Family Ties Part II

Adoption – Families Created

I am adopted. Growing up my parents tried hard to create the ideal family. The

Captured Family 1964

undercurrent of loathing that permeated our home couldn’t be missed except by the most oblivious observer. Observers like those that placed two infants into this highly dysfunctional home.

My father, my Daddy, my Hero, my true heart. He passed November 2009 I miss him every day. He was not without faults and we did not always have a close relationship, in fact it wasn’t until I was an adult I appreciated who he was as a person, by then he had mellowed significantly from the man who raised me.

My mother, my nemesis yet still the woman who significantly influenced me, is still alive and kicking at 91 years. I will never understand her though I have insight into some of what made her tick.

I have one younger brother also adopted, through our lifetime we have had our battles and even  periods where we barely communicated yet he remains my adored baby brother.

My parents divorced nearly 40 years ago, despite they both wanted it, I heard it was extremely acrimonious . They had stayed together far too long “for the sake of the children”. At the time my brother was still living at home, I was a runaway, they had no idea if they would ever see me again.


Growing up I dreamed my ‘real’ parents would rescue me. Some days they were gypsies and would whisk me off in their wagons for adventures. Other days my father would arrive

Image ApartmentTherapy

in his limousine and explain it was all a terrible mistake that he had been searching for me ever since the Wicked Witch had stolen me from the hospital. I had a vivid imagination as a child.

My mother had a rich imagination as well, hers was crueler and entailed taunts, ‘You are just like your mother’. This was a favorite and I often wondered what she knew that she wasn’t telling me. Some days I would probe for answers, I wanted to know where I came from. It became a game with me begging for answers and her taunting she knew more than she did, more than she was telling.

Different Realities

My brother and I have very different versions of our childhood. There are days I wonder if we grew up with the same parents in the same household. I grew up hurt, angry and always the outsider. He grew up knowing he was adored, by all of us and always the insider. The only person that he was ever really angry at was me, I often wondered if he was angry that I left or angry that I returned; I don’t think he really knows the answer.

Forgive and forget, he believes it is my duty that she is my mother. He even says she told him she was sorry she hurt me. My only response to this is one of stunned silence, really? In all the years of our stand-off, all the years where I have stood silently waiting for her to acknowledge the harm she did in her wrath and jealous rages not once has she said “I am sorry” so why now should I allow that it is fine because she told her beloved son what I waited thirty-five years to hear.

Consequences, there always are some for any act. I know her history and I am sorry for the hurt she suffered at the hands of her own parents and even at the hands of my father. She brought her broken heart and psychosis to a marriage and then to child rearing, it was an unfortunate combination she and I.

Family Ties II

Families can be created through the great gift of adoption. My experience as an adopted child is not the norm. My mother and I were a toxic combination that no one could have

Image Selfknowledgecorner

predicted though looking more closely at my parents’ marriage might have prevented their being candidates for adoption at all. Hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t know the state of their marriage at the time of my or my brothers’ adoption, only after the fact and only the history from speaking to those who knew them then.

I am not sorry I was adopted, not even sorry that I was adopted by this couple. Might my life have been different under different circumstances with different parents? Certainly, but I would be who I am and I would have the family I have, good – bad – indifferent they are nonetheless my family.

Family Ties, Part III – Nature versus Nurture


  1. There was a situation in our home that was quite the same. My sister has her own reality as to what happened in our home, I have my reality and my brother has his. My brother and I accept what we experienced independent of each other, but my sister resents our truth because it doesn’t match up with hers. Some people aren’t wired or willing to accept a different view.

    This was a very meaningful post and I admire your writing.

    • First, thank you. I so appreciate you reading and commenting.

      On the reality issue, it took a long time for me to reconcile to the idea of our different realities. There are days when we talk, specifically about my mother where we still argue not about the ‘truths’ or the outcomes but rather about intent. Both of us accept now there were differences, both in how we were treated and in how we perceived the world growing up. Both of us also accept that in some part this is how we are wired, our DNA if you will. We still butt heads at times, I suspect we always will but at least now it isn’t over the hurt and jealousy issues.

  2. So sorry to hear that you had a toxic home life. Unfortunately, it probably had nothing to do with adoption and a lot to do with your mother. I am NOT adopted, but you could describe my teenage-hood perfectly. I was different from the rest of the family. And, my mother for some reason that I still don’t understand, she was jealous of her daughters (she had five of them). She was quite cruel too. Nowadays my mother says “I don’t know why you all hate me.”

    My mother is in her 70s. I don’t know if it had to do with her childhood, her era, or just her personality.

    So I do understand the family ties … and at the time I was going through this pain, I wished with all my heart that I was adopted.

    Yours, Cyn

    • Cyn – our home was all around toxic though I felt it more than my brother. It is a strange thing that. Your mother is younger than mine, however I suspect there are similarities when you describe the jealously that was certainly a part of it. I am sorry you also experienced the toxicity and the continued lack of acceptance from your mother. In exploring family ties the entire discussion of Nature -v- Nurture has to be looked at. I am simply doing a series of how we build / create families over a lifetime. There are a couple of other parts to the series already. Thanks for stopping and reading, hope you will read more!

  3. I think your story is fascinating.

  4. Bitter pills of the past are still hard to swallow even when you know what they could (possibly) cure. It heals nothing to know toxicity exists between natural mothers and daughters as well. The perceived strength of blood is irrelevant, for the bonds or enmity created are independent of lineage.

    While your brother may never see the light of your day, celebrate he came from the experience with his perception of a happy childhood. It is a feeling which puts him in the American minority, regardless of adoption. Continue to hope he will discover the possibility things were truly different for you.

    I could tell you the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but it would serve no purpose. Perhaps, she will forgive herself enough to apologize before it is too late. In the event she does not, continue to live well, for surely it is the best revenge.


    • Actually I am long past hoping he ever sees my truth and long past resenting him for it. He will always and forever be my beloved brother despite our truly vast difference in perception of our childhood. I actually am happy that he had the experience he did, especially the time he had with our father, it was important.

      As for our mother, not going to happen. She is beyond that now as her mental faculties are insufficient for the thoughtful introspection required.


  1. […] might have guessed I am adopted (Family Ties, Part II/), and I met my biological mother. What may come as a surprise is what else I found; my mother and […]

%d bloggers like this: