Adopted in 1955

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    I was born in 1955. I didn't know I was adopted till I was 27, but many things made me suspect this much earlier, from around the age of 13 there were signs. My family, which included my adoptive parents and older brother (he was twelve years my senior so knew everything), worked so hard to ensure I 'would never find out', a pact they made the day they adopted me when I was three weeks old. I started to feel anxious and started to shut down a lot during my teenage years, and had some roaring fights with my mother - I just wanted her to tell me the truth, but then I doubted myself and told myself I was being ridiculous - after all, they would have told me by now, wouldn't they? Why would they lie?
    This continued for another 14 years, when I finally decided to do some 'back-door sleuthing'. I was married and wanted kids of my own, but a nagging voice kept saying, 'What if you are adopted? What if there is something really wrong with you that you don't know about? What secrets are they keeping from you and why?' All the time I was doing my research, I was also telling myself I was being paranoid and that I would be laughing at my own stupidity before long.
    When I finally found out the truth, I was completely shattered. I could not function properly for days. I finally rang my parents (I was living in Victoria while they were in Sydney, where I had grown up) and confronted my mother over the phone. Even then, she tried so hard to get me to stop, to 'leave well enough alone' she said!
    I told her it was not well at all and that I never wanted to speak to her again.
    We did speak again, and she did tell me bits and pieces - she really didn't know much, well that is what she told me and I guess I believed her. I found out more from the hospital, and was eventually able to track down my birth/first mother's information, however unfortunately she had died some time back, so I never got to meet her.
    I have met quite a number of my first family members, all of whom made me feel welcome and were curious about me once they knew (it was also kept as a secret from most of them, though some had their suspicions also).
    Today as I write this I have just turned 60. I have two adult daughters with whom I share a close bond. I continue to have a fear of abandonment, which has played a role in issues between me and my husband that I have worked hard to overcome. We have a good relationship now. I also hate secrecy and if I sense someone is lying and can go quite crazy. These things will remain with me till I depart this life. I don't manifest the worst of my fears any more, I have developed a strength and resilience while remaining sympathetic and a good listener to others who have similar experiences when I come across them, whether they are first parents, adoptive parents or children who are adopted. I still feel an overwhelming sense of sadness about what happened to me and my first mother, but I can live with it now.

     

    Forced adoptions must never be allowed in the future. This applies whether people are adopting from within Australia, or they are adopting a child from overseas. I have serious concerns about 'international' and 'intra-national' adoptions as these further remove children from their past.