It did however, get me thinking. Something I seldom do, at least with regard to this particular topic. It's a subject I rarely discuss, for reasons which will become apparent, but when I was around 6 months old, I was adopted.
I have to confess, I have seen countless television programms and read countless articles of people struggling to come to terms with the fact they were adopted. And whilst I understand, to a degree, why, I struggle to to relate to them.. It seems to be particularly problematic amongst people who find out in later life. Perhaps my experience will be of some use to prospective adoptive parents, as well as children who have been adopted.
Honesty, in life, is ALWAYS the best policy, in my experience. I have always known I was adopted. It must have been explained to me when I was very young, as I have absolutely no recollection of being told whatsoever. I think, perhaps, younger children seem better equipped to process this "information" than teenagers, or indeed adults. I firmly believe that a child who grows up armed with all the facts about their origins is much better placed to deal with them as they progress through life.
I have ONE set of parents. My Mum and my Dad. I had Grandparents, now, sadly, deceased. I have an extended family in the form of Aunts, Uncles etc. I also have a sister, who was conceived naturally by my Mother. Due to her health, it was thought she would be unable to have children of her own, hence their decision to adopt.
All of these wonderful people in my life ARE my family. I have never thought of them as anything else. More importantly, they have never thought of, or treated ME as anything but family. Certainly, with regard to my sister, I have never felt "second place", nor have I ever been treated as such. To my parents, we are equal. To ME, we are equal. To HER, again, we are equal.
The fact I was adopted rarely enters my thoughts. It certainly doesn't preoccupy them, as it does with some people. Somewhere, out there, is a "birth giver". She is, emphatically, NOT my mother, nor will she ever be. I have no desire to find, or know, her. But, and this is very important, I bear her no ill will. Quite the contrary. I owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.
To this day, I have no idea what her reasons for giving me up were, nor do I need to know. I assume she had good reason, and even if her motives were entirely selfish, I am still thankful. There is an old adage that "you can choose your friends, but not your family". In my case, this is only partially true. Whilst, of course, I had no say in who adopted me, my parents certainly had a choice. They chose me. And that is pretty bloody amazing!
Two people who desperately wanted a child extended arms of love and chose me. What an extraordinary thing to do! Any arsehole can squirt out a baby. It doesn't make someone a parent. Parenting comes, as I've learned from having children of my own, comes from love, nurture, morals. When I was ill, they were there. On my first day of school, it was my parents who took me. When I was bullied beyond belief, they were in my corner. Oh, yes, Dad, I saw you follow me to school and home again, making sure I was safe. You were, and are, a great father. A great detective, you will never be!
As I grew up, my parents saw me though a nervous breakdown, through panic attacks and depression. They saw me marry and divorce. More recently, as regular readers are aware, they saw me through a short battle with cancer. They never wavered. They were my rock, in the best of times and in the darkest. They gave, and continue to give, the one gift that money can never buy. Love. It's as simple as that. Unconditional love, support, trust, patience, kindness and understanding.
It is for those, and many more, reasons, that I seldom discuss, or even think of, my adoption. It simply isn't an issue. The fact I burst forth into the world, doubtless kicking and screaming, from the womb of another human being is completely academic. We may share the same genetics, but when it comes to family, everything I am, everything I have become is the result of my Mum and Dad, and to a degree, my extended family.
Mother's Day is rapidly approaching. A card and present will, as in every year gone by, be written/given to my Mum. The only Mother I have ever known. I have no desire to find the person who gave birth to me. She has given two gifts. She gave me the gift of life, and more importantly, she gave me the gift of two loving parents. I hope her life has been a good one, that she hasn't struggled with the fact she gave me up for adoption. I hope that she is well and has a family that loves and cares for her. It seems cruel to say I feel nothing for her, but beyond eternal gratitude, it is a harsh truth. She is irrelevant to my life. That isn't intended to sound callous, mean or vindictive. It is simply a statement of fact.
I guess the point I am making is, adoption need not be a cross to bear, nor a chip to carry on one's shoulder. If you have been adopted, it is what YOU make of it. Certainly, not every child who has been adopted will have been as fortunate as myself. Not every adoptive parent is going to be a good one. Most, however, are, and we are the fortunate ones as a result of it. We have the unique distinction of being chosen. In a world where there are some shitty parents floating around, that is quite a privilege. As adopted persons, we should not spend our time thinking what might have been. Much better to invest that time thinking about who we are NOW, and why.
If, like me, you are the son or daughter of adoptive parents, you are blessed with parents who WANTED you. Parents who CHOSE you. If I had to choose a set of parents, I need look no further than the ones who chose me. I cannot imagine better parents. That is a hope I carry for every adopted child. I am the man I am today because of my parents. I think.. No, I HOPE, I am a good man. I certainly try to be. I try, because I was raised well. I try because I owe it to my parents.
I have raised two children, one, for five years of his life, as a single parent. Again, I hope I've done a decent job. They certainly appear, I'm proud to say, to have turned out pretty damn well. The credit for that goes, not to me, but to my parents, for the values and morals they instilled in me.
This is, perhaps, not the most erudite blog post I have every written. What it may lack in literary skill, I hope Is made up for it though personal expression and honesty. It comes, not from the head, but from the heart.
And so, to close, I say thank you, to my Mum and Dad; my parents. To my Mum, I say "Happy Mother's Day". And I dedicate this post to her, and to her father, my Grandad, Charlie, who passed away 11 years ago, and who, along with my Grandmother, was an adoptive parent to my Mum's sister, who tragically passed away at the age of 53 from Motor Neurone Disease. Her children will spend Mother's Day in reflection and mourning. I, thankfully, will spend mine with eternal gratitude. I am "a chosen one". I am lucky. I am wanted. I am loved. And by goodness, I am bloody grateful.