Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

Searching within self

My friend Wraith asked some very probing questions over on his blog tonight. I thought I’d give the ones asked of adoptees some consideration and see where I’m at today. I know my answers today are very different than they would have been a few months ago when I first started on this path. By answering them today, I give myself an opportunity to look back at my responses in a few months and see what (if anything) has changed for me again.

Are you sure adoption hasn't had an impact?
If someone had asked me this a year ago, I probably would have insisted it did not. I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of being defined by something which was outside of my immediate control. I really had to learn that nothing can define me except “me” before I felt I could safely take out this thing called “adoption” and turn it over in my hands, examining it, looking at it, questioning who I wish to be in relation to this part of my life experience. I read something early on where the author said that adoption is not a chronic condition, it is actually a one-time event. I think I go back and forth on this one. Adoption, in the truest sense, is a legal proceeding. So is marriage and divorce and bankruptcy. If I get married, it becomes part of my identity – “a married woman.” But I can choose to become something else. I can choose become “a divorced woman.” Then I can choose to again become “a married woman.” This actually describes the last 15 years of my life. Technically, I did not stop being a divorced woman even when I got married again – I am still divorced from my first husband. I might go bankrupt one year, literally, through the courts. A few years later, maybe I win the lottery. Then I’m no longer bankrupt, but I was at one time and, in fact, for at least 7 years my credit report will say I was bankrupt. So how much do those legal proceedings impact my identity? How much do they define “who I am”? I think the answer is, “only as much as I allow them to.” Is it the same with adoption? I would think so, but it sure seems hard to put that into practice. Perhaps because I was so young when I “became” the thing we call adopted. I don’t really know. I do believe that I’ve been affected by my adoption. What I don’t know is how much.

Are you sure you don't have any issues at all from adoption?
No, I’m not sure of that at all. Then again, I’m not sure I do have issues specifically from adoption. They might just as easily be the result of my childhood in general. One thing I do know is that I’m not looking for something to “blame” for my issues. At most, I’d like to find the root of them so I can work forward from there. I don’t believe blame is necessary for that to happen.

Are you sure you don't want to search?
At one time in my life, I had no interest in searching. Then I thought maybe I did. I was in my very early 20’s. Then I think I got talked out of it, mostly. And for more years, figured I didn’t want to. When I started this journey, I still wasn’t sure. But now, what I actually think is that I was afraid to search. Afraid of the answers I might find. I turned that fear into denial. I can’t do that anymore. Searching and, in fact, finding has become extremely important to me now.

Are you sure you don't have anger or fear concerning your birth family?
No, I’m not sure. I’ve always said I am more interested in finding my siblings than I am in finding my birth parents. I think again, this is wrapped up in fear and probably in some buried resentment. My siblings are “blameless” as it were. They had no choice in these decisions just as I had no choice. I don’t consciously feel anger towards my birth parents, but I can’t look at my attitudes objectively and say “there is no anger there.” Because objectively, I think there probably is.

Do you understand that you are not alone?
I do now. I felt very alone before I met my “blogging buddies” and those I’ve met from the group Wraith started. I don’t feel that way now.

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February 6, 2006 - Posted by | Adoption Void

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