Yesterday I wrote a post on Instagram about my adoption…
“ever since becoming a mother my adoption has become harder for me. this is not something i talk much about out loud, on my blog or in this space, but it’s something that makes the tender loop in my mind, as if the questions i have and the feelings i feel are a set of footprints a worn path in the middle of an overgrown field. perhaps this is not the place to share this sort of thing, i don’t know, but i feel called to. i feel called to crack this open a little bit, if even just a sliver, to let some light in. adoptees, our experiences are all very different, drastically so, but it makes me feel good knowing there are others out there that maybe sharing in some, if even one, of the same feelings i am experiencing today, at twenty nine, and as a mother, as a daughter. just maybe.”
After leaving it up for several hours I removed it. While I thought I was ready to share this vulnerability of mine on that platform, it turns out, I wasn’t. Every time I saw those blue clouds and pine trees on my feed (the photo I chose to go along with the post) it made me feel squirmy. Although I am not really certain of the precise why behind that squirm, I am fairly confident it has something to do with shame. Something to do with frustration. Something to do with not wanting to hurt anyone involved in this tangle. Something to do with the fear I have in moving forward with this part of my story as a mother to babies that soon will have questions of their own…questions that will tie up loose ends to a part of their story. Something I feel I am not quite able to put the right words around in the way that I want, because those feelings are just too big right now. They are too overwhelming. And it seems every time I want to write about this part of myself and share it with others who may be able to empathize, something prevents me. A wall goes up and I figure, what’s the point? Why lean into this when it hurts? Why pick at it?
But I suppose this is a start. Or that Instagram post was, even though I took it down. It was a step in the right direction for me, because I do wholeheartedly believe that opening up about things that bring us shame and sadness, things that give rise to questions, is a step towards healing. I believe we are here for community and for compassion. I believe we are here to grow with one another in love and share our stories so that we may become stronger and better and kinder.
And another thing that keeps running the circuit: sharing something that runs as deep as this does, opening up about an internal piece of my soul that is probably the most intimate part of who I am, on a public place like social media is kind of like giving someone one piece of a very large and layered puzzle and expecting them to figure out the whole picture with grace. It can be misleading and often times leads to misunderstandings on many levels. By sharing what I did, I think I unfairly lead some to assume that my situation is a bad one, and that perhaps that I am ungrateful for being adopted. The truth is, I know I am blessed. I feel it with every fiber of my being. I thank God every day that I was given such amazing parents and a solid foundation from which to grow. I have no regrets. I love my parents. I love my family. I also love my birthparents and birth siblings, with whom I do have relationships. That is where things start to get muddy, because currently my adoption is an open one.
Setting that aside for right now, as a mother, being adopted brings so many other things to the surface. It has stirred up questions and concerns I have about how to be open about this with this with our children, for my story is their story too. There is not a lot of literature out there, not much that I’ve found anyhow, about how to navigate this situation. About how to tread these delicate waterways that inside don’t feel so delicate at all.
I have big questions. Questions that I most likely unfairly assume most people who are not adopted would never care to ask, in which case, might make them seem trivial to the outsider looking in. But I want to know all the details. I want to know all the seemingly insignificant bits that make up my story from before I was born. Pieces that I suppose prove to me I came from somewhere. From someone. I want to know who held me, who saw me, who made decisions, how they felt, where I went, the doctor appointments, the kicks, where she went, where he went, where my parents were, who, what, where, when, why, how. I want to know it all because it matters to me. Because that gap, though small, is still a damn gap. I want to know not because I am ungrateful for what I have, but because my experience is real and raw and a chapter that I know very little about out of fear of hurting someone, maybe even myself. I am afraid of what the answers might be and afraid that learning the answers might cause someone pain. I don’t want that. But I am someone who thirsts for knowledge of all kinds, for understandings beyond my reach, for the opportunity to sit with something that might just help connect the dots a bit…so that is why I want to crack this open.
