Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Adoptees

(Originally posted at Wordpress on 4/12/08)

How many times have you heard it?

"Well, my best friend's cousin's hairdresser is adopted, and she's perfectly happy about it!"

"I have had a great adoption experience...both my brothers were adopted!!"

"I have a couple of dear friends who were adopted, and both of them are so happy and well adjusted!"

They are everywhere, everybody knows at least one. The happy, well-adjusted adoptee. Your best friend, the hairdresser in the salon, the clerk in the grocery store. Always happy, never a complaint, they are the epitomy of well-adjustedness.

Just the other day, someone was telling me that every adoptee she knows (except for one, because he had a "bad experiece" with adoptive parents who lied to him so he doesn't count) is happy, well-adjusted and thankful.

But I wonder...for every person who has a story like this to tell, I have to wonder just whether or not these people have ever actually asked the adopted person how they actually feel. You know, sat down, had a heart-to-heart, gotten into those deep, dark recesses of the adoptee's soul where the adoptee ISN'T afraid of or tired of hearing "Oh but you had such GREAT ADOPTIVE PARENTS" or "BUT YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ABORTED!!" or "HOW COULD YOU HURT YOUR ADOPTIVE PARENTS LIKE THAT???" if they ever dare to speak a hint of their true feelings.

Ever done that? Have you ever even asked the adopted person how they feel?

Have you ever used those lines on them? You know, the be grateful, coulda been aborted, don't upset the AP's? Yeah? Hmpf, then don't expect to think that what you ever hear from the adoptee to be the truth.

I think that every single person that I know would probably tell you that I am happy and thankful to be adopted. Without a doubt in their mind, oh yeah, I'm one of those happy adoptees. I had super-terrific adoptive parents, a great upbringing, everything a kid could want.

But nobody has ever asked for the truth, and even if they did, I have no reason to give it.

Because how can you tell someone who doesn't know or understand, how it feels to know that your own mother gave you away? How can you explain that soul-crushing pain to an "outsider"?

Simple, you can't.

Happy that I was given away, my name was changed, my records sealed, and I am treated like a crime suspect for asking for them? Grateful because I can't even access a copy of my own birth certificate, grateful that I can never know if cancer runs in my family, or who my ancestors were, or where my screwy curly hair comes from or find out why I get debilitating migraines?

No, I am not grateful, nor am I happy.

But, I'll never tell you that. I'll just smile, and nod, and play the game, because that's what you want to hear, that's what makes you feel warm and cozy.

I met my mother, 11 years ago I met her. Is she happy with the "choices" she made? Hmpf, if she HAD a choice, but you know, back in the 70's and the decades prior, women didn't HAVE a CHOICE. Their babies were taken from them, stolen, coerced. Women were lied to, deceived, tricked, even downright bullied and forced into giving their babies away. They didn't have a "choice". My mother didn't have a "choice".

It destroyed her, and her ability to face me after our reunion, 11 years later and she is finally able to let go of the guilt, and we are starting to rebuilt what we started in 1996.

Adoption destroyed me. I do not trust anyone, I think everyone is going to leave me, because if my own mother didn't keep me, then why would anyone else? I do not trust anyone. I do not have friends, because I do not trust people. I am the victim, because I bend over backwards to please everyone, because I fear abandonment. I am a doormat.

But I will never tell you this, because you don't want to hear it, you only want to hear that adoption is great, and wonderful, and rainbows and happiness and win-win-win.

But it is loss.

I lost, my mother lost. And in a way, my adoptive parents lost. Because they didn't get that grateful, as-if born to daughter they were promised; they got a damaged kid with someone else's DNA, a kid who didn't look or act or sound like them, a kid who was exactly the opposite of everything they were, a kid who exasperated them and confused them and annoyed and exhausted them. They didn't understand why I wasn't what they expected. I didn't understand why I couldn't be what they wanted, and I hated myself for it. I loathed myself for it. I decided that's why my mother didn't keep me, because I am defective...I am bad, I am unworthy, I am a big worthless piece of shit. I didn't fit in, anywhere.

I cried myself to sleep so many nights, I couldn't begin to count. I yearned for the mother I never knew. I waited for her on my roof, every car that came down our road, I hoped and prayed it was her, coming to get me. I missed the woman I had never know, I wanted her so badly.

I tried to kill myself multiple times.

But you never would have known it, I hid my pain in humor, I covered my tears with laughter.

I was a "happy" adoptee.

How may happy adoptees do you know?

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