{u n s e e n}

They look at her, then look at me. “You look just like your mother!” they say. 


I saw a TED talk about the human mind and how it will put together what it wants to see, based on its past experiences.

And that’s fine. Let them see what they want to see. It makes it easier on me. It’s preferable than the wide-eyed, jaw opening looks that follow the words “actually, I’m adopted”. 

It’s not something I tell people upon introduction. There’s no need for it. 

There’s no need to delve into a multi-layered story of a woman who longed so long for children she couldn’t have and bypassed every judgmental person on the planet to fly three quarters of the way around the world to pick up a small bundle of tightly swaddled sadness and bring her back to the North American continent.

But somehow, when faced with “where were you born” or “where do you come from”questions, I have a choice to make. 

Past experience tells me that I will be swamped with rapid upward-inflection inquiry when I answer “Russia”. 

So I change my story. And my life. And I answer “Virginia”. This gets a knowing nod, a smile, or a “oh, me too!” and then the conversation is over. 

Whew. Crisis averted. 

But it’s not until recently that I wondered why people are so weird. And why I was bending myself to their whim.

Why do they react so oddly when I say the “A” word?
 No, I don’t speak Russian. No, I don’t remember my birth parents. No, I don’t feel weird around my siblings. No, I’m not a communist. No I don’t feel sad because I was taken from my precious home land (Literally answers to questions I’ve been asked). 
Adoption isn’t new. It’s just a thing people do. 

Now, I’m up front about it, and my perspective has shifted. I no longer care about the reaction at the end of my reply, because I’m too busy cherishing the life I have now. It’s something cool. It’s something uniquely me. And besides.

Your family is your family regardless of their blood ties to you. I see my mother and father as anyone else sees their biological parents. Sure, sometimes I wonder about my birth mother, what caused her to give me up, and I marvel at her dedication to the health of herself and me, born a healthy 8 lbs 5 oz at birth. But it doesn’t stop me from living in a normal family in a normal house in a normal city in a normal state.

And so it lies there. Unseen, under the surface where it’s reluctant to peek out, this fact that seems so oddly, fascinatingly abnormal to many audiences. I don’t whip out this information to any old Joe off the street. There’s no reason to, especially because it doesn’t matter, because I’m still me.
I’m not some exotic animal in a zoo. I’m just like you, loving their family and wanting to feel a part of something bigger. And I would appreciate it if you’d stop making it more than it is. 


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