Dear Adoption, Is it Not Time You Took a Vacation?
You have been very busy day in and day out for the last 53 years with me. You need to step aside now and then. It would do you good.
As a small child, I felt you standing there, my shadow, yet I did not see you fully. My vision was still quite undeveloped. Rather, I clung to a silky eared bunny to help me to sleep at night. That bunny had a small pink bear who took over during the day. Adoption, I know you probably laughed at 3 year old me keeping those small objects of attachment by the front door every day. My greatest fear was a fire would break out and I wanted to be able to grab my “Puff and Teddy” on the way out. I could not possibly live without them. I remember their smell and feel better than I remember my adoptive mother, with her thin painted lips, tight girdle and black helmet hair. She rarely touched me, and when she did, it was not out of love.
“Children are to be seen and not heard.”
Your presence was quite apparent, Adoption, when I started spending my recesses sitting alone leaning against the brick building. Was it 4th or 5th grade? Maybe it was 3rd… You always seem to suck the memory from me, Adoption. Whatever the grade, I remember the feeling; not fitting in with everyone else. Like I had no right to interject myself into their fun. They might talk behind my back anyway. Kind of like how my parents did. Hushed voices that silence the moment I appeared in the door.
You followed me to junior high school, and then sat back and laughed when I really started acting out. Acting out meaning “talking back” or having my own ideas. Adoption, you never stood up for me.
Do you remember when you called me “trash”, Adoption? I certainly do. You patted my adoptive mother on the back while she had me cornered in the kitchen. You did not even try to pick me up when I slid to the floor hyperventilating.
Adoption, you always introduced me to the worst people. Told me I could save them, change them, assuring that I would always be needed. You encouraged me to run from anyone healthy. “Far too boring and they’ll never give you enough attention”, you would say in your smoky, low voice. Of course, I listened. When I ended up broken and terrified, you had bailed, Adoption. Off somewhere sitting at a dark bar, tossing back tequila and laughing at my folly.
What I will always hold against you the most, Adoption, is your lies about reunion. Telling me that you would take your leave when my reunion happened. Promising me that our time together was done and you would be leaving with no plans of returning. Instead, you adorned your invisibility cloak and stood there for every single moment, hovering over me. There were moments that I thought I had caught your scent, but then dismissed it as my imagination. Then one day, you started giving me a peek, of your foot, then a few months later a leg, then eventually you started exposing yourself much more aggressively. A few years ago, you threw off that cloak and completely spit in my face. Chiding me that I was entirely too sensitive, take things too personally and that I have a major chip on my shoulder. You told me you were there because of me. That I deserved you.
When I withdrew to protect myself from you, Adoption, you called me a fake; insisting that I am uncaring and I am being selfish for not worshiping you. Your guilt trip is transparent now, you son of a bitch. I see you for what you are.
I will still have to live with you until I take my last breathe, because I know you are truly unable to leave. Trying to hide you is completely ineffective and ultimately destructive. Therefore, I will have to find a way to cohabitate with your stench. I cannot change you, the only power I have is over my own reactions and myself. We will never be friends, but there must be some way to navigate this last third of my life with you.
The most bizarre thing of all? I keep hoping I am wrong about you, Adoption….. and I keep thinking you are all my fault.