As an adoptee friend likes to remind me, we can never wake up and not be adopted. It’s ongoing, it’s life long, and our relationships in reunion reflect that…– Laura Dennis, Adoption Reunion in the Age of Social Media LINK
The simple fact I have two names on the blog header influences me greatly. I’m an adoptee for life… I have no other choice. I’ve slowly had to become “myself” and meld two names in my brain as the “old me” and the “new me.”
Is it all bad being a two/named adoptee? Heck no. I’d rather be living the truth than a lie. It’s probably more confusing to you readers who are not adopted. I have reunited with both sides of my bloodline – my first family are no longer a mystery. My ancestry is a giant tree, blooming with branches of real names and real people.
Reminder to non-adopted people: Adoption REALLY hurts! It’s not like you can snap your fingers and BOOM, you (the adoptee) are all better! I worked on myself for years. Opening by adoption was just the beginning when I was 22.
If I were to go back in time and be myself in the 80s and 90s, I was not a happy girl. (Plus I am really sad at how isolated I was.) I was determined and destined to work out my kinks and fix (dare I say) my emotional disturbance. I needed answers to fix that. Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s I definitely knew I wasn’t well! I really knew. I was very sick emotionally! The good part is I found help! (The bad part is how therapy back then didn’t focus on being an adoptee…) Therapy was a tiny band-aid for a soul injury. Only TRUTH can heal that.
Being emotionally disturbed, my actions (or lack of actions) were hurting ME. It was the adoption fog. I was not myself – I felt dead, flat, numb, confused, split. I had to find my parents and find my identity – period. Doing that was the hard part. (There was no easy part.)
I made choices then I would never make now. With low self-esteem… I didn’t back away, or know how to defend myself. I didn’t think I could. I didn’t trust anyone or myself!
Being adopted (for me at least) created a soul sickness, stress and anxiety. (And my not-so-nice OCD: obsessive compulsive disorder). (You can read One Small Sacrifice for that scary period of my OCD)
After many years I recovered. This took more reading than writing, and of course talk therapy, though writing in a journal helped immensely. I made safe boundaries for myself and finally walked away from sick people and toxic relationships. That took a very long time, believe me! I evolved slowly from victim to survivor! (You open your adoption and go into a reunion and find yourself slowly healing.)
History itself influences many adoptees like me and my Aussie friend Murray, a late discovery adoptee (LDA). It’s vital to understand how this mess of adoption started and what happened in history. Murray posted about bastards and baby farms in his blog post: http://murraykerry.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/a-laymans-view-of-societal-attitudes-to.html – I will add that there is definitely a stigma to being an adoptee in the US but I will save that for a new post on this blog.
It’s true that I am not the same person I was when I wrote One Small Sacrifice either – that was Trace. That should tell you something about how much I have changed since 2012!
I am the point now where I don’t even want to write or talk about being adopted. It’s the past. I’m more Lara than Trace and it’s time to be happy! I am there. I am happy! But I realize my hard-won happiness can serve as a lesson for other adoptees who are less fortunate than me. There are plenty of adoptees who are just beginning their search, healing and putting the pieces together. They need good examples of adoptees who have gone full circle and made the journey home! I did it and know many others who did too!
If someone adopted asked me now how to recover and feel better, I’d say, “You can make better choices if you really pay attention. Find help. Get therapy focused on adoption. Find your family. Do all the DNA tests if your adoption records are sealed…”
There were healthy people in my life the whole time, when I was sick and now today. They had a big influence on me. I’m pretty sure they waited patiently for me to walk out of the fog, recover from my loss, heal my inner wounds, my confusion and my primal pain.
No one assisted me in opening my adoption, or offered any advice on how to go into a reunion. I took that journey alone. The journey, the search, the waiting, is part of healing yourself in a big way. BUT I know for sure that finding other adoptees to support you before and during reunion helps, too. Books can influence you and help you too — like Adoption Reunion in the Age of Social Media and the new book ADOPTIONLAND. (I wrote a chapter in both.)
The only one who can change your world and heal you is YOU! Not me, not your parents, not your husband or wife, not a book – YOU!
And if you adoptees need support, advice and an ear, I’m here: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG NOTE: I will be posting about the new anthology CALLED HOME (Book 2: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) very soon. It’s an amazing haunting collection of Native adoptee narratives that will change history! We are about a week away from publication!
We set up a blog for Media here.