READER REPORT:

Lessons in how strong I can be

LIZI OLDHAM
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014

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My adoption story

Foster child emerging 'like a butterfly' Teenage turmoil after my adoption Adoption: I was denied my whakapapa Adopted, but of the same mould Lessons in how strong I can be Adoption paves way for love I always felt the 'odd one out' Not ready to find my birth mum The 'awesome gift' of adoption Adopted from a Russian orphanage

There's no denying the lasting impact adoption has had on me. 

It's evident in many aspects of my day-to-day life and is something I unwillingly carry around with me. Yet it is not a war wound I display for attention, it is a gentle reminder hidden deep within my subconscious that lets me know how far I have come and how strong I can be.

I always knew I was adopted, so the issue was never not knowing, or finding out. The negative effects of being adopted only reared their ugly head when I reached puberty. I struggled to find common ground with the parents who raised me and battled with the knowledge someone didn't want me. 

I sought attention and affection by acting out. Now, being a mother myself, I hate to imagine the stress and pain I put my parents under. They were often subjected to harsh words and horrendous behaviour. 

I now have the utmost appreciation for my adoptive parents, for being there for me through thick and thin. You are my rocks and I thank you.

In recent years, partly due to the arrival of my son, my perceptions of my adoption have changed. I no longer view it as a hardship. I am lucky to have support and friendship from both my adoptive and birth parents and have learnt to respect the decisions made for various different reasons.

They say what doesn't break you makes you stronger, and for me it's true. I wouldn't take back anything I've experienced from being adopted, if anything I'm thankful for it. 

My life is not perfect, I still make mistakes and I can chalk many of them up to the insecurities I have surrounding abandonment or not being good enough, but instead of letting these rule me, I try to use them as ammunition to get to the places I want to go in life.

If I could do one thing it would be to thank my parents, both adoptive and birth, for the opportunities you have all given to me.


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