What it’s like to… be adopted as a newborn baby

“My parents weren’t happy when they found out about me trying to contact my birth parents. I think they thought it was a betrayal.” In an honest and moving account, Jody Thompson describes how it feels to be adopted as a baby and rejected by her birth mother…

Jody Thompson, 45, is a journalist, media consultant and editor. She lives on her own with two rescue cats in Kilburn, London.

Jody Thompson on being adopted at birth - theearlyhour.com

I was adopted at a week or so old (I think) though the actual legal process was later (again, as far as I know). I was with my birth mother in a home for unmarried mothers until my parents took me with them.

I’ve always known I was adopted, I can’t remember my parents ever sitting me down and telling me. They didn’t really tell me much about the circumstances until much later – just that my birth mother couldn’t look after me and that they had chosen me.

Later, they said they had fought really hard to keep me. I think it’s because I was adopted privately, through a friend of a friend, before it became law that you had to go through social services etc. They didn’t really like to talk about the court process or about my birth mother, and they didn’t know anything about my birth father.

They became very upset when I asked anything, so I kept quiet. It was only after I left home and was training to be a journalist, aged about 22, that I contacted social services in a bid to find out more. After a long time and much searching – during which time, I found out I was Irish, which I hadn’t known before – I finally wrote to my birth mother. I had a letter back which told me more than I could have imagined about my birth, my birth mother and the circumstances.

I am upset that I have heard nothing back from her since, despite repeatedly contacting her since that initial letter in about 1995. I understand she finds it difficult, and as a result, wants no contact, but I wish she’d think about what I want rather than what she wants.

I have massively low self esteem

I have a half brother I’m desperate to meet, who I think knows nothing about me. I always thought I was an only child, and always dreamt of having siblings. It’s unfair that she is denying us a possible relationship. But I don’t feel it is my place to make contact directly with him, even though I have found him on Facebook. It has to come from her. It breaks my heart – we really look alike and he seems like a great guy.

She’s also told me nothing about my birth father, bar that he was a friend of her brother’s. Again, it’s unfair of her to deny me any knowledge. I lost my dad in 2001. My birth father has a right to know I exist and I have a right to know who he is and for us to choose if we want a relationship – if he’s still alive. The irony is my birth mother is a political activist who is all about human rights, and who works in adoption services.

My parents weren’t happy when they found out about me trying to contact my birth parents. I think they thought it was a betrayal. My mum in later years has said she is fine about it, but I don’t think she is.

I know friends who would make brilliant adoptive parents but they’ve not been allowed to adopt yet, which I find baffling

I had the best childhood with my parents, but I’ve always felt there was a question mark over me. As much as they wanted me, my birth mother rejected me. My parents had a baby who died not long before I was adopted, and I don’t think I’d have been adopted if he’d lived.

I have no idea whether or not it’s possible to feel as happy and settled with adoptive parents as opposed to birth parents – I have not known anything else.

I suffer from abandonment issues for sure. I have a constant and overwhelming need to be liked and take rejection terribly. It means I am far too thin-skinned for my own good and don’t take criticism well as I think it means someone hates me.

Similarly, I have massively low self esteem. I’m just not very comfortable in my own skin. I question my identity all the time.

My parents were and are the best, but I wish they had felt they could be more honest and open with me

Of course, there’s no knowing if some of my issues such as low self esteem are because I was adopted, as I don’t know any different. I’ve had therapy over the years to try and address my issues, as it’s up to me to be positive. And I am a positive person – there’s no point just looking to the past and blaming any problems you might have on other people, it’s up to you how you live your life positively going forward.

I really don’t known how adoption works nowadays – I don’t think you do as an adopted child, it’s only by going through the process you can understand it. I know friends who would make brilliant adoptive parents but they’ve not been allowed to adopt yet, which I find baffling, the process seems harder than it should be when there are so many kids needing loving parents.

My parents were and are the best, but I wish they had felt they could be more honest and open with me. But they were of an era and generation where that was not encouraged and they were dealing with their own issues. They were brilliant parents and did the best they could. I wouldn’t have swapped them or my childhood for the world. I’ve had a very blessed and lucky life since as an adult too.

Follow Jody on Twitter: @jodythompson

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