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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wortley


Updated: Jan 26

'Yes you are adopted'.

(FYI whenever I say parents I am referring to my adoptive parents❤)

A Girly Gift or Reject?

At the age of 6 weeks old I was adopted.I was told about this at around the age of 5.

When I was first told I didn't really understand what it meant. I remember feeling very special though because someone wanted me and had chosen me.

I felt like a like a princess, a girly gift that made a lovely couple very happy. How lovely was that?

It was not long after that someone pointed out to me that it also meant I wasn't wanted by my birth parents. Really? I hadn't been wanted? My real mummy didn't love me?

Why not? Why didn't she love me?

It was mainly my birth mother that stuck in my mind rather than my birth father.

Thoughts changed from being an amazing gift that brought happiness to 'why didn't she want me? What had I done wrong? '

From this point onward I started to believe that I must have done something wrong, been very naughty or wasn't pretty enough perhaps? Other thoughts that came up were thatmaybe they thought I was broken in some way. A thought that I still remember to this day is 'you only get rid of things because they're broken or not good enough.'

This thought changed how I perceived myself. No longer a gift of love but a reject.

Bargain Baby

When my parents used to say they 'chose' me I imagined a huge supermarket full of babies all lined up on the shelves with couples walking around looking to see which one they wanted to buy and take home. (Later on, in my teens, I would joke that I must have been in the bargain basement or on special offer but with no returns available.)

Looking back I now see that some of my trust issues and anxieties may well have been born at the time I was separated from my birth mother. I know a lot of people believe that babies and children are hugely resilient but why should they be anymore resilient that adults?

I grew up quite a shy and nervous child, always wanting to please people and be liked. I was kind and funny but hugely insecure and would have terrible nightmares about my parents going away or deciding they didn't want me after all.

The World of Wonder and Woes

I sort solace in my colourful imagination enjoying the safety of imaginary friends and places. Most of my imaginary friends were animals and looking back I can see why. Animals don't judge, lie or expect anything from you except maybe kindness.

My experience of people was mainly good but I soon recognised that some people/children were not nice and kind, like my family. Some children would think nothing of making you look foolish so they could look good in front others. Some would befriend you only to gain your confidence and then blab all your personal stuff to everyone else. It felt like life was a competition to be liked the most and it was game I had no interest in playing especially if it meant hurting others.

I really struggled with the fact that some people could hurt others, be it physically or emotionally and then brag about it. Why, when we have the choice to be kind, would we choose to cause someone else pain? Another thing that caused me to gain the label of sensitive, was that when someone hurt me or someone else I would cry. I would cry if I got angry because I knew that could cause me to hurt someone and I didn't want to cause others pain. However, if they continued to be mean, I may well have hurt them back with nasty words. It was difficult being a sensitive, caring soul.

A greater understanding

A lot has happened since those days especially the views on how resilient children are :

'Adopted child syndrome is a controversial term that has been used to explain behaviors in adopted children that are claimed to be related to their adoptive status. Specifically, these include problems in bonding, attachment disorders, lying, stealing, defiance of authority, and acts of violence.'

My issues are around bonding, trusting and forgiveness rather than the violent side of things and that could well be because all my upheaval happening before the age of 1.

Here are the facts of my adoption :-

For 9 months I was carried by my birth mother-

After birth I was taken from birth mother and given to foster parents

At 6 weeks I was adopted by my parents.

Now I am going to flesh this out:-

For 9 months I was carried by my birth mother- During this time all I know is my existence with my mother. I hear her voice and know she is always there. As it turns out this was a stressful time for my BM which fuels her anxiety.

After birth I was taken from birth mother and given to foster parents - I come into the world via the normal means and am taken from that voice I have known from the day I was created and given to one I did not know. No matter how much I cry for her, I never hear her voice again or know her comfort.

I develop a bond with my foster mother. It feels better.

At 6 weeks I was adopted by my parents- My new bond is broken as I am taken from one home and given to another. New sights, smells and voices.

Now I am not saying a baby is capable of this kind of thought but I believe it is capable of recognising a change of carer and environment. With broken bonds causing stress is it no wonder I struggle with attachment and trust?

Something I do want to state about kind people - don't assume they are stupid!

Don't assume that they are not capable of rage and violence. During my many years of counselling I discovered a part of me I had never given respect too. Even though I believed myself to be vulnerable in a scary world, I had forgotten that I too was capable of anger. For years I had suppressed my frustration and anger not only at those who hurt me but the overall lack of kindness. In suppressing it I was creating a food source for my ill mental health.

The more I suppressed, the more emotional friction I created within me. I wasn't being fair to myself by trying to please others. I had lost what identity I'd had and become a shell full of distress.

By not finding a way to release these feelings I was hurting myself.

My blog 'Rage' talks about the monster that was growing within me -

So where am now? I am learning to love myself a little more every day. I am learning about who I am, what I am capable of and how I can heal and grow. My trust issues are a part of my story but they are not all of it!


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