I think my postpartum depression after having Alfie, along with my severe troubles with separation anxiety when Andrew left for work, was somehow linked to all of this. What I do know is when I felt those feelings of fear and anxiety, they seemed to rise from the same source, a place of unworthiness and doubt. Despite knowing I am loved and that I don’t actually need the all of details to be truly happy, I still want them. I was still given up for adoption. This all still happened, and because adoption is a lifelong process and not a one-and-done deal, there’s a longing within me, a need to make sense, and a need to feel connected to something bigger than myself.
So, this is my start, my first chapter, so to speak. This is my opening up and sharing and getting honest with myself (and you) about something that scares the shit out of me. If you happen to be adopted and a mother, or even if you have some small tangible connection to this, I’d love to hear from you if you feel like sharing a bit of your story. I think we all have a lot to learn from one another and if this space gives us that gift of connection, what a blessing. What a blessing.
Ricki - Hi Amanda,
I’ve never commented here before, but I share so many of your feelings and desires to understand my story, i had to say something! I wanted to send a message and let you know you’re definitely not alone — a “hug” and a “fist bump” in solidarity. 🙂
My adoption story is different than yours, especially because I was never officially adopted! I guess because of that I never really considered myself an adoptee, but as an adult I realize I absolutely am. I was more of a fostered-by-family-situation, which amounts to pretty much the same thing. And I was happy with my family!
It wasn’t until I became a mother though that so many things resurfaced. And not until my third child specifically, perhaps because she was my first child to look very much like me. It was like I stepped into my mother’s body and was looking down at myself wondering, “how could you give me away, I was so perfect.”
I was always afraid to ask too many questions, afraid to hurt anyone, but so curious. I had always had a very good relationship with my birth parents, but it always felt sort of fragile too, so I tread lightly. My birth mother died last year and I finally felt free to ask anything and everything of her surviving family, but I wish I could’ve had it from her voice and memories.
Much love and strength to you.
Jackie - ‘Just wanted to mention that your comment touched me. I share so many of the same feelings.
Carli - Hi Ricki & Amanda,
I know I can’t begin to understand the intricate and delicate nature of your stories as I wasn’t adopted myself, but I am a mother of a little girl (20 months) with another little girl due in October. Reading both of your words, after having laid eyes on my precious daughter and dreaming about doing that with my second girl … well my heart just shatters at the thought of a child being separated from their mother for whatever reason. I can only begin to imagine all the questions you must have and the cautiousness you must feel like you have to approach them with, given what sounds like the loving upbringings your foster/adopted families tried to give you.
I don’t really know what to say except that, from how much I am able to empathize, I think your thirst for answers and knowledge is so justified and deserved. But more than anything, I just want to send both of you a big virtual hug and wish you peace and resolve as you continue on your journeys towards understanding <3
admin - Carli, thank you for sharing here and being so kind and supportive. As mothers life changes in so many unexpected ways, doesn’t it! With Care, Amanda
Carli - It sure does! In more ways than my heart can even begin to understand. Surely something that has to be felt than can ever be explained adequately. Warmest wishes to you this Monday morning <3
Callie Goese - Wow, this really touched me. I never thought about how being adopted could leave you with so many gaps, especially ones that non-adopted people never really have to think about. Its incredibly brave to open up like that, especially on a place as loud and unforgiving as social media. Sometimes cracking yourself open like that is the most powerful and cathartic thing a person can do- so I commend you, even if it was just a start. I wouldn’t worry about people thinking you’re ungrateful- seriously who are those people anyway? I am also so blown away by people who comment their own judgements on someone else’s experiences anyway. Anyway I absolutely loved this post. The vulnerability in the writing makes it feel like I know you, and I love this blog even more for it.
Amber - Thank you for sharing the rawness of adoption. I am coming from the other side of adoption. My husband and I adopted our oldest son from Ukraine six years ago when he was 13. He turns 20 next month. I would be lying if I said that our adoption journey was easy. Oh, far from it. He still doesn’t talk much about his preadoption days, nor does he really want to revisit the difficult moments we had here at home after the adoption. It’s such a vulnerable and sensitive place. I look forward to hearing more.
Amanda - Amanda,
Your courage in sharing this part of your story is lovely and inspiring. My brother is adopted (by my father, we share the same mother) and his experience of finding his birth father in adulthood (after the birth of his own son), and the emotions and growing pains that bubbled out of that was something I watched as a child and tried to make sense of (and still do). My brother now has four sons of his own, and his fourth is adopted.
