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.