I was adopted.
I don’t mean I was left at an orphanage, or that my mother isn’t my biological mother. But I was adopted.There was a time in which I had to learn a new name, and signature well before adulthood. Well before the time a woman should ever have to think about changing her name. Shortly after learning how to sign my name in cursive, I had to learn to sign it again, with new letters, new strokes.
You see, I was adopted because my father didn’t want me. The picture perfect father and daughter would never come back, and I had a choice. I could choose to stay with my signature, memories, and a faded picture or I could choose a new life.
I was young. Too young really for such a choice. The courts felt, legally, that I had a right to a voice, but really I was young and angry. My voice was impetuous and likely a bit too hurt to make an important decision like this.
But I did. The courts agreed with my choice, and the papers were signed. You see, because of state law, my birth certificate was changed and my biological father was no more. He never was. It was like he never existed in my life. The memories of nightly stories, the Dumbo Ride, and the Golden Gate Bridge were all I would have. Because he would not be my father in any way shape or form.
In 2001, when my biological grandfather called me to tell me my biological father had died, he reminded me that I never existed to my father. I was not mentioned in the obituary, and I wasn’t told soon enough to get to the funeral. It was a reminder that this adoption, this thing that happened when I was a child was permanent. It would stick with me forever, and he would never again exist in my life.
The man who gave me up was selfish. He chose a life without his only daughter, and in a way I chose a life without him.