Sometimes I feel like people get swept into two very different adoption narratives. One seems to focus on deception and a big dramatic reveal. The other is a very romanticized, "everybody wins" storyline.
The truth is, like most things, it's never that cut and dry. It's kind of an imperfect arrangement for each party. The adopted child is raised by parents who have no genetic similarity to them. Birth mothers are separated from their children after bonding for nine months. Adoptive parents don't have the chance to raise a child that is biologically their own. It's more than just an unwanted child being given to wanting parents.
My parents weren't even on an adoption waiting list when their pastor came to them and asked if they were interested in adopting a child. He knew they had been trying without success to have children, and when word got round that there was a baby that needed adopting, he went straight to them. The adoption process was completed in a month - which is essentially record time in a world filled with adoption red tape.
When I was growing up, my parents always tried to present the events surrounding my adoption in a positive way. In fact, I can't even really remember a time when I wasn't aware that I was an adopted child. They always wanted me to feel that I was loved by both them and my birth mother. They told me that Lisa wanted to give me a good home with parents who could give me all the affection, support and material things that I'd need. They put a lot of effort into making me feel special and "chosen." It was an idyllic narrative. In their minds, our family was ordained by God.
But in a lot of ways, it's hard to escape forces of nature. No matter how much you believe the way you raise a child makes or breaks their identity, a huge part of who they are has to do with their nature. It's hard to separate the two polarities in my own life, but I always felt like my nature was distinctly different from that of my parents, which sometimes led to feelings of isolation.
There are so many "familial" things that have never really resonated with me, especially when it comes to contact with siblings and people who are genetically similar to you. It's a big gap - and no matter how much I wanted to believe that my parents could fill it, they just couldn't. Now that I'm closer to Lisa, I feel more in touch with what family means and who I was made to be. My life's narrative no longer centers around how I was "saved" through adoption. As much as we may want to say that adoption is an ideal solution for an unwanted pregnancy, there's still something a bit artificial and unnatural about it.