For the purpose of this story when I talk about my Mom and Dad, I’m talking about my adoptive parents, when I say my Mother – I mean my birthmom. I’ve always differentiated them this way, I don’t know how or why I started it.
In the 70′s in a medium size town in Texas, my Dad’s brother delivered a baby girl. He found out that the mother of this baby was placing her for adoption and he called his brother, my Dad and told him about me and asked if my parents wanted to adopt me. My Dad said, and I quote -
“Let me call you back, Jan is at the store.” (When my parents are in the same room during the telling of this story, this is my favorite part, because my Mom will always protest that it’s not true!)
When my Mom came home, they discussed it and decided that they had successfully parented my older brother (a large black dog) for a year and that seemed to be going well, so why not try it with a real baby. (Insert indignant noise from my Mom at this point, and I laugh, every time.) They called my Dad’s brother back and shortly thereafter my Dad was on a plane on his way to Texas to get me.
While Dad went to get me, Mom made preparations for me. The first thing she bought was a beautiful Christening gown, and while that part of the story is not super important, it always makes me laugh. Three days later my Dad brought me to my first home in New Orleans, and my brother stuck his large hairy face in my bassinet, sniffed me over and decided that I was his puppy to love and protect and he never left my side.
I don’t remember how old I was when my parents told me I was adopted. If I think about it, I’ll ask them sometime, but I always knew that I was adopted. Other people were born to their parents, I came on a plane. To drive home the point, when I was six our family expanded to include a little sister and I still remember waiting at the airport with my Mom to meet my new little sister. To me, being adopted and babies that came home on planes instead of springing forth from big bellies wasn’t odd, it was just the way things were.
My life and childhood was just like everyone else I knew, my parents loved me – I always knew that they loved me. I never felt rejected by my Mother, I knew that she loved me enough that she wanted me to have more than she could give me at that point in her life. I was sometimes curious and asked questions and my parents answered them as straightforward as they possibly could.
I never told my parents they weren’t my REAL parents, even in the throes of teen angst. I sometimes felt a little different from my Mom but not because I wasn’t hers but because we had different interests, and from talking to other people it certainly seemed like what I was feeling was perfectly normal.
I laugh when people ask me what it’s like to be adopted because I don’t know what it’s like to NOT be adopted. I was born to a Mother who loved me and raised by two parents who loved me. I had a childhood like countless other people, it was much more happy than it was sad but none of my sadness came from having been adopted. It came from normal childhood stuff, that most people experience – moving, my first love and my first heartbreak, all the normal stuff.