Dear Adoption, You Haven’t Saved Everyone Who Was Adopted But You Saved Me
I was hurt badly and the police said they couldn’t even guess my age. They thought I was as young as 3 or as old as 6. I was exactly 7 1/2. It was my half birthday, the last day I saw my mom or anyone in my biological family.
I always liked my half birthday because when my birthday passed every year without any party or gifts, I would think “They are just waiting until my half birthday”. Then when my half birthday passed without acknowledgement I’d decide now they were waiting for my actual birthday. The only hope I had went around and around in a six month cycle from birthday to half birthday and so on and on and on.
My mom had many bad relationships with bad people. Sometimes someone she knew would treat me with kindness. I liked being left alone best. Kindness made me scared and hopeful. I had been duped by kindness too many times. When I was ignored, at least nothing really that bad was happening to me.
I know I’m lucky that I wasn’t killed. I know I’m lucky that I only went to two foster homes. I really feel lucky even though that surprises people.
My first foster family could only keep me for a couple months and I knew that when I moved in. They were kind and that really scared me. I didn’t speak to them for more than a week. But they kept being kind and they never hurt me. I spent most of my time worrying about my mom even though I was really, really scared to go back to her.
My second foster home started out scary too because they were the kindest people I had ever met. They were an older couple who had a son they were adopting from foster care. He had lived there for more than 2 years after his mom left him at the hospital. He was noisy and was always banging toys together but they just let him play and nobody ever got mad. Nobody ever screamed at him. Nobody ever hit him. Sometimes the woman would take something from him because she was worried he could get hurt and he would get very mad. She would say, “It’s my job to protect you and keep you safe. You can be mad but I won’t let you hurt yourself!”, and then she’d wink at me.
I started getting used to living there and sometimes I would even begin to feel comfortable. Comfort also scared me. Bad things happen when you get comfortable. When you let down your guard someone comes into your room at night while you are sleeping or your mom doesn’t come home or you get punched in the face and kicked in the stomach. It was so weird because my comfort made me feel like I was melting and I kept trying to refreeze myself so I could self protect but I kept dripping and I kept thawing. And I was so scared.
So I decided to kill myself.
When she found me I was sitting on the bathroom floor and my wrists and ankles were bleeding (I didn’t know you can’t kill yourself by slitting your ankles. I was 7 1/2 and ankles and wrists went together like knees and elbows so I thought I needed to cut there too). She didn’t scream but I could see that she was scared on her face. She took the razor blade out of my hands and said, “It’s my job to protect you and keep you safe. You can be mad but I won’t let you hurt yourself!” and then she winked at me and held my hands. I tried not to cry but I did anyways. I barely cut myself and even though I was bleeding so much not much damage was really done I guess. She drove me to the doctor so I could get checked out. My case worker was there and I thought that meant it was time for me to go live with another family so I felt myself icing up and the frozen feeling made me feel good and sad.
But I was wrong. My case worker didn’t take me away. Instead I went home.
Nobody in my family wanted me so I was adopted a few years later. I asked my adoptive mom why nobody wanted me and she said they just couldn’t care for me but that I was not an unwanted person. She said there are a lot of reasons people make choices like that but none of them were my fault. I still have to remind myself of that as a 27 year old. When I was 15 I asked my adoptive parents why they took my brother and me into their home. If nobody wanted us why would they want us? They explained how they wanted to provide love and safety to kids without love and safety. I asked them if they tried to have their own children. My adoptive mom said they tried to have children for 9 years. When they couldn’t they decided if they were going to be parents it would be through foster care. They didn’t even plan to adopt any children. They just wanted to take care of kids who needed to be taken care of.
My life didn’t improve right away because I was adopted and got to live with such a nice family. My life was hard and it is still hard. I live with a lot of scars on my body and on my heart from abuse and I have pretty big abandonment issues. My mom died because of the way she lived and I think if she was still alive I would still be worried about her every day and I would still be wanting her. I never stopped wishing she would come pick me up even though I liked where I was and I never stopped worrying about her until I knew she was dead.
I hear a lot about adoption. I hear good stories and bad stories. I don’t think anyone will read my story and have the word “good” come to their mind but I do know that because I got to go to a safe foster home, and be adopted by a kind family, my life was saved. You haven’t saved everyone who was adopted, Adoption, but you did save me.
If you are struggling with or entertaining suicidal thoughts, please seek help ASAP! EVERY life has value; YOUR life has value. National Suicide Prevention / 1-800-273-8255