I really hope that you have found the #FlipTheScript series as insightful as I have. I have learned so much and gained such powerful insights into parenting my own children through this series, which I will share in a separate blog post in the coming weeks, but for now….

Lav’s Voice

When and how did you learn that you were adopted?

When I was three-years-old, my mum who worked as a family planner, sat me down and told me that I was adopted. I didn’t understand what ‘adopted’ meant and brushed it off. At the age of five-years-old, I was told again that I was adopted by both my parents and I was given an illustrated book that my mum had photocopied from the library which explains the meaning of adoption. It clicked. I was adopted and that is why I looked so different from my parents and my older brother. I couldn’t understand why my biological mother gave me away and I couldn’t quite understand if my biological mother would ever come back to fetch me. A few days after being told I was adopted, my parents took me to see a child psychologist and I remember attending meetings with my parents. Actually, it was the parents who attended meetings with other adoptive parents while the children sat in a room watching TV. 

How did this make you feel then?

As a child, I didn’t understand much. As a tween, I had a number of outbursts and tantrums. If there was any argument with my parents – I always reiterated with “well, you’re not my real parents, anyway!” I was an angry teen and constantly felt self-pity. I had so many questions and very few of them could be answered. I wanted to belong somewhere but I couldn’t find that place because I didn’t have a history. As a result, I have struggled with my identity and status in the metaphysical plus physical sense.

How does this make you feel now?

I’m glad my parents told me and I’m glad that they were open to me asking a lot of questions but till today, there is a lot of anger and pain. I haven’t any answers about my history and unfortunately I’ve reached a dead-end in my search for my birth parents. I’m also struggling to understand why people say that I should be ‘grateful’ for being adopted. I disagree. There’s nothing ‘grateful’ about being adopted – I’m not from a lucky packet. I had no say or choice in my birth and the circumstances of my birth. I’m open to talking about my adoption now but as a child, it was treated with great secrecy. I never told my friends or my teachers, in fear of being shunned for something I did not do.

Is there anything you feel could have been done differently by your adoptive parents that would have helped you?

I think my parents handled it as best as they could in an age were information was min. However, I would have possibly made less trips to the psychologists and more trips to the library. In my young life so far, I have seen 11 psychologists, 2 psychiatrists and 1 life coach. None of them helped me. None. I’m not knocking down psychologists but identity struggles are very real and I felt that I was treated poorly by the professionals. There was no ‘therapy’ provided by the professionals but rather anecdotes on how to live life and find yourself. In my young mind, it was very wishy-washy and the root of the problem was still a big question mark.

Is there any one thing that your adoptive parents could have done to ease your struggle with identity?

Most of the important questions could have been asked and answered during the birth mother and Child Welfare [adoptive organisation] liaison such as medical history, family background etc. However, I think most adoptive parents should keep an open mind when it comes to identity. My parents never accepted who I was nor did they take an interest in who I was becoming. I’ll never forget being compared to the other children in my family… I’m not a doctor or an accountant. I don’t gel well with numbers. I’m not interested in being a traditional “good Indian woman” and I have no plans on being “normal”. I’m a writer, a metalhead, a collector of vintage items and I get thrilled by the idea of travelling on the beaten up road. It’s a pity that my parents still see me as the rebel without a cause.

What are you needs/wants/desires from your birth/first parents?

To be honest; I just want to meet my birth mother/father in the flesh and ask them ‘why’. I know that my birth mother had children before me but I can’t understand why I was the one to be voted off the island. That was never explained to Child Welfare or recorded in my birth documents. It’s like I’ve been grieving my entire life for someone I have never met, seen, heard or knew about.

What do you want adoptive parents to know?

There’s so much that I have hid from my adoptive parents in fear of them disowning me. For starters, none of my family members know that I am a practicing Wiccan – because Wicca was the only ‘faith’ that accepted me as I am. My parents don’t know that in November last year, I spent two weeks in intense therapy because I was suicidal. My parents don’t know that the only reason that I moved to Australia for two years was due to the fact that I wanted to be far away from them to soul search.

What do you want birth parents to know?

I would like my birth parents to know that I am fine.

What do you think should be done differently in adoptions today?

It would be great if the Child Welfare [adoption organisation] would collect/gather more information from the birth parents. Pictures, letters, proper reasons for adoption etc, could be so useful to the adopted child later in life. I do understand that most birth parent’s are unwilling to provide detailed responses but then again, this isn’t about them and only them. Adoption agencies should also collect and update their data bases where possible and provide ongoing communication with the adopted child and family.

Thank you Lav, for sharing so candidly. Your story is valuable and your views have once again, reaffirmed for me that as a mother via adoption, I have got to be open to all the views, thoughts, feelings and experiences of all in the adoption triad, in order to better understand, embrace and assist my children in their journey to adulthood.

If you’re an adoptee and you’d like to share your story, please download the interview here: Flip The Script – Adoptees Voices