You couldn’t pay me a half-million dollars to want to be the rich daughter again. It comes at such a high price. My stepfather had told my husband that he couldn’t get me to ever talk about what he had planned to leave me as his inheritance. That I would just cry and say, “Oh, dad, I don’t want to lose you!”
Such an upsetting disappointment to learn that my stepfather had equated his money with love. Supposedly, he was going to leave me a half-million dollars, but with conditions. As long as I didn’t ask for answers, like for example, “Dad, why did you say you adopted me when I was a little girl, and as it turns out you never did?” Or, what most of us would consider the simplest of questions, “Who named me?”
The truth is, in the end it didn’t matter what my stepfather had planned to leave me or not. All along, my controlling adoptive mother had been calling the shots before and after he passed away.
Interestingly, in the beginning, my adoptive family wasn’t much different than my birth family in terms of economics. My adoptive mother and her first husband, my alcoholic adoptive father, were not rich by any stretch of the imagination. I never even ate at a restaurant until I was the age of seven. Money was tight, but I don’t remember feeling like we went without when I was a little girl.
I learned the hard way—no money in this world can buy love or happiness. For me, having a wealthy stepfather only represents feeling alone and emptiness. I was a girl who could have easily settled for less.
After having met my birth siblings, I believe my birth family was close to dysfunctional as my adoptive family. When you can look at it from a distance, it appears I jumped from the frying pan into the fire as a newborn. I understand that we all have issues in our upbringings; no family is perfect, but I feel let down by the courts that should have been there to protect my best interests as a child. There was never any accountability for a judge, doctors, a lawyer, and my adoptive mother after pulling a fast one. The hush-hush disturbing deception has continued to be swept under the rug, as if all of the wrongs were my imagination.
I thought in finding my birth mother that she could rescue me from all the utter nonsense. I still believe she would have kept it more real and told me the truth. My birth family had their problems, but the difference is that they didn’t hide behind pretense. It was “what you see is what you get,” no matter if their candidness hurt.
If I hadn’t been placed for adoption, would my life have been easier? I highly doubt it. In my particular circumstances, I can’t blame adoption. The same limited options my birth mother had when she was pregnant with me would have still been present at her premature death less than 8 years later. My birth brother and sisters were much older and could take care of themselves for the most part, but none of my relatives were in any position to raise a young child.
There is no way I can change the past. I am not a person who wallows in self-pity. What I desire more from this egregious error is for my once-innocent child’s voice to matter now. I want to see it happen in my life-time that we as a society put more safeguards in place that prevent dishonest professionals from feeling they are above the law. None of us should be wearing blinders; what happened on the day I was placed for adoption in 1954 is still happening today.
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”
― Richard Buckminster Fuller