Archive for the ‘Who am I?’ category

A New (for me, and here) and Important Perspective

June 10, 2010
Today I received a comment that I felt immediately moved by, and immediately replied to, and wish to share here. Rather than make you go read the comment under the post “NONONONO”, I will re-post it here, with my response (already emailed) below it. Wow. This has really moved the erath beneath my feet a bit, in a good way, and I am sure it will resonate for days to come. I have yet to get such a candid comment from the “other side”, the perspective of the family of the biomom. Whoa.
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_______________THE COMMENT_______________
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Hello,

I wasn’t adopted, but I can relate to your experiences. I think parents, in general, try to mold their children. I, myself, have to fight the urge to try to make my kids be someone I want them to be. My experience with adoption is that my grandmother gave one of her daughters up when she was born. My aunt was given to a friend of my grandmother’s, and she found out who her birth mother was while she was still a pre-teen. My mother has said it was awful. I also can understand what you say about being in the family, but being on the outside.

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My aunt comes around now occasionally to family functions, and it’s NOT the same as with everyone else. It IS like she is a guest. I wonder how long that will go on? I admit I’m not myself with her, like I am with my other aunts. It’s almost liek I feel guilty about my grandmother placing her for adoption. Although I wasn’t even born then. My grandmother practically raised ME.
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I feel bad for my aunt. My grandmother has 9 kids, and it’s a huge gathering when we all get together with grandchildren and great children also. My grandmother has never explained anything to my aunt about her adoption. I KNOW she feels great guilt and remorse because I tried to talk to her about it one time, and she started crying. My grandmother is a woman who I have never seen cry aside from then, so I haven’t talked about it again. I wish that she would give my aunt that chance to talk about the situation. She deserves that.
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__________________ MY REPLY__________________
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Thanks for sharing such a fascniating and resonant story with me. This is the first time I have ever heard from the family of a resurfaced adopted person and it does me so much good to hear it. I just cannot explain what, and how much, this means to me and how very very enlightening and …   (at an unusual loss for words…) well, it’s a huge first from a not-yet-explored perspective for me. And that you are so very candid about it — from how you feel and act to how others’ feel and act, and that your grandmother cried just that once. Well, it has the makings of an enthralling story. Actually, I’d love to hear more.
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Though I am close to one half-brother and very close to his wife, I still struggle to get along with biomom and have had minute successes but, on equal terms, not her terms, and those terms (hers) are a threat against my autonomy and independence and, most importantly, my true self. The root of that problem is that she is incapable of empathy so she cannot put herself in my shoes. I see this is her everday dealings and I absolutely see it with me. All she sees is the lack of what she wants from me. I also sorta wish I could reach out to your aunt. I think she is brave to attend any functions at all.
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Others — as in the bio family — often have no real idea how (though logically they know it to be probable), in the rest of your life you are this person with intellectual qualities and accomplishments and personality traits and everyday things and quandaries, hopes and joys, feelings, and groceries to buy; normal everyday stuff that has nothing to do at all with being adopted, but in the search-bio family you are a scarlet letter of sorts and like a walking neon sign for “the big secret”, and this is your identity, inevitably.
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That others simply cannot — for lack of experience, or even clues from watching sitcoms or shared anecdotes from acqaintances and friends — treat you as they would others merely speaks to the awkwardness of your being, and may possibly even signify that they care, for if you didn’t make them nervous, wouldn’t they be a teeny bit more at ease? Grasping at straws perhaps but I offer this hypothesis from my feeling that you care about your aunt, if only as a fellow human being, yet still feel ill at ease. It’s all so complicated and hard to tease out the myriad subconscious feelings and reasons when the surface ones are already so convoluted and confusing.
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Thank you very very much. I do take it that you must care about your aunt to have even perhaps googled the topic and found me. I get the feeling you are an extraordinary person and I am most grateful for this comment.
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You have added soemthing very precious and meaningful to my feelings on this topic. Thank you for taking the time to relate your experiences. I will share this with my therapist, and the close friends who know about this, my very secret and anonymous, adoption blog.
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best wishes,
Caramel (not my real flavor)  ;-)
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Life is a snowglobe

December 21, 2008

whitelightsSo it has been a whiteout for days. I am trapped in with a toothache from an emergency root canal without Novocaine. Did you know that if you have an infection they don’t give you Novocaine because it is rendered ineffectual from the infection? It was excruciating and I lived through it and so I am proud of myself. And, having written that, my childhood parallelemeter is ringing off the hook.

I mostly got through my childhood by pretending a lot and inventing things. Sometimes I would invent words, while sitting in my foamy bathtub office, and I’d call up the President of Words and tell him that I had a new one for him. I am reminded of this because last night I had a dream that I was working for the government – which wasn’t much like any existing government, but was a Utopian ideal – and my job was to explain things, in words. My first assignment was to explain how this one, single, 12 foot leap that had recently been made by a Ballerina on a stage, had catapulted her from relative obscurity to world fame and adoration and had thus caused a positive shift in world collective thought, much in keeping with the Butterfly Effect which theorizes, “If a butterfly flaps its wings in Thailand, it causes a Tsunami on the other side of the planet.”

