All the best kids are adopted. This isn’t just my overly biased opinion as an adopted individual. Popular culture reinforces that assessment again and again with delightful characters such as the nice boy from the Omen, the grown woman pretending to be a murderous child in the Orphan, and Loki, god of mischief, as depicted in the Thor trilogy…
Adopted kids are a bit of a novelty, or so I’ve deduced from the oddly invasive responses I routinely get from folks when they find out how my family came to be. Maybe there’s just something inherent in the word adopted that makes grown folks lose their damned minds, because I’ve fielded some extremely personal and inappropriate questions over the years after casually mentioning that I never spent any actual time camping out in my mother’s uterus.
My personal favorite boundary crossing, none of your damned business because I don’t even know you question is: don’t you want to find your real parents?
I’m a smartass going way back, and my normal go-to when dealing with uncomfortable situations is to apply a hearty injection of acerbic humor. My response to the above question is always: oh, I know where my real parents are. They raised me.
Some folks stop right there, suddenly realizing that the funny taste at the back of their throat is from jamming a foot in their mouth. I get a nervous laugh in response and then we go back to talking about something else. Or they remember they had other stuff to do and boogie without making any further eye contact. But other folks don’t seem able to pick up on subtlety and have to keep pushing further into unwelcome territory.
You know what I mean, they say, smiling in a challenging way that lets me know they intend to get an answer that satisfies. Your real parents.
At this point, I drop the humor and go straight for the jugular. And I’ve honestly heard this exact line of questioning so often that I always say the same thing: oh, you mean the people who abandoned me and never looked back? Yeah, reconnecting with them is one of my top priorities.
I’ve never talked to anyone bold enough to go much further than this, but it’s interesting that people I don’t know feel entitled to that kind of personal information. I’ve discussed my disinterest in finding my biological parents with close friends, but we know one another, and that level of shared intimacy is expected. I give a little of me, and you give a little of you. Otherwise, I keep my personal story behind a locked door.
What makes folks need to probe so deeply into this subject? I blame movies, books, and television.
Hear me out.
In just about every story I’ve ever watched or read that included an adopted character, that person was either a murderous psycho (the antichrist, amirite?) or so heartsick for her ‘real’ family, that she was desperately unhappy and unable to enjoy a single thing about her life. It’s tired and predictable. Despite my rich inner turmoil and murderous fantasies (joking about that last part!), I think I present as a mostly well adjusted adult, and that just doesn’t jive with what we’ve been told about adopted kids. There’s something off about us. Who knows where we came from or what we’re thinking about. Can we really be trusted? On the other hand, a blood bond is strong, right? Surely we must be pining for our long lost biological relatives. Meeting them would fill some hole in our tortured souls that has been plaguing us for our entire lives.
I hate to break it to you, but apart from the tumultuous events that brought me to my parents’ doorstep as an infant, my life is pretty damned ordinary. No empty space in my heart only an absent biological parent can fill. No otherworldly abilities bestowed upon me by my father, god of the underworld (damn it). I’m just a kid whose biological mother did her a solid by letting her go so her real parents could find her. That’s it, and that’s all.