I was adopted as an infant in 1959 in a closed adoption. The standard practice back then was to match the baby, as much as possible, with they physical characteristics of the adoptive parents. The fact that I was adopted was not freely talked about outside of our family and so it wasn’t uncommon for people to comment on how much I resembled my parents – especially my mother. As much as I loved my parents and yearned to be part of them, it bothered me when this happened and no one stepped up to set the record straight.
I was also one of the chosen ones. Does that sound somewhat prideful to you? It did to me too. There was a little book called The Chosen Baby that parents were encouraged to use as a tool to explain adoption. The story was meant to make the adopted child feel special, but I already felt loved and special and never believed that silly story to be the truth. I didn’t realize that the story was from a book until as an adult I ready Betty Jean Lifton’s Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. I was stunned to think that parents were encouraged to lie to their children about the circumstances of how they joined the family. Wouldn’t the truth have been better?
Physical characteristics and a silly story did not make me part of my adoptive family. What made me part of my adoptive family was pure and simple love.