Thoughts on Being Adopted

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by Mary Ellis

Turn on a made-for-TV movie or one of those “reality” shows about adoption and you’ll find adult children in serious angst over being given up. Everyone seems to be frantically searching for natural mothers and birth siblings. Invariably during the program’s second segment, after the commercial break, the viewer meets the long-suffering mother. Apparently she never stopped loving, worrying about, and searching for the baby taken from her or surrendered during a momentary lapse of judgment. These stories have always rung false for me, or at least overly “Hollywood” dramatic.

Do I believe such situations exist in real life? Yes, indeed. But are they the norm as the producers would have us believe? Not by a long shot, in my opinion. I’ve known too many adopted friends and siblings who suffered disappointments or faced disaster after discovering their “roots.” Personally, I hold no grudge or latent hostility for the woman who gave me up, but I also possess no buried affection either. She is a stranger. Throughout my life I’ve been offended by the predictable question: Don’t you want to know who your real mom is? I’ve always replied, “No, because I know who my real mother is-she’s the one who wiped my runny nose, fixed my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and put up with my sassy mouth as a teenager.

As a writer adopted from Children’s Services as an infant, I chose to explore this issue from another viewpoint…as the woman who gave up her child. In Always in my Heart, my novella from An Amish Miracle, Hope Bowman believes God has punished her for giving up her firstborn son. And she’s hidden this secret from her husband. Although Hope is thankful for three daughters, she still prays for a son. But instead of a new baby, God sends her the fifteen-year-old boy she abandoned.

Writing this novella turned out to be therapeutic, even though I’m well beyond the normal age for therapy. Tackling a sensitive and personal issue from another angle allowed me to come full circle. I experienced a bit of catharsis at my fictional story’s conclusion. My adoptive parents were the only parents I ever wished to know and were as “real” as any birth parents. But I hope you’ll enjoy my tale about a young man who chose a different path than mine.

AmishMiracle 1Mary Ellis has written ten bestselling novels set among the Amish. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Her debut Christian book, A Widow’s Hope, was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Awards. Always in my Heart, from An Amish Miracle anthology from Harper Collins Christian Publishing is her eleventh novel.

Comments 0

  1. Lately, I have read about a mother who has adobted a boy when he was an infant but gave him up to child services when he turned nine. It breaks my heart.

    It depends. Some are fortunate, some aren’t. And the same goes with families raising their own children. Some children have love, some don’t.

    Some children who are adoptive seek their birth parents, some don’t.

    Every story is unique.

  2. I was taken aback by the negative adoption terminology employed by one who insists they harbor no angst about their adoption status.

    examples of negative adoption terminology:

    “adult children in serious angst over being given up.”
    — ‘given up’ is a negative term.

    “Everyone seems to be frantically searching for natural mothers”
    — ‘natural mothers’ is a negative term, implying that a mother who adopted a child is un-natural.

    “searching for the baby taken from her or surrendered during a momentary lapse of judgment.”
    — momentary lapse of judgment? Implying that mothers who choose adoption after months of careful consideration will never once have the idea of loving, worrying, or searching for that child?

    “Personally, I hold no grudge or latent hostility for the woman who gave me up, but I also possess no buried affection either.”
    — but you say she GAVE YOU UP. This is a negative frame of mind. Perhaps she MADE AN ADOPTION PLAN instead of giving you up?

    ” I chose to explore this issue from another viewpoint?as the woman who gave up her child.”
    — Again with the ‘gave up her child’ negativity

    “God sends her the fifteen-year-old boy she abandoned.”
    — The heaviest-yet negative mindset where adoption equals abandonment.

    “Writing this novella turned out to be therapeutic, even though I?m well beyond the normal age for therapy.”
    — ‘normal age’ for therapy? Is there such a thing? May I suggest that your writing terminology implies do you harbor an adoption wound?

  3. I have to agree, not all mothers give up their children, some are forced by parents to do so, as was the case with my Aunt Pat when she was 16. Now she is in her late 50’s. I know she searched for Bonnie Lynn but no luck… she and the father of that little girl are back together after all these years and live in Central NY. I personally think it is sad, that the parents are finally together but the little baby girl put up for adoption as my grandmothers insistance , doesn’t know her parents or the rest of the family who have a love for her but have never seen her or hugged her.
    My sister fosters and has adopted one little girl so far of a mother who cannot keep herself clean off drugs. She has a little boy now who’s mom is the same…Its not always a case of Giving them up…Sometimes it is better for the child, but sometimes it pains the hearts of the family who put the child up for adoption. Perhaps one needs to think of the pain of the mother or the family . I know that when I was young my parents fostered many babies here in NY and I grew up knowing several little folks as my siblings. In some instances it isn’t a good thing, but you know you never know till you look into who your parent is or was and who they are now. Everyone has reasons and it is not a moment of lack of better judgement, sometimes it is a choice of what may be better for the child.

    If the Lord has given you peace that is wonderful ! But if you don’t look due to thinking your going to hurt your ” Mamma’s” heart, you may be hurting yourself for life. There may be a blessing in just knowing why your mother gave you to someone else, not gave up and it is not your fault or any childs fault they are put up for adoption. I have to say I believe there is always a desire to know the truth if you are an adopted child.

    In Jesus
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

  4. I was adopted and like you, I had no love for a stranger nor did I have anger or hate. But I did want to find her, mainly to see if I had siblings. My story is on my website under Adoption Stories, but short version, I found my 5 sisters. They welcomed me with open arms and I love them dearly. We didn’t need to get to know one another because we’re so much alike!

    So not all stories are alike. Some are sad and others are wonderful. I had wonderful adopted parents so I never felt abandoned. But I did long to know my roots.

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