I need to tell you that I lied. I lied a lot and to many people. In my own defense, I kind of believed my lie but still...
When asked about searching for my biological family, I always said I wanted to get my medical information. You know I should have it, right? I mean, God forbid there is an genetic medical condition I need to know about. And what about the children I would give birth to one day, aren't they entitled to an accurate medical history? This is very important. It was really my main reason to search. That is my lie. I don't tell it anymore.
I actually really wanted to know who I looked like. I wanted to see myself in another person. I wanted to know that and so much more. But my medical history? Low on my list.
It feels good to come clean.
I grew up in a time that told adoptees to be grateful. To not rock the boat. To not wonder about our original families. To actually want to know, was seen as a betrayal of our adoptive parents. But medical information, come on, who can't get behind medical information? You can't fault us for that.
When I began poking around in that forbidden territory of birth family, you know what people would ask me? "How do your (adoptive) parents feel about you searching?" Friends asked me. A woman at Boston City Hall, where I once dared to ask for a copy of my original birth certificate (which I was denied) asked me. A judge that I asked permission to see my court adoption records (which I was granted) asked me.
While I appreciate people caring about my parents, I think it is noteworthy that their feelings seemed to be more important than mine. My parents had no idea how it felt to be adopted. I was the one with the gaping hole of unknowing. I loved my parents. Tons. My need to know had nothing to do with them and was never a reflection of my love for them. I had every right to know my story. I just didn't realize it. So, medical information was my story, and I was sticking to it.
I was watching a news story on CNN recently about a (gasp!) normal sized pageant contestant. While I would argue that size 4 isn't the average size of a woman, it is bigger than the typical pageant contestant (bigger enough that it was a news story). During the segment, the pageant contestant made a point of letting the interviewer know that most of the women that enter pageants do so for the scholarship opportunities. It seemed very important to her that we knew this, because I am pretty sure the interviewer didn't ask. I unexpectedly felt a sisterhood toward her. It took me a minute for figure out why I was feeling a 'yeah girl' moment with a woman being praised for how she looked in a bikini.
I don't know for sure, but I am guessing pageant contestants get a lot of crap from people outside of the pageant world. But scholarship money? Who doesn't support higher education?
I don't doubt that there are women who enter pageants with the sole goal of paying for college.
I don't doubt that some adoptees search only because they want their medical histories.
But for those who participate in pageants because they enjoy it, that's great, that's your right. Stand tall, pretty girl!
For those of us who search for our beginnings for more than our medical records, we have every right to fill in the blanks of our stories.
We don't need to hide behind medical records or scholarships. We have a right to shine in the spotlight. We have a right to know where we came from. No apologies. No excuses.