Dear Adoption, Must You?
(a much needed conversation with my adoption)
Adoption brain, must you always remind me that I am adopted? Some days, I would just like to forget. I would like to wake up and feel like I can conquer the day without self-doubt. I would like to be able to feel confident and secure in my abilities. Adoption, must you sneak into my brain and tell me that I am “not good enough because your own mother didn’t even want you?” I swear if you do it one more time, I am going to scream obscenities. There you did it again… Sigh. STOP.
Adoption, must you be so confusing to my heart? I want to love others fully and completely, but there you are, creeping in with your insecurity minions parading in behind you, leaving a trail of fear of rejection. You know, Adoption, it gets hard to have and be friends and trust people with you running amuck in my heart. And, don’t even get me started on how to have a best girlfriend. That seems like an impossibility with all your screaming and yelling about my birth mother giving me away. Of course, you are wrong about “all women will leave you…” People leave. We all hurt each other. Adoption, you must accept that getting hurt is part of life. NEWSFLASH, even non-adopted people get hurt.
Adoption, just an FYI, I will not let you win. You know why? Well, I must tell YOU that I will not give in and be your punching bag. I will not let you, Adoption, run my life. Yes, I am an adopted person and I am also a woman of great substance, abilities, and heart. I am smart. I promise you, Adoption, that we will, and we must co-exist in this life so that we may, together, accomplish our goals. Did you hear that, Adoption? We will learn to get along.
Adoption, you must allow me to be myself. Not always an adoptee, but truly, deeply, abundantly me. I crave authenticity. I must be given space, away from the graffiti of adoption written on walls surrounding my heart, to grow.
Adoption, must you stand so close? Would you do me a favor, and just back up about 100 yards so that I may breathe more deeply? You don’t have to go away completely, just give me more open space to be Janet.
Adoption, I get how you feel you must protect me, but I promise you, that I am fully capable of moving forward in life without you checking up on my heart, my mind and my soul. I really can take deep breaths without you being in my oxygen space. Watch me… Breath in, breath out. I can do this on my own. Adoption, you must understand that you are not the boss of me, and you must let me make mistakes without you saying, “See, I told you would never be able to do anything right…you are adopted.” Seriously, stop.
Adoption, I want to thank you for keeping me in check and keeping me vigilant. But, it is time for you to let me fly. If I get hurt, I want to feel the pain. If I find my happy place, I want to revel in the joy that is mine alone. I love that you care so much and keep me in check, and now, I welcome you to rest. I don’t need you to be so close that air cannot reach my lungs. I did in the past, but I do not need you to hover so close anymore.
Dear Adoption, I wish you well. I thank you for your service. You are uninvited to my thoughts and my heart space. I am Janet; I am not my adoption or my adoptee status. I am Janet, and I am amazing.
Unfortunately there are many things in our lives that a) we have absolutely no control over and b) that we cannot change. Being an adoptee falls under both categories. Being relinquished is also a thing we cannot change, or -as in my own case- being abandoned and forever separated from my two siblings. In degrees we were all victimized by societies that allowed others to take over our lives and to attempt to obliterate our identities, and to steal them. As children we had no say, but as adults we must put away the childish views -and the myths we repeat to ourselves-and incorporate mature habits into our lives. Anger is only a means to remind us of situations that are nor right-be they adoptions, a family quarrel or a gunman on a school ground-or in a subway, or a thoroughfare or wars, conflicts and all the other wrongs done by humanity to itself.
While we cannot change our past, we can work to change societal wrongs and systems that have wronged us. but we must be careful to be honest with ourselves before embarking on a journey to change the status quo. We can only tell our stories, not as being written in stone, but as one of gazelle-ions of scenarios rom others. There are approximately 2% of us in the world that have been adopted-all without our consent.
I have been an unwanted child since birth, abandoned at two and adopted at age five-fostered, institutionalized, brutalized and rejected. All of these have colored my life, but do not rule it. What I ultimately learned is that my life would not have given me the blessings I have had had none of the horrid events occurred. I would not be the person I am without them-and of course those genes entangled in my being from ancestors eons and eons ago which shape and mold me and make me, me. (And don’t dare suggest my parents -natural or adopters-loved me, because facts say otherwise.)
I have lost much in my seven decades of life, but what I have gained is the wisdom to know that we really do find that for which we search; that upon which we focus. We can choose to be imprisoned by our pasts, or we can choose the freedom to get beyond it, understanding that we only have the power to change ourselves-an no one else. Adopted and wounded we may have been-or in some case still are-but so too are many many others-most of them vulnerable children and women for whom domestic violence is their life.. We adoptees don’t own being abused, neglected, shunned, rejected, or cheated of our rights. Far more than the 2% of us adoptees have suffered from the inhumanity of man/woman.
(And until we sort out our own issues, it is unwise to choose a profession that fostered those issues within us… being an adoptee or a foster child (or both) does not make us experts in those fields breast cancer or giving birth or all the myriads of occupations we have in life gives us only our perceptions -unique to our experiences. One size does not fit all.)
Focus on the good you have and have been given and reach out to others in need of comfort. And don’t forget to forgive and to tell those you love that you do love them. The time will come when you can no longer have that opportunity. Remember above all things that whoever conceived and gave you birth are the mother an father intended for you. A court cannot presume it knows better than the creator in whatever name you choose to invoke this persona, nor can the court re-align the DNA which is embedded in every fibre of your being.
May God/Allah/ Jehova . etc. help us to understand that which you cannot change and that which you can, and the wisdom to know the difference… and to remind that we are each just a thread of a much greater whole.
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A heart-warming piece that encapsulates what all of us as adult adoptees feel in our heart and are reluctant to discuss.
I can’t do it on my own.
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This is absolutely amazing- I could have written it myself. Thank you from my bottom of my heart.