Free Me from the Cocoon of Deception

Sounds like a nice book title….? Actually it is a plea. A plea to family members sworn to secrecy for almost 60 years. I know I am adopted, why not tell me the story.

I learned 12 years ago I was adopted beyond any doubt. I was in my late forties. As a “white fleece” I call Vital Statistics to see if they would tell me I was adopted. The kind lady answered she could not, but I could pay the fee and request my adoption records. If there are no records the agency would refund my money. Ok, I played the game, I paid the fee, filled out the information and waited. A couple weeks later I received a large envelope with my original birth certificate, two letters from the attorney to the State requesting the new birth certificate because I had been adopted and a copy of the court stamped and recorded degree saying I was adopted to my parents and my new name.

First response to seeing the information was shock, no emotions and not one thought went through my mind. Just silent shock. Later, a huge array of emotions hit, mostly about the lies, teasing from cousins about being adopted, being called a half-breed, the avoidance of the subject. Anger was the predominate first emotion. Sadness followed wondering why no one could tell me the truth.

( In this post, father and mother refer to those who took care of me and raised me.)

My father was deceased. I would ask my mother, she was still living in the area we grew up in with her sister, my aunt. On a visit, my aunt brought out her wedding album. My aunt was a beautiful bride, had the full wedding common in that time era. I saw pictures of my sister on a pillow in my aunt’s lap at the wedding. I asked where are the pictures of me with my aunt? The photo album was slammed shut, aunt say, “I am tired of looking at these” and put the album away. I brought up the trouble I was having in getting a birth certificate, and that my sister and I were 19 weeks apart.

“Well, the state looses things all the time.” my mother said, staring out the window. “You know your sister was premature.”

“Yeah, but it takes awhile before a woman can get pregnant after having a child.” I responded.

Mom looks at and gives her giggle (the indicator a lie is going to be told), ” Your dad and I were h***y”. Aunt joins in the giggle.

“It is impossible for my sister and I to be as close in age as we are.” I state.

Mom looks at me sternly, “We are not discussing this. What do you know you were just a kid.” And leaves the room with an excuse to freshen up.

I knew I was not going to get anywhere there. And so it is with the rest of my aunts and uncles from my mother’s side of the family.

Feeling frustrated, I put the information on the shelf.

Two years later, while talking and reconnecting with cousin M, I set up the conversation to see if she would change the subject, or tell the truth.

“You know you and your sister are both adopted, right.” stated cousin M.

The tears began to flood down my checks. She continues,” You know right? oh my God, you did not know. I was not supposed to tell you. I was never to say a word about it. I thought you knew. I am so sorry, I should have kept my big mouth shut.”

I gain composure, told her the story of obtaining my adoption records and I knew with no doubt I was adopted.

I had lived with the lie “you are not adopted” for almost 50 years. You get in the habit of living a lie, going along with the status quo. I decided I was old enough to stop.

Shortly after obtaining my adoption records, I got me a female purebred Australian puppy. I named my puppy my original birth name, Bonnie Jo. Each time I had to call my puppy, I had to say my original birth name and remember not to live the lie. My puppy is now twelve years old. I do not live the lie of “not being adopted”.

Bonnie Jo

I have informed every relative I have talked to I am adopted, I have court records showing I am adopted. And yes, some aunts and uncles have asked to see the court records, to verify I am not making up a story.

My sister asked, “Why did you not tell me I was adopted when you found out?”

I will admit, I feel guilty about not telling her ten years ago when relatives told me we both were adopted. But mom was still living. Mom lived a few miles from my sister. If I told my sister she was adopted along with me, my sister would go straight to mom and ask. I know what my mom’s answer would be, as I heard it often enough when I uncovered a truth, “Do be absurd. You know your sister makes up things, or gets things changed around. Your not adopted, and neither is she.”

In a way it is good a non family member told my sister. She can not say it was some story they got from me that is not true.

My sister has called a living aunts and uncles asking questions. She has no more information from them as I did. ” I do not know, but you were so cute and we were so glad to have you in our family. Does it really matter. Besides I can not remember all that went on back then.”

I feel wrapped in a cocoon, tight like the changing caterpillar, only I can not get out, but want to see the light and fly in all my beauty. If my sister and I are going to get any answers, it will have to be from a non family member.

Photo by Zaw Win Tun on



4 thoughts on “Free Me from the Cocoon of Deception”

  1. I can only say how much I empathize with this story. While my past does not include adoption I know the pain of deceit, lies, and secrets. There were years of questions as I became an adult, trying to understand so many things. I got some answers, others will always remain unknown. There came a point when I just stopped. I hope that you and your sister can manage to work through all this and reach a point of some peace in your lives.


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