Category Archives: Adoptee

Articles that explore the viewpoint of adoptees, as well as ideas of special concern to parents who are raising an adopted child.

Triad View: Trans-familied feelings of an adoptee

Tessa and I are different in so many ways. I love to read (an introvert)…she loves to interact (extrovert). I can’t stand to have bare feet…she can’t stand to wear shoes. I like tidy and sorted…her room is post-Katrina-esque. She wakes up cheerful and eager…I, well, I don’t.

Earlier this summer, I ran across this notion in an adoptee blog, Joy’s Division. Joy explains the difference between who she was born to be and who she was raised to be. I am reminded of her post every time I notice how different I am from Tessa (more so with her than with Reed).

It was like two Golden Retrievers adopting a daschound, they were busy trying to understand why I wasn’t a Golden Retriever. They did their best to help me be a Golden Retriever, who can blame them? That is what they knew how to be. They didn’t know how to be a short legged long dog. They wanted to help me overcome my short legged long dogness, but were at a loss, and gave up.

Joy’s post is an important one for adoptive parents in understanding how an adopted child might feel. But I’m not sure what to do with this insight. In fact, I believe Joy is not saying I should or shouldn’t do anything as Tessa’s mom. She’s saying that this is simply what happens in adoption, when a child shares the biology of one tribe and the biography of another. Perhaps the best I can do is just to be aware.

So today I’m full of questions and musings. What is it like to have me as a mom? What is it like to be part of our family? Will Tessa one day feel as if she was forced into being something she’s just not? What can I do to prevent her from having lingering feelings of being trans-familied?

Ideas? Thoughts?

In Adoption, Last Means Best

I had long struggled with the idea of adoption as a second choice — pregnancy being the default setting and thus, first choice. After all, I had ended up in exactly the right place. I wouldn’t want my family to be any different than who we are. But how to explain this to my children, who are likely to ask questions in the coming years?

One day I came across Melissa at Stirrup Queens, who addresses the term “second” as a chronological term rather than an ordinal term.

is adoption second choice

Was Roger my first choice as a husband? Well, considering I kissed a few frogs before I even met him, Roger wasn’t chronologically my first choice. I wonder how my life would be now if I’d ended up with Alan, the boy who helped me collect worms one day when we were 8. Or Dave, the disk jockey turned radio-mogul, or Bill-the-farmer or Carl-the-slacker or Ike-the-commitment-phobe.

Roger was definitely my best choice. But I meandered to get to him. The meandering is what made me worthy of him and appreciative of him.

It’s oddly coincidental. Tessa developed her first crush this week during Vacation Bible School. She is smitten with a boy double her age, a 6th grader named Cory. She dressed for him, had me braid her hair for him, talked incessantly about him, and dreamed of him. She claims she’ll marry him.

Not very likely. Cory may be her first, but what matters is the last. That’s the keeper.

Just like Tessa, and just like Reed. My meandering to them is what makes me worthy of them. The process of our family forming was absolutely the best choice, even if we started out not knowing that.

Image: Idea go /


Lori Holden's book coverLori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.

Triad View: Through Anifish’s eyes

I’m curious how my children might view their adoption stories when they are grown. Here’s an example of how adoption looks to Anifish, a woman who was adopted as an infant in the late 1960s.

This post can be found in its original form at Soul of Adoption on a thread entitled The Picking and Choosing of the Perfect Child. Anifish blogs here.

Adoption today is turning into a swap meet.

I picture this dirty swap meet a place where people go to shop for a child. Different vendors are everywhere, all of them making promises for the perfect setup, the perfect agreement. They specialize in one type of product. Theirs is better then the rest, and they promise to be competitive, but some still believe even though this is a swap meet that “You get what you pay for.” Some products are just downright cheap. Depends on the product. And there are many to choose from.

So I see all these shoppers. Some know exactly what they want. There are even some sections that carry slightly used products — but not many — and there are not many shoppers in the used section.

There is a section with warning labels. These products have been sitting on the shelf for awhile in the slightly used section because so many people want to buy new. Just when a buyer is ready to make a purchase warning label section, many change their minds to find a more suitable product that fits their lifestyle and personality the best. I mean really we all want the perfect match, don’t we?

Then there are the vendors who carry the manufacturer along to help with the purchase. The manufacturers stand by their product and will sell to only certain types of clients. This is a different section then the rest. It has a unique spark. Here the buyers are on display, showing all the bells and whistles they have. The best one gets chosen, with buyers’ lining up to purchase the prize that the manufacturers have produced. These manufacturers hold the product with care and love and really do not ever lose the product–they can check in when they want because it is in the purchase agreement.

For the most part this section is very productive and works in favor of both the manufacturers and the product and the buyer. But there are always those who take advantage of this section.Yet this could be great section.

Then there are the imports. These are usually older models, not usually new, maybe a few months old. These usually do not come with a manual or history of manufacturers, and they come from poorer countries. But the worth is just the same. This section is also very busy.

You have to see how the products are shelved by the vendors.

  • by race
  • by color
  • by sex
  • by eye color
  • by temperament
  • by warning labels and potential side effects
  • by age

You get the picture. In the end all these products have the same worth.

The swap meet is busy and prosperous. This item is big, this item is wanted, this item is unique, but they are all essentially the same.

This post is in regards to how adoption makes me feel sometimes. I could have been the one with the warning label on its forehead. “Potential side effects may occur.” I might have been one of the items that did not cut it — no buyer wanted to take a chance with the side effects. I could have been one of the items that ended up never going home with a buyer. And with many others I would have stayed on the dusty shelf. Losing my value everyday after that. Eventually I would not even be glanced at. The vendor would eventually move me to the junkyard. And my value and worth would never be looked at again and eventually I would be worthless with the other worthless items. All because someone was not willing to just love me, take a chance that they were the only thing I needed to flourish and grow. All I needed was love.

And I am sorry the old saying about you can’t buy love. Well it is true, but people want the perfect love. Can the shoppers unconditionally love a product that comes with no guarantee?

Every one of us is different, unique and you cannot put a price on us. You also cannot pick us out. We are all the same, a product of unique creation.

It does not matter what section you purchase us from. To us we are all the same. Priceless and beautiful. In our own unique way. I wish I could create a place that was just as unique as we are, a place that honors each of us as individuals. A place where we are safe from having labels applied to us, where we were not separated by manufacturer or vendor criteria, where the only cost in obtaining us was the pain of our loss to our creator. Which can never be repaid.

That place will never come to be when the buyers are wanting that certain one. There will be a lot of precious items with warning labels sitting on the shelves. In this world they are not looked upon as equal in value.


Many adoptive parents have used the “chosen child” concept with their child, the idea that the child was chosen either for them or by them. Anifish’s perspective challenges me to see this explanation through adopted eyes.

The image of sitting on a shelf and waiting to be chosen is haunting to me. Waiting for your flaws to be exposed. Waiting to see if you measure up. Waiting to see if you’ll be accepted or rejected. This is an idea I don’t want to plant in my children.

Much as I hate to admit it, Anifish’s viewpoint makes sense to me. We DID a lot of research about our adoption path. We DID worry about what fate would bring us (as we would have with pregnancy, but this is a nuance lost on a child). There WERE certain criteria we didn’t want to face making a decision about.

I can rationalize and explain everything with a grown up mind, but the same situation looks very different from an adopted child’s mind.

I am grateful to Anifish for letting me see. Through her eyes.