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Hanging on a Dream: One Woman’s Story of Adoption

By Diane Gray

The dinner table congers up so many memories of my childhood. It was the place my family would all be together to talk about the events of the day, laugh and share stories as we ate our meals. While sitting at the table, I would often look at my mom, dad and adoptive sister and think that I didn’t really look like any of them. I knew I was adopted but there was this nagging feeling that I was missing something, I was lost and I would feel sad for reasons I never understood.

In my teen years I would still get these uneasy feelings of sadness. I would ask my mom about my adoption but she would never give me any information no matter how hard I would press her for answers. I was desperate to find out. It was important for me to know who I am, where do I come from and who do I look like. As a teenager, I didn’t have the resources or knowledge to even begin to know how to get the answers I was looking for. It was during these years that I would dream about a big family and that I had several siblings. This dream never went away and stayed with me until the age of 63.

I’m going to let you in on a few issues facing adoptees. First, often times we may have overwhelming feelings of loss and grief but we don’t know what that loss and grief really is. These feelings can often lead to a loss of self-esteem. Why was I given up? What is wrong with me? Was I just not good enough? I was still hanging on a dream of a big family.

The second issue is guilt which can also be connected with loss and grief. Typically, adoptees don’t want to be disloyal to their adoptive parents. These are the very parents that loved them and raised them. These feelings of guilt often occur when an adoptee may decide to search for their biological mother and father. The search for their self-identity is especially difficult for teenagers. They have no genetic information which may lead to a genetic gap. I was still hanging on a dream of a big family.

Relinquishment which is the “politically correct” reference to a birth mother “giving up” her child for adoption.  There are many reasons she may do so.  She may have been young when she gave birth.  She may not be financially able to care for her child.  Perhaps the birth of a child has interrupted her education or career path.  There’s thousands of reasons.  An adoptee can have separation anxiety issues as a result of being relinquished.  As a child I don’t really think this affected me but as I grew older, I was able to see signs of separation anxiety throughout parts of my life.  It is common for adoptees to feel they are never good enough whether it’s while growing up and in school.  It is also common for adoptees to not feel good enough during their careers.  An example might be being passed up for a promotion.  I was devastated when I got passed up for a promotion when I was working for an insurance company.  I cried for days.  But I was still hanging on a dream of a big family.            

It wasn’t until January, 2019 that answers to questions I had for over 50 years were finally answered.  I met my biological father, three full blood sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.  It was the best day of my life to finally meet them and learn about my very existence on this planet.  As I sat around my father’s kitchen table sharing stories, laughter and love, I realized how much I look like these people. I was instantly accepted as part of the tribe.  My dream turned into reality.  I was no longer hanging on a dream of a big family. 

Diane Gray is an adoption fanatic. She has been in reunion with her biological family for two years. It is a beautiful relationship that continues to bloom. Diane is the author of Faith, Hope and Perseverance. It is her story about her 50 year journey to finding her biological family. Diane is also a Senior Staff Storyteller for Adoption.com and is available to speak for any organization for any event. Email Diane at fhpspeaker@yahoo.com.

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