Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

Primal Wound

I received my copy of “Primal Wound.” I’ve read only the first few pages of it, but already, I find much with which I can identify. I don’t expect to agree with everything I read, but it really surprised me to hear so many of my own feelings and behaviors spelled out so clearly by someone else. I wonder if most adoptees experience as strong a sense of wonderment whenever they find others who feel and experience what they do. Are we so conditioned to ‘not’ seeing ourselves in those around us that when we do, it’s more surprising to us than to non-adoptees? I don’t know. I just find it fascinating to read the words of other adoptees which all say the same thing: “I was so surprised that others felt like me.”

There are others books about adoption I’ve seen recommended and I’ll be checking them out after the holidays. I think I’ll try and do reviews on them as I complete them. There is so much information out there, yet it seems little of it is compiled all in one place. I can dig through dozens of discussion forums and thousands of posts looking for what I want, but that is literally taking me hours. I’m hoping that if I can pull that information together in one space, it will help others on their own journeys, and maybe save them a lot of time. The largest resource I’ve come across is a corporate-owned site. While I appreciate that they try to be helpful, I tend to distrust the potential for corporate agenda, particularly as it relates to something so emotionally charged.

December 20, 2005 Posted by | General | 1 Comment

“I have yet to find the shelf inside my soul all of this belongs on.”

Another adoptee I've met on the message board for the Chosen Babies website said this in a post today. Thank you, Mia, for your permission to quote you!
It struck me as an extremely accurate description of what has been happening to me. And obviously, it feels very good to have someone else voicing my own feelings. It's yet another acknowledgment that I am not alone in feeling this way.
On a conscious level, I know that I am not alone in my feelings. Every day, I come across posts where someone makes a statement which exactly mirrors what I've felt about various situations or issues. And yet, it's easy to slip into that space where I feel isolated or feel that no one can possibly understand.
I see how hard my husband tries to 'get it.' Since he knows he can't, he simply does the next best thing by supporting me in all ways.
I know just how lucky I am in that.

December 14, 2005 Posted by | Adoption Void | Leave a comment

Why are we apologizing for our emotions?

So again, I've spent a good portion of time reading on various adoption discussion forums. I continually come across statements similar to the following:

  • "I know I am being dramatic and at 31 years of age should be able to put the anger behind me. I'm working on it." – from a woman expressing anger towards her birth father and adoptive mother.
  • "I feel dramatic about it too, I'll be 27 in a couple of months and I feel like I'm living in the past"
  • "I know I should get over this."
  • "I realize I should just let this go."
  • "I know this is irrational."

Why on earth are we minimalizing our emotions like this? Why are we buying into the idea that our emotions are trivial, or as if we have no right to feel what we feel?
Who says? Who made up these rules and why do we feel we have to follow them? Who gave 'them' that right?

It sure as hell wasn't me. I doubt it was any of you, either.

The hell with the rules. These are our emotions, our feelings, and we are entitled to them.

If you catch me apologizing or making excuses for what I'm feeling, kick me in the pants, will you?

December 13, 2005 Posted by | Adoption Void | 2 Comments

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

"In all of us there is a hunger, narrow and deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from.
Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning.
No matter what our attainments in life, there is a vacuum, an emptiness and a most disquieting loneliness!"
– Alex Haley, Author

"Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful"
– The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE

December 13, 2005 Posted by | Adoption Void | Leave a comment

This is unexpected

I suppose I should not be surprised, and yet, I find that I am. I realized earlier this evening that I am feeling more than a little angry that no one seems to be looking for me. Yes, I realize this completely conflicts with my stated stance that I'm not even sure I want to find my birth family. I'm a mass of contradictions about this whole thing, it seems. One moment, I manage to convince myself that I am indifferent about the outcome of this process. "What will be will be." The next, I am caught up in the stories of other people, and imagining what my own story might look like once I've reached the end. I think all of these adoption websites are having a bad influence on me. LOL

I have to say how fortunate I am to have my husband. I may be a mass of contradictions, but he is steadfastly supportive of me, even while I'm in the midst changing my mind. I've no idea why he puts up with this from me! But I'm certainly glad he does. He is incredible. We have this amazing connection with each other. Given the instability I've experienced through most of my life, my marriage constantly surprises me. Tonight, I had to run into the grocery store to pick up a few items. I'd asked him if he needed anything, he said no. So as I'm walking through the aisles, I ended up in the stationary section and for some reason, picked up a pack of mechanical pencils, thinking I'd use them for the little houses I draw.

We get home and I'm putting away my purchases when I pull out the pencils. I tossed them to him and said, "Here, you asked for these, right?" He smiled and said, "Not out loud I didn't." That kind of thing happens with us all the time.

It makes me wonder if this is something special between he and I, or if this is something that many in my birth family seem to experience.

That's always a question, isn't it? "Is this just me, or is this something I got from…"

Music. Music I know I got from my birth father. According to my non-id, my birth father was musically talented. As I recall, he either taught music at the college level or graduated from a music college. I'll know more when I get a new copy of the non-id and can review it again. Oddly enough, I remember when I was little and still working hard at my music, my adoptive father always wanted to take credit for it. "She gets that from me. I used to play piano." Sorry, old man, that didn't come from you. No, what came from you was a low self-esteem and very little recognition of my having any inherent value in existing. Quite the legacy.