Although I don’t share your experience, and don’t have a wealth resources or wisdom to offer, perhaps you might find The Toast’s series on adoption comforting:
All of the posts are written by adult adoptees (many with children of their own).
Kelly - Thank you for your honesty. I don’t have an adoption story but as someone who struggles with depression/anxiety & OCD, I just wanted to say that I think it’s such a blessing when we can link things together and try to connect the many dots of our sometimes complicated stories. I’ve struggled with OCD for a few years now and a few months ago I was able to link the start of it with PTSD. Since I was able to connect the dots a bit I’ve felt a huge weight lifted, not because the OCD is gone but because there is now some sort of explanation. Anyway, sorry to ramble, I just really identified with that feeling of realization. Sending positive thoughts your way as you continue this journey of discovery.
Erika - I don’t know what it is like to be adopted or to adopt a child, so my comment is not on adoption. But I wanted to comment for awhile on your comments about your anxiety. I think they are touching to read. I have had issues with anxiety for about 5 years it controls my life somedays. I have 2 children a 22 yr old and a 19 yr old and they are a strength for me, and are very understanding. I read your post on your depression/anxiety and it was like reading my own words and it made me feel relieved that I was not the only one with this issue. Those days I cant catch my breath because of the anxiety or waking in the middle of the night in a panic and those thoughts of I am never going to be good enough that come rushing in during those dark hours when all around is asleep makes you feel alone. My family is great about it and know when to back off so I balance myself. They know that when I get in that mode of straightening the house or putting things in order that they are things that help me cope and unstress. But most people don’t know what is going on. So thank you for sharing its a calming to know I’m not the only one. I hope you find inner peace with your adoption I can only imagine what it is like. But all I see and read on your blog is your a great mom and however you decide to share your story with your children will be what works for you and them.
Jordan DePina - Your post came at the exact time I have been contemplating starting a blog. I want to create a space where I can share and write and connect with others. But I’m always stopped by the shame and sharing aspect. What will my parents think if I share X,Y,Z? What will my friends think? What will others think? But I think by sharing, we loosen that tight grasp of shame on ourselves and give permission to others to do the same. I don’t have any experience with adoption but I do have very similar feelings about sharing and knowing in general and about putting the pieces of a puzzle together to see the whole picture. I’m in constant curiosity of those small details. I really appreciate the timing of your post and for your bravery of sharing.
Katie - This is so touching, Amanda. I couldn’t have explained the feelings any better. I know my birth mother and half-siblings now, but there are so many gaps still. Adoption is such a beautiful thing, but it does leave us adoptees wanting. I want to know all the answers, all the whys, every single detail. I want to know my story, and I want to go as far back as I can. But digging for those answers tend to hurt others, or at least it feels like it would hurt others. It feels like maybe I’m ungrateful. But I know I’m not. I know I am so blessed, more so than many others. And being adopted–having those gaps–makes me have to realize that even if those gaps were filled, I wouldn’t be fulfilled. That’s not where I get my satisfaction from. So with all the unknowns, I can rest in knowing the I am fulfilled in Christ. And even though all my questions may go unanswered in this life, I will one day see my story in full. That is so comforting for me. But it also doesn’t make those feelings of want go away.
I was adopted as a baby. My biological mom was young and didn’t have a relationship with my biological father, and she knew she couldn’t keep me. The nurse who helped in my delivery gave her my adoptive parents’ number after I was born. They had 2 children already, but couldn’t have anymore. They wanted a little girl so badly. My biological mother called them up, and they immediately came to the hospital. She gave me up to them, and I am so grateful. I have such a loving family–great parents and 2 older sweet brothers. My adoption was closed, but I was able to meet my biological mother when I turned 18. It was what I had always waited for. And it was so wonderful, and it still is so wonderful to have a relationship with her. But there are so many questions that are hard to ask. And life is much more complicated when you add so many new family members at once (my birth mother + all of her family).
