Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Biological parents

The woman who bore me was young and unmarried; she was very much in love with a young man and accidentally became pregnant. His family sent him away to work, and her family would not allow her home with a child but no husband; she came from a good home and was smart and nicely spoken. She therefore had no choice but to give me up to a decent, married couple who were unable to have children naturally.

This was enough for me. I can’t even say that I had any images in my mind of what my biological parents might look like, what they were called, or any other facts about them. As far as I was concerned, the whole thing was straightforward; Mum and Dad were my parents, and the only difference was that mum hadn’t physically given birth.

Even into my teens, being adopted was just a part of my life – no issues, no problems – and it wasn’t a subject that I ever brought into any of the usual teenage arguments that I had with Mum and Dad. And I could be pretty horrific at times! Where did my stubborn streak, my quick temper, my dramatic tantrums come from? My generosity, caring, kind-heartedness? Nature or nurture? Prospective adopters were very carefully matched with babies and their birth mothers, so I was just as likely to take after my adoptive parents as my birth parents. With all the wisdom of youth, I flippantly turned down the offer of looking at the few papers in Mum and Dad’s possession when I came of age. Mum asked me several times whether I had any interest in my past, otherwise she felt the time had come to get rid of the few bits and pieces she had relating to my adoption. Of course I didn’t – for goodness’ sake! – she was my mum, nobody else!

I became an adult in age and made some very adult decisions early on; I became very disillusioned at school, where my love of music and the arts received no encouragement whatsoever, so I left and started work. A year later, I met the man who became my husband just after my 20th birthday and, on our marriage, I moved away to live with him. This was a huge change in my life. I left my home, my parents, job, friends, church and home city – all in one fell swoop. Yet, still, there were no thoughts in my mind of my origins.

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