Lucky to have had you

 What I am is what my life has been. Some of it out of my control, some of it my choices, my decisions.

Being adopted isn't just something that happened to me, it is me, it is my story.

I was adopted. It is me. Maybe for better, certainly not for worse, it is me, it is my story.

I try and think about how things used to be, before I met my bio mom, before we communicated via email regularly. I remember not knowing, not fretting too much about ever knowing, feeling a picture would suffice. I'd always thought I'd like to see if I looked especially like anyone, to know what my bio parents looked like.

I remember the non identifying exchange of letters, how satisfying it was to know she was well, to see she felt the same as I did.

I think about all the times I was relieved to be adopted, to not be genetically tied to my mom's (adoptive) side of our family. 

The following is an exchange between my bio mom and myself following our meeting in person.

Her: I just wanted to write you and let you know that I feel your parents did a great job raising you and your mom should be proud.  You are a very pleasant and thoughtful person, which can only partially be credited to genes.

Me: I think I credit my awesomeness (you made my day with your words, thank you) to my dad and my genes, now that I've had a peek at them. I imagine it's not easy for non adopted people to understand the combination of curiosity and trepidation about biological background. I've spent my life thanking my lucky stars not to have inherited any of the "crazy" genes in my family so if I'd discovered my heritage was the same, if not worse, it would have burst my little bubble haha. Believe me when I say this, I've been the envy of many a cousin when family shenanigans went on. Them saying, is this what I have to look forward to? and me saying, phew! dodged that bullet.

As much of the nuttiness was on my mom's side, my dad would shake his head and say, "Campbell, all I can say is thank god you're adopted". I remember us talking and me saying, what if my biological people are whacko? He'd say, nah, they're not and I can tell just by the way you are. My dad was very proud of me, as I am of him.

 Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. I was just reading a post about a great grandpa/grand daughter relationship and I feel touched and happy for that grand daughter and I feel happy for my son, my father's grandson.

"Being related by blood doesn’t necessarily mean that you are close or that your natural family will be there for you or take care of you when the chips hit the fan." - Sunday Koffron


  1. Campbell, things change as reunion changes. Sometimes it takes a different personal perspective to see that. Family, natural or adopted, is what it is. Unlike Sunday's statement, I will be there for my daughter as much as she will allow and I have always been willing to help when the "chips hit the fan."

    Enjoy the journey.

  2. Campbell,

    As the layers peel back new thoughts come forth. Sometimes worst fears are confirmed, sometimes debunked. Glad yours are being debunked.

    I understand being glad of no biological relation but it was a sibling...

    Going through the journey is a good thing.

    Dads are the best!!!

  3. Thanks Campbell…your son is lucky, there is nothing in the world like the love of grandparents.

    I grieve for my kids that my parents are not up to it, we have lots of friends and “family of choice”, but it would have been nice if my parents could have just gotten their “chips” together enough to be around for them.

  4. I'm so happy your father was there for you. Mental illness is a scary thing for the healthy people that have to watch and live through it--if you share their genes or not.

    Sometimes I feel sad for my future children that I don't have any grandparents to give them. Your son is a lucky boy to have both you and his grandpa. :-)

  5. For the record, I wouldn't go as far as to say my mom's family has clinical mental issues but rather just difficult personalities that have played off each other over their history.

    I know as far back as my great grandmother, who had my grandmother young as her first child, then my grandmother had my mother as her first child young as well.

    My grandmother told me about how it was as a young woman back then. They didn't have a hot clue what was happening to them as young females getting their period and then sexually when they got married. Many times their children were burdens, and the first one could be a traumatic, unwanted experience.

    In the case of my mom, her mom, and her mom's mom, it was like a snowball effect. Take how they were wired personality wise and add in no fuzzy, warm, mommy daughter experiences, you can have a whole lot of wackiness.

    On the other hand, my dad's family was just calmer. The same things happened, kids being born that could barely be supported, but their personalities were just different so the effects were different.

  6. It is interesting to watch how reunion is changing the way you speak about being adopted. I recall you being very much in the "take it or leave it" category when it came to your nfamily; it was for the best you were placed, you were a "fair weather daughter," etc. You seem far less ambivalent, and even happy about it now. I am glad for you.

    And yet you say that your nfamily wouldn't be there for you when the chips were down. How do you know that? Isn't it too early to say? You may *choose* not to call on your nmom, but that doesn't mean she wouldn't be a great resource.

  7. Hey ms marginalia

    I was take it or leave until I was told my bio mom was interested in exchanging email addresses. You're correct.

    I am still a little fair weather daughterish, but that's ok. Doesn't make me evil.

    I am happy how meeting my bio mom has gone! Are you kidding me? I see how it doesn't go like this for all.

    The comment about natural families not always being there was not my comment. I quoted her words because I believe them to be true as I witness it every day in real life.

  8. I still hold to what I say. You are *choosing* to say this, just as you were ambivalent before. Your nmom may prove to be a great friend to you. It's too early to say. But I have also seen lots of nfamilies totally be there for adoptees who have found them. There isn't any one-size-fits all for this, in as much as there's no one-size-fits all for how adoptees feel.

    You're not evil. I didn't say that; I am only suggesting that your ambivalence was more about your worrying about how reunion would go. It's much easier to say, "Well, I don't want them or need them," wondering if they'll be negative towards you. It's a self-protective mechanism.

    As I said, I am happy for you. It's also interesting all those years that you said you were happy to be adopted and not share the genes of your adopted family. You could love them without being *of* them, as many of us do. Which, turned on its head, meant that your genetic makeup and ties to your nfamily meant something to you.

    Ah, adoption, the tangled web.

  9. I hope my brother draws the same comfort when OUR family's shenanigans get too ridiculous. He's looking forward to finding his first mom someday, and since we'll already be searching for our sons', I have a feeling we'll be helping. And I wish all 3 of them the same kind of experience you've had so far in that respect!

  10. I hope he does too Kim! It doesn't have to be a bad. All families have shenanigans, eh?

    It's an odd thing, maybe hard to believe or understand, but I truly have always felt part of the family, maternal and paternal sides, always felt "real" ...just with benefits lol

  11. Ms. Marginalia, read the quote, again, without jumping to unwarranted conclusions:

    "Being related by blood doesn’t necessarily mean that you are close or that your natural family will be there for you or take care of you when the chips hit the fan." - Sunday Koffron

    First of all, it is a QUOTE. Campbell is not speaking of herself or her natural mother. Also, notice the words "does not necessarily mean..."

    The person quoted is not saying that no natural families are there for you. She is just saying that it is not a given. Blood relationship is not a guarantee of "being there" for relatives. Some are, some are not, just like adoptive parents. Growing up with biological relatives is not some ideal paradise that adoptees were cast out of. It is just another set of problems in many cases. Meeting one's biological kin answers a lot of questions and is worth doing, but it does not mean you will be close or even develop a long-term relationship.

    Those searching should have as few expectations as possible, because until you meet your family, you do not really know. Some biological relatives are rejecting, mentally ill, or just not nice people. That's life. Being blood related does not guarantee a close emotional relationship, although for some people this does happen, and when it does, it is wonderful. Adoptees who have a fantasy of some kind of magic connection with biological relatives can be very disappointed.

    I think Campbell is handling her good reunion very well and sensibly.

  12. Campbell, this was a lovely read. Kind of made me feel good. I hope your relationship with your bio mom continues to grow, and I think you are pretty amazing as well!


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