Growing up adopted ** A place for adoptees to talk **

AmandaHinkle
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:29 pm

Growing up adopted ** A place for adoptees to talk **

Postby AmandaHinkle » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:28 am

My name is Amanda Stoddart Hinkle, I’m 35 and I was adopted at birth. I really want to open up a place for adoptees to be able to talk to each other about the issues they face as an adoptee. Some of you may be thinking “what issues”? and others may be thinking “keep talking”. Well I’d like to start off by sharing a little bit of my story with you so you can get to know me a little better.

The most common question I get when people find out that I’m adopted is “how old were you when you found out?”. My answer to that question is simple: I’ve always known. There was never a time when my parents sat me down and told me about my adoption. Adoption was a word that was part of our every day vocabulary when I was growing up and not just because of me. Every night my family would sit down together and eat dinner. My parents would share about their day and my father spoke often about birthmothers and adoptive parents. I was raised to believe that being adopted made me special. I’ve always known adoption as something born out of love. The love that a birth mother has for her unborn child. The love that an adoptive family has for this baby that they’ve waited so long for. I’ve never questioned the fact that my mother loved me so much that she gave me up so that I’d have a better life. Of course growing up hearing so much about birthmothers and adoptions you start to develop assumptions about what your birth family is like. I grew up assuming that my birthmother was about 16 or 17 when I was born and was still in high school with zero other alternatives. I was bit thrown off to learn that my birthmother was actually 28 and already had a 4 year old daughter.

That fact was most likely the root of the abandonment I began to feel as an adoptee. I often wondered why she kept my sister, but not me. It took quite awhile for me to connect those feelings of abandonment with the relationship issues I was having in the rest of my life. Trying to form relationships with friends and family and eventually significant others, is hard when you have this fear that this person will eventually leave you. I went through a time in my life when I started to question the foundation of Adoption=Love. I began to think that my mother didn’t love me, and if she didn’t who else would? When I was in my mid twenties I helped with a class at my father’s adoption agency about the lifelong issues in adoption. That was the first time that I realized that so many of the feelings I had attached to everyday life had roots in my adoption.

The first was this overwhelming sense of loss. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know my birthmother. I’m fairly certain that senses of humor are genetic because hers and mine are the same. She is giving and loving and sassy. She is honest, sometimes too honest. And perhaps more than anything she is loyal. I’m friends with her on Facebook as well as her twin sister and one of my birth cousins. I still remember the first time I met my Aunt Betty (my birthmom’s twin sister). It’s a strange thing to walk into the home of someone you’ve never met and see several pictures of yourself on the walls. I remember my cousin Lyndsey talking to her sister on the phone telling her that “Mande’s here so you better get over here quick!”. Here I was in this house, surrounded by people I had never met, and yet they had known me my whole life. I was a part of their family. Sometimes I have a feeling of loss because I want to be closer to all of them. I want to be a part of their lives. I want them to be a part of mine.

This of course leads to the never ending tug of war that plays out in my heart. I grew up in the best family that anyone could ever ask for. Of course we have our issues, but what good family doesn’t. I was raised by amazing parents. My father is incredibly funny and has a quick wit (which I’m sure is where I learned it). He works hard, and not just for himself, but for everyone around him. He is caring and loving and he’s the one we all turn to when we need advice. My mother is loving and understanding. She is funny, although she probably doesn’t think so. She is humble and gracious. I can only hope to be as good of a mother to my kiddos as she was to us. I have a great older brother and sister, but I have always felt like a bit of an outsider with them. Which has absolutely nothing to do with being adopted, but rather from being the baby by a lot. My brother was 14 and my sister was 9 when I was born. They have always been extremely close and I’ve always felt a bit left out from that. Of course I love them and feel incredibly blessed to have grown up with them. I thank God every day for putting me in this family. My extended family was a HUGE part of my life growing up. All of my holidays were spent with my family and at times we had more than 30 people in the house! I am who I am because of my family – without a doubt. And so I feel guilty about feeling loss over my birth family.

So I guess at this point I’ll ask a question. Have you ever felt this loss over your birth family? Have you ever felt guilty about it?

KittyKate93
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:30 pm

Re: Growing up adopted ** A place for adoptees to talk **

Postby KittyKate93 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:01 pm

Sound rough.

LisaPrather
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:06 pm

Re: Growing up adopted ** A place for adoptees to talk **

Postby LisaPrather » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:14 am

Hi Amanda,
My situation is a little different but in some ways I can relate to your story. I was raised by my birth mother and adopted by my step father. He was with us from my earliest memories but like you I always knew that I was adopted. My parents never set me down and had a big reveal, it was just part of our every day conversations. However, I had a long distance relationship with my biological paternal grandparents. My grandmother wrote me letters weekly, sent cards for holidays and birthdays, and even visited me once a year around Christmas. The thing is that I never really felt like I knew them. I don't know exactly when they became a part of my life. According to my mother it was when I was about 4 years old (they were not aware of me prior to that because my bio father had never told them about me). Even though I had this communication with my paternal grandparents, so much was left out. For example, I did not find out until I was 14 years old that I had a half brother. Apparently there had been times when I had visited my grandparents' home and even played with my brother but no one said "this is your brother" so of course I assumed he was like all the others, a cousin. P.S. I think visiting my grandparents house only happened once when I was little and then I visited them once I had a driver's license. Also, like you, when I visited my grandparents there were photos of me everywhere. I also learned that my birth father had been given these photos and that my brother knew all about me his whole life. So, it was weird finding out that they knew about me, but I didn't know about them. The picture thing really kind of freaked me out. It was weird later when I met my birth father because I felt so distant from him. He was a stranger to me but he felt like he knew me so well. Although my mother had told me some things about my birth father, there were a lot of assumptions of things I knew. I had always wanted a baby brother and each time I got a sister I was disappointed. When I found out at 14 that I had always had a brother, I was shocked. Like you, even though I met my brother later in life and eventually my birth father, I wasn't super close with them. I have a great family, and I am so thankful for the relationship that my mother and grandmother cultivated, but I still wish that we could have been emotionally closer. Even now, after 30 plus years of relationship with my paternal family, it's just not the same as the relationship with the family I grew up with. I guess that's to be expected since we didn't have those formidable bonding years together. I'm not sure if any of this is helpful, but I just wanted to let you know that you are definitely not alone in your feelings of loss.

KittyKate93
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:30 pm

Re: Growing up adopted ** A place for adoptees to talk **

Postby KittyKate93 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:40 pm

that rough..


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