I’ve heard this old adage many times over the years, and in the past I have always agreed with the sentiment.
But in my case, I have realised I am doubly lucky because as an adult I have met many birth / blood relatives I never knew I had. And some of them have become very good friends as well. (see photo above)
Yesterday I spent the afternoon with some of them and it was one of the best afternoons I have had in ages. It didn’t feel like a compulsory family event, but rather friends who happen to be related spending several hours together laughing, eating and enjoying a glass or two of vino.
I was three weeks old when I was adopted by my Mum and Dad, Mavis and Albert, in Tasmania. Somewhat unusually, they already had a large family including five natural children and one other adopted child.
My childhood as part of a big, loud, ever-growing family (I was an aunty by the time I was six) was a happy one. I felt lucky to be adopted – I was told I was “chosen”. If you met me as a child, you probably heard “Hi, I’m Alison and I’m adopted”.
I’m not going to record here the down side of being adopted. I wouldn’t want any of my family (adoptive or natural) who might read this post to feel unnecessarily and unintentionally hurt.
What I will do is to post some articles Carol Nader of The Age has written in recent times about adoption. You may already know
“A Senate inquiry into the role of the Commonwealth in past adoption practices has received more than 200 submissions. A disturbing picture is emerging of intense pressure placed on women perceived as trollops, who had intended to keep their babies. In some cases, their families turned against them. Many now want an apology.”
Quoted from the article “The Shame of forced adoption for shamed single mothers”. The link to the Senate Inquiry is also here.
When I first read these articles, I sobbed. There is much in these stories that rings true with me.
In my case it seems there are consequences of being adopted that remain for a lifetime.
But for me there is also a positive side and that is meeting relatives as an adult. Discovering I share common traits with them, and learning many things about why I am who I am.
Things like where I get my hip-injury inducing dance moves from.
Or that I am not the only one with my little stubby hands and stubborn streak.
But best of all has been realising I can and do choose some of these people to be my friends, as well as my relatives.
Cheers and good health to my kin,