My Story Starts with Adoption

My story starts with adoption . 

My life started because of a 16 year old girl and an 18 year old boy.  That 16 year old girl was told that she could not keep her baby and I have no idea if that 18 year old boy ever knew he was going to be a father. 

That young girl was sent to a home for unwed mothers for the duration of her pregnancy.  Once she gave birth I was placed in a foster home.  I have a letter from my foster mother to my adopted mother explaining my routine and describing me as a happy baby. 

I was adopted at 3 months and went to live in a new home.  I am sure that this was a lot for a baby to process.  Some people think that babies don’t remember.  I am not so sure.  

As I grew up I was told that I was lucky, that I was special, that I was chosen.  I grew up believing that I needed to be grateful.  And I was grateful, but how did that impact me?  And why did I always feel like something was missing? 

I thought my life was pretty normal.  My parents divorced when I was 11, sadly that seems normal.  I went to university, became an accountant, got married, got divorced … all fairly normal.  It wasn’t until I started to process my feelings after the divorce did I start to understand the role that adoption played in my life. 

I was introduced to the book Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency.  I opened the book and read the first sentence “every adoption starts with trauma”.  I closed the book and cried.  I didn’t cry, I sobbed.  I sobbed for all that I had lost and all that had been missing.  

At 48 years old I was just starting to understand the big role that adoption has played in my life. 

I am taking a Positive Intelligence course and I have come to realize that I am a hyper-achiever.  The course describes a hyper achiever as someone who is competitive, image and status conscious, good at covering up insecurities and showing a positive image.  Goal oriented and workaholic streaks.  Can keep people at a safe distance.  They state that it is easy for children to get the sense that they are loved in return for achieving, obeying the rules, having good manners, etc, rather than unconditionally.   

That is me!  If I was good they would love me.  If I was the best people would want me, I would fit in.  

How has this impacted my relationships? 

Being a hyper achiever is hard work.  In fact, it is exhausting.  I put a lot of pressure on myself and others in my life.  All my life I have had an image of perfection and as I age I am learning that image just doesn’t exist. 

I have always had a hard time asking for help.  I have always felt that I have to do everything on my own.  I grew up believing if I work hard enough I can do anything.  And I can, but it makes life pretty lonely.  This attitude makes people think that they aren’t good enough, I don’t trust them so why should they trust me? 

No matter how hard I tried or how perfect I wanted to become I never felt like I fit in.  I felt like an outsider with my family and friends.  It wasn’t until I found the wonderful people in the Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO) galaxy that I started to understand why I felt this way.  I found people who understood me and in fact shared a lot of the same experiences and feelings that I have had.  I know now that I am not alone and I can ask for help. 

I continue on this learning and growing journey.  Making small changes that will make my life and my relationships richer. 

Thank you ACO family and to all of the galaxy members for being there for me and for each other.  We are not alone! 

– Sherri


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