Have you ever felt like nobody’s own? If you have you might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt like a burden – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt like a waste of space – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt alone in a room full of people – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever apologized for something out of your control – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt unwanted – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt deserving of being treated badly – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt guilty for being alive – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt undeserving of happiness – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt closer to a stranger than your parents at times – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever taken a 1,000 selfies only to think none are good enough – You might be adopted.
If you’ve ever felt any of the above, you might also – not be adopted. I know that some of these things can be felt by anyone adopted or not. I know that many people struggle with self worth & acceptance, it is not only felt but adoptees. But as somebody who is adopted I can assure you that I myself have felt all of the above either consistently or on and off for most of my life.
These are the difficult thoughts that come from thinking you were born unwanted. I never felt good enough, but I presented myself in such a way that looked as if I had all the confidence & esteem, but it was far from that.
I remember taking this photo in my lime green bedroom when I was 13. I wanted to take a “hott” picture to give to the boys that I liked. It even had my name “Jenni” in the corner, probably just as another way I’d hope that said boys wouldn’t forget my name. I printed off a bunch of wallet sized grainy photos. As I look at it I remember how long I sat there trying to perfectly pose to look good. I took hundreds of photos and deleted all but this one. So this must of been what I thought was hott at the time.
When I look at it now I don’t see “hott” I see a pretty teenager but mostly all I can see is all that I was lacking at the time. I wanna hug myself in this photo because I know how starved my soul & self worth felt & I see all that I was lacking at that time. For such a long period in my teen years the only thing that made me feel less lacking was validation of my looks from boys, I ate it up. It made me feel desired and that was not something I was used to. Then when these boys would change their tune and look another way that was a whole downward spiral within me. As I look in my eyes there I see all my feelings at the time… the burden, waste of space, unwanted, undeserving, guilty, bitter & lonely feelings I believed.
Navigating such feelings throughout life can be really hard, all consuming even. It can create a sense of self doubt and it completely robs you of self worth. Whether or not you’ve experienced one, some or all of these things and whether or not you are adopted. I get it. I’ve been there, and quite honestly am still there with some of them.
But at what point do you shut these feelings out in order to thrive? At what point do you use those things for your strength instead of a crutch?
The right answer is probably sooner rather than later in order to live a healthy happy life. But the realistic answer from my experience is that it’s NOT that simple and it will be an ongoing battle to work through.
Would I have liked to of shaken those feelings off earlier in life? Yes! Do I wish some of those insecurities didn’t trickle into my relationships? Of course. But I’ve realized now that being adopted gave me a little ‘extra’ in the feelings department from the start. These extra feelings can weigh you down and you should expect them too. But these extra feelings could also be what makes you a little ‘extra’ unique too and realizing that is kinda cool.
My husband recently said to me: “For having the deck stacked against you, you turned out pretty good.”
I was strangely proud of his slightly sarcastic comment. The truth is there were quite a few things I’ve experienced in life that could have really altered my life but for whatever reason it didn’t. I wish I could pinpoint why but honestly I’m not totally sure. I think that it is mostly due to finally realizing that while all of those feelings would keep coming and going. That I still felt the continued love of my Savior. Even if at times in life I allowed myself to believe that I wasn’t “deserving” of his love because in my mind I wasn’t even supposed to be here, like I’d snuck past his gate without permission. Finally getting to the point of letting that belief go & recognizing his love for me made me realizing there was purpose for my life, or else I wouldn’t be here. That is when I allowed myself little by little to feel worthy of love, happiness & life.
Al Carraway whom I adore once wrote on an instagram post: ” To whom it may concern: God will never look at you like a waste of time.”
There have been many moments in my life that I’ve felt like a burden and a waste of time. I’ve spent an unreal amount of time focusing on the acceptance of others. I’m a people pleaser to my core which became my way of trying to feel worthy of friendships & love. If I ever felt undeserving or unaccepted then all my self doubt would take over.
This mindset tortured my husband when we first met. That boy worked tirelessly to show me that he really loved me and that I could trust him entirely. It drove him crazy to know the way I felt about myself. But slowly he broke down my walls & I let him in and that truly is not an easy task for those trying to do it. I hated that I did that to him but I can see now that I did. Realizing I’m that way is really frustrating because I don’t try to be that way, it’s just me. I always wonder why do I do that? why do I feel that? I think much of it stems from my first feelings in the world of “being unwanted.” Birth parents & adoptive parents can tell you till they are blue in the face (and they will) that…..
“you were loved, you were wanted, you were loved too much, you were prayed for”
But STILL it’s something you won’t really believe for yourself and it will grow more annoying when people say it. I think it becomes embedded into your soul the very day you no longer feel, smell or sense your birth mother near.
As an adoptee over the years and especially through my teen years this burden belief just led to simply feeling unwanted which allowed me to think that I deserved less than others. I think I did a fairly good job playing that one off but more often than not I really felt like I was just floating around as “nobody’s own.”
You see, both before and after the arrival of my brother & I, my parents had lost multiple of their own kids due to miscarriages & infant loss. Growing up I remember feeling so bad that all of their own kids died. I know it wasn’t my fault but I gave myself a sense of guilt from it.
I often wondered about my birth mom & the relationship she had with her own kids – the ones she’d have & parent after us. I wondered who they were, if we were alike, and what their relationships with her were like. Naturally this kind of wonder formed jealousy within me of them and the maternal bond they’d be sharing over the years and I wondered how, if ever I found her where that would leave me.
My brother & I shared birth moms but he had is own birth father and his own story. We shared some similar thoughts and feelings about all of it, but even though he rarely spoke about it, I knew that his experience was much different than mine.
Expressing this isn’t putting blame on anyone. I think it just comes with the adoptee territory. My parents never did anything to make me feel like I wasn’t theirs, and come to find out that my birth mom never had any other children after me. So yeah part of me felt like I was their own kid, both my parents and my birth mom. But I’m continually puzzled at how I’ve still felt this burden/unwanted feeling on both sides more times than I can count since my reunion.
While this is a feeling I think will always linger around. But what gets me through is the same reason that all these feelings changed and that was getting married & creating my own little family. It truly has altered my thoughts of being unwanted. Now I have my own kids, my own husband, my own beautiful life. They were the part of my own story — one of self worth, love, acceptance, belonging & importance. My sweet family makes me feel needed and right where I belong.
If you’re adopted then you might have many more times of feeling unwanted, in the way or a burden to those around you. You might tirelessly search for acceptance and it will sometimes be in all the wrong places. But eventually you will find what it is that makes you no longer feel that way, and that will give you life or at least a reason to enjoy it & believe you deserve it.
Will those lingering feelings still come around? yes. But when they creep in, you will remember your reason for no longer believing that it’s all that you have to offer.
Building my family sure helped me overcome many of my struggles. There was no feeling quite like it, but that doesn’t mean that the insecure girl who felt like ‘nobody’s own’ is totally gone. She was still in there & the truth is I needed more answers to my story. I wanted to know more. Because even having this great love, beautiful kids & awesome life, there was still so much more unknown to my story.
I wanted the answers no matter how difficult it might be to learn them. That is why I decided to search for my birth family. I needed to know my own story for myself! I look forward to sharing the journey of how I did that in the upcoming posts so stay tuned…