Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Being adopted wasn't a secret

My earliest childhood memory must be when I was about four years old and at nursery. Keith, a little boy from our road, went to the same nursery and, on this particular day, he was spending far too long in that lovely red pedal car. I really, really wanted a turn but he was being so selfish and wouldn’t get out. So I gripped the underside with both hands … and tipped him out. When the ensuing wail went up to ‘Miss’, I very kindly put my arms round the sobbing boy and asked poor Keith what the matter was, ‘Oh dear, Keith, why are you crying? Miss, Keith’s crying!’

But what I certainly can’t remember from my childhood is being sat down and told that I was adopted – I just always knew it – so my mum and dad obviously never kept it a secret and made sure I knew right from a very early age. I do remember that I always had another present exactly six weeks after my birthday, which was to celebrate the day that they brought me home, and which made me feel very special and loved. And I also remember that the word ‘adopted’ wasn’t often used, I was more used to hearing that I had been ‘chosen’. Mum and Dad couldn’t have children; couples who were able to have babies just had to take what was sent to them, but some lucky people got to choose! Wow – they had picked me! Not one of the other babies, but me – the chubby baby girl with hardly any hair (well it was mere fuzz really and stayed that way for a couple of years!). And due to circumstances, mum and dad didn’t adopt any more children, so I was brought up as their only child.

Throughout my childhood, being adopted was never an issue for me. My parents had never kept it a secret, so why should I? I didn’t broadcast it, but if it was relevant to whatever was being said with friends or at school, then I mentioned it. I did get asked what I considered to be some very silly questions; one school friend regularly asked if my ‘real’ mum came to visit me at all. I was at great pains to explain that she wasn’t my ‘real’ mum, she just had me and then my mum became my mum – and why on earth would she want to visit me when she wasn’t my mum? I wasn’t told any fairy stories about my background either, just enough facts to satisfy any childish curiosity that I might have had – and I certainly didn’t have much of that in relation to my adoption (although ‘curiosity’ should definitely have been one of my middle names!).

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