for her.
At that time I was living just outside the city and would make the trip in to go a meeting once a week where people would talk about their experiences and my search was just about to begin. This group was a large part of my life for a long time and it was an integral part of my process in that we had everyone from the adoption triad as members. Aside from the chair of the group we had Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents and Adoptee’s all looking for assistance and the support of the journey they were a part of. Once I realized the bond shared in that room and heard stories from others as to their experiences, it opened a whole new world for me. I understood I wasn’t alone and I understood the love, the pain and the hope everyone carried because of the impact adoption had on all our lives.
When I began my search we were privy to very little information but what is known as “unidentifiable information” from the Children’s Aid Society. First off the wait times for this back then was years. When it finally arrived I thought it would be easy and I would be back in the fold of my family in no time. (talk about young and naive) Through the support group, I had been given the proper guidance, literature, talks etc but that family pipe dream still remained. This non-identifiable information consisted of a chart sort of like a makeshift family tree if you will. It had brief grandparents information & my biological parents information including their physical attributes, interests, schooling and what they did for a living at the time. It also showed how many siblings my parents had and their approximate ages at the time of my birth. As well as any siblings I had were on mentioned simply by their sex and age when I was born.
Then in ordering a copy of the adoption order, we weren’t given our full name, only our first name and first initial of our last name. As grateful as I was when I saw mine my stomach sank. My last name couldn’t be “Wychoski” or something (who by the way I just pulled out of thin air). My last name was “Lee”…..Lee…seriously?! Someone once said to me….”That’s great; at least you know our last name”. That couldn’t be further from the truth but they didn’t know the trials that posed ahead, and I know their intentions were so good. When I was born a birth mother legally had to give her child her legal name at the time. My birth mother was married (separated?) when I was born but she was not married to my father. So I was named after her husband…. “John” Lee. Looking back it’s so ironic it’s almost funny. Now, what the heck was I going to do?
While I figured it out I knew I at least had a connection to someone…a sense of belonging. And the search began…..
Until next time stay strong and stay true to you.