I have a friend who is struggling right now. Like me, she is adopted and recently was contacted by a bio-relative she never knew existed. Information was exchanged and her world was rocked. We all have ideas in our heads about who we are and where we came from. For an adopted child, it can be very layered and complex. As products of a private adoption, we are on shaky ground right from the start and often have very little information with which to build a picture of who we are and where we come from.
Sure, as a Mom through the gift of adoption, I like to think my kids will base their own self-image almost solely on what I teach them and present to them as a parental role model. But as a product of a family formed through adoption, I know what I hope for doesn't always happen. Biology is always in the mix. I have no control over what my boys take away from their childhood experiences and the way their minds work. Some day they will be men with complete control over their own destiny and decisions. I pray that their lives will be good ones. It's what all mothers hope. But will they look at their first families and let those stories influence who they are? I pray their first mom's lives are also good ones because I want my boys to be proud of where they came from. Every part.
We try to be as positive as we can about who they are and where they come from. I want them to be confident and feel like they have a complete picture of themselves. Not feel...incomplete, like I always did as a child. This is one of the main reasons why I believe so strongly in open adoption.
I gave my friend some advice that I thought was worth sharing with the wider world. If you are adopted and searching for missing pieces of your life, this applies to you.
It's the age old question...nature vs. nurture. As an adoptive Mom, I like to think nurture always wins out. But really we are a blending of both. As individuals, however, we have the ultimate control. We make the choices that determine how our lives will unfold. The past may have influence, biology may have influence, but we prove, over and over, that we have the power to shape our own destiny. Shed the baggage and live your life the way YOU want to live it. The rest doesn't really matter anyway.