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Three Lies and a Truth–You Can’t Be Adopted, You’re Normal

I am allergic to coconut

I swam the English Channel

I’m adopted.

The game was “Three Truths and a Lie.”

The group surrounding the 17-year-old girl unanimously agreed the lie was, “I’m adopted.”

“You guys think I can swim the English Channel?” Alison laughed. “That’s the lie.”

“You’re adopted?” another student in the student-council-get-to-know-you-activity asked incredulously. “You can’t be adopted. You’re normal.”

Adoption caught the group’s imagination.

For a while, they discussed how “normal” Alison was. Then they abandoned their original game to learn another girl in the group was also adopted. Comments included:

  • “Do you ever talk to your real mom and dad?”
  • “If your parents get divorced, will you go back to your real parents?”
  • “I’m glad my mom didn’t give me away.”
  • “How much did you cost?”
  • “Are you related to your sibling?”
  • “Have you seen This Is Us? I love that show.”
  • “At least your parents wanted you. I was an ‘oops baby.’”
  • “Did you live in an orphanage?”

The two adopted participants in the discussion also recalled things they had overheard which brought into question the value of an adopted child.

  • “Can you give him back if he develops learning disabilities?”
  • “You’re lucky. She looks like she could actually be yours.”
  • “Maybe now you’ll get pregnant and have one of your own.”
  • “Weren’t you scared of what you might get?”
  • “I would have just gotten a dog. That would have been so much easier.”
  • “If God had wanted you to have children, you would have given birth to one.”
  • “Adoption is expensive. Was she worth it?”

“And,” the original speaker said, “You couldn’t believe I was adopted because I’m, what, normal.”

Recognize that these real traumas come to adoptees in the best of circumstances. Most of these kids had learned to laugh it off. Just make sure you validate that these slights can hurt.