Saturday, December 5, 2015

Confessions of an Adoptee

I often feel like a poster child for the Lifetime Movie Network. 

I'm serious. 

Adoption. 
Addiction. 
Cancer. 
Divorce. 
Death

I've dealt with it all and I bring a pretty unique perspective to all things and will never, ever think like the normal adult. 

I feel like I become the spokesperson for whatever issue is at the forefront of my day. 

Being my family, being my friend is not an easy task because of that list up there. 

Today is no exception. 

Yes, it's my birthday. 

Yes, I've had some pretty amazing birthday's. (This is one of my all-time favorites!) 

Before adulthood, I LOVED my birthday. I have to admit I got some pretty incredible birthday surprises. It was a day that I celebrated and couldn't wait for each year. 

Then, I grew up. I started asking more and more about my birth parents and the circumstances surrounding my adoption. 

I did not expect to be met with anger and yelling and accusations of not loving my parents. 

All day today I've been trying to figure out why this day now brings me sadness. Last year I just thought it was because my mom had recently passed. Everyone was quick to chime in on that being the reason, so I accepted it and I moved on. 

This year I'm realizing more and more that it's because not only am I grieving a mom that isn't here, I'm also still grieving a mom and a family that I never knew. And with the death of my mom last year, many of the details I sought also died with her. 

I'm speaking out today because all I've ever heard my entire life was "You're so lucky." "You are so special." "You are so loved." "You were so wanted." "You should be so thankful."

And then when I did start having questions soon after my first child was born, I was made to feel like my questions were invalid and not as important as what the family that raised me was feeling. I was told I was being disrespectful and unloving by asking those questions. 

I began feeling like something was very much wrong with me. 

So, I sat with that. 

For a LONG time.

I was caught between wanting to know more and being afraid of hurting those that raised me. I did not bring up my adoption ever again. I did seek out information on my own and know a few of the steps it will take to get some details, but then Jace got sick and my focus became cancer. 

Here's the deal. You can read all about the families that adopt. You can read about amazing reunions between birth parents and children. But I rarely hear from the adoptees themselves. It seems that their voice is the most overlooked and ignored. 

Adoptions have changed a lot in 40 years. I have special friends who have amazing families and are amazing parents to children who've been adopted. Their stories warm my heart. 

I do want to say is that just because a child is adopted or has been adopted doesn't mean that they aren't going to have questions or might wrestle with feelings that are scary.

It doesn't mean that they won't be silently grieving a loss. 
It doesn't mean they are ungrateful. 
It doesn't mean they love those they are with any less. 

Birthdays can be hard just because it's a reminder of loss and unanswered questions.
Birthdays can be hard because they bring up abandonment issues and feelings of anger. 

Next time you are wishing someone "Happy Birthday" remember that there could be a lot of emotions wrapped up in that one simple phrase. 

Research has shown that many adoptees have built walls around themselves to keep others from getting too close. They may hide behind perfectionism, achievement, and self-sufficiency. 

I am no exception to this and constantly struggle with letting those walls weaken. My faith definitely helps with that because despite what I know about my earthly parents I still know WHOSE I am. 

39 years and He is still writing my story . . .


xoxo