Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby joan on 19 Mar 2012, 22:03

I thought Yoga made an interesting comment in the Books section about saying she (assume she) was adopted although she wasn't. I remember feeling adopted and unloved, although I was neither. I didn't really grasp the love bit until I had children of my own and observed my mother interacting with them. I wonder how common this false feeling of being adopted is.
Strange that adoption is equated with less love in many minds when in reality adopted children are planned for and desperately wanted whereas many 'naturals' are accidents.
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby Michel on 20 Mar 2012, 17:17

Every child has his or her personality and history, and it affects their ability to bond with others.

One thing that all adoptees have in common is that they have experienced one or more sudden and permanent separations. And what are the teenage years unless a prolonged separation? To be thrown into this task, where you have to constantly find a moderate and increasing distance to the parents, can be very difficult for those with painful experiences of traumatic "divorce" in his luggage.

But why be unhappy? I think it’s never too late to have a good childhood. It works for me anyway, even if it has been tough sometimes. :)
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby mimps on 08 Apr 2012, 08:45

When I read Oranges it was the most amazing feeling of having my story affirmed by another persons experience. I'm now halfway through Why Be Happy..with the same extraordinary feeling. Adoption does make a mark on you most definitely, especially the old style closed adoption. I was adopted by older Bretheren parents in the 50's. I remember vividly the importance of stories to me when I was younger. The double disconnectedness, first from your past and your story and then from the 'World' and its worldly pleasures. Childhood for me was loneliness and longing. So thanks Jeanette.
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby darkhorse on 27 Apr 2012, 06:06

My younger sister told people, including my teacher, that I was adopted. I wasn't, I was just very different to my birth family and I think my sister hated my difference, hence the passive aggression. Growing up gay in a heterosexual family unit compounded my sense of alienation and isolation. Thankfully now in my fifties (after years of exploring psychology) I've managed to understand those family dynamics and create a loving relationship with my now elderly parents. Although my sibling relationship is still strained.
For years I envied friends who had loving families, but laterly I wonder if I would have found one claustrophobic because ultimately I've enjoyed my questing adventures.
Whatever family we 'choose' I think the word dysfunctional should go in front of the word family. Let's face it most sexual abuse happens within the family home and I would suspect that the 'family' so fondly exalted by the conservatives is not all Enid Blyton. Jeanette's experience was awful but it gave her her grit and determination. She understandably questioned if she was wanted - I would like to suggest that the popularity of her wonderful writing proves that she is wanted - in fact I would say her voice is needed. Thank goodness she isn't normal! :D
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby Trish on 28 Apr 2012, 17:31

What is normal? I thought I was 'normal' until I realised that I was different! However, there are so many different people out there and in my eyes they are the normal. So I try to work with convention, yet think creatively about how to survive the 'norm'!
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby heather on 29 Apr 2012, 21:18

I have just read part of my own life story and am feeling a bit speechless however I wanted to post ... Think I'll have a sleep and post more fully later but I did want to say thank you Jeanette for writing this... Eh.. Sleep , I think.
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby Rose on 31 May 2012, 20:01

I wasn't adopted but discovered when I was 16 my dad wasn't my biological dad. I wasn't abandoned but always felt my parents considered I was different from my sisters.

When the news broke out, it was a terrible shock, I felt betrayed and needed to be reassured about still belonging to the family. Unfortunately, since then, my father kept on eluding the question (he was adopted himself, which didn't help!) and my mother always reacted violently when I tried talking about having a paternity test done. Because, that's the strangest: there is no evidence about who's the biological dad. My parents who both knew the presumed genitor say I look like him a lot, which is a sufficient proof in their opinion.

My parents met in a 'free love' christian cult which turned out being something similar to Mrs Winterson's church, with omnipresent threats of the 'end time' and a tendency to polygamy and paedophilia.That's how they met the 'other dad' before loosing touch with him when they left the cult shortly after my birth.

The question now is, would it help go ahead with a paternity test and know the truth? Should I keep on looking for the biological dad although he lives in another country, has a common name and could be dead by now? I wonder wether unknown paternity is different and perhaps less traumatic than adoption or is it the same type of wound...
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby gabrielleh on 31 May 2012, 22:26

Rose....feeling for you with all those unanswered questions. Maybe best way to approach it is to think about....will I regret it if I dont find out. I remember somewhere in the book Jeanette said re a similar question about searching for birth mother....do it but be prepared that there may not always be a storybook happy ending. Is it better to know or not to know? Best wishes to you...and maybe some counselling would help you decide what is best for you.
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby harold12beache on 07 Jun 2012, 09:06

thanks for sharing.....
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Re: Why Be Happy.. reflections on adoption

Postby clanko on 14 Jun 2012, 17:24

I am finishing this truly wonderful book and relate to much of Jeanette's situation, though I wasn't adopted myself. I love the way she addresses the past-in-the-present and to the wounds we carry. Brave and honest. Best wishes for your future, JW!
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