Dear Adoption, You Saved Me From Growing Up Institutionalized
I understand that I am one of the lucky ones, and I have always felt that way. I was adopted by two amazing people, who loved me like I was their own blood, from the moment I was brought into their home, which became my permanent home, and after three stops in foster care as a baby, and right up until I held both of their hands, about 15 years apart, to each of their deaths. If I’m being honest, I DID always feel different, but in retrospect, I think I was just a kid looking for a “card” to play to exercise my independence, and so I always leaned on the fact that I didn’t come from them, and that they couldn’t possibly have really understood me, but I was very wrong. Like good parents should do, they understood me well enough to allow me to be whomever I wanted to be. They gave me enough room to go out there into the world and find myself, while they worked together to provide a foundation, and safe haven for me to do just that. Unfortunately, it took me losing both of them to really grasp that, but I am grateful that I was able to take care of each of them as they both died long and drawn out deaths due to cancer. I will always look at each experience as an honor to have had the opportunity to take care of them at the end of their lives, just like they did for me at the beginning of mine, and well into my young adulthood. I always felt safe, secure, and most importantly, I felt loved.
I didn’t really become curious about my biological beginnings until much later in my life, and so I conducted a very ambivalent search for my biological mother, which wound up being a theater piece, that literally changed my life, took me all over the world, and after a six year journey, led me to an Off Broadway run, doing eight shows a week for almost four months, but more importantly, it lead me to finding what I was really looking for, which was not the woman who birthed me, but was ME. I never found my biological mother, although I DID find plenty of information about her, and I’m really good with all of it. I know my biological father never even knew I was born. My bio mother had been having an affair with her boss, who was her senior of twenty five years, for about two and a half years, and when she got pregnant, she decided to just disappear from his life, mainly because he had a wife and three children, and apparently didn’t want to disrupt his life. In any case, who really knows the deal? I don’t take any of my story as gospel, because unless I get to speak to this woman directly, I will never really know what happened, but I DO know that I have never really had any bad feelings toward her, have never judged her, and have always wished her well. I have to admit, though, that while I was performing this solo play all over the world for six years, I DID wonder if one day this woman would walk up to me after a performance and tell me she was my mother. But it never happened.
I am easy to find. I have signed up for every registry available, but we have never connected, and so I feel like if she really wanted to find me, she would have by now, and again, I’m good with that. And so, I guess I’ll end this now, just to say that my hope for everyone is to realize that no matter what your circumstance is with regards to your adoption or fostering, at some point in your life you have to own your own existence and realize that your beginnings do not define the rest of your life. Unless you choose to let it do so. I had difficult times in my life, experienced a lot of loss, but at the end of the day, I am just grateful to be here now, to be healthy and able to contribute to society as best I can with my art, and am grateful for everything that I have had in my life up until this moment. I look forward to more, as well. One thing I will add… in my opinion, it’s not always the best case scenario when a child winds up with their biological mother. I know that many people in the adoption community disagree with that, but the notion that every woman who gives birth will be a good mother is naive at best. I’ll just leave that right there.
Dear adoption, thanks for saving my life. I could have wound up in foster care for the first eighteen years of my life, and one thing I am pretty sure of, that would not have been the best alternative for me, or for anyone in my opinion, and at least in my case, I wound up with two beautiful souls who raised me to be who I am today, and I’m always grateful for that fact, every day of my life.
And here’s to a better world, for all of us.
Rock WILK, award winning artist and performer, has had the opportunity to share his work all over the world. He recently appeared in his first feature film, Jamesy Boy, which stars James Woods, Mary Louise Parker and Ving Rhames. His first play, BROKE WIDE OPEN was workshopped at PS 122 as part of the Undergroundzero Festival, had 10 performances at The Camden Fringe Festival in London, England, a sold out performance at The United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City, and a main stage production at The Passage Theatre in Trenton, NJ. In November of 2012, BROKE WIDE OPEN debuted, and enjoyed an Off Broadway run at The New Theatre at 45th Street, for almost 4 months.
A recipient of the 2016 BRIO award for acting, awarded by the Bronx Council on the Arts, Rock has most recently been immersed in his new play, Brooklyn Quartet, which is being directed by reg e gaines (Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk). After over 3 years of development; doing staged readings and performances throughout the country, including being a finalist as part of The Downtown Urban Theatre Festival in NYC, and also including a 10 performance “workshop” run at The Medicine Show Theatre in 2015, (also in Manhattan), Brooklyn Quartet had it’s official NY debut at Pregones Theatre, in The Bronx, NY, in June of 2016.
rockwilk.com / brooklynquartet.com / brokewideopen.com
Good to see your words here, Rock.
i wish i felt like it saved me … my options seemed to be abuse whichever route i went down…i am glad that you had good aparents mine lied and were manipulative and abusive….I found nmom she said she always loved me but her abusive circumstances would not allow her to keep me … that man didnt want me in his home although he allowed her to keep my sister and my dad took my brother who now seems to be missing from the world…. I am glad that adoption was not so bad for you but for me it was awful and still is …I did not let it define me I did tons of good stuff anyway after i ran away at 16 but still i always suffered with the underlying sadness and anger of being adopted…im glad i have been able to work on healing these last 4 years and i have learnt alot about how adoption effects both mother and child and i am sad i have had ptsd symptoms my whole life…. I can never be grateful i was adopted and sometimes im not even grateful for this life i have even though i wish i could be…but my fear of loss is huge and prevents me from connecting with others the way i would like to…. the damage adoption can do is endless but im glad it helped someone….