Dear Adoption, You Are My Frenemy
I was literally born feet first – ready to run. This was to my advantage, as you well know. When I met you at three years old, I wanted to throw my arms around you and give you a big hug. I was truly grateful…for a moment in time.
But somehow my brain knew not to get too comfortable. It told me not to cozy up to you too much, Adoption, despite others’ efforts to put a shine on you. For me, once adopted, I could sense relaxing into my surroundings came with an inherent danger.
From an early age, too early to put a number on, I wanted to be a grown up. I could sense the instability around me and I knew it was in my best interest to move through this adoption experience as quickly as possible. I wanted to be in charge. Not of others, just of me. I craved autonomy. I knew I was solid. I knew I could count on me, and so I ran, as fast as I could, into adolescence, into adulthood. You know my childhood mantra well, Adoption…4 more years and I’m outta here… 3 more years and I’m outta here… But I couldn’t run fast enough to escape the perils that accompany a childhood with so much chaos and too little supervision. In a house full of refugees and fellow cast-offs, you cannot make it through unscathed. You and I both know what happened there, Adoption…and you know how I am still silenced by fear of the threatened repercussions if I tell.
Growing up, there were rays of sunshine. A parent who tried to offer support through the chaos, a willingness by my new family to provide what little info was available about my family of origin, and a neighboring family who treated me as one of their own.
But through my childhood and adolescence my real solace was the knowledge that when I turned 18, I would find her.
I. Would. Find. Her.
I knew if she was anything like me, she would want to know me. We would go for coffee. We would get a bite to eat, and all would be right with the world. I would then live my life in the present, no longer focused solely on the future. I could breathe. I could be free.
In 1991, when I was 20 years old, I became one of the lucky ones. I met my mother and she was indeed like me. She did want to go for coffee. She cooked me dinner. She wanted to make everything right with the world for me. Today, I live in the present. Today, I can breathe…and today I am free. All this, in spite of what you handed me, Adoption.
…and for this, I am truly grateful.