I was forty years old before I ever honestly spoke about my adoption feelings. Why you may ask? I was loyal to my adoptive family. They had taken me in after all, and I should be grateful. The truth is I am thankful and full of love for my family, but no differently had I'd been their biological daughter. I kept all of my feelings to myself, because I'd rather spare my family any pain than be honest with my emotions. And then reunion happened and all of these bottled up emotions were like a dam that burst. What to do with this hurricane of emotion? I sat down and wrote. I gave myself permission to let the words come out, and it felt so good to be honest.
I felt this desire to let my wounds heal not only myself, but those who know what its like to sit in these adoptee feelings, and also to help those raising adopted children. I would never go jump out of an airplane thinking I know everything about skydiving because I love and desire to know how to skydive. No! I would seek an instructor who has actually been skydiving, right?
I've spent the last couple of days in some heavy conversations from each side of the adoption triads, We've talked about God's plan, open adoption, birth mother's rights, relinquishment. Conversation is GOOD, but so often we let our own hang up and insecurities stifle the progress of the conversation. I'm guilty of this myself and I'm trying to stop, take a deep breath and think before I speak. Seek to understand, and know that my junk is my own. How someone relates to or doesn't relate to my junk is out of my control.
Today in a post it was said by an adoptive mom " lately in the adoption community, it feels the adoptive parent voice is silenced." I know when I read it, I saw red. I'll admit I'm still unpacking this statement. For so long the adoptive parent voice, was the ONLY voice you heard, and still today it's the only voice that is fully accepted by the outsider looking in. This same adoptive mother was featured on the well known social platform Love What Matters telling their journey of adopting their girls. Do you know how many times I'm scrolling through Facebook and another story of adoption is being featured on Love What Matters? And whose voice do you think they are featuring? I took a deep breath, took a pause, and thought about how this mother must be feeling to write a post about how she feels as an adoptive mother, that she can't say anything right or has to push her feelings aside, and I began to see another side. A mother desperate to be understood. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but this I could look her straight into her eyes and say I SEE YOU.
How do we get to a place of putting down our white flags of surrender, and say how can I seek to understand? I've had beautiful, open conversations full of grace and understanding from all walks of adoption and some not so beautiful conversations. It's exhausting, isn't it? Many of us would never choose to be in the role we are had we been given different choices...different paths to walk. The adoptive mother who knows life would be less complex for her child and herself if they were born from her. The birthmother who would never plan motherhood looking the way it does. And the adoptee who wished she didn't know what it feels like to wrestle with what it means to be "placed." Sometimes sorting all of these emotions feels like sifting through a litter box, and you're just left with sh#t. I can't stay unpacked in that sh#t!.There's work to be done, and it begins with ME
The badass in me, sees the badass in you- Namaste!
I give you permission to speak
I give you permission to have gratitude
I give you permission to grieve
I give you permission to be loved
I give you permission to be understood
I give you permission to lament
I give you permission to unpack that sh#t and keep moving
I give you permission to say it OUT LOUD
Adoptee Out Loud... some days this title seems laughable and maybe even a tad bit shameful. The title would make one believe, I was holding nothing back. I was loud and proud! The truth is Instagram and blogging are my safety net and so far I am in control of who I let in.
Remember that scene in A Few Good Men. where Jack Nicholson screams " YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!'
I suppose I feel the same way when it comes to protecting my loved ones. My adoptive family, my biological family, my friends who have adopted children, and my adopted friends who tell their story differently.
So many times on Facebook, I see fellow adoptees who I deeply respect share their points of view on adoption, God and adoption, trauma and adoption, family preservation and I want to chime in because I have a strong opinion. More importantly is the desire to be understood by those who love me, but I hesitate because I don't think they can handle the truth...my truth.
I don't want my adoptive parents to feel as if I don't love them or I am ungrateful. They are human and have faults like the rest of us, but they are my family and I love them deeply. I don't wish adoption on anyone because I know the aftermath, but I also can't imagine my life without my family.
I bite my tongue, in fear of placing anymore shame upon my biological mother or family. She has become an expert on stuffing her pain, and I don't think she is even capable of going there. The last thing I want to do, is to be the one to add more heartache. The truth is this inner turmoil is killing me. I need her to acknowledge my grief, but I'm not sure we will ever get there. My fear is we will always live on the surface.
To those friends "touched" by adoption I fear that you will see me as too dangerous as if my adoption clarity may rub off on you or your child. I'm afraid if I share my story, you will think I'm trying to tell your story.
Two years ago I faced more fears than I ever have in my entire life. I turned forty and in the same year I found and was reunited with my birth family. I had brave and truthful conversations with my adoptive family ( we NEVER talked about adoption before). Our President was outed for saying " grab em by the p@#*y", and it prompted me with a primal instinct to face the adoptive relative who abused me as a child and demand an apology ( and I got one). Thank you Mr. President for helping many find their voice in their outrage of "locker room talk" nonsense. I believe if you are looking for where did #metoo originate, there is your answer. In the same year, a fellow high school classmate private messaged me on Facebook with an apology of a sexual assault at a high school party. He wasn't involved, but he was there and he had lived with guilt that he never stepped in to stop what had happened. I don't know what prompted him some twenty years later to send me that, but he stated I deserved better and it made me weep. All of these years I have carried these attacks inside afraid that no one would believe me, and here I had confessions. I turned forty, and God was like...I'm going to show you that it's time to come out of hiding. Bam!
I think it's so funny that when I share about my adoption story, and people say I am brave, but I guess they are right, huh? As a society " we can't handle the truth." We want pretty stories, wrapped in bows, and told in a fairytale version. Life isn't always pretty, it isn't always neat and tidy. I used to say all of the time, I am such a hot mess...and the truth is I AM! But I now know that my mess is where I have felt closest to God, where I've met other beautiful souls, and one of the greatest teachers. It's where I've learned grace, forgiveness of not only others, but myself, and I'm learning to let go of the weight that was never meant for me to carry.