Yesterday, I talked about blended families. Well, at least my blended family.
But, Gloria, in Gloria and the Unicorn doesn’t live in a blended family. She lives in an adopted family. I believe there are similarities between the two. Gloria’s Mom died in childbirth and her Dad didn’t feel he could take care of a baby by himself. He gave her to a children’s home called Miss Libby’s Lodge.
Miss Libby who owns the children’s lodge has no children of her own. She loves all the babies as if they were hers. Miss Libby teaches the children that they are a family and to be kind and loving to one another.
My Mom was also big on this. She didn’t delineate between half-siblings, we were all hers and we were one family in her mind. She taught us to love one another and be kind. We see ourselves this way. In fact, the other day I was talking to my sister and telling her how I don’t like to use the term “half” when talking about her or my brother–that just somehow feels “wrong.” She said she felt the same way. The term half or step feels like saying, “I don’t really want to be related to you.”
I wonder if children who have been adopted feel the same way about the word “adopted?” Of course, one can argue that being adopted means precisely that you were chosen and wanted, but I know some people whose adopted homes weren’t that loving. I don’t think anyone who has been adopted would want to be introduced as “this is my adopted son/daughter.” It seems as though you’re making a point to say the relationship is “less than.”
Gloria feels this acutely once she overhears the truth about herself. She feels less than. She feels unwanted. She feels unloved. I think these feelings are going to come for children of blended and/or adopted families. I think children need to be able to express these feelings without them being shoo’d away. That’s how they feel. There’s a reason they feel this way. There is at least one parent that didn’t want them or isn’t alive to be there for them. It’s okay for children to grieve that loss even if they have adopted or step-parents that have been incredibly loving to them. Research has shown that adopted children in their teens yearn to know their biological parent even when their adopted parent is very loving. It’s important to not take that personal and to allow the child the freedom to search and even connect, if possible, with their biological parent. Hard, I know, but important.
My best friend was adopted (remember the one I talked about on my lei day post?). She finally found her biological mother and re-connected. They have a very positive relationship but her adopted mom didn’t really like that. My friend needed to know her biological mom. She needed to find out for herself who this woman was that gave her up so many years ago.
Adoption/Blended families–they are complicated and deserve a sensitive, thoughtful response. What about you? Are you from a blended family or have you been adopted? What are your feelings on re-connecting with your biological parent?