FELLOW ADOPTEE FLORENCIA LALOR TELLS YOU HER ADOPTION STORY, IN HER OWN WORDS. SHE BRINGS TO LIGHT THE TWO SIDES OF ADOPTION THAT MANY ADOPTEES LIVE WITH. THE HAPPY SIDE, AND THE SAD SIDE. SHE ALSO MENTIONS THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ABLE TO TALK ABOUT BOTH.
“Part 1 – And the day finally arrived.
“The doorman rang the doorbell and Elena ran to answer.
– “There is a car for you Elena” – she heard through the door.
– “Ok, I’ll be there in a minute, thank you” – replied Elena feeling a strong pain in the pit of her stomach due to being so nervous for the past several days.
Elena searched for her things, grabbed the bouquet of white roses and the croissants she had bought to take, and she called the elevator. The time began to pass slowly. She had the feeling of having been waiting for the elevator for half an hour. Finally, it arrived and Elena was able to go down to the street and get on the car that was waiting for her.
– “Hi, where are you going Miss?” – The driver asked.
– “To 345 Alsina Street, in the Versailles neighborhood” – Replied Elena.
– “Do you know how to get there?” – She asked, pleading to herself that the man would answer yes.
She did not know the Versailles neighborhood, but she had checked where it was on the internet and what route she had to take from her home. However, she had already forgotten all the information she had found. She felt so nervous, due to the meeting she was going to have, that she couldn’t think about anything.
– “Yes, yes, of course. Don’t worry. And I’m going to go down a road where there is not going to be any traffic “- Replied the driver.
– “Thank you” – Elena sighed, relieved.
The car moved for ten minutes and Elena began to relax. She took a deep breath, rested her head on the seat and began to look out the window. It was a very sunny day. The sky was completely blue. It was neither cold nor hot. It was an autumn day, one of those days in Buenos Aires when winter still hasn’t shown up, but when summer has already said goodbye. The perfect climate. Elena thought that had to be a good sign.
An hour and a half went by, since Elena left her building, in the neighborhood of Recoleta. She knew that they should be close by now.
– “Don’t be nervous. Everything will turn out well” – She said to herself in a low voice.
– “Excuse me, Miss, did you ask me anything?” – The driver said.
– “No. Sorry … I just spoke to myself”- Elena answered, wondering if her nerves would be noticed.
– “We are almost there. Three more blocks and we’ll be at your destination”-The driver said.
‘My destination’, ‘my destiny’ Elena thought. “How different my destiny would have been if this woman would have made a different decision,” she pondered.
The driver stopped the car at the door of a modest house, but it had its charm. Elena paid him, but before getting off asked:
– “Excuse me, could I ask you to pick me up again at this same address in two hours?”
– “Yes of course. In two hours I’ll wait for you here. Don’t worry”. – The man replied.
Elena grabbed the flowers, the croissants, and her purse and got out of the car.
She stopped in front of the black fence that was in front of the house. She took a deep breath and rang the bell. After five minutes the door opened and an elderly lady came out. Finally, they met, after twenty-five years, Elena and the woman who gave her life.
My name is Florencia. I am ‘Elena’. This tale is part of my story. I was born on June 14th., 1980, in Argentina, and I was given up for adoption. I arrived at my parents’ house when I was only 10 days old.
I always knew that I was adopted. My parents told me about my adoption when I was 3 years old. They told me a story that I never forgot: “I was in heaven with God, waiting for my time to be born and live with my parents. But since my mother couldn’t have children, God decided to send me to the belly of another woman, so that my mom and dad could go pick me up at her house and bring me home”.
I always understood my adoption just as a different way of becoming part of a family. Moreover, my adoption was always something we talked about at home. We could have discussions about it and share our ideas, concerns, and points of views. I could always ask about my biological parents, and, my adoptive parents, always told me that if I ever wanted to look for my biological family, they would help me and support me 100% (in Argentina records were never close for adoptees). The fact that my parents accepted that there is another part of my story that has nothing to do with them, and the fact that they were always able to talk to me about it, was very important for me. This helped me accept the sad side of my story; that part that nobody mentions: the sad side of adoption, which is the relinquishment of a child, regardless of the reason.
Adoption has two sides: one side full of joy and the other side full of sadness. On the one hand, two people or one person, become the parents they so longed to be. On the other hand, a mother and father lose the possibility to raise their child, and a child is separated from their birth parents.
As an adoptee, I think I have the right to say that it is necessary to talk about these two sides of adoption. Adoptive children have two sets of parents, both with very different roles in our lives, but both important and part of our history. One doesn’t exclude the other. For us, it is simply our reality, which is not the common rule. It is neither worse nor better, just different. And silence makes our reality even less common. What is not mentioned, from the silence, disorganizes life, feelings, and intelligence.
I always wanted to know that part of my story that I did not know and, as I mentioned before, I was always able to talk with my adoptive parents about it. So, when I was 25 years old, I met my biological mother. We had two encounters and we did not have contact again until 13 years later when I contacted her again to ask her about my biological father. We met again and she gave me the information that I wanted so much. Sometime later, I managed to contact my biological father and we had one conversation over the phone. Until today, I haven’t heard back from him.
Regardless of the outcome of the search for my origins, I finally feel peace. Knowing about my past helps me live my present, and allows me to plan and think about my future.
To be continued… with more details.”
born in Argentina, adopted and raised in Argentina
She is the founder of the blog “La Voz del Hijo”, which you can find and follow at www.lavozdelhijo.org
Florencia is a Psychologist and Social Worker. She got her Master’s at Columbia University in New York and she specializes in adoption.