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Biology Matters

Inability to accept a universal truth does not render it false. Closing your eyes and refusing to admit the tree is in front of you won't stop you from running into it.

I can now say with definite certainty that the biological imperative is real and not to be belittled or diminished. Sense memory is real and palpable. Family is NOT about love. Family IS about DNA. DNA does, in fact, matter, regardless of what any adoption agency, counselor, or adoptive parent might tell you. These are lies they tell to obscure the realities of adoption and to make it more palatable. Some of them actually believe it. We didn't grow in their bellies, and this "growing in their hearts" nonsense is absolutely insufficient.

DNA matters. The connection to and from DNA matters. We don't have to love them. We don't have to like them. We don't have to have contact. The connection matters. Families are fucked up. Your sister hates your brother and everyone only tolerates mom. Dad is checked out and hasn't spoken to his brother, your uncle, in years, because of something that happened in high school. You're all still connected by DNA. And when something happens; when grandma dies, for instance; the connection pulls you back together whether you get along or not. Because you're all connected through grandma's DNA. You're related. You're blood.

Adoption severs those bonds and shrouds them in obscurity, unimportance, and often, secrecy. What binds us to our adoptive families? Nothing, except a sense of obligation, guilt, a stack of papers, a bunch of questions and signatures, a payment, and a receipt. Nothing but laws, good guy badges, gaslighting, and social obligation. An inflated, instilled sense of "gratitude". How long after we are "gotten" do they realize it's not going to happen? How long before they realize DNA (both their own and ours) actually DOES mean something?

Eventually they all do. Everyone with the "life gave me the gift of you" poem or the plaque that reads "grew in my heart not my tummy" hung on their wall comes to realize the gift doesn't fit and the return policy sucks. They live in abject terror of our reunions because they eventually realize that the tummy we grew in DOES matter. They realize that paper didn't make a family after all, and all the love in the world will never make us really theirs. We'll never be the cookie cutter of themselves they want. And the people we ARE cookie cutters of are usually people they hold in the utmost contempt. I think at some point they realize that, too, and start to hold us in contempt as well. Then they write us out of wills and stop inviting us around for holidays. Birthdays go ignored. Funerals go unannounced. We're left out of obituaries. Because we were never really theirs to begin with, and they FINALLY figured that out. Paper, "love", and law do not a family make.

That's right, adoptees, I contend our adoptive families aren't our "real" families.

You know why? Because they're NOT.

Love them, give them your loyalty, call them whatever you like. Pretend that's where you belong, you'll never really be one of them, never biologically mirrored or cookie-cuttered. And that's ok. Because you AREN'T one of them.

You're one of someone else. And that's ok too. They belong to you. Like it or not, want it or not, respect them or not, they're yours. Something in you will know it when the time comes. Don't eschew the only real connections out of a false sense of unnecessary loyalty. The adopters were "paper pregnant", and now they're a "paper family". But we, my dear cribmates, are not "paper children".

Why is it biology is so important, until it comes to adoption? We talk about genetic disorders and traits. We talk about personality traits passed down. Grandma's eyes, dad's hair, aunt Mary's laugh. "Your mom's right hip used to lock up just like that." Breast cancer, dementia, Alzheimer's runs in the family. Remember how great grandpa went all senile? All of that matters. All of that is exceptionally important.

Unless you're adopted. Then it's: "you grew in my heart and not my tummy". Until you mirror behaviors embarrassing to your adopters, then "you didn't get that from me." Then it's, "biology doesn't make a family". Until you need an organ transplant and no one in your "family" is a match. Then it's, "we didn't give you the gift of life, life gave us the gift of you." Because once we are separated from our biology, we cease to be daughter, son, brother, sister, and we become a "gift". The "perfect child" the adopters have been waiting for and dreaming of. Wrap us in foil paper and stick bows on our heads. Don't forget to poke holes in the box so we don't suffocate under the tree.

We are no longer born, we are "gotten". "Brought home". And never "brought home from the hospital" like a biological child, just "brought home". For the longest time I wondered if I'd hatched from an egg or dropped out of the sky, because no one EVER talked about when I was born. It was always, when we got you. When we brought you home. I get that they didn't know, and lies are never right no matter what. That doesn't change that it's weird for a kid to never hear about their birth; to be so far removed from their peers even in their birth stories. "Too different all the time" only doesn't suck if you embrace it. The way out is always through.

If DNA and Family don't really matter, why is everyone so compelled have one? Why is family a constant topic of conversation? If family doesn't matter, why are they our most important people? Why do they have legal claims over each other? If DNA and biology don't matter, why are we always being asked for family history at doctors and hospitals? 

Tell yourself whatever like when it comes to DNA. You cannot break the bonds of blood with lies. And that's what they are, adopters... lies. Love does not make a family. DNA does. Even in the case of (abhorrent) adoption, it's not love; It's laws, papers, lawyers, judges, and fraudulent, altered identity records that build an adoptive "family". It is trauma, loss, and the destruction of a family that builds an adoptive family. It's court rulings, judges' orders, and finalizations. That isn't love or family. That's bureaucracy.

Comments

  1. Yep!! Reality trumps fantasy every time!! While living in fantasy may bring temporary relief to the trials of life , it is in the final countdown still fantasy!!