Fortunately, with the love of my husband, I've begun getting over that. As you can tell, I'm not there yet. Baby steps.

The more I write, the more I realize how messed up my thinking is. The more I realize how deeply some of this goes. So deep that I often don't know what I'm feeling, or maybe so deep that the reason my feelings seem so inconsistent is because I'm working through layers. Somewhere at the bottom maybe I'll discover how I really feel. I don't even know most of the time.

If anyone does read any of this, please don't take anything I say as an absolute, even if it seems I'm saying something absolutely. I think the only thing I can say that is 100% accurate all the time is, "I Love My Husband." Everything else is subject to change on a moments notice.

You've been warned. LOL

December 13, 2005 Posted by | Adoption Rants, Adoption Void | 1 Comment

Double plunge for the price of one

I took two plunges today, and I’m not sure what drove me to take them both at the same time.

First, I called ChildServ aka Lake Bluff for information on reobtaining my non-identifying information. I had it about 15 years ago, but lost the file during a move. I’d like to have it again even though I remember much of what it said. Oddly, when I called and told the receptionist what I was calling about, she transferred me to the voice mail for Human Resources. I’m wondering if she didn’t understand what I was seeking. I’ve not received a call back, so I’ll try again tomorrow.

Second, I posted my DOB on an adoption forum. I’ll probably try and put myself in their registry as well. I have a lot of trust in the Universe. While I may not yet be ready to ‘find’ them, I guess maybe I’m open to being found. At least on some level. Baby steps.

I’ve been going back and reading the archives on the adoption forum. I suppose I’m looking to see if anyone is looking for me. I’m on page 36 of 75. I’ve read a few stories of reunions gone bad, and some of reunions that went well for everyone. I find it sad that one of the few blogs that relate to adoption on the blogspot search engine is a blog done by a cousin of someone who is adopted and thinks his adopted cousin is spoiled. This guy speaks very authoritatively about adoptees, using a lot of generalities. Too bad he is so far off the mark so much of the time.

Since I’m using a Gmail email account, Google has given me invitations to give away to others allowing them to create free Gmail accounts. I think I’m going to offer these to adoptees. Given a few of the ‘horror stories’ I came across, there is certainly something to be said for maintaining a level of anonimity until you’re ready. So if you are an adoptee, drop me an email if you want an invitation so you can create a Gmail account to use in your search.

As I was writing my DOB post on the adoption forum, I was thinking “what are the chances someone in my birth family will see this?” I think I’ve mentioned before that it’s entirely possible that no one but my birth mother and her parents even knows I exist. However, I would not doubt that my older siblings use the internet and computers with some proficiency. There is no way to say this without it sounding as if I’m bragging, so I’m just not going to worry about ‘how’ it sounds: I am of above average intelligence. My IQ is 165. According to my non-id information, my parents were also of above average intelligence. Ergo, it is likely my siblings were as well. This bodes well for the possibility of them utilizing the internet as a tool. Which means that IF they know about me and IF they desire to find me, it’s likely they will employ similar methods.

Then again, I tend to be a procrastinator. If they share that trait, this process could take us a lifetime. LOL

Well, what will be will be. At the very least, the journey should be interesting.

December 12, 2005 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

A letter to my friends

As I’ve been considering what I want to share on this blog, it ocurred to me that some of what I write here is likely going to be very surprising to my friends. I think they are going to be surprised to learn that I am not the person I seem to be, surprised at the mask I show to the world compared to how I feel inside. I appear to be outgoing. I am not. I appear to have it all together. I do not. I appear to have control over my life. I do not.

I am writing this blog in part because I desire to be the person I appear to be on the surface. I want to stop hiding behind this mask of self-assurance which really does not reflect how I feel on the inside. I’m hoping that my friends can be patient with me as I work through this process. I’m all too good at sabotaging friendships. That’s part of the reason I want to work through this process. I’m tired of caring about people while unconsciously doing things to push them away from me. They don’t deserve that kind of treatment and neither do I.

December 8, 2005 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Legacy of an adopted child

For years I've seen this poem floating around the internet always attributed to "author unknown." It drives me insane. And no, I didn't write it. But I remember the first time I saw it in print, in "Teen" Magazine, back in the early 1980's in their "Poetry Corner." I kept a copy of the poem for years and there most definitely was an author. I believe her name was Peggy or Patty. One of these days I am going to find an old copy of the magazine and find out for sure. The author was another adopted teen who submitted her poem to the magazine. The other thing that bugs me is that it's often misquoted. I've had this poem embedded in my heart for over 20 years.

I want that woman to know that I have not forgotten what she wrote and I haven't forgotten her.

Legacy of an adopted child

Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call mother.

Two different lives shaped to make yours one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first gave you life, the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for Love, the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you the seed for talent, the other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first smile, the other dried your tears.

One gave you up, it was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child and was led straight to you.

