How to Explain to Non-Adoptees How it Feels to Be Adopted
by Pat Cote
Imagine you are back in your high school classroom. The teacher is
passing out a test. This test will take all day, and the results will
tell you about your strengths and weaknesses, in your intellect and in
your personality, and help guide you in your choices for careers and
relationships. Although it will be an all day test, you are prepared
and are looking forward to what you can learn about yourself through
the results of the test.
You put all your efforts into the test and since it covers
everything, you're mentally and emotionally exhausted at the end of
the day. Some of your classmates have taken it seriously, others
complained about having to take it, and a few seemed to not want to
make any effort at all, as they day dreamed out the window.
The test takes weeks to grade. Waiting is difficult for you and
some of the others. The students that didn't take it seriously laugh
at the thought of learning something from a test.
On the day that the test results are distributed, as each student's
name is called the teacher hands them their personalized results
packet. Excited and nervous, you await your name to be called. You
try to keep it all in perspective, thinking to yourself that this was
just a test, since you have learned a lot about yourself from growing
up, and are a confident, well adjusted person, you will view this as
just be another bit of information, and it cannot shape your entire
life, after all. As the students examine their packets, some laugh,
but others are excited to learn new things about themselves.
When the teacher gets to your packet, she calls your name, then
reads a small note attached to the it, places your packet to the
bottom of the stack, and asks you to come talk to her later. She
continues to distribute the packets until yours is the only remaining
packet, and returns to her desk.
You walk up to the teacher's desk to get your packet. The teacher
asks you to sit down and wants to know why you want your packet.
Stunned, you say, "because everyone else has one, and I want to learn
about myself". The teacher asks if you're happy with the way you
are, and you politely answer, that yes, I'm fine, though you are
starting to wonder why she's asking. She tells you that sometimes
there are things that we need to accept and not question, as she tucks
your packet into her desk drawer. Confused, and beginning to get
angry, you ask again for your packet. Your teacher tells you that it
seems like you have some emotional problems and gives you a slip to go
see the counselor to work them out.
Your emotions begin to run the gamut, from anger (you worked hard on
that test, you deserve to find out the results!), to frustration (the
teacher is the authority figure, you can't fight her for the packet or
you'll get kicked out of school and you'll surely never get it that
way!), to confusion (why is she talking to me that way? what could
that note have said?), to humiliation (why am I being treated
differently!?). You decide for the moment to resign yourself to not
having it, but in the back of your mind, you wonder what secrets that
little packet might hold, and now and then you wonder if there might
be some way to find out.
This is how it feels to ask for your adoption and/or birth records
and be told time and again, that there's something wrong with you for
asking. There's nothing wrong with wanting to know more about
yourself, it's a natural .curiosity There IS something wrong with
another person deciding that it is best to not tell me about me!!!