Dear Adoption, We Are Silent No More
You have been the epicenter of my world.
Despite deliberate attempts by my younger self to banish you,
You persisted, like some phantom, just a stone’s throw away from my reality.
At first, you whispered in my ear, ‘special,’
And I believed you because I did not know or understand.
I held onto those words, safe in the warmth and comfort of them.
Yet how is it that always a sense of displacement followed me?
It was the phantom of you, creeping silently in the shadows.
How could I be ‘special’ when I felt so different?
The shape of my eyes and color of my skin made for taunts and teasing.
In a white world, I stuck out.
Being othered made me insecure, and I rejected you.
I rejected my birth heritage and wanted nothing more than to be the color of privilege.
When I looked in the mirror, shame was the reflection I saw.
I had no words to describe my inner world, the one where I felt lost and alone.
To make you disappear, I stuffed you so far down that I nearly suffocated,
Choking until I could barely breath.
Day after day, I lived my life wanting for something that was quite impossible,
A yearning never fulfilled.
So much emotional energy wasted trying to be someone greater and better.
If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be this:
Don’t listen to the fools around you.
Don’t despair over their ignorance.
Don’t try so hard to fit in.
Be kind to yourself.
You have value beyond anything.
You are important.
You have potential.
You have a voice, and your voice matters.
Find strength in difference.
But it would take years to find my voice.
Years of stumbling around in the fog, thinking I knew where I was going yet never arriving.
In the fog, nothing was very clear.
The fog kept me only half living.
Then a piece of my history that was kept hidden surfaced.
Secrets were let loose, and a tangible link to my past emerged.
The birth heritage that I once rejected suddenly became vibrant.
The fog began to lift slowly as I followed a new path, never to go back to the way things were.
I learned that I was not who or what I believed myself to be.
Somebodies in my past were misinformed,
Or was the adoption story handed down to me complete fabrication?
Learning that I was Taiwanese changed my life forever.
I had so many questions, curiosity gnawed at me.
The self that I once shamed, I finally embraced.
Who would have ever thought that I would eventually reunite with my first family?
My two older sisters are generous and kind, blood relatives that share the same lineage.
And yet, even in reunion, the loss remains.
I will never know my birthparents.
They have passed on.
That is a loss that no one should ever experience, a most unkind separation.
How can it be that the ones who gave me life, I will never know?
My sisters tell me that I resemble our mother.
Their sincerity makes my heart ache a little.
The sentiment reverberates in my mind endlessly.
I am beyond grateful to have found my birthfamily.
For everyone involved, there has been loss, pain, grace, and healing.
I have come to accept that I cannot change the past.
A web of unknowns still haunts me.
But I can certainly influence my future.
There is hope in that.
Dear Adoption, you are part of my story, yet secondary to my truth.
The truth is, it’s been a rough road.
There is something about sharing my story, however that makes the road less formidable.
Adoptee stories empower those whose voices were once silenced.
Dear Adoption, we are silent no more.