Identity, family and adoption

Life's big questions are impossible to answer. [231]

Identity, family and adoption


Welcome to Hello Computer. A newsletter about being different. I’m Pete Carr (they/them) an autisticwriter and photographer identifying as non-binary with ADHD and sprinkles on top.


The photos in this post are from a walk around a wood not far from where I was born. I know almost nothing about how I came to exist. Did my birth parents ever go here? It’s… odd.

A small Welsh pony wanders through a field.

Captain’s Log

I tried really hard this week to finish my thoughts on banking and ADHD, to make a decision and try these new tools I found. Unfortunately, I saw something shiny and ran after that instead. Life with ADHD is really, really, really, … squirrel.

Identity and adoption

Am I searching for community, connection and a better understanding of myself through those lenses because I’m adopted? Have I spent my life trying to figure out my birth? Is there anywhere that I’m connected to, or have I had to adopt everything I know?

My adoptive parents were kind and loving, but due to the actions of the Catholic church in the 1970s, I can’t help but feel a little messed up by the start of my life. They forced my birth mother to carry me to term and then give me up through shaming. Absolutely the wrong way to support a single mother. It’s odd to be in a situation where I am 100% for people’s rights and abortion, knowing that with the right support my birth mother may have aborted me. Perfectly normal way to start your life. There is no way this could have affected my connection to humanity at all.

My adopted dad was born in England but of Irish heritage and identified with his Irish side, his blood, more than his place of birth. For me, I identify as Welsh. I was born there, therefore I am Welsh. Yet I stayed for a short time before the adoption process was complete and have lived in England for 99% of my life. My birth mother, as far as I know, wasn’t Welsh. Legally I’m Welsh. Culturally I’m English but grew up with an Irish connection. When I stop and think, I’m not sure what culture I am. British? Even my accent is dull and unplaceable, but that could be an autistic trait.

I wonder if this lack of identity is what draws me to find community, only to not be able to connect due to autistic social anxiety. Is it ADHD being interested in something for just a moment and the reason I can’t connect is because my ADHD is already looking for a new thing to be excited by? Overthinking is an autistic characteristic. I may already have connections to communities in the way I want but I’m unable to feel it because I’m anxious and overthinking. Being me is fun.

Continuing to overthink, there are times when I wonder whether my disconnect from family, both found and related, is due to unprocessed adoption issues or autism and social anxiety issues. Knowing that my existence was an accident, that my birth mother was coerced into giving me up, and growing up with no “family” connection to lineage or culture has left me feeling like an outsider. What even is family? Again, this could be my natural autistic side that loves to question everything.

What I know is that like the film ‘Superman: The Movie’, I opened in 1978. You will believe a baby can cry. Unlike the movie, there’s no backstory explaining my origins. I was gifted to a lovely family but they couldn’t tell me who I was. Autism is genetic. That comes from somewhere. The rest? No idea. I self-identify as trans non-binary. That is something I have unconsciously felt for years and through lockdown came to process. I know that is me. I see myself in other non-binary people. I’m a Star Trek fan. I see myself in Trekkies. I’m a wild swimmer, a gamer, an Apple fan (boy/girl/enby?), and a cat owner. I see myself in those spaces but I never see myself in the world in the way everyone else does.

A large tree lies fallen on the ground in a dark woody space.

Transporter room

Another tree has fallen in a dark moody forest.

End program

“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I’ll be back. Feel free to subscribe or send it to a friend.

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petes out 🖖

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Backlit tall grass stands in a dark moody forest environment.

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