Thank you for opening up about your adoption. Sorry for writing so much. There are many more things I could say/explain better, but I hope this was encouraging for you. I know your post was an encouragement for me!
Christy - I only have that “small tangible connection” to this. Very, very small. And while my words might not mean much, I feel led to say that you are brave and even more so, as much as you know it, you are truly and purely and deeply loved, far far beyond anyone’s human capability to understand love. Adoption is such a beautiful thing, I know it because God adopted us as His own, and also because my heart so longs to adopt a child one day. It’s been my desire since I was a little girl. I was raised by my birth parents, yet something has always moved my heart toward adoption. I can’t fully explain why, but thank you for posting this. It made me realize how delicate this really is. How it’s to be handled with so much care and love. It’s not a “one-and-done deal” like you said. It’s something that I will have to walk through with my child for all my days if I ever do get the chance to adopt.
You are so strong in asking the hard questions. You deserve to ask them and to seek them out. And I know a thing or two about healing, and some days it cuts deep, but in those places is grace and freedom. I’m sure you know all that. Anyway. YOU have a story and it’s worth being discovered and shared.
So much love for you. xoxo
Cory Ann - Amanda,
I too have struggled with difficult feelings (anger, rejection, unworthiness) and didn’t know where to turn. A sister in Christ recommended a deliverance ministry at my church that deals with inner healing. I decided to seek them out and I’m so thankful I did! During the ministry, the LORD brought healing from deep seeded wounds in my past. I was able to forgive those who hurt me and release them to God. I believe forgiveness is one of the keys to freedom from past hurts! So I sincerely encourage you to seek a Christian Counselor or Christian women to talk with you and pray over you!
Aubrey - Hello, my name is Aubrey. I discovered your blog a few months ago and have since read your all of posts and now eagerly await your next one. At first, I was drawn to the beautiful photos you share and enjoyed your essential oil tips. This week I made laundry detergent for the first time and even my husband, who was not so excited, has loved it. Thank you! I’ve never felt compelled to comment, but instead have enjoyed a little look into your life. I just moved to a new state and as a stay-at-home mama blogs like yours have given some feeling of connection and comfort. The reason I am commenting tonight (nervously) is that your story has touched me and helped me.
When I was pregnant with my daughter (my beautiful, smart, WILD two year old daughter) my father sat down with me and told me that he may not be my biological father. I was shocked, I was stunned. I was so pregnant. (3 days beyond my due date) These words maybe can’t actually describe the feeling, which was too big and too much to hold, even to feel. I put it away. I told my dad it didn’t matter to me, he is mine and I am his. I didn’t know if it really did matter. Now I do know. It matters. In what way I can’t be sure. But reading your words I know that your questions, in some small way are my questions.
I have only ever spoken to my sisters and to my husband about this little BIG secret, This happening. This THING. But late at night I think about it. I too feel a gap and I wonder. To what end these questions will lead me, I don’t know. I don’t want to hurt my mother, my father, or myself, but I want to know. I want to know more.
So beyond a gross overshare from a stranger this is meant to be a thank you. Your courage in sharing something personal and messy and scary has truly inspired me.
I wish you all the happiness and answers you can carry.
Lara - Thank you for sharing your heart here. I know that’s a scary thing to do, especially when the audience is thousand of strangers who don’t know the nuances of your story.
aneke - To be raw and vulnerable is very brave, and not something one often comes across (especially in social media). It is something I really admire. We’ve had struggles with bearing children, and have gone so far as visiting an adoption agency. But as much as I ache for a child of my own, I haven’t quite been able to pull the trigger. There are so many unknowns – only closed, cross cultural adoptions are available here. And we can only get the child once he / she is three months old. I’ve agonised over what that means for the child, to be born essentially unwanted, to go into foster care and not immediately to loving parents, to then be adopted months later into a completely different culture, and to know little or any of where he / she comes from. It’s agonising. And actually really helpful to read things like this because I find so few people on both sides of the equation are real (and vulnerable and willing to talk about the hard stuff), and its rare that I can have genuine insight. So thank you for that.
Pati from London - Dear Amanda,
I have never commented on your blog but just wanted to tell you how much I love it. As a mum of three I very much understand what you are going through in your journey…..
