gallery Dear Adoption, ____________(intentionally left BLANK)

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Dear Adoption, ____________(intentionally left BLANK)

Bare – Empty – Plain – Showing incomprehension – No Reaction – Space – Gap – A cartridge with gunpowder but no bullet – Cover Up – Obscure – DEFEAT.

I always knew I was adopted. So was my brother, but we are not blood related.

Our parents – My parents did the very best they could. Dad was a Lutheran pastor at a state university, Mom was his secretary. I was the second child to be adopted. The afterthought.

O God – what am I doing almost saying this outloud….. Shame on me!

The first child to be adopted turned out to have very serious health issues – numerous trips to the emergency room, many brushes with death– allergies to eggs – milk – nuts – chocolate – his own sweat! – And that was just the first two years. Then along came ME – the adoption paperwork said they requested a healthy child because they have had so many problems with the first. It was even suggested that they ‘return’ the first child – I was just their second chance at family normalcy.  

Where am I going with this, I have no idea. People see me as happy, laughing, outgoing. I’m not. I am exhausted when I go home, pretending to be someone who I am not, but wish I was. My thoughts and my actions are so very different. My experience with adoption is neither bad nor good, my childhood, past marriages, friends made and lost, jobs; none of them were either good or bad, they just were. Just all BLANK’s. What is not blank are the feelings I felt when I learned about my birth family. Overwhelming sadness!

My mother. The last of eight siblings. An unexpected child, born to parents in their upper 40’s. Eight years between her and her next sibling. Mom married into an unstable family. Abusive husband who committed suicide three years before I was born. She herself committed suicide three years after I was born. There were 2 older brothers.  The younger of which was 10 years older than I, committed suicide 10 years after his mother. Then the oldest sibling, who watched and witnessed all of this sadness also had to bury his lover. Three years after that last funeral, was his. He died of AIDS in the early 80’s.

My adoptive parents will be turning 90 this year and still care for my brother, soon that will become my responsibility. I never had any children; I didn’t think I could take care of myself, much less another human being. Now, because that is what families do I will be caring for my brother.

I have dreamed of sweet release from this void, however I could never hurt my parents – they did the best they could with the cards they were dealt. I will not allow them the defeat in knowing both their loved children have problems.

I guess I am a success story when it comes to adoption, being given up for the chance of a better future.

I just wanted to see my mother, did we look alike? I wanted a connection with someone. I wanted to not feel blank about something!  

Lots of research over a 5 year period, and finally a simple mistake on a poorly copied non identifying file – my birth name! So now I know. A few years later an actual cousin found me after I posted my birth families name on a search web page. I do, I do look exactly like my mom; to see pictures together it is hard to tell us apart, except her hair was darker.

My cousin and I never became friends; her lifestyle is very different than mine. But when my last surviving aunt died, my cousin saw to it that all the family photos and a few mementos were sent to me. Three big boxes to explore. You would think it as a treasure trove, and it is, but it is also filled with stories of sadness and death certificates.

I’ve gone from feeling blank to feeling sadness, for both my birth family and my adoptive family.

Patricia Christine lives and works in Indiana. She does clerical work for a non-profit organization focused on inspirational speaking in schools. Patricia also volunteers at an animal shelter and loves photography and quilting.

4 comments

  1. The saddest part of your narrative, Patricia Christine, is/are the [intentionally left blank] intro and the Blanks interspersed in the lines following it. I am so sorry that the feelings of inadequacy tug at your being like a hungry kitten who is begging to be fed…and that your feelings are or were a part of many of us who read your poignant story of trying to absolve all who were and are a part of your pain. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, ] You are a better woman then I, Patricia Christine … in that way. But there are things that no child should have to endure and, in consequence, things that cannot be forgiven.

    Adoptees like you, like me, like most others-even those in denial- are like our own genomes matched against all others’, 99.1% similar with .9% different. It is the last which gives us our selfness belonging to none but us. It is also the similarity and difference within those in the non-adoptee population-with one big twist: they never had to fight for their own identities as we who read/contribute to this blog or in other spaces in other ways about the identity of Adoptee that is permanently a part of us as is our physicality.

    Perhaps in that box with its bits and pieces of the lives of those from who you were separated will fill in some more of those blanks for you. And maybe you will discover that you yourself have filled in more of them than others ever could. You have survived mush adversity, and it is that which has made you stronger than what you seem to think that you are.

    There is a lovely quote from Anne of Green Gables (by Lucy Maude Montgomery) I’d like to share, if only because if suits the feelings about blanks as it does tomorrows:

    ‘Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it ?’

    Be well and strong and content, and no that you are a part of a larger sister- and brotherhood called Adoptees, each with our own story but also with our shared pain. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Like

  2. Thank you for writing this. I have just met my son after 38 years. I am starting to feel again. I stopped feeling when I let him go…now the feelings rush in and I feel overwhelmed and yet grateful. I spent a long time as a glacier.

    Liked by 1 person

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