You know I wouldn't normally write a post on a Wednesday, it doesn't fit in with my timetable. This could throw me out for a week, and I lay the blame firmly at Sally Whittle's door. I'm pootling round Twitter, innocent as you please, and I come across this post about adoption.
I was adopted in 1968, so slightly before the clearly youthful Sally, when I was about 8 weeks old. The first I knew about it was when my mum told me she's chosen me out of all the other babies and I was very special because of that because not many people could choose which baby they wanted. That was on my 5th birthday. Mine was an adoption through the local church society and because we lived in quite a small town, people tended to know about it. I remember quite vividly coming home from primary school in tears because one of the bigger girl's had told me my "old" mum was coming to get me back because my mum didn't want me any more.
Apart from that, I guess it wasn't so much of a big deal. I didn't spend a huge amount of time thinking about it but I always knew that my birth mum had written me a letter which my mum looked after for me. I didn't ask about it, or for it, until I was in my twenties. I had many fantasies of what my adoptive mum was like - I suspect lots of other adopted people do too. At first, I imagined she was a sort of princess who'd been forced to give up her baby and was desperately sad, living her royal life without me. Then I imagined she was a celebrity who hadn't been able to keep a much loved baby as she was too much in the public eye. Following that, I imagined she was some beautiful young artist type who hadn't been able to support me while she lived in a tiny little studio painting masterpieces and finally I guessed she was probably a young mum frightened out of her wits.
Not right with a single one of them.
I won't go into the details of just how far wrong I was as I believe it's important to preserve privacy for both of us. I left it until relatively recently to try and trace her, and with the help of an agency, found her in about 24 hours. We struck up a brief conversation over the phone, talked for a little time after that, but it quickly became clear I wasn't what she'd expected and she had no intention of trying to build a relationship with me. For Sally and myself, it was never about being chosen, it was about the not being chosen in the first place. And for me, it was about not being chosen twice. For a while that was hard to deal with.
But you know what? It's a little bit of a cliche, but you don't choose your family, you choose your friends. I have a partner and son who adore me, I have friends who love me, and acquaintances who like me because sometimes I make them laugh so much they cry. There are people here, on the internet, who read what I say because they like it. I'm a good person, and a happy person. Being adopted was neither the beginning or end of my story, it was a little tiny part of it that's had as much influence on me as the schools I attended, the people I've known and the work I've done.
We all have a story, but it's up to us to make the ending of it what we choose it to be.