Concerning this topic of adoption I haven’t got much experience, however I wanted to let you know of a British tv programme called “Long lost families” on ITV. In each episode they reunite two people with different members of their families. These are children whose parents had to give them into adoption and are now looking for them as there is a piece in their life puzzle that they find is still missing, sometimes it is the mum looking for the son or daughter she had to give up at birth because of her age, home problems, being ostracised by her own family etc…. I find the programme very emotional. The subject is not always related to adoption, sometimes siblings look for other siblings etc…
I would recommend it as you will probably feel identified with what they go through and may help you.
Have a lovely weekend !
Meagan - Hi Amanda, I wasn’t adopted so I cannot speak to your experience first hand. Your honesty is brave and I know so many others must appreciate you putting yourself out there. I do know that Rudolf Steiner spoke/wrote a lot about exploring your personal biography in depth for self development. When I did my Steiner Studies I did this and it was healing in many levels. Things I didn’t think I had any “issues” about came through and were released. It looks at your entire life from birth to present… And clearly it’s a life’s work! Carrie from the Parenting Passageway has a good summary post about biography work as well as some book recommendations. I also recommend Tapestries by Betty Staley and Phases by Bernard Lievgood. https://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/09/01/the-work-of-the-biography/ Hope this information is useful to you in someway! X Meagan.
admin - Meagan, all of this was so fascinating to me! I really appreciate you sharing it here. I am betting I am not alone in thinking this as it has lead me down some really wonderful worm holes into not only discovering more about Steiner philosophies but self development as well. You are so thoughtful to share here and I thank you for taking the time to be a light in this space! With Care, Amanda
Jackie - Yes, thank you so much for these resources! I have heard of Tapestries, but not the other. My eldest son will be starting at a Waldorf kindergarten this year; we’re excited!
Bec - Hi Amanda. What an incredibly brave post. I am a mother and an adoptee. i think adoption has had, and continues to have, a massive impact on my mothering. I found the first six weeks with each of my four babies intensely difficult. Six weeks because that was the time I was without a family (legally required in Australia at the time I was adopted – mid 1970’s). In 1974 it is likely I was not held at all and changed and fed in my crib in the hospital I was born in so that when I was given to my (wonderful) family I would bond better with them. I find it incredibly difficult to think of that time knowing how much love was given to my own babies during their first six weeks. I know the policies in Australia were also pretty terrible for birth mothers and my own birth mother describes some awful treatment.
There is also a constant need to reassure my inner child of my worthiness and that I am not disposable. Bec
admin - Bec, your words really touched me. I too have had some emotional times thinking about my own emergence into the world and how that compares to the instant love and nourishment my babies received after they were born. Your last word “disposable” is exactly how I feel when I have anxiety attacks. I have never been able to put a word to it before so thank you for opening up and being brave and sharing your beautiful heart with me. I so so appreciate it. With Care, Amanda
Kiley - I was not adopted. I can’t pretend to know any of what you’re going through. But you are so brave and I admire you for all of your openness and vulnerability. I may not know you personally, but I am here (we all are) to support you along your journey. And I hope you get all the answers you need for your healing. Hugs to you!
admin - Kiley, thank you for sharing kindness here! Hugs right back! x Amanda
Rachelle - I would love to read more about this. I’m a momma with three babies A tad bit younger then yours. We have been talking about adopting a forth and I love to hear from adults that were adopted and their feeling surrounding it.
admin - Rachelle, I love that you are considering adoption. I hope that these conversations are helping you gain perspective on the other side, but I feel called to share this with you as well: adoption saved my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have this life nor the loves in it. I am forever grateful for my family and for my birth mother’s choice to grow me and give me to a nurturing home. Adoption is beautiful, but it is also messy…that is something I think adoptive parents should know before embarking on their journey. But however messy it may be, that pails in comparison to all the good that has come from it. I hope this helps or comforts in some small way. x Amanda
Nicola - I don’t have a personal connection to adoption, but I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. In the world of social media I believe authenticity is what we need more than ever, it feeds the soul. Thank you for being brave and facing your fears and shame and doubt and opening up. It means so much, even to those of us who don’t come from the same situation.
admin - Nicola, thank you for bringing kindness and compassion into this space. It’s a beautiful thing. x Amanda
Jackie - Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your adoption, and thank you for asking for connection from those of us who are touched by this post. I have been following your Instagram and blog for a while now and, like so many others, have been uber inspired by your style, knowledge, and beautiful images and words. This post right here makes me think about the invisible strings that connect people to each other.
