Written by: Abby Flown, ACO’s Youth Network
Life can give you different choices, and one of the things everyone does is try to figure out the best way, or the better one, or the right one. It’s not always easy and sometimes sacrifices need to be made. Being adopted wasn’t a choice for me, that choice was taken away and decided for me when I was 5 months old.
Was it a good one? To me, I don’t think so. Would I have survived if I stayed with my birth family? Probably not. But the choices other people made for me had a ripple effect on my life.
I am 26 years old and I find it hard to trust anyone. In my head I was sent away, I wasn’t wanted so I got the short end of the stick and was moved to a different country.
I know now that wasn’t true, I was let go because if I had stayed I would have died. My birth mother knew she couldn’t let that happen, she couldn’t see her child in pain and not be able to stop it.
However, no one knew that I would start resenting everything in my life, no one knew that I would hate my life so much that I wanted badly to just disappear. To me running away from stuff and problems was easier than facing them head on and I am still doing that.
Being adopted wasn’t a choice for me, that choice was taken away and decided for me when I was 5 months old.
I have become something I don’t like, but having done it for 26 years it’s hard to break away from something that’s so comfortable and natural to me.
I stopped trusting at 10 years old. I didn’t trust my adoptive family, or what little friends I did have. I couldn’t tell them what I was feeling. At that young an age I didn’t like the fact that I was adopted and I didn’t want to tell anyone about it.
I wanted to be normal, as normal as I could be but I always knew I wasn’t and it would upset me so much. I felt like it wasn’t fair that everyone else got to be normal with normal lives and normal parents, normal homes, with a normal family. I wanted that so badly and at 10 years old I started searching for it through my friends, staying later at their house just so I could feel like I was a part of being normal with a family that was normal.
In the end, I never found what I was looking for.
You may be wondering why I wouldn’t call my adoptive family normal. It seems weird that I wouldn’t consider them some sort of normality. Maybe it’s not traditional but it should be some kind of normal.
To me they never were, while they went through their own lives, to me it always seemed like there was no time. I was usually alone or being put on the spot to open up and stop being so shy. I’m a naturally shy person, but it was to a point where I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. I was just way too scared.
It didn’t help that my adoptive parents didn’t know how to handle someone so shy, distant and at times uncooperative. But what made it worse was my emotional state. I’m a very emotional person, I am at times sensitive on things. Because I was like that they told me I had to stop being like that.
But life goes on, and sometimes you really can find your way out of the pain and broken world you live in.
That’s when things got worse. It was a continuous struggle and they either didn’t have the patience to try to understand, or they just didn’t have the time. As I got older they thought it would be easier if they just stopped telling me anything altogether. If I didn’t know about it I couldn’t get emotional about it. I never saw that as a solution, just putting it in the back for later.
Every day was a struggle, with being okay with myself and to see myself as a good person, a bright, loving and happy person. I do have days where I want to hide or run away. It’s easier to lie and look happy on the outside but inside wish someone would see just how uncomfortable and unhappy you really feel.
But life goes on, and sometimes you really can find your way out of the pain and broken world you live in. I did, but in no way is my life perfect, I still do have bad days but I know I have people I can trust and I can feel that they wouldn’t betray me or leave me alone when I make mistakes. And I know I can confide in them and talk about my problems.
It took me 26 years to get to this point and I still have a long way to go. It doesn’t just end here, it’s something I will be living with for a long time. The only thing I can do to help other people or youth who have experienced adoption is to share my story. To let anyone out there know that if you feel this way, that’s okay.
You’re allowed to feel emotional, you’re allowed to feel weak and tired. It’s the same for parents who have or are going to adopt a child, if you need help, that’s still okay, and that doesn’t mean anything different.
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