Dear Adoption, A Letter From a Heretic
We are so intertwined, you and I. I don’t know where one begins and the other ends. You are there for each incredible high, and terrible low in my life. No matter how desperately I try to get away from you, you are always there; stalking me like some relentless predator. Just when I think you are gone, you rear your ugly head again in my life. I have realized that I will never be rid of you. In a way, we are reluctant soulmates. You have stood as silent witness to my life, always watching but never intervening in the events that make up the totality of who I am. You have told me over and over again how I am supposed to be grateful for my lot in life. You’ve pointed out just how lucky I am. But honestly, I’ve always seen your presence as a curse. I see no luck there. I was destined to live the life I was born to, and you swooped in and dropped me into a life with total strangers. You alone are responsible for the parents who raised me; parents who had no business adopting a second child. You have taught me over and over again that I am disposable; an item to be purchased. At your knee I’ve learned that unconditional love is a fairy tale. You made sure I was always provided with examples of this.
As my life gets closer to full circle, I have watched you destroy what was left of my childhood. It turns out that the evidence of my existence is disposable, too. It is currently taking up space at the bottom of a dumpster. Even the rules that I live my life by are your handiwork. I remember when I was 9 you taught me that I was on my own and couldn’t rely on anyone else but myself. Through you I learned that trusting anyone put me at risk. Survival is complex and I had to learn the role you created for me. If I failed to play the part properly I was often punished; many times severely. The mother you gave me wanted to break my spirit; bend me into what she wanted me to be. But I refused to bend. I wouldn’t be broken down and remade into her image. My life was a toxic and dangerous place. No opportunity was missed to teach me that life was fake and I was a fraud. Now as an adult, I am stuck between what could have been, and the fraudulent life I was forced into.
Why do you still demand that I be grateful? Why do you still call me lucky? You’re a curse that I feel I’ll never get away from. At times you’re like a school yard bully, kicking the crap out of me when I’m down. Haven’t I paid a high enough price yet? Where is there peace for me? Does this journey ever have an ending? The road seems to go on forever with no rest area in sight. If I turn and fight I am condemned. Your soiled priests are everywhere spreading their poison among the populace. They make sure the Laity in the religion you created all sing the same song. No one seems to notice that it is slightly out of tune. Or maybe they just don’t care. I have tried to seek solace with the thought that many have had it worse than I. But, as the poet said…”Our hearts must feel, to shed the Darkness press.” The clever feel good psychology and enshrined ideas they pander do nothing for the pain.
But then there’s always the other road, taken by many of your victims. Forcing oneself to forget. Drugs, alcohol, religion, and even suicide have been the tools of surrender used by most. But these don’t provide the complete Victory you’ve always sought from the millions under your thumb. You want us to not care. Maybe someday I’ll give you your wish, and stop caring.
Tracy Aabey-Hammond is a baby scoop era adoptee and adoptee rights activist. She has been in reunion with her biological family since 2013. She writes about her experiences on her blog Adoptee Path. In addition to writing projects, she works as a business analyst in the insurance industry She devotes her remaining energy into her work as a metalsmith and jeweler. She is the owner of Tracy’s Gem Shop on Etsy, and is widely known for her broken heart adoption pendants which are featured in Flip the Script: Adult Adoptee Anthology.
Great job, Tracy!
I feel the same. I have one of your pendants. I sent one to my mother. I don’t know if she got it. She did not speak to me very often, then she died.
Thanks for speaking out.