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    1. I think a lot of adopters do eventually realize they are actually raising someone else's kid. They paid a lot of money to do it. No one likes being played. Adoptees are vulnerable to abuse in a new way when this happens I think. Adoption is such a mindfuck.

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  2. Wow. Well, then why can't I consider them both my family? Besides, my bio family didn't raise me. Biology may matter but the way people treat me matter more.

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    1. I do believe I explicitly said, call them whatever you want.

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    2. More in a way that suggested that we would be delusional for doing so.

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    3. Interpretation of tone and semantics lies in the pervue of the reader, not the writer.

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    4. I absolutely agree, Maddeline, with everything you wrote. Before I found my biological family, when I was estranged from my adopted family, I created my very own "family" from my closest circle of friends. They were more real to me than any family I'd had at that point. When I found my biological family, as we built relationships (we started out as strangers sharing DNA and grew from there), I began to understand that invisible pull, the deep, undefinable, profound connection. Can both be family? Yes. But the DNA family is different, deeper. We missed growing up together because adoption severed our family ties. My adopted mother disowned me and wrote me out of the will soon after my adopted dad died. Why? Because I dared speak up for my children. My adopted mother didn't view them as her grandchildren. Certainly not my disabled son. And that was my great crime in her eyes. That I dared speak up when she asked me to leave me son out of a family reunion. I also used to claim my parents are the ones who raised me. Children are raised in orphanages. The staff are not their parents. Children are raised in foster home. Foster parents are not the same and rarely have a deep bond with the children they (help) raise. It's another LIE perpetrated to make us feel GUILTY. "But we raised you!" Yes, you can love both. That is the great capacity of the human heart. What you write about that DNA that binds us even when we don't like each other. That's truth!

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    5. I don't think I have that magical bond with my biological family. I am overjoyed to know them but I don't find that they're my one true family and suddenly my adoptive family doesn't count.

      The difference is that I haven't been written out of my adoptive family. And even after everything I'm still considered family. I am sorry that happened. I can't change that.

      I go home and see my adoptive mother. Because she's the one that raised me. I don't suddenly feel obligated to rush over and start playing happy family with my biological family. They're the ones that decided not to raise me.

      I know really awful things happened. And I'm sorry society hasn't found a better way. But I don't think my mom is going to disown me. I guess I just can't relate to that. If my mom did all that horrible stuff like she did to you, I'm sure I would change my tune. But quite frankly it seems like family issues would still be a thing no matter what happened to me.

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  3. To mirror your honesty, I'm going to provide my point of view. First, I feel very sorry for those of you who have such a distorted view of what family is. I was adopted. I was born to a young mother who fell into drugs back in the early 70s. I grew up knowing I was adopted - my family openly discussed things with me. I found out later in life (my early 30s) when I met my biological mother that there were things they didn't know but that's just the way things were back then. I learned I have a biological half sister. She ended up being raised by our biological mother's parents. She had a very different life than I did. The only thing I gained from meeting these people who shared my blood was that I was a very lucky little girl to have been given the gift of the family into which I was adopted. It was lovely to see physical features in them where I had resemblances. Other than that, I realized that family is as intended. That probably sounds a bit abstract. Let me explain - (before I do that though, know that the second thing my biological mother asked me the first time meeting her was if I could give her any money...)

    As I became an adult, all I wanted (beyond professional success) was to have a big family. I am such a kids person. Low and behold, I couldn't have my own kids but after pushing for things that just weren't meant to be (IVF, failed adoptions, etc.) the children intended for me were delivered to me from mothers who either chose to put their child up for adoption or who failed to care for their child. This is family as intended. There is no DNA that binds any of us. My children are my family. My adopted family is my family. My nearest and dearest friends and their children are my and my childrens' family.

    It is literally impossible to have too many people who love you. While birth mothers of children put up for adoption are often praised as doing the bravest thing, the most loving thing they could for their children, it's only true in a percentage of cases. Many times, these children were born out of lack of responsibility and apathy to their actions creating children that they couldn't care for or they had other goals in life but couldn't be bothered to keep their legs closed or wear protection. Now that said, there are just as many mothers who had children only to have a life situation appear that prevented their ability to provide for their children as they intended. Why does that matter? It matters because family isn't defined by blood or DNA - that is ancestry.

    Then what is family? Family is where you find unconditional love. Family is where you are raised and where you go when life is too difficult. Family is where you can just show up and get that needed advice or just to sit in silence being held. DNA and blood mean nothing other than the designation of your facial features, your natural talents, and the colors of your beautiful skin.

    The one concession I do feel the commenter above me makes is very true - just being parents doesn't innately make you family but neither does DNA.

    Much love!

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    1. What bothers me about adoption is that it forces and dictates who can be family and who can't. Babies were taken away from their biological families just for being born out-of-wedlock and forced to assimilate into a family of strangers. We weren't allowed to exist in society as our true selves. We were give new fake identities and married parents to legitimize us. Major human rights violations. It's like being in a witness protection program but with no clear memory of what happened or why we are there. By some miracle, a sense of family or at least strong support does develop in these situations sometimes. It is about great people. Adoption sucks.

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  4. Yes DNA matters. It also matters in relation to health like autism, cancer, heart breast cancer etc.. it also matters in your Mental health issues, your predispositions to criminality, rage anger, trauma of your ancestors etc. If you accept the positives you must also accept the negatives. Your ability to handle trauma and other issues like adoption is dictated by your ancestors.

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