Don't look away
I opened up Facebook today to see this quote posted from Brene Brown. Oh dear Brene, how many times have you nailed it for what my adoptee heart feels? How many times in my life have I felt the weight of those who have looked down, instead of meeting my eyes, meeting my heart when it comes to adoption?
I said: I thought of my biological family my entire life.
They said: think about all your adoptive family has done for you.
I said: I need to feel loved.
You said: God planned my separation from my family.
I said: I prayed that my family would not have let me go.
You said: We prayed that she wouldn't change her mind.
I said: Adoption was my GREATEST wound.
You said: #adoptionrocks
I told my story through raw vulnerability and tears.
You told my story at entertainment value, a fairytale with only happy beginnings and endings.
I showed you real life experiences, statistics, and scientific data on trauma.
You called me ANGRY and dismissed me.
When my father in law became very ill from cancer and passed away about 5 years ago, we felt buried in grief. There was a pain that ingulfed our family, and we felt so alone. My father in law was larger than life, and didn't understand the definition of a stranger. He loved tinkering with cars, particularly Fiero's. He belonged to a Fiero Car Club and loved the connection and community he found with these people who became friends. They dined out together, went to car shows together, and even vacationed together. I would guess it was the aspect of finding your tribe and loving them well that attracted him to such a group. My inlaws lived in Omaha, Nebraska which is 3 1/2 hours away from our home. Our friends didn't know my father in law. They didn't know what a loving man he was, they didn't know his favorite pastimes, they didn't know his wife, his other children, his sibilings. Here's what they did know. They knew how to show up in the middle of our pain. When I called and said I had put together a prayer blanket to send to my father inlaw while he went through several rounds of chemo, they showed up. They kneeled on my living room floor, clutching that blanket, and prayed with us while tears rolled down our face. It felt beautiful to not be alone. When he passed away, we never expected our friends to drive 3 1/2 hours to attend a funeral for a man they never knew. They showed up because they loved us and wanted to ease our pain. I will never forget that feeling or what they did for us. They could have easily stayed home. Maybe say something cliché like " God needed him more", but they knew that's bullshit. They know God doesn't need us, but on the contrary we need God, and sometimes that comes in the form of people who show up. Even when it's hard. Even when it would have been easier to look away.
Life is messy, but don't look away. Don't pretend to not see hurt. Find the people who can look you in the eye. And remember, today you might say " I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, but most adopted people are happy",...but what if 5 years, ten years, forty years down the road your child says
Don't look away
Don't pretend to not see the hurt.
Even when the pain is overwhelming.
Adoptee Out Loud