My name is Johanna, I am now 42 years old. I am an adoptee from Sweden (now living in Denmark). I grew up in a middle-class home in a house with my adoptive parents (husband and wife) and with a little sister who is a biological child to our parents. When I got adopted, it was very important for many of the countries that adoptees came from that the couple should be married and of course that it was a man and a woman. Most countries also did not accept single parents or homosexual couples. My parents were together for some time before, but because they really wanted to have a child they decided to marry since that was an important and necessary part of the process when adopting a child. 

I have no doubt that my parents love me, that they really did their best from their abilities and experience. I have in many ways been privileged, even more than other biological children. I got a university education (which is for free) in Sweden, my parents had a good economy, and I also had the stability to live in a traditional family constellation. However, my childhood and teenage years were difficult, and it was a long-lasting period. I did not just feel that I was very lonely, I really was very lonely. I also felt that I did not have anyone to talk to about it. 

At one point I remembered my father say that I was the one who had difficulties with relations, which in a way probably was true. That made me feel like it was my fault, that I am to blame. I came to an understanding that my sister and I grew up during totally different circumstances despite that we were in the same family. She got everything I think a child should have: a child who is raised by the two people who created her/him, economic and social stability, and a traditional family constellation (marriage). Of course, I also got that in a sense except for the first named above. 

I knew from a very early age that my life was going to be difficult, I have always felt it. The reason for that feeling is that everything I do, I feel that I need to put in more effort than the average person. 

I also want to share a nightmare I now and then had during my childhood and my teenage years. I have not told anyone about it because I did not realize the importance until now. I was dreaming that someone or some people would come for just me and remove me from my adoptive family because I did not really belong there. I tried to hide and was hoping for them not to discover me. The only situation I can refer to even though I am not Jewish at all is when the Nazis came to schools and churches looking for Jews to deport. Jews who got help to hide by good people because they were, according to the Nazis, not belonging in the society and should therefore be removed. This was really a nightmare for me, I remember it because I had it through my childhood and adolescence.  Sometimes the nightmare was a bit different. Then I was on my way home on the streets and there was a car which intentionally wanted to drive over me, just me and nobody else.

I got adopted when I was only 11 months old, I was left outside a police station and then left at an orphanage by the officers. I have no name of my birthmother, no trace or any information which could give a clue to who my biological mother or father is. My genetic history is unknown. Even though I was so young when I got abandoned, I have always known (I cannot explain it). I have that information or experience stored somewhere in the back of my head. Some doctors would call that “the primal wound,” which I agree with, I just did not realize that it is true. A child seems to remember in some way, if not in the brain (the brain is not fully developed until around 25), the body remembers it.  

I would say that my relationship with my parents is quite polite, this does not mean that I have been polite all the time but that is the kind of relationship we have. I don’t think we will ever be that close like I have seen with other families, mostly because sometimes I wonder if I can ever be that close to anyone as I think a husband and wife, or a family should be. I have always said that I have 4 parents, two real (the parents I do know and who have been there physically) and two biological, which I of course do not know. 

My parents are now divorced, they separated when I was 19 years old, and my sister was 16 years old. I remember that I thought about it as a failure for us as a family and I was quite angry with them for some time after that episode. Every time I hear about a divorce amongst couples I sometimes do not even know that much, I feel sad and get disappointed because for me it is always the children who will suffer the most. It is of course a different situation if the relationship is abusive in any way or if one or both parents is physically and/or verbally abusive to the child, then we must always separate that person from the child.  

As much as I am thankful that I live where I live and got all the possibilities not all people get, I still recognize that what happened to me was a trauma, a very serious one which will forever impact my life and relations to other people. I did not ask for changing the language, the culture, the country and even the continent and parents, but that is what happened. I have come to an understanding that being separated from the birthmother has a much bigger impact of a child´s life than I realized when I was younger. The fact is that no one can ever replace the biological parents to the child they created.