Dear Adoption, You Left Me With More Questions Than Answers
I feel as though my life consists of a series of questions by those I meet. What do you mean you’re not from here? Can you speak Indian? Do you have any idea who your mom and dad are? These simple questions seem ordinary to biological offspring, but as an adoptee I found that I can only answer them with my head down, trying desperately to avoid eye contact. No, I don’t speak Indian or have any connection to their culture, yet I am obligated to mark the box “Asian or Indian Subcontinent”. No, I will never know who my mom and dad are; whether I have brothers or sisters, or the circumstances in which I was brought into the world. After answering these questions I am always met with a sullen, “Wow”.
Most have no comprehension of what it’s like to live without those answers. Growing up in an area where I was the only one who looked as I did left me with a yearning to be like everyone else. Yet, it also came with an understanding that I would never be like them. Other kids were able to look out into a crowd and see a mom and dad and just know their history; the privilege of having their mother’s eyes or their father’s chin. And for me, as I got older, my mother was often assumed to be my girlfriend. Waitresses were the worst. “What can I get the happy couple today?” No. She is my mother.
Others have the luxury of a history. Mine is a blank canvas. While I understand that life in India would not have been easy, the undeniable strain on my psyche of simply not knowing who my mother and father are is frustrating. It would be for anyone.
So I am left to question every aspect of my existence due to a drastic lack of information. There are the simple questions: Am I going to be tall or short? How will I age? What possible genetic disorders exist in my family history? However as life goes on the questions become more pressing. Perhaps the most pertinent is the question from my son or daughter when they get older: Why don’t we look like the rest of our family?
While adoption has provided me with a great opportunity to live, I find that I am left with an origin shrouded in mystery. It is a mystery that few can understand. A burden to bear. A question which will be forever unclear.
PAUL MULLOY IS CURRENTLY LIVING IN RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, WHERE HE IS A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER. PRIOR TO THIS HE TAUGHT MIDDLE SCHOOL IN BEAVERTON, OREGON. FOUR YEARS AGO, PAUL MARRIED HIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SWEETHEART. TOGETHER THEY ARE RAISING THEIR TWO GREAT KIDS.
Reprinted in entirety, full credit: Dear Adoption