I was adopted when I was about 3 months old, yet didn’t find out about my adoption until I was 12. And I didn’t find out from my parents. A family friend’s daughter told me, I confronted my mom, and she admitted that it was true. That they were waiting to tell me when I turned 18. I’m now 34, turning 35 in 2 months, and I have this huge hole in my heart, in my life, this gap, as you call it. I have three beautiful sons ages 5, 3, and 7 months. While I’m very grateful to my parents and have no idea what kind of life I’d have had if they hadn’t taken me in, it wasn’t the rosiest childhood. My mom was emotionally abusive and unstable and I feel shot through with shame and feelings of unworthiness, especially around being a mother. I have this horrible fear that my boys are going to stop loving me when they get older, I know that probably sounds nuts. Anyway, I know this all sounds so forlorn and “pity me,” but I do lead a happy life with my family. My parents and I have a pretty good relationship now. It’s just that there are so many unknowns and so many questions and so many feelings that I fear no one can really understand. I feel like I can’t ask anyone for information about my adoption and my desire to know more just grows with every year. My birthday especially has been difficult for me these past few years — wondering if my birth mother thinks of me, etc. Sorry for the long-winded comment, but I really do appreciate you asking for a bit of our stories! I hope you will keep your story going here, as long as it feels good to do so.
Many blessings to you and your sweet family.
admin - Jackie, what a blessing you are. I read your comment several times and could relate to so much of what was written with regards to how you feel now as a mother. My birthday this year was hard for me, too. I kept thinking about what she (my birth mother) was thinking and if it was a day of pain and struggle for her. So much of life takes place in the gray, far far away from anything remotely black or white…adoptions being no exception to that. We feel what we feel, regardless of our current happiness because adoption is part of our stories. Our roots and identity are woven into something we are not able to fully know or understand. So blessing to you and thank you for sharing your heart in this space. It is truly a wonderful thing to be able to connect like this and help one another not feel so alone. x Amanda
Jessie - Reading both of your comments here brought tears to my eyes. Though I was not adopted, I was abandoned by my mother…sold to my father for a price (and if you’re curious, that price was $50 – something my father eventually told me when I became an adult). Because I was raised by my father and my angel of a step-mother (as my grandmother called her ;)), I had a mostly wonderful childhood with so many beautiful memories that I carry with me into my adult life today, as a woman and a mother. I don’t know what my life would have been like without the two of them or my grandparents (coincidentally, my birth mother’s parents – messy, as you’ve mentioned all of these stories can be). All of that aside, I related so much to many of your feelings and having always been such a “positive” person, I think I have downplayed much of how I really feel…until someone else puts it into words. It makes so much sense to me those feelings that you’re both sorting through…because in some way, I can relate. That feeling of being disposable. Oh yes. My birth mother passed away suddenly last spring and it was a very difficult time for me, internally, to process. I haven’t spoken much about it to anyone, but I do feel that her death affected me more than her life in a way…that I was just sort of cut off to ever knowing anything more from or about her…no more questions…no more answers. That’s hard. But one thing I am tremendously grateful for is that God gave me a heart after my own family and babies that my mother didn’t have at the time when she left my two older brothers and I. He used my situation for good, I believe, and having the story I do has empowered me in so many ways. There have been darker days, though more and more, they are brighter than ever. I am most definitely a product of my past, but that has in no way defined my future…which I just love. There is so much freedom in that. And so very much comfort in finding friends like this in the world with whom we can take shelter in and for. Hugs to you both!
