I told you about my odd childhood, how I grew up feeling like an outsider in my family. Well it turns out I’m in good company. Many adoptees feel the same way, based on the comments I heard from my Facebook friends who are adopted.
I guess I hit a nerve. Many readers said they also felt like they did not belong to their families, even when they were wanted, cared for, protected and loved, like I was, by their adoptive parents. Of course we also don’t belong to our original families.
Each one of us has a unique story. Some adoptees grew up knowing they’re adopted and feeling second class compared to their parents’ biological children.
Some were told by their parents to never tell anyone they were adopted. In other words, being adopted is really bad and you better keep your mouth shut about it. What does that do for anybody’s self worth?
Like me, some people never knew as children that their parents adopted them. We grew up feeling different, not like our parents at all, and not knowing the truth, which could have explained the feeling of not fitting in.
While the comments from my fellow “outsiders” were plentiful, I also heard from a handful of people who completely disagreed. They said they never, ever felt like outsiders in the family. How is that possible? Since I can’t identify with the insiders, I can only speculate on how they and their parents pulled this feat off (and try very hard not to feel envious).
A few questions for those of you who don’t suffer from the outsider complex:
Did your parents bend over backwards to make sure you felt at home in their home? How did they manage to do that?
Did they tell you the truth about how you joined the family?
Did your aunts, uncles and cousins treat you like one of their own?
What would you tell potential adoptive parents who want to make sure their adoptive child feels like a real member of the family?
I would love to hear your stories.