gallery Dear Adoption, I Thought You Were Over

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Dear Adoption, I Thought You Were Over

You happened so many years ago. Back then you saved me from a life that offered no promises, from a culture in which girls had no worth, from a mother who had no use for me. You gave me parents, a good education, a passport that takes me everywhere and a life that comes with many privileges. I was so lucky.

Also, for over thirty years I knew I could never live up to the expectations that you brought along. I knew I didn’t deserved so much luck.

I didn’t know why, of all people, you saved me? Didn’t you know I wasn’t a good person? Didn’t you know I had darkness in me? I clearly wasn’t worthy of being saved.

With time I distanced myself from you. I didn’t want to be reminded of how undeserving I was. Couldn’t bear to feel that. If it hadn’t been for the recurring questions about my origins, if it hadn’t been for the fact that every time I looked in the mirror I was surprised I wasn’t white, I am sure I would have forgotten about you all together.

I gave you no significance and lived my life as well as I could, trying to counteract my inner badness by being pleasant (and resentful) and diligent (and anxious) and smiling. I built up something I thought was self-confidence and suppressed all my inappropriate feelings. No one around me should ever get a glimpse of what loomed inside me. The hatred, frustration and jealousy. The sadness, resentment and loneliness. So much self-loathing. So much shame. And so much hard work to hide it.

Until the day when everything changed.

Dear Adoption, I’ve finally awoken from my self-induced dream. I can see you now for who you really are. See you for what you do. To a child. To a mother.

I thought you were over, yet you have been there all this time.
You didn’t save me, you brainwashed me.
You didn’t gift me with a better culture. You robbed me from my community.
You didn’t rescue me from a life that offered no promises. You stole my sense of belonging.
You didn’t help a mother who didn’t know what to do with her child. You abducted me.

For years you disparaged my grief, pushed me to be something I couldn’t be and made me think I was lucky. You opened up dark holes that tried to suck me in. You made death seem like a good backup plan. You let me hurt people I love, because they weren’t my mother. You made me forget who I was.

But things are different now. I no longer believe the lies you told me about my mother, about my country, about my self. I am no longer ashamed to say I feel hurt. I am no longer scared to say I miss my mother. I’ve stopped blaming myself for feeling what I feel. I’m no longer here to please.

Dear Adoption, I’ve come to accept you. I’ve realized you will never be over. I know the hurt won’t go away. Most gaps in my story will never be filled. What’s lost, I can’t get back. I have learned to live with that.

Who knows, one day I may even be able to embrace you? To say thank you for making me strong. But I’m not there yet. So please understand that at this moment, I have nothing good to say about you.

Olivia Ramya was born 1981 in Sri Lanka. She grew up in Switzerland, in denial for 34 years until November 2015, when her life changed completely. Life has become harder for Olivia since; all those strong emotions flooding her constantly, but she’d never want to go back for now she knows she can learn to be herself. Olivia travelled back to Sri Lanka twice in 2016, and has been searching for a year now. She is also trying to find biological relatives through DNA databases. She’s currently writing a book about her adoption experience.

11 comments

  1. Olivia,

    Your truths speak for you and reverberate within many of us who had our identities stolen and our birthrights high jacked…

    Thank you for sharing your painful experiences and your hopes for finding your roots and repair of heart and soul. Know that you have many sisters, hopefully all of whom will cheer you on your journey of discovery of YOU.

    Like

  2. Thanks Olivia for expressing feelings I share and have been taught to feel ashamed of

    I was taken at birth in 1968, and have had to pick up the pieces of a shattered false identity filled with anxiety and depression having served a family who never deemed me good enough to love at best and at worst dumped me in the gutter at 14 and supported my abusive expartner during rough separation..I tried to not let adoption define me…but I can’t pretend being beaten and bullied was good for my sense of self anymore than being forced to lie about my identity while learning lying would lead to eternal hell…then there’s the complete lack of understanding by psychiatrists even from the place I was taken when the damage done and being done by so called family during death of patents who raised me to feel a sense of duty to love, honour and serve them til death do us part due to a false birth certificate…

    Like

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