Chosen, On Being Adopted

Being adopted is strange, but mainly when you think about it or concentrate on all the other people’s feelings involved in the mess that is your life and heritage. You have parents who love you, in my case even the ones who could not keep you with them, so much so that they maintain the primal wound, allowing the pain of loss to sting and seep into the perpetually open womb-heart where you once resided like a tender parasite.

Things get really strange when you become conscious of all the hurt that lives around you just so you could be born. It’s a lot of weight and you may not even notice your shoulders hunching, the slight scoliotic curve of your barely middle-aged spine. Still, you know how lucky you are…but you would like to talk about these many conflicted feelings. But to whom?

That’s where the Internet enters the picture. Well, therapy first, maybe a few, close friends… I even know some who are adopted. But the Internet can bring together like-minded people for good or evil in a snap. Faster than you can say: adoption registry, or closed-record state. With putting yourself out there, or some version of it, you are vulnerable. There are risks…but mostly people want to hear your story. They want to know what it was like for you, so they can make sense of what things are like for them. They may even share it, herald it as well written. It’s terrifying, and there should be no shame in it in 2015…yet I still feel incredibly afraid, much more now as an adopted adult than I ever felt as that special, adopted daughter.

Here is my story, or one version of it, as part of Portrait of Adoption’s Thirty Day Series.

Here is David’s Story, which echoes some of my feelings about my experience, which I express below:

I identify with your story, David, especially in being chosen (as I titled my post on Nov. 3), feeling grateful but also in being “committed to being noncommittal” about the search, for me, especially early on when I turned 18. Adulthood and my birthmother contacting me when I reached my thirties stirred many complicated emotions and relections in me about my relationships with my adopted family and more. I think that it is natural to feel conflicted since our identity, origins, and what culture tells us that family is our primary place of emotional belonging, and our core bonding experience early on; it is the source of our beliefs, morals, models for love or hate, and all that is in between. I don’t mind being in between, and I have felt alone at times but I have grown a wonderful network of colleagues and friends. Beyond our source, and the family that nurtures us remains those we choose ultimately to surround us who accept us. Perhaps what is more difficult for some adoptees is wrangling with the subconscious or apparent abandonment in our stories, and finally still coming to accept ourselves.

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