My name is Campbell and I'm an adoptee

Yep, I'm adopted. If you aren't you've likely wondered if (perhaps even hoped) you are. It's a funny thing being adopted. It kinda makes you special. Think about it. Someone is talking about adoption and you can say, "oh, I'm adopted". The reaction is always one of interest. "You are?! I didn't know that!"

I love talking about it, telling my story, what I know and what I don't know. I am from a family of three kids with two of us being adopted so I not only get to talk about the fact that I'm adopted but also about my older sibling's adoption story which is an even more interesting story than my own. See, my older sibling has actually met her birth mother and two full siblings. In fact, my whole family has met older sibling's birth mother, right in our family home! What an experience to see this woman who was very much like my older sibling. So interesting to observe the different reactions of our mom and dad, how my mom was threatened and my dad, well, not threatened in the slightest. "Hell, it's been our kid for all this time so if this changes anything, so be it". He was right. Nothing changed. Older sibling just acquired 3 new family members to be concerned with, perhaps be disappointed by, but suffice to say all curiosity was satisfied.

Another reason being adopted made me feel like I was special is that I was told so. Right from the beginning I've been aware that I'm adopted. My mom has told me it was a story they started telling me as early as I was able to understand. So, as early as I was able to tell people that I'm adopted, I did. It was around grade three that I have a memory of telling other kids and getting the predictable reaction of "your parents didn't want you!" and "that means your sister isn't your real sister because you don't have the same mom". WHAT?!?!?!?!

I went home in tears accusing my mom of lying to me, that I'd thought there was a nurse at the hospital that had babies to give to people who couldn't have them. Now the part about my parents not wanting me was easily solved. My mom and dad cleverly pointed out that not only was I specially chosen by them out of all the babies at the hospital but that the kids making fun of me parents HAD to keep them, they didn't get a choice. These kids are likely some of the people who wished they were adopted once I got through with them...

The interesting thing that came from the realization that it was a person, not "a nurse", that had given birth to me was the sense of concern I developed for this noble human being who had done the right thing for me. Was she okay? Did she have a family to love her like I did? Did she have enough food and money? Was she worried about me? This concern and basic curiosity of what she might look like were the only reasons why I ever considered maybe trying to have contact with her. For most of my life though I chose to just leave it alone. What if she hadn't told anybody? I certainly did not want to ruin her life after what she did for me. I know that she was promised confidentiality so who was I to out her? What if I did find her or other biological relatives? I'd hardly be special anymore. What if she was a horrible, needy, unstable human being who'd latch on to me and join the list of annoying, emotionally draining people I already have (that we all have) in my life? Way too risky.

Ultimately concern and curiosity got the better of me and I began to add my name to the various adoption registry just in case someone was looking for me. Nobody was. Then, after having my own child, I got a little concerned about medical history and since my province offered non-identifying biological history provided by the birth parents at the time of adoption I put in a request and received this information. It was very interesting, supplying me with details on how many people were in my biological mother's immediate family, what her personality was like, her likes and dislikes, and also a smaller amount of information that my biological father had supplied about him and his situation. Nothing very specific about health issues so not very helpful in that sense but exciting to read nonetheless.

After a few years more I decided to exchange non-identifying letters with my birth mother which turned out to be just as exciting but much more satisfying and informative. Satisfying for me in the sense that I was finally able to tell her that I'm okay, that I appreciate what she did for me and that I have a healthy attitude about being adopted and ended up having a great family and decent childhood. That I am a productive, well-adjusted adult with an amazing child of my own. It was informative in the sense that she was able to put my mind at ease with regard to her well being. That in fact the only person she'd said anything about me to was her husband and that she'd had two more children. That she didn't pine away for me and think about me every minute of every day like other mothers who have given children up for adoption claim to. In her letter she seemed intelligent, confident, emotionally stable and happy with her life. This was of great relief to me not only because these issues had crossed my mind from time to time but also because it gave me an indication of what to expect of myself as I age. The experience was pretty much perfect for the both of us except for one thing. The government agency that had facilitated our contact refused her request to let us share email addresses to engage in further anonymous conversation unless she signed away all rights to privacy which, understandably, she refused to do. On two separate occasions I spoke with the worker handling our case stating it was fine by me that she didn't sign anything and that I was perfectly content with exchanging email addresses but they denied us this stating that they had my interests at heart and that it wasn't fair to me to only have contact by email even though I made it very clear I felt not allowing it is was what felt unfair to me. My efforts were futile so for another couple of years it was left at that.

Since that time two of the most important people in my life have died, my younger brother to whom I was very close and my beloved dad. I guess the void this left got me thinking about my biological family again and I got back into searching. With the help of a local agency and much internet searching on my part I think we've found her. I may even have seen a picture of her. So, I've sent a non incriminating Christmas card extending an invitation to send me an email if she's so inclined. To date I've not heard back but it hasn't been long since I snail mailed the card.

