Adoption & Motherhood

I promised. So, here it is. Here is the piece I auditioned with for Listen to your Mother.  I was not chosen again this year.  I tried twice, and it is not in the cards for me. I am not and will never be a public speaker and I am more comfortable with pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, if you will). Here is only a brief look into my personal adoption journey and down the road to motherhood. 


The Unknown Feeling

My whole life I grew up the “adopted” girl out of all her friends.  As if the term adopted had a negative connotation on it, which of course it shouldn’t. I was the girl whom also had an adopted brother (who has dark skin, mind you). So we kind of stuck out like sore thumbs in our nice cul-de-sac of suburban New Jersey. Never a day went by where it didn’t cross my mind that I was adopted.  Never a day that it still doesn’t cross my mind. Let me introduce myself. My name is Joy. I am a member of AA Club. The “Adopted Adult” club, as I like to call it. And no- it’s not a real group and NO you can’t join.

Adoption Party 85' (I was born in 83')
Adoption Party 85′ (I was born in 83′)

Growing up, some days were better than others. The days of the name-calling were obviously not the better of days. We were called Rent-A-Kids, Dirty Laundry & Leftovers. I swear whoever came up with these terms needs to run & hide and never come out.  Kids can be cruel. But, as a mom I know that kids weren’t born this way. They are raised that way. I truly believe that and I am NOT changing my story.  When some people see something as different from their family or lifestyle, (like a white family adopting a darker skinned baby) they have to believe it’s wrong. In today’s society being different is almost synonymous with doing something wrong. I am here to tell you, I am 50 Shades of Different and for that I am Unique. As I got older, the name-calling dissipated, but there was this steady feeling that I couldn’t explain in my gut that didn’t go away. Just a small PSA, my gut was much smaller back then!

You were the feeling.

I thought once I was in my teens and fully understood all that adoption entails, the feeling would go away. It didn’t. And although this feeling didn’t affect my daily routine; the fact that I couldn’t explain how it felt was aggravating to say the least. I pride myself on being an emotional person. I know silly right? But I do. I wear my heart on my sleeve and feel constricted in life when I hide my true feelings. I like to express how I feel, even if what I am feeling is not quite pleasant. I have lost many friendships over this attribute, but that is for another day- or perhaps my therapist.

Holly, Joy & Nick -The Christmas Siblings
Holly, Joy & Nick-The Christmas Siblings

You were the feeling.

Listen- this feeling or lack of feeling that I am talking about, is mine. Doesn’t mean each person who is adopted feels the same. These are mine and only mine. It’s what makes me: me.

All of crazy Me!
All of crazy Me!

You were the feeling.

Even with this unexplainable feeling inside- there were never any doubts. Never did I ever have to doubt that I was loved. Never did I ever have to doubt I was wanted. Never did I ever have to doubt I was accepted. Never did I ever have to doubt that I was special. But….

You were the feeling.

However, having no doubts doesn’t mean having no feelings. We are taught that feelings are something we should express. Feelings can impact how you act and how you speak. However, how do you express a feeling when you have no idea what that said feeling is. For me, the feeling of being adopted is unexplainable. To me, it’s like a birthmark, something that I will have forever. This mark doesn’t make me sad, and it doesn’t make me happy.  Again, it just makes me: ME.

You were the feeling.

But, how do you explain the feeling you have when you look at your entire family, immediate & distant and see NO physical similarities? How do you explain the feeling that you know your mother and father didn’t see you enter this world? How do explain the feeling when a doctor asks you about your medical history and all you can say is “Not Applicable”? How do you explain the feeling when people feel bad for you because you don’t know who your biological parents were? How do you explain the feeling that you should know how to feel, but feel bad because you can’t explain it?  How do you? I am 31 years old and I still don’t know how to explain some of these. But it’s OK. It makes me stronger person. Trust me, it does.

Hubby & I
Hubby & I

Not knowing whom I was, or where I came from was confusing as a child. I would use my imagination to fill in the details. My imagination was like my own personal “Looking Glass”. (Alice in Wonderland has nothing on me!) When I look into the looking glass, every detail is there, but oh so vaguely.  My mind would allow me to take all the attributes of my mom & dad and envision who I could become with their help. Nature vs. Nurture people. It’s real and I am living proof. When I looked into the looking glass, or should say my imagination, I could hear myself. I could see myself. Never clearly though.  I would see a silhouette of myself. Craving more of the details, I was always left wondering & wanting more. Never really understanding who I would resemble more. My mom? My dad? Someone in my biological family? I would try and force my imagination to go deeper, so I could see myself more & more. But I couldn’t. There was this fog. Just glimpses. Always through a frosted glass. Never fully able to make out anything in its certainty. Maybe it was my minds way of showcasing my individuality. That I could take the foundation of what my family created and use it to become who I wanted to be. Who I was meant to be. Maybe. Maybe it was because I couldn’t see clearly until you. Maybe. Maybe you were the key.

YES- it was you all along.

Nov 19th 2007 Landon's Birthday
Nov 19th 2007 Landon’s Birthday

Flash-forward to 2007, my son Landon was born and a piece that I didn’t know was missing inside of me suddenly was there. I had this instant connection. A connection I never knew I wanted. It all made sense after I held Landon. Literally, it was like bells went off, and fireworks and the angels were singing. As strange as it sounds, it all happened.

You were the missing piece. Like a puzzle. A puzzle that even with all BUT one piece can still be complete. The missing piece doesn’t affect the picture trying to be depicted. You were that missing piece. You were the feeling. The piece of the puzzle that my body didn’t know it needed. You were the feeling. You are my connection. You are who I was meant to be. I was meant to be your mother. Maybe being adopted, and being a part of an unconditionally loving family was what I needed to be the best mother I could be to you. You were the feeling. I am complete because of you.


Landon John Friedman
Landon John Friedman


8 thoughts on “Adoption & Motherhood

  1. This is beautiful. My mom and brothers are adopted. They are all mine… I feel the need to claim my baby brothers, but I know they were not mocked or upset about adoption growing up. Your view is different and interesting as an outsider. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you. I am glad they were not mocked for it. And I am glad most of the mocking was only heard by me- so I could protect my brother! I love learning about families that have ties to adoption! It takes a special person to adopt a child.

  2. What a lovely and honest audition! Many of my friends are adopted, and they share many of your same feelings – but most importantly the ones that you shared about becoming a mom :)

    1. Mary, I am glad I am not the only one who has some of these feelings. I know a few others too, but it’s good to hear it every once and awhile that my feelings aren’t crazy! lol Thank you for the feedback!

  3. Yes yes yes yes! I’m also adopted and can relate to so much of this. I think most, if not all, adopted people have many emotions/feelings in common. I never experienced bullying, in fact most people thought I was “so cool” because I was adopted, but I did havea few people throughout the years who thought I was lying, which is so bizarre! I always knew that I’d feel some sense of “completion” when I had a child. I’d finally have someone who shared my blood. A real part of me, a real connection that I never had. I could go on forever… But I won’t! Thank you for sharing this!

  4. I think that the most important thing is that your feelings are valid and reflect your experience. We can all tell you how to feel, and what to remember – that you were chosen, that you completed someone else’s puzzle, that you were loved absolutely and unconditionally – but, at the end of the day, your experiences and your memories, and your story…are your own. Thank you so much for having the courage to share them with us.


  5. I have a lot of faith in you and this honest post is an extension of you, your honesty and your ability to conquer your fears. Thank you for sharing. Many friends of mine are adopted and having a child was one of the most special moments for them too.

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