February 13, 2008

"As If"

Big ball of Yarn
© Photographer: Thirdlife | Agency: Dreamstime.com
It is amazing how cathartic a blog can be. Just to be anonymous and be able to say whatever you've been "holding in" for alittle too long. Being real.

I think if I had read this blog even just 5 or 6 years ago I would be appalled. I remember when first finding my natural family (I would have never called them that ~ they would have been my 'birthfamily') I told them, as well as my adoptive family that I felt "doubly blessed" ~ that God loved me SOOOOO much that He Divinely took me out of one family and put me in another ~ the one He wanted me to be in. When I was reunited, I told myself that I had GAINED two wonderful families and that I had not lost anything in that equation ~ yep.

Well, now, 17 years later, I realize that was my way of coping with the confusion and loss I had "stuffed" for many years ~ and that, indeed, I DID lose in the equation. How could I have not? I lost my original family, name, identity, heritage, lineage, relationships, mother. To think or say anything less is not reality. I lost alot. And I had closed off my heart to really feel in the process of coping.

I also gained so many blessings ~ too many to even count. And God's faithfulness was REAL through all the years. But because adoptees are many times expected to shut off any "negative" emotions regarding their adoption ~ and CELEBRATE, like everyone else, they can essentially live as "half" beings ~ clutching on to the notion that they are "chosen", "lucky", etc. and stuffing the natural feelings of loss that are inherent in the situation.

It is kind of like asking a child to tolerate balloons, streamers, blow horns and confetti and cake (party hardy) at a funeral. That's how ludicrous. Every adoptee has lost their mother. Their original life that God intended. Life happens. And loss happens. And adoptees need validation for that loss, not "gotcha" parties. True, adoption can be a great blessing of gaining a family, but it never negates that first and life-long loss.

I just want to make it clear that I LOVE MY Mother ~ my Adoptive Mother. When I say that "you can't be a mother without childbirth" (debate city, I know), I don't mean that there isn't great love, great nurturing, great attachment possible. My Mom and I still have a close relationship and she is my "MOM", all I've ever known, and loved. She's my son's "Grandma" and a great one at that. I pray for her daily and nag her to take care of herself and get massages! lol (She has arthritis). I secretly worry about her and don't want to ever lose her. She's the one who is always there for me. And always has been. For years I wore myself out worrying, actually. But I have had to reprioritize after my son was born because of the energy needed. And I just have to trust God to take care of her, and all my family. The last three years, God has been answering my prayer to learn how to TRUST, because I was helpless, and should have learned that years ago. Tears.

Adoption decrees state that when an adoptive parent adopts a child, that legally that child is "as if" born to the adoptive parents. "As if" is the key. Might as well say, "as if, but not", because that is what it implies. There are DIFFERENCES inherent from the get-go ~ and the healthy approach is to realize, acknowledge, and be proactive in those differences in an adoptive family. The adoptive parent has to grieve the fact that this child IS NOT their biological child ~ the adoptee must (at some point in their life) grieve that their new parents are NOT their biological parents ~ and of course, the natural mother has grief too. And not just surface grief that can be dealt with in a couple of counseling sessions, either. This is life-long stuff.

I think this blog can seem harsh, and I'm sorry. It is just the result of years of being "quiet" inside, and then finally realizing and grieving the pain society had not allowed this adoptee to express or even conciously feel. I have so many other aspects of life that I could be writing about, and hopefully will. But the blog is focused on these passionate issues that I live with personally, every day. Every day I navigate feelings of "family", identity, loss, gain, bringing them all together ~ (Holidays can be crazy) ~ because I have two families ~ and that doesn't include inlaws, outlaws, and friends! Adoptees work extremely hard at trying not to step on anyones toes. This blog is an outlet.

I've heard it said that adoption loss emotion is comparable to trying to untangle a huge ball of yarn, without knowing the beginning or end. And it is so true...


Anonymous said...

So beautifully written. Your attitude about both of your families is so refreshing. I feel the same way about both of my families, but many times get "put in my place" by other bloggers when I try to express the positive that I experienced with my adoption. Yes..I do have feelings of grief of what could have been or maybe should have been, but now I am happy with the blending of both of my families. You expressed all my feelings and I thank you. Hannah

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful post, and encouraging too, because I have been feeling like this whole adoption thing ahs really messed with my faith in God - and I really need to hear what you say because I feel a bit lost. If I am not who my adoptive parents want me to be, who am I supposed to be? And why did this happen? I feel like Ive been walking in a valley.

Anyway, I want to say thank God for your faith. Its so good to know there is another adoptee thinking about the same things I do.