And so I was really struggling to get this into words, to really explain so that everyone would get it, how this leap had made the planet a slightly better place, as the result of this Butterfly Effect. I toiled away but then the phone rang and they had a quick emergency assignment for me which was to explain something traumatic that had happened and the President needed to explain it to the people. So I put on some sort of mask to tackle this job and managed to finish it without getting any bacteria or infection from it and then could take off my mask and go back to the other assignment. And the words that came were like little packages with bows. And when I finished I knew I had accomplished my mission.

I think this is because I struggled so much as a child, and well into adulthood, to get my adopted family to understand me, to hear me, and to realize that, though I was not what they wanted and was not inclined to jump the societal hurdles to earn them the only sort of bragging rights they craved (marriage, children, big house, important job), that I was actually very special in my own way. And I have earned them some bragging rights in high profile ways that make other sorts of people very proud of me. But they could never see that.

And before I woke up from my dream, the President called me into a meeting and said, “I think you should examine why you connect all of your sentences by beginning them with the word “and”. It is ok to let one sentence end and another begin. You do not need that grammatical crutch, or, bridge perhaps. You can take that leap, if you will just try. And perhaps you do not need to always say perhaps. You know the truth and it is a certainty; it is not a perhaps. People will believe you. We have faith in you. Let go of the past.”

And in that space between sleeping and waking I had this feeling of my world being shaken up and all the emotional and psychological ephemera flying loose, as so much fake snow in a snow globe.

Little Miss No Name

December 14, 2008
Little Miss No name. I can relate.

Little Miss No name. I can relate.

The story of Little Miss No Name

Every Christmas my mother insisted on reading the story of The Little Matchbook Girl to me. No matter that I cried and begged her not to, and had nightmares for weeks. No matter that it made me even more insecure. As many adopted people will tell you, gratitude is the key to control; we are often meant to feel forever grateful for being saved from a life in a burlap bag, lived on the street, in which we would die of exposure. Well, yes. I was always grateful but I could never be grateful enough. I did not choose to be born. I am a human being and as much as a biological child, I was prone to that nature part of the Nature vs. Nurture theory of how people are the way they are, according to Psychology 101.

I tried hard. I spewed the rhetoric. I told my friends I was so lucky and my parents were Saints! Did my little girl brain dream that up? Or perhaps was I made to always feel so grateful, and to always feel so guilty for being not how their conceptual Biological Daughter might have been?

Therein lies a big part of Adoptee Guilt.

This link about LMNN from www.whitless.com sums it up fairly well, and I quote:

“The “Little Miss No Name” doll was launched by Hasbro in 1965 and discontinued soon after.  You will notice that her native garb is a brown burlap dress with two patches.  A large plastic removable tear streams from her left eye.  Her right hand stretches out plaintively, begging for — what?  A coin?  A sandwich?  Begging for the Mom who went away after saying, “Stay right here in the candy aisle, honey, Mommy’s getting into this big black van and will be right back”?

That is the mystery of Little Miss No Name.

I can’t feel sorry for them. (more…)

What’s in a name? (sounds like “tissues”)

December 5, 2008

ist2_5845368-sherlock-holmes-seriesToday I found out my birth father’s full name. His name is Kilgore Trout so if you see him… Kidding!

But really, immediately I sold my car and hired a private investigator.

Kidding again! I held off doing my search for years once I had the initial inclination because I was so afraid of disrupting someone’s life. But I do want to see a picture of him. he lives nearby but I’d never go find him. I am only interested in what he looks like.

It wasn’t the sort of name I had expected I guess, or perhaps it’s not what I had in mind. For we all have something in mind when we go looking; it’s the adoptee way so it seems. So it seems – like so many ‘seems’ – from all of the blogs I read. Maybe it’s simply a ‘human’ way, her we are all human first. People envision potential ideal partners so why would we not envision potential ideal families? And in both cases can we say with absolute certainty that we are not perhaps looking to be saved somehow?

ist2_4250579-street-urchinSo today I realized that somehow this angst and anxiety and scorched and fallen souffle of a mind  (mine, I mean. I will not judge you) that is the whole adoption mess might actually have a beneficial aspect in a twistedly way; I am sure my sense of humor and capacity for empathy must have come from some sort of desperate survival thing or defense mechanism. Or super overeager need to please; a desperate need to be accepted for who I am and not what I should have been or might have been molded into. Maybe I am defensively defending me from myself.

“Funny, but I find the disinspiring totems (?) to be more uplifting, because… Why? They’re true, and therefore liberating… Released from being suppressed… Laughter inducing…”

And then I started collecting random quotes from the day’s emails from friends, from conversations and ponderings, and simultaneously together and out of context they assured me that maybe the mess and the pain and the all that is just a different sort of mess than I’d have if I hadn’t gone through all this.

“To some degree it’s probably everybody’s purpose in life to serve as a warning to others.”Maybe I’d be the cliche I so adamantly rebelled against and have a house with vinyl siding and a leased luxury edition Jeep just to drive to the mall and the supermarket; maybe I’d only wear clothes with labels and tell people that I only wear such labels. Maybe I’d have a middle-management job that I hate, and a mean boss voodoo doll, and an accessorized life with essence of superficiality. Or maybe I am just making myself feel better for this raggedy alternative life I envisioned having since I first saw Flashdance in the 80s, but really beginning at age 5. Maybe I’d exhibit consistent understanding and use of punctuation. But at least I realized my dream. I am just a different cliche. ;-) (more…)