Dear Adoption, Jokes on You
Here’s the thing…
I feel like I am supposed to be harboring all types of bitterness, anger, & rage towards you. I am supposed play the role of the victim in this drama called life. A woe is me of sorts. I am supposed to be riddled with abandonment issues, pent up hostility towards both my birth mom for giving me up, & my adopted mom for not being my birth mom.
I am supposed to use “being adopted” as my crutch in life. The reason I can’t be or do something. I am supposed to be incapable of attachment, incapable of growth, incapable of rising above and breaking the cycle, and downright bitter.
Well Adoption… Jokes on you…
The simple reality is, I’ve never given that much weight to you. I’ve always known I was adopted, it’s a hard fact to hide from an 11-year-old. I’ve always had the “luxury” of knowing my birth family in one capacity or another. But being adopted has never been a defining factor for me. I acknowledge it as much as I acknowledge being a brunette. I slip it into conversations with the greatest of ease. Never letting it linger on my tongue for more than a second. Nothing more than a passing glance. Giving you your rightful place in my life as merely a catalyst for my transition from foster care to forever care…. Cliché cliché cliché…. And on with my life I went; open and honest about my reality but never consumed by it.
Nevertheless, that’s where I went wrong. Adoption, you sneaky bastard, you weren’t going down without a fight. You laid dormant just long enough to let me think I could get out unscathed. You allowed me to skirt through life, transitioning from childhood to adolescence to adulthood seamlessly. You granted me the ability to share my story with such wit and humor, as if entertaining a dinner party; even I was fooled. This entire time thinking, “I got this.” I would intently listen to other people share their adoption stories; sad stories, hopeless stories, stories filled with anger and despair. And all the while I would judgmentally think to myself, “Thank God I’m not them.”
So it seems Adoption… Jokes on me…
I was, as I was taught to be, one of the “grateful adoptees.” Actively reasoning away any sense of feelings that didn’t align with the “you should be grateful” mantra. I became an expert at evaluating my situation and eloquently explaining how I could see this was best for me. The “where I am” vs. the “where I could have been” rationale worked every time. I could logically whisk away any inkling of sadness. It would always & instantly lend itself to how appreciative I was for my parents. How could I not be after all? They rescued me. They were my saviors disguised as ordinary people. I knew the token “adoptee party line” and I towed it well.
But Fuck You, Adoption… Fuck You. You just couldn’t stay where I put you. You had to rear your ugly head, stealing my thunder along the way. I had meticulously crafted a special place in my life, riddled with sarcasm and avoidance, just for you. Void of all emotion towards you.
And there you were supposed to stay.
But you didn’t… you got cocky. You decided to demolish my “ignorance is bliss” ideal. And, motherfucker, you came out like a wrecking ball, swinging, set to destroy everything in your path.
I didn’t initially see you coming. You brilliantly executed the ultimate blindside.
Bravo Adoption. Bravo.
As soon as I realized my dam was breaking I did everything in my power to plug every hole. I used every tool in my emotional arsenal to try to lock you back up, but let’s be honest Adoption, I didn’t have that many. I tried to repair every crack you could possibly seep from. But like water leaking, it always finds a way; so did you. You always find a way. You found your way out of the corner I tucked you into, and you infiltrated every single area of my life. You didn’t just trickle in, no, that would have been too easy. That would have given me a chance to prepare myself, to prepare those around me. For what, I don’t know, but certainly given me a better sense of control.
Instead you tsunami-ed your way into my life, my marriage, my most stable relationships, and you washed away every ounce of stability I had grown to love, to need, to rely on. You, who I have “known” my whole life, just turned my world upside down.
Jokes definitely on me
You wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. You wouldn’t be forgotten, left behind, locked up, or ignored. You made damn sure I knew you were there.
So now what?
Here I am. There you are. Obviously with no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. So I guess I’ll have to learn how to live with you… but I don’t expect it to be easy… for either of us.
You’re expecting rage, bitterness, anger, & a myriad of other emotions. Well good news Adoption, because I’d hate to disappoint. You’re damn right I am filled with those emotions. But not towards you… I would never dignify you like that. I’m angry at myself that I couldn’t contain you, that I never saw you coming. Once again I was blind-sided… When will I ever learn? I’m bitter that events that transpired over twenty plus years ago are just now re-surfacing; are just now hijacking my life. That things feel completely out of my control… again.
But Adoption, what you really need to know, apart from all those emotions is this: I am not going down without a fight. I may possess those emotions, but you can be damn sure they won’t possess me.
So Adoption… Jokes on you…
I refuse to succumb to you. You may have won this battle, but you better fucking believe I am going to win the war.
I refuse to be another one. Another adoptee who can’t get past, their past. I may come out on the other side quite a bit different than I went in…but take note…I will come out regardless. You may have set out to consume me, but I am turning the tide. What you set out to use against me, to bring me down to your level, to hold me down, I am going to use for my gain.
Truth is Adoption, I can no longer avoid you. You have successfully made your presence known, and I am finally forced to confront you. You have unpacked your suitcase and taken up residence in a place you don’t belong. You are a squatter, and I can tell you right now Adoption, you’re going to wish you had stayed dormant. I may not possess the ability to make you go away forever, but rest assured I am going to find you your rightful place in my life. A sacred place, where I can simultaneously control you and value you. Adoption you may have your hooks in me now, but be aware, this place you occupy in my life, it is only temporary.
Because, Adoption… The jokes definitely on you.