A sense of belonging

Gaynor reflects on what it means to her to belong.

I was just messaging a fellow adoptee about the fact that we were born in the same town, and she mentioned how many adoptees suffer from a sense of not belonging.

Having never thought of this before I started to analyse my feelings about belonging. For once I don’t think I come into that category. I have the same identity issues–of being someone else–and the what ifs, plus many other trauma traits we all feel. But I can genuinely say I do have a sense of belonging.

The reason why I feel connected I believe is because I was born, adopted and have lived my whole life in the same town. I can go back to the first house I was taken to when I was adopted, not far from where I now live. The house I grew up in is in the village where I still live today. This is part of my jigsaw. And it honestly had not occurred to me until today that I’ve stayed in the same place and genuinely feel like I belong here. 

Going back to the mother and baby home where I was born and kept for six weeks was a very healing thing for me. And knowing all the places my birth mum went while she lived there has helped me have the sense of a thread running through my whole life. My birth parents married each other and we were reunited 29 years ago. Next year we will have been back together for as long as we were apart. Some years ago, I took them back to the former mother and baby home, which hasn’t changed very much. The house is now a retirement home for nuns. The wonderful sisters let us look round and told us what they knew about the building. My mum had tears in her eyes as she remembered most of it. Especially the staircase in the hallway which she used to have to clean.

Over the years many adoptees and birth mothers have been back to the home and are always welcomed by the nuns. The nuns living there now belong to a different order to the ones who ran the mother and baby home back then. During the process of writing my memoir I went back again and spent a lovely couple of hours with one of the sisters capturing the feel of the place; it really helped me with my book.

My life has been very settled in the town I was born and grew up in. I met my husband and brought up my own children in that very same town. I often see people I went to school, brownies or dancing class with. I feel I have roots. I know this is unusual for adoptees, so I just felt the need to share this with you. 

We all have such different stories and experiences. Many of you had wonderful adoptions; mine was not, but I am one of the lucky ones to have had a great reunion.

Writing my own memoir has been the last healing part of my adoption journey. I recommend it to everyone to write your own experience down. I now feel content and look to the future, which I hope will include an apology from Westminster for all of us.