December 25, 2008

"Am Adopted" or "Was Adopted" ???

 

I've heard adopted parents argue that their child "was" adopted, but that it no longer defines them. 
It was simply "the way" their child "joined the family". 
 
"Being adopted" is a huge part of my on-going identity and affects all my relationships. 
 
I spent Christmas with my adoptive family, but recently saw my birth family. 
I am thinking about my birth family today celebrating Christmas together and I'm not with them. 
It doesn't negate the Christmas I had with my adoptive family and the love. 
But it defines me, acknowledges loss, and requires a lot of mental energy.

My brothers are together celebrating Christmas with their children & (our) father.
My son is missing out on precious memories with his biological cousins, aunts & uncles, and his Papa. All the while we enjoyed Christmas with my son's beloved Grandma (my Mother ~ adoptive). Yet in the corners of my mind the absence of those precious memories my son is missing (and I missed as a child & continue to miss) with the family of our very blood is lost.

It makes me want to cry ~ and yet I ask myself "Why"? ~ When I had/have a(nother) family? One who loves us. These are just a small sampling of the myriad of emotions and thoughts that travel through this reunited adoptee's heart and head minute by minute by minute...on Christmas especially, but not just today.

It is tiring. And maddening. And sad. I AM adopted.
 
 It didn't stop the day the papers were signed and I joined my "new" family.
 It didn't erase my very identity, heritage, being, genealogy, inherent personality and desires.
 It just put them "on hold" for awhile while the "amended" me was formed.
Like a "blast from the past" the "real" me searched and found and froze and embraced and repelled and analyzed and finally felt...again. 

Kind of like my 3 yr old's favorite bedtime video ~ Cookie Monster Goes to the Moon.
Alone on a rocket ship he flies through the star-filled sky. When he finally reaches his destination, he eats the Moon, only to find himself in the dark. The next scene is complete darkness, with only his wobbly eyes bouncing to and fro. Every night it is the same conversation:
My son, in a concerned voice, yells ~ "He broke his eyes!"
Me, in as comforting voice I can muster ~ "No, Honey, his eyes are fine, it is just dark, cause he ate the moon and the light is out".
And every night I think ~ maybe tonight will be the night he "gets it"!
But no ~ not yet. I'll keep explaining as creatively as I can!

My "adoptive status" is kind of like that story ~ I keep trying to "grasp" the whole emotional motherload, but it may take a few more trips to the moon! 

My precious 3 yr old: "I AM Andrew"
Me: "I AM adopted"

This year has definately been the GREATEST Christmas I've had ~ just to see my son's eyes light up at the sound of jingle bells from Rudolph on the housetop last night!
Singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus in candlelight while all sitting on the living-room floor together. 
 
Putting cookies and milk out for Santa & Rudolph and then eating all but one before bedtime. (This is a huge feat for us, since my son has oral aversions from being in the NICU so long on a vent). I will never complain while cleaning up cookie crumbs again! Thank God for every one.
 
And of course, opening presents today was awesome.
 Even the hour it took to get the "Underwater Rescue Diego Megablocks" together! 

With all the stresses of developmental delays, low-frustration tolerance, oral aversions, attachment, and sensory issues ~ which equate to messy kitchen floors, Mom & Dad learning to eat in less than 5 minutes, anxiety & meltdowns ~ the JOY I feel as the Mother of a miracle child who has the smile and laughter of an angel ~ is overwhelming.  
 
Experiencing "normal" family life with my own flesh and blood.  Nothing can describe.
 
 He makes me a better person and I love him with all my heart. 

It's emotionally vulnerable to "blog" my most precious emotions for all to read.   
 
 
To top it all off I happened to catch a Dr. Phil show (about reunions) this afternoon.
Adoptive Mother MEETS First Mother while young-adult twin sons watch speechless. 

The pinnacle quote was from Dr. Feel to a newly reunited adoptee as he sat crying...
 
"Isn't it wonderful to be able to be a blessing to so many people?"

Where is the validation of the adoptee's tears, emotions, or realized loss when he finally meets his family of birth?
 
No where.
Instead, just as in all of society, the emphasis remains on how the adoptee affects other's happiness.  
 
 I personally believe the reason this is so, is because society is SCARED of acknowledging the profound loss of the adoptee ~ they sense the primal wound, and are too scared to venture that close, for fear they may realize their own frailty.

That show just topped off "a pint full of ice scream" kind of day...AFTER the Christmas brunch!

6 comments:

Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

Dr. Phil is the pinnacle of obtuse. He'd make me run for the christmas cookies

珊珊李 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mama Bear said...

The "is" vs "was" concept is one I always question when talking about adoption. Thanks so much for your perspective and your honesty.

Sarah PuffinDiaries said...

Honest and insightful post, especial as a parent of adopted children. There is so much we can learn from adult adoptees who are willing to share their experiences so thank you and thank you for also sharing on #WASO

Sarah PuffinDiaries said...

Honest and insightful post, especial as a parent of adopted children. There is so much we can learn from adult adoptees who are willing to share their experiences so thank you and thank you for also sharing on #WASO

Nicole said...

This is a BRAVE post. Thank you!!!