Over the holidays I've seen one couple with their newly adopted baby, heard about another couple who've just adopted a set of twins, and was reminded of a cousin who's also adopted in the last six months. All are thrilled with the new additions, all will have stories that need telling and retelling, all will have tears to wipe away and very big questions from very little people to answer. My hope is that they take the care to make these special people feel as special as they are. That they let them know how much joy they've brought, how they are very much wanted and cherished, that they should never feel abandoned or unwanted for they truly are chosen children. That their biological mothers cared more about their baby than they did about themselves as I believe, in the majority of instances, carrying a child to term in order to give him or her up to another is one of the most selfless acts a mother can do. I hope that they are open and honest and forthcoming with information, that they have confidence in their own place in these children's hearts.

Of late I've discovered blogs by "first mothers", blogs by "adoptive parents to-be", and plan to start looking around for blogs written by other adoptees. I wanted to write this post prior to doing too much investigating as I was really affected by the couple of blogs I read regarding adoption. I was exposed to views that were so far removed from my own that it left me feeling shocked and, to be honest, a little angry.

The post you've just read is as untainted a perception of adoption as I have to offer and I wholeheartedly invite your feedback, contrary to my opinion or not, from whatever perspective you're coming from. Til then I'm off to scour adoption related blogs with an open mind and tempered commentary but with determination to retain my positive outlook on the gift of a child.


  1. You know, reading this was sad. Not because you grew up fairly normal, but because you do not see the "non-verbal". I find that it is interesting that your first mother was more than willing to have some slight conversation, without any real information, but panicked at the thought of real contact. Email makes it very easy to find a person these days.

    She sounds intelligent, and totally full of it, but you never know. As for pineing away? We don't pine away, we think of our children daily and get on with our lives. I know I did.

    It amazes me that you do not see how much of the adoption industry party line you speak.

    You really don't know do you? How sad. Good luck.

  2. Thank you for commenting Lori.

    Maybe some of the adoption industry party line, (as you call it) is valid for some people?

    I am for real. What I've written are my true feelings. Is it sad that an adopted person can be fine with it? That they'd honour another human being's right to privacy? Panic at the thought of real contact is more than understandable when not a soul alive in your present life knows your big, dark, secret.

    I just thought you'd enjoy reading something from an adoptee that wasn't "crap, all aimed at the first parents, about abandonment".

    Good luck to you also.

  3. Actually, no, if you are happy and cool, so am I. And yes, it is a bit refreshing.

    I do worry about the other things, but I know that everyone has to find their own way.

    As for me, I am just trying to get through today!

  4. Hah I hear ya on that one, although, as you can likely tell I've been having quite a lazy and enjoyable day sitting at the computer.

  5. Dear Campbell! Just found your blog through a link from a friend's blog. Your reunion story is interesting to read, and I hope that you get a positive response to your Christmas card, that it indeed is the right person. Too bad that the govermment "go-betweens" believe that they "had your best interests at heart" as if you were a child. The two of you should have been free to exchange any and all identifying information. After all, you both have charter rights to Freedom of Assocation, to choose or not choose to associate with one another.

    I'm a natural mother whose son was stolen for adoption in 1980, here in Canada. Much of my story is posted on my blog.

    One thing though that I advise to any adoptee is to find out first whether or not your natural mother actually made a non-coerced decision. This means surrendering of her own free will without financial, social, or emotional pressure placed upon her, with ample time post-birth to recover first. Telling a natural mother that she "made the right choice" may not have relevance if she did not freely "choose" adoption but if it was forced upon her as the only choice she had. (It may also imply to her that she was unfit to be a mother, that she had to 'rescue' her baby from herself!).

    Good luck with your reunion. I think that the government bureaucrats have already interferred too much in it.


  6. Hi Cedar. I'm so glad you took the time to make your way over and read my post. When I look at it now it seems like such a long one which is weird because we know I could have gone on for much longer. Seems there's always something more to say when it comes to the subject of adoption.

    I have visited your site several times and continue to do so with just now having read your post in which you describe your experience giving birth. It's hard to imagine that type of situation could exist in Canada in the 1980's. I could never begin to understand how you felt and continue to feel. I am so sorry for your loss and trauma.

    It's been very eye opening reading the blogs of mothers who were coerced or forced into adoption, or, as in your case, had their babies stolen from them.

    Thank you for your wishes of good luck and thoughtful commentary on my post.

  7. A comment on my own post. Having just reread my own words I feel much better. They are so positive and real, so untainted by suggestions that I am denying my pain, that my situation is sick or sad, that my adoptive parents did something wrong, that my birthmother was coerced and what she did cannot be regarded as selfless or necessary. That my feelings of love for my family and theirs for me aren't as good or real or natural as those of families that are blood related. Not for one second did I ever believe anything different, but it sure feels good to come back home.


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