Discovering as an adult that I was adopted had a profound effect on my life.
Someone coined an acronym for adoptees who only learn about their adoption in adulthood. We’re called ‘LDAs’ (Late Discovery Adoptees). According to author Nancy Verrier, the average of discovery for an LDA is 37. I was almost 38 when I learned about my adoption.
Discovering that I was not my parents’ biological daughter was a huge shock, even though I had been suspecting it for many years.
I knew that I would need time to deal with this newly found knowledge about myself, but given that I had been suspecting it for most of my life, I figured it wouldn’t take me that long to get over it.
Two weeks and I’ll be fine.
Today I laugh at how much I underestimated the time I needed to heal. I had no idea what an immense impact confirming my adoption
would have on me.
Initially I believed that, if my parents had only told me the truth when I was a child, I would not be in the situation I was. But as I learned more, I began to realise that, no matter how old an adoptee is when they learn about their adoption, the impact is just as immense.
Most adoptees spend half their lives trying to heal, and I am certainly among them. Many suffer from recurring depression, experience difficulties in relationships and have ongoing issues with trust, intimacy, loyalty, and rejection.
This is generally aggravated by low self-esteem and a sense of no or very little self-worth. Anger is frequently used as a mechanism to numb the relentless emotional pain.
I am often asked if I was angry with my mother for not telling me sooner
about my adoption. ‘Far from it,’ I always reply. I was livid. Furious. Enraged.
I had so much healing to undergo. I needed to deal with the bitterness and resentment I felt towards my parents for keeping the truth from me and find a way to forgive them.
I desperately wanted to find my birth mother, but I was furious with her too, for giving me away in the first place and creating this whole emotional mess that I was in.
Forgiving someone for intense hurt they have inflicted on you is never easy, but it’s made easier if your relationship is underpinned by deep, mutual love. How would I ever be able to forgive someone I had never met?
Most of all, I wanted to find peace and wholeness within myself. I felt so lost. In so many ways, I no longer knew who I was, and I hoped that finding my birth mother would provide answers to the many questions I had.
This is an extract from Someone’s Daughter
by Aurette Bowes (Raider Publishing Intnl)