And now you ask me through your tears
the age old question through the years,

"Heredity or environment, which am I the product of?"

Neither my darling, neither,
Just two different kinds of Love.

December 7, 2005 Posted by | Adoption Void | 33 Comments

Well here we are

So it looks like I’ve got the site arranged as best I can for now. The more I consider this project I’m undertaking, the more I begin to consider that I may want to do this on my own domain. I’ll be keeping that in mind as a possibility in the future. I don’t like not having control of the ‘back office’ when it comes to websites, software and the like. In addition, if I end up with any significant number of readers, it may be that having a discussion forum for adoptees will become advantageous. I’ll wait and see how this progresses.

I was mentioning to my husband the other night how strange it seems to me that my adoption has only been in the forefront of my mind in recent years. I’d say that prior to around the time I turned 30 or so, my prevailing attitude was “Yeah, I’m adopted. So?” And I only really thought about it when someone else brought up the subject. Since I only started looking at websites relating to adoptees in the past few weeks, I am at least assured that the onset of this issue (or whatever it is) is not related to the influence of other people. However, I can’t say I really understand yet why it has become such an issue for me in the last few years. I guess I’ve been looking at my behaviors and wondering what they are rooted in, and the only thing that seems to make sense is my adoption and what came after.

I was adopted at birth into a family who had other adopted children. My adoptive father was sterile, my adoptive mother wanted kids, and so they contacted an agency and began the process. They adopted us in two year increments. Kind of like getting a new car every two years, I guess. Maybe when they adopted us they really did want us, or at least thought they did, but as the years went by, that seemed to change. At least as far as my adoptive father was concerned. I can still hear him telling us that we were “taking away from” his time with our mother, or “I only agreed to this because your mother wanted you.” What a way to set a kid up for a lifetime of feeling rejected. My birthmother didn’t want me and neither did he. How lovely. Follow that up by throwing me out of the house when I was 17, and you’ve pretty much guarenteed a lifetime of abandonment issues to boot. Way to go, dad.

I used to try and convince myself that I had no “unresolved issues” with my father or mother. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. My father died several years ago. I haven’t spoken to my mother in years either. It’s hard to admit that I’m still angry, even harder to admit I’m still hurting, and worse to recognize that I am choosing to continue to let this affect my life and not doing anything about it. So I guess another function behind this blog is to do something about it. I’m hoping that if I can finally get myself to be honest about what i’m feeling that I can deal with it, again with the ultimate goal of choosing for myself who I am going to be for the rest of my life. I don’t want to continue being who I’ve been.

December 7, 2005 Posted by | General | 1 Comment

Hello and welcome

I’m working on getting this blog set up. I don’t much care for a lot of the ‘default’ settings in the templates, so I’ll be working on configuring the style sheets to fit the atmosphere I want to create here.

In the meantime, as an opening post, I just want to say that I am surprised at the lack of quality (and regularly updated) sites relating to issues adoptees may face. There are a number of sites who make a good effort, and I will be linking to them in the sidebar in the near future. But what I have noticed is that nearly every site is multi-purpose, addressing issues on behalf of birth parents, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, etc. Ultimately, however, adoption’s greatest impact is on the adopted child. I’m sure a surrendering parent would disagree, as might an adoptive parent, but from where I’m sitting, I can’t help but consider the fact that each of these groups made a choice at some point in the process. The only ones without a choice are the children. We live with the choices made by others for our entire lives.

I’ve read over a few of the discussion forums and blogs for and by adoptees. I’ve noticed a distinct trend of adoptees who are ‘at peace’ with their status being extremely vocal in denigrating those adoptees who have not ‘found peace’ with their status. “It doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother you.” The few other adoptees I’ve known in my life have had similar opinions. Since they do not feel a void in their life, or feel as though they are missing a vital connection, they cannot seem to comprehend how anyone else can feel that way.

Then you have the adoptive parents who feel terribly threatened by the child’s desire to learn more about where they came from. Some of the horror stories I’ve read are enough to curl your toes. I actually read a post from a woman who said, “my kid would be nothing without me. He owes me.”

Owes you for the fact that YOU made a decision in which the child had no say?

I don’t think so.

I’ll admit that one stings a bit. My adoptive father had that attitude.

And that’s what this blog is going to be about. A 35 year journey to define myself. Not based on who gave birth to me, not based on who raised me, but based on who I am going to choose to be for the rest of my life. I feel like I’ve let someone else define me for the first 35 years. I’ll be damned if someone else is going to define me for the next 35.

I’ll be sharing my own experiences as an adoptee. And sharing the process I’m going through of making a decision about contacting my birth family. Somewhere out there, according to the non-identifying information provided by the agency who handled my adoption, I have 5 older brothers and sisters who do not even know I exist. I’m certainly curious about them. Whether that curiosity is enough for me to feel justified inserting myself in their life remains to be seen.

This blog will serve a two-fold purpose. I hope that it will prove to be a source of information and support to other adoptees who may be experiencing their own void. More importantly, I hope it will prove to be a space for me to figure out who it is I am going to choose to be for the rest of my life.

December 7, 2005 Posted by | General | Leave a comment