So it turns out Instagram isn’t just a hub for self-loathing and bikini snaps but actually a place where people of like minded intellect can meet and really bond over an important matter.
This is what I’ve begun to experience since sharing my own story of adoption with other social media goers. It has led me to meet amazing people like Flo, a beautifully smart and talented adoptee. It is strange that we’ve lived our whole lives not knowing each other but one fact about us is what has brought us together, relating in ways that has surprised us both. Connecting with someone on such a deep level is a beautiful thing and here she talks about her own experience as an adoptee:
Now I do wonder what exact reaction came into your mind as you read the word 'adopted'?
There is countless possibilities right? You could have thought nothing, you could have thought with intrigue, you could have thought with disinterest, or you could have thought with surprise! Surprise is exactly how I reacted when I came across Cece’s post sharing her thoughts and experience about being adopted and here is why.
I was born 23 years ago. And growing up as an adoptee still really wasn’t spoken about. I believe I was the only child at primary school who was adopted, well at least I think anyway. I was adopted at almost a year old by my adopted parents who I admire and respect and I am very thankful for my upbringing. However, if you were to take my adopted parents out of this being adoptee wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Being an adoptee has shaped my identity in a way that I struggle to explain, in fact I really find this part difficult. This isn’t anyone’s fault, at all. But being adopted has led me to have identity issues, and now I realise that I am not the only adoptee who feels like this. Now don’t get me wrong this is no one’s fault and there certainly was no other way to avoid this. I have always felt different in appearance and character. It was actually the other day I attended a family funeral and I just looked at certain members and thought, there isn’t a single person here who I have the slight resemblance too.
I don’t have a problem with being adopted, in fact I am blessed that I was chosen when I could have been forgotten, it is those who aren’t adopted make the problem for us, or at least create a scene that we reinact over and over again in our minds. As the saying goes from my favourite childhood Disney film Bambi; ”If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”.
When I was growing up I was very proud about being adopted and I would always share it with others but I never necessarily got the reaction I was hoping for. Now I am not speaking about receiving the sympathy vote, I just wanted someone to listen therefore I would hopefully listen to myself hoping I could accept it, and to this day this still is an issue.
I don’t really know where I start with this, as I have experienced many many times where people have insulted and abused the fact that I am an adoptee.
Of course growing up at primary and secondary school I was bullied about this, being asked if I had any issues or behavioural problems, or the fact that because I was ugly they didn’t want me anymore. Often if I did something wrong the answer always was “it’s because she is adopted”. I wish I could tell my young self that people who have issues understanding and accepting the fact that adoptee’s don’t come under the “commonalities category” tend to use this as a weapon.
Now speaking as an adult, I still experience episodes of ignorance from others. It is not so much anymore, as I’d like to think those who I have had the conversation with are mature and have the decency to try and mould their questions and answers in a respectful way, however, I have found that this isn’t the case for some. This includes a GP doctor. You’ll often find that being an adoptee there are many questions we can’t answer, especially when attending the doctors you get asked about your medical history in which your response is “I don’t know because I’m adopted”. In this situation the GP answered this themselves out loud. Of course I was shocked, at least if this is written down in my notes don’t read it out loud, just ask me the question like you would to anyone else and await my answer, not interrupt me with my own answer almost like this was an issue or an insulting issue because now they can’t diagnose or rule things out? The reason why I was so shocked is because it was like they were judging me. There has also been times where I have been surrounded by my friends who have made casual jokes like “oh you must be adopted then” or they have said themselves “I must be adopted” to one another.
I don’t know if this is because I am quite sensitive, but it gets tiring and I feel like adoption needs to be spoken about more, I am glad I have discovered The Hazels Perspective. Going back to why I was so surprised to see Cece’s announcement is because I have only ever come across in my whole 23 years two other people who have been adopted, and one of those is through my parents who went to this adoptive group prior to my adoption and met this other couple who went on to adopt a girl around the same age. The other adoptee I know is my brother. I have felt so trapped this whole time because I am tired of speaking about my identity issues, or my belonging to those who don’t understand and respond back with “aww I am so sorry”, or “I feel for you” or even when they try to contradict my emotion and experience - this happens all the time.
I have come to the point where I just ignore this category of people. And I tell myself of course being adopted is tough, but it has shaped who I am today which I know for a fact is a hundred times better to who I could have been. Although being adopted has caused me to suffer with anxiety, depression, and of course identity and belonging issues it has pushed me in areas that others couldn’t have been pushed too, and I am a hell lot tougher and stronger than others also.
You should be very proud of yourself, and who you have become. Even if you are still learning and trying to find yourself you should be very grateful that we have been given another opportunity. Take it whilst you can and prove to others but more importantly yourself you can be whoever you want to be, and that YOU are never alone".
- Flo, Fashion and Beauty photographer.