Sunday, November 20, 2011

National Adoption Day

Yesterday was National Adoption Day.  A day to raise awareness about the adoption of children from foster care and to celebrate all families who adopt.

I was adopted 5 days after I was born.  It was a closed adoption and I have since met my birthmother and learned a great deal more about those first 5 days of my life.  When the realization of it hit me I wrote this piece.

5 Days

One afternoon in December of 1969 my biological mother gave birth to me. She was young, un-wed and it was 1969. Because of these facts and a few others, it had already been decided that I was to be given up for adoption. So when I was born, my mother was only able to hold me just long enough to count all of my fingers and toes. I was then swept away to the nursery to be cleaned up, poked and prodded then left swaddled in one of those plastic bassinets on wheels.

This would be my ‘home’ for my first 5 days in this world, only to be picked up or touched when I needed to be fed or changed.  I was the only baby in the nursery for those 5 days.  My Mother spent all of her time at the nursery window trying to keep me company.

I came out of the warmth, love and safety of my Mother’s womb only to spend the first 5 days of my life alone in a sterile, cold, and unloving nursery. No hugs, no cuddles, no connection.

After doing a bit of reading on this subject, I am willing to bet that those 5 days alone in that nursery did more emotional and psychological damage to my then tiny brain than any of the other abuses I experienced in my life.

I feel like I’ve spent the last 40 years doing everything I could to get people to love me, to touch me, to hold me, to stay with me. Yet, I struggle to actually form an attachment because there is this knowing in me that tells me they’re not going to stay. I’m not good enough.

Later in my life, my adoptive Mother told me that I never cried as a baby. The doctor told her once that she needed to let me cry so my tear ducts would form properly. She told him that I was a quiet baby that never cried. There didn’t seem to be any explanation for it.

I had become the perfect, pleasing child. The one who wanted to make everyone happy. The one who wanted to make everything ok. Because, if I did, they would stay. Right? They would love me. Right?

Forty years later things are becoming much more clear to me. This was the beginning of my journey through this life. The first 5 days.

(c) Wendi Kali July 29, 2010

After making this realization I began to focus on learning to love myself more in hopes of breaking the unhealthy hold that the fear of attachment brought to my life.  It made me much more aware of my thinking around it which has helped me to work through those feelings and heal them.

As difficult as this was to learn about myself, I am grateful for the knowledge and the opportunity to grow.


  1. We have a lot in common. I was born in 1969 and my adoption was finalized in 1970. I never cried as a baby either. It probably had everything to do with being separated from our mothers at birth and being put in a hospital cradle for days on end. We were meant to be held, kissed, nursed, talked to, sang to by our mothers.

    Since you brought up the puketastic "National Adoption Day", I have to give some info. that I'm spamming on all sites that mention it:

    Every time a child is adopted, his/her original birth certificate (the child's truthful documentation of birth) is permanently sealed. He/she is issued a falsified birth certificate called an "amended birth certificate" that lists the adoptive parents as the child's biological parents. This falsifying of an innocent, voiceless child's birth record is discrimination and should be illegal. Do the children know they will NEVER be allowed to possess their truthful birth certificates? Average Joe's serve hard time in federal prison for falsifying identity documents, yet it is done legally all over this country in vital records' offices with the permission of judges and barbaric, antiquated state laws. The United States Constitution is violated every single time a person's birth certificate is sealed and falsified.

    I wish you much luck in your journey, Wendi. Are you a member of AAAFC?

  2. Yes. There are a lot of things about adoption that always seemed to get in the way of growing up, so to speak. For instance, any time I went to the doctor and they asked me about my family history I had no information on it at all.

    Fortunately for me, my birthmother found me when I was 17 and my adoptive mother was very welcoming to her so I was able to not only knew the story of my birth and how I came to be in this world, but I was also able to know at least half of my family history.

    I was the product of an affair and my birthfather remained married to his wife until he passed in 1996 or 1997. Unfortunately, I was never able to make contact with him and learn anything about that side of my family, aside from what my birthmother knew.

    Being adopted comes with it's own baggage on so many levels. What bothers me the most is the idea that babies and children who are waiting to be adopted don't have that normal human need of being touched and held taken care of because of where they are. Not having that can really mess with a person and give them baggage to carry throughout their life. Baggage that they don't even realize is there. Perhaps adoptions should come with therapy for the child or the story of their birth so they at least know how they came into the world.

    I am not a member of AAAFC. This is the first I've heard of it. I will check it out.

    I wish you much luck in your journey, as well.

  3. This is heart-wrenching to read, yet hopeful in that you can now focus on healing those silent things that have held you back for so many years.

    We are on the flipside. We have a young lady living with us that has had a pretty ugly growing up time. We cannot heal her wounds or tell her enough times that we love her. It's a helpless sort of feeling most of the time but we are there for her and hopefully building some kind of stable foundation (however late). If we had found her earlier we would have tried to adopt her (she's almost 17 now), but even if it's not "legal" and all written out, we are her family and we love her. I admire adoptive parents and the good they do in this damaging, floundering system.

    It horrifies me to think of a newborn baby laying in a plastic basinett, alone, waiting to be loved. :(

    I also wish you the very best in your journey.

  4. It's good that you're there for her and that she has you in her life. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be for her. Loving her is the best thing for her.

    I wish you all the best in your journey.