Identity Crisis of an Adoptee

Jul 4, 2022

Hi, there I am Fiona I’m an adoptee. I was adopted at 8 months old after being in two different foster placements and 2 hospital stays. I have my great-niece from the family I was adopted out of on a Special Guardianship Order. Unusual I know but it’s working well.

Where does my Identity lie or is my identity a lie?

I wonder a lot about who I am. Do you wonder who you are? I sometimes have thoughts of changing my name by deed poll to how it should have been at conception. How do you all like the name Helen Oxenham? It makes me sound like a headmistress or someone fairly posh. Or until recently I considered being Helen Kirkpatrick as I hadn’t found my bio Dad until this year. I will tell you all about that further down the line. If that family are happy for me to share about it. Again it was a very easy process and a very welcoming experience.

So to explain my identity crisis, I was born Helen Kirkpatrick. I became Fiona Cochrane in November 1966. In 1984 I became Claire Cochrane, then changed that to Delores Spook (don’t ask). For many years I was known as Del, right up until the late nineties and some people still call me Del. I got married for the first time in 1985 and became Fiona Flavin. I quite liked that name. That ended and I remarried and became Fiona Cassidy. Fast forward to now and I remarried again in 2004 and became Fiona Myles. This year I found my Bio Dad’s family and found I was an Oxenham. So to say I am not sure who I am is a bit of an understatement. A friend of mine shared last week with me that her original name was also Helen Kirkpatrick. That was really interesting.

So which Identity is mine then?

Drum roll…………… They are all mine. I am a complete mixture of them all. My name at this moment in time is Fiona Myles and I intend to keep it like that for the foreseeable future. One of the defining moments in my life was becoming a Christian, this was one of the biggest keys for me in settling within myself that my identity was in Christ. All the negative stuff that I had been called by others and called myself for years was ironed out in the years that I have been a Christian ( so far that’s 26). That’s not for everyone but it has worked for me. Counselling is good, and therapies are good. Whatever we can get to help us work out the wrinkles in our identities. I know that some people go through life with one name, never having to deal with a change of identity.

Fiona smiling with hand on her chest

Do I still struggle with my identity?

Of course, I do. I still don’t feel the same as other people and I struggle hugely with rejection. I have patterns of behaviour where if I have upset someone or they have upset me, I can and will avoid them at all costs. Do I sometimes think about whether Helen Oxenham would have had all these issues and been a drug addict? That’s something none of us will ever have the privilege of knowing.

In my own personal case, I err on the side of negativity naturally. My glass is always nearly empty not even half empty. I am a strong introvert. I was on a zoom call with over 60 people over the weekend over three sessions each day. Each time I just thought I was going to actually die if the person leading said my name. There was an opportunity on the last session of each day to say something about what you had achieved over the weekend. I had achieved loads but could not pluck up the courage to press the button and speak. Whether I was adopted or not my personality would still be the same I believe. Possibly slightly lighter in my thinking, but still an introvert.

Being adopted has always made me feel inferior and unwanted. Even though being brought up everything was done to not make me feel like this. Going through so much trauma and having undealt with issues, has left a big confidence hole in my heart. No matter what I do I still think it’s rubbish. That’s a general flaw in so many people though not specifically adoptees.

Let’s stay on track with the identity stuff. If you are an adoptee what is your identity? Do you struggle to pin down who you are? If you are an adopter, are you helping cement your child’s identity? I would love to hear comments from other adoptees on where they feel their true identity is.

My daughter is 6 almost 7. She is not ours, she’s my great-niece from the family that I was adopted out of. She calls us Mum and Dad, but she knows that she has a bio, Mum and Dad. She knows that her bio Mum died and hasn’t seen her bio Dad since she was 20 months old.

She has the most wonderful relationship with her biological sisters, cousins and Nana. I love that she knows and loves them all. I love that unlike me she will be able to piece together her identity. We have even got to the place where if she wants to call us Fiona and Brian that’s cool with us if it feels better for her.

Thank you for reading my blogging journey so far. Next Monday I will be sharing about being an adoptive parent.

I welcome any comments so Get in Touch with Me. Leave a comment to let me know how you liked this or even to let me know how to get better at the blogging thing.