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Identity Theft

July 9, 2010

We hear so much about identity protection due to the large volume of identity theft which takes place. Your identity is valuable and should be protected. It’s too bad this message wasn’t around about 28 years ago. That’s when I lost my identity.

At the age of 12, my identity was stolen. I’m not referring to the type of identity theft in which someone swipes your social security number and impersonates you for financial and/or credit gain. What I’m talking about is your sense of self, i.e., who you are. It is “the psychological quest of adolescence”, according to psychologist, Erik Erikson found here. We begin defining our identity as infants and continue to develop our sense of self through out our adolescent years as described here. This identity serves as the basis of our adult identity and contributes to our self-esteem, critical thinking, and moral reasoning. It’s pretty darn important!

Up until the age of 12, I had developed a fairly good image of myself. I knew who I was, at least as much as any other normal 12-year-old girl could know. Then the rug was pulled out from under my feet by none other than my own mother. On a typical and normal afternoon, my mother sat me down and explained to me that my dad was not in fact my real dad. Identity lost. Self-image destroyed. Self-confidence vanished. As my mind tried to grasp the concept she was describing, my identity was fading into oblivion. Who was I if I didn’t even know my last name any longer? And there, sitting on the sofa, at home, my identity was stolen.

I woke up the next morning a different person. Everything looked different. It was as if I was living in a completely different house. What had happened to my old house, my old family, my old dad? I already missed them. Naturally I was curious about this man my mother referred to as my biological father. Who was he? What did he look like? Did I look like him? I requested to meet him and mom arranged for me to do so. All the while and without knowing, there was a distance developing between me and my former dad. Looking back, I’m sure he was also experiencing an identity crisis. After all, he had been my dad for almost 8 years and then suddenly I was requesting to see another man also referred to as my dad. It was a confusing time for us both.

I met my biological father, whom I now refer to as my sperm donor, in a prison. He remained in prison for a few more years and I did stay in touch with him. Once he got out, I attempted to have a relationship with him but that’s difficult with a drunk/addict. He eventually went back to prison and I sort of wiped my hands clean of him. I was never able to call him dad. He wasn’t my dad. The man I knew as my dad was the man who had raised me since I was four years old. The man who had been there, day in and day out. The man who had let me ride in the back of his truck. The man who took us to church and out to eat afterwards. The man who sat down to eat dinner with us every night. That was my dad!

In retrospect, I wish my mother had been honest to me about my sperm donor from the very beginning. But I hold no grudges or harsh feelings toward her for it. I know she did what she thought was best for me at the time. She had the best of intentions and I know her goal was to protect me. She is a good woman and I admire her for the mother she has always been to me. Nonetheless, it took me a long time and a lot of detours before getting my identity back. Today, I stand confident in who I am and my last name.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2010 7:37 pm

    This is a very difficult decision for any parent to make when the {sperm donar] has no contact with the child that is being raised by an adopted father. I have 2 personal experiences almost the same situation each handled in a different manner,both left its scars.I can definitly understand your [lost identity] and how that you must have felt.It was if you had been betrayed by everyone that you had loved and looked to for you security.I am sure that being as smart a person as you are,with the personal precption that you have this answers a lot of questions that you are dealing with in your past.How wonderful it is that you recogonized things for what they are ,and now you are beginning to deal with them in a posative manner.This is the process of ridding your self of the unwanted baggage.

  2. July 9, 2010 8:14 pm

    What a beautiful story, and sentiment towards your DAD and not sperm donor….

  3. July 10, 2010 3:35 am

    Possibly the hardest thing in life is learning what truly makes up our identities, and it’s different for everyone. Also, as a girl it’s difficult having a confusing father situation, considering the impact that the father/daughter relationships take in molding a female into the woman she becomes. You’re very blessed that your true father (and not your sperm donor) seems like such a positive impact on your life.

    P.S. – I am enjoying your blogs so very much. Your writing is amazing, and I am captivated by your journey, finding myself mirrored in so many of your thoughts. 🙂 Keep writing and keep pushing forward!!!

    • July 10, 2010 7:58 am

      Thank you so much for the comments! I appreciate your kind words of encouragement! I look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

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