If you have an adoption story or family secret to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was born in 1962. Shamed by my grandmother, my biological mother allowed me to be adopted by my grandparents when I was 5. Raised as their son, mom became sister and uncle became brother. Cousins and (later) half-siblings became nephews and neices. EVERYBODY in the community of Lawrence knew about it except me. At 21, I was working in small neighborhood grocery store when one of the locals came in and asked how my mom was doing. He said he hadn’t seen her for a while. I said she was fine and thought it was odd that he acted like it had been ages since he had seen her as they lived in the same neighborhood. He then asked if she still lived in Arkansas. I told him that it was my sister who lived in Arkansas, my mom still lived down on Maple street. He said, “No, that’s your grandma. Kathy, your mother, does she still live in Arkansas?” I insisted that she was my sister, but gave up the argument, and told him that Kathy did, indeed, live in Arkansas. I went home that night and told my folks about “old Man Coleman” talking crazy and how confused he was about who was who. My mom said to me “Sit down. We need to talk”.
–Mike, Osawatomie, KS
Thankfully I always knew I was adopted, nothing as far as that was ever hidden. I was sheltered from the fact that my biologicals were both alcoholics and at least one was a drug addict. My aunt (adopted) is the one that told me how to find out who they were. Come to find out, I had grown up in the church where my extended family also attended and knew who I was, at least the adults.
Mr. Lickteig you are not alone. I learned when I was 20 years old that my parents were actually my grandparents and my sister was my mother. I didn’t even have the “honor” of hearing it from friends. I overheard a telephone conversation between my father/grandfather and a sister/aunt. Like you, I also found out that almost everyone around me knew the secret and had known it since, almost, the time of my birth. Thank you for sharing your story.