Ellery - This is such a beautiful, heart felt, and intimate post, and I just want to give you a virtual hug and words of encouragement about it all. I can’t seem to find the “right” words- I don’t know what being in your situation would be like- but I appreciate your openness and honesty. I love to learn too, and I believe family is the whole reason we’re here on this earth, so I’m impressed and touched by your sensitivity. I’m blessed to see a kindred-spirit in you- someone that loves her children, loves her role as wife, mother, and homemaker, and someone that wants to create a mini-haven/heaven in her home for her family. I don’t know what to say, but that you are loved, and that you have great belonging and purpose here. You’re touching lives! Thanks for enriching mine!
admin - Ellery, your kind and thoughtful words really touched me this morning. Thank you for taking time out of your day to not only visit this space, but to share your heart. x Amanda
Lucy - I am a mama who adopted my children. Reading this as the mother of a daughter who was adopted is painful – I think of all the pain and loss my daughter has experienced already at the tender age of 9, how much it already has an impact on her, and I imagine her sharing your emotions as a mother in the future and my heart breaks. Adoption has been wonderful and amazing for us but also terrible and emotionally shattering, due to our children’s back stories. (I have a son, greatly marked by his experiences too but he’s more straightforward so far about his feelings) Adoption is often presented as this one-off, happy ever after ending and it’s not, is it – it is much more complex than that and all the joy and happiness has a shadow of pain and loss. Sending you and yours much love as you find your path forward.
admin - Lucy, I love reading the perspectives of mothers who have adopted. I have several good friends, my best friends actually, who have adopted their little ones. Together we have been able to really support one another and ask difficult questions to gain perspective, which is such an important thing to do in situations such as ours. I would not be where I am nor would I even close to the person I am today if it wasn’t for the home I grew up in and my parents who adopted me. What you are giving your children is irreplaceable and so very special. I am going to go into that more later on my blog, because, of course, that is a part of my story too! Blessings to you and your adopted little ones on your journey together. Sending you light and love, mama. With Care, Amanda
María - I think you are very brave coming clean about something so intimate, because many people would never have the courage to face their demons like this and somehow, clean that part of the soul that has some dust on it. I admire you in many ways, this just adds one more to the list 🙂
I am not adopted but I can tell you that in my country, adoptions are a tricky thing. They are always closed and usually due to complicated stuff like drug-addicted moms or other murky situations. I love the way adoptions in the US are handled, they seem clearer and warmer to me, which doesn’t mean they’re easier.
Keep the sun shining Amanda, as you always do 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with us.
admin - Maria, I have always found it very interesting how different countries approach adoption, along with all the variations within the US as well! Such a delicate topic that ranges far and wide. Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to write here. With Care, Amanda
Jessie - love hearing your heart, friend. i am always here…in every way a friend can be a few states away <3 may a little bit of extra beauty find its way to you today. xx
admin - Jessie, thank you so much dear friend. That means the world. Have a beautiful weekend as well! x Amanda
Kristen C Brobst - Good morning! I have never commented on a blog before but felt compelled to do so! I just wanted to tell you that you are brave and such an encouragement. I have read your blog for sometime and your pictures are beautiful and your writing is so poetic.
I struggled with PPD as well and I think it is important for women to be there for one another and shed light on darkness and just be supportive.
Your blog is just that! It is wonderful and I just wanted to share that.
Lauren - Amanda,
I wonder how long winded this message will be… I have been reading your writing from some time now on your previous blog. Every once in awhile I have noticed that you’ve mentioned your adoption, and was interested when you would open up about it. I am a writer too.
While I am not adopted myself, in many ways I wish that I had been. My parents were abusive and neglectful and the only reason I decided to stay at my house even though social services was eventually called was because I chose to stay close to my siblings, and by that time we had already grown accustomed to taking care of ourselves and didn’t want to be separated by foster care placement in different homes. That is love.
I dated a boy whose cousin was raped as a teenager in the back of a car. Despite her age and her fears, after discovering she was pregnant from that violence, she kept the pregnancy, and the baby. Even though she would have to be on food stamps. Even though the baby would be of a different race than her own and her child would face judgement and fear from even family and friends… She was a beautiful, honorable, wonderful mother, loving her baby as purely as any woman who’d had a choice; quietly living out her motherhood in rooms full of whispers. She’s the bravest person I’ve ever seen or known. She is love.
My doula rocked my world one day when I cried at her about my anxiety to be a new parent. “I don’t know how any of this is supposed to go! I don’t know how my mother’s labor was, how to breastfeed, I have no one to teach me!” She told me I could do it, even though she was adopted and didn’t have any of that information or science either. And her adopted mother had never birthed a baby of her own so she could not offer her insight either. She did everything in her power to ensure that I was comfortable during delivery, even though she didn’t know anything about what it’s like to actually give birth. Even though she had ever single question that I did. That is love.
All of these choices and ways to love each other in the world. Even if we aren’t parents. Even if we don’t know how to be responsible, or what the right choice is. Even if we have no idea what is going to happen next… it’s choosing to love. Not choosing to know.
I think you are very fortunate to have two mothers loving you, even if you don’t know everything. With an open adoption, they both have made a choice to have you in their lives- both of them. It’s incredibly brave for them to do. To announce to the quarter million followers that you have on instagram that you are finding some kind of truth about yourself, without first asking the people closest to you WHY, could hurt someone… and maybe your feelings of apprehension are correct. Writers must assume a certain amount of responsibility. Because you have your story… you’re wanting to tell another mother’s story. Does she want her story told? I don’t think you can answer that yet. So I say this with love and admiration for you as a person, to caution you:
“There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance and see it as the way to your present freedom.”
– Henri Nouwen
Grace - Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your thoughts. As a foster mom who is open to adopting through foster care (should the opportunity arise), your perspective is so so valuable to me.
Angela - Hi Amanda
I don’t know if this will be ‘food for thought’ but i wanted to tell you that own my mother gave up her first child for adoption when she was 19. It left a hole in her heart that has never been filled and this loss of her first child has affected her deeply and in turn has affected us, as her non-adopted children. That baby, though never known beyond her first day of life is still treasured and longed for by my mother.
I hope you find answers to your heart’s questions as we all need to know of the ties that bind us. In saying this I can only imagine you are loved beyond possibility by your birth mother. Go well xxx
Cassie - I was not adopted but I feel your feelings because my mother was. I have many health issues and, quite frankly, I nor my children look nothing like my father’s side of the family. There are answers for me out there in regards to my health that could be had instead of fumbling in the dark. And there are whole generations of people out there who look just like me and my children. And I have never met them. I have no choice but to sit in the dark about it all because my mother wishes not to know who her birth family is and I respect her decision but it is still hard for me. There is a huge piece to my puzzle that is missing and it makes me so deeply sad. So, even though I was not adopted, the ripple effect is strong.
Ahdra - Hello Amanda,
Thank you for this post. I am inspired by your bravery and transparency. What a lovely way to shine your light in this world!
I am an adoptive mom to two young children, a boy and a girl, whom we brought home from Ethiopia 10 years ago. I try to read as much as I can on the subject of adoption so I truly appreciate your perspective as an adult adoptee. I hope you are able to find the answers for which you seek.
You may have already heard of this, but just in case not, Sherrie Eldridge’s book: Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, might be helpful. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it, but your comments about your birthday reminded me of some of the things she wrote about in the book.
One other book that I’ve found particularly helpful as I work to be the best mother I can to my kids in our unique situation (their adoption stories, my difficult childhood) is: Anatomy of the Soul, by Curt Thompson. It has much to do with connection and how our past can “hijack” our hopes and best intentions as we work to connect with all the people in our life and make sense of our own stories.
I struggled with Post Adoption Depression and continue to work through life with a child with significant special needs, so it is always a blessing to me to see others be honest about their struggles. Sometimes I feel like I live in an entirely different universe than all the happy, perfect online folks seem to. I know that’s my own fault for comparing, so I get to work on that, but it can be quite isolating.
Anyway, thank you again. This was so very encouraging to me and no doubt, many others.
The Mom Internet Isn't Dead, It's Evolving - […] on both Instagram and her blog, Amanda tackles some difficult subjects: post-partum depression, her own adoption, and the daily hardships of motherhood. If you peruse the Instagram feed of a favorite influencer of […]