06 November 2007

NoIsNaAdBeMo 6

Once again, I’m going to respond to a note. This really pretty much is what I’d hoped would happen, that people would note and be like, “CHALLENGE!” and then I’d be like, “REBUTTAL!” Also, nobody can really argue with me today because I am wearing red patent leather shoes. Also, the note has been edited for brevity and all the pertinent points left in.

I guess what I'm confused most about is yeah, okay, adoption sucks for you and for lots of other people. Do you really hate your life that much, or do you accept what is and cannot be changed and be thankful for what you do have - that being, primarily, your adult life that you have created for yourself against the odds? Life sucks all over, it's how we deal with it that counts.

I don’t hate my life. I mean, I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it by any stretch. I have job, shelter, money, yadda, yadda, yadda. (Oh, yes, I’m also exceptionally good looking.) There are things about my life that I’d love to change, but I never find myself sitting around and just hating my life with any sort of regularity. Additionally, I feel I need to make it explicitly clear that the ‘hardships’ (molestation, depression as a result thereof, etc.) I’ve suffered aren’t something I attribute to being adopted. What I do attribute to being adopted is my gross fear of abandonment. Growing up, there were times when I was supposed to meet up with my parents and if they happened to be running late, I panicked, convinced that they went home and packed up the house and weren’t coming back for me. My real mother did it, why would that stop anyone else?

Today, I can’t justifiably label that fear as irrational. I understand that people come and go (even though I try my damndest to make sure people stay forever and ever), but it’s not so much the leaving that bothers me, it is their choice to do so and the reinforcement that says, “I wasn’t good enough then, I’m not now.”

Aside from abandonment, I feel an extreme sense of loss and no real sense of identity. There are many days where I think, “Oh shit. Wait. No, I’m really here and I’m really doing this and if I pinch like this and if I do this people react. I’m real ,” but it’s exceptionally hard for me to wrap my head around that concept. There’s a reason we call those who aren’t adopted ‘Real Kids’.

How have I dealt with it? Well, I recognized when I was 18 that I was not even remotely ready for college. It’s not that the maturity wasn’t there, but I had a lot of things I needed to sort through. So, I deferred a year, I worked two jobs, 80 hours a week, I networked, and I spent hours and hours in therapy with a woman who always offered me tea and homemade pesto (I’d like to clarify that I really hate pesto, by the way). I worked on abuse a lot, and I got in a good mindset.

That fall, I packed up all that was dear to me, I moved to Chicago, I was self-sufficient and have done quite well in establishing myself. My adoption issues didn’t really come to a head until I was hospitalized for depression, but admittedly, they weren’t really addressed that much thereafter. I was in a support group for a time, but that disbanded after I went to about five meetings in which the moderators outnumbered the attendees.

It frustrates me, I'll admit. Sort of like my brother...I want to scream in his face "GROW UP! You are thirty-seven years old, take some responsibility for yourself." …frustration feels very much the same.

I can understand that.

My aim isn’t to throw a pity party for myself. Yes, there are sometimes when thinking too prolongedly about my mother abandoning me overcomes me with a crippling sadness, but the point of my ‘issue’ isn’t do draw pity or bring adoption to a grinding halt. It is a way to a) help me sort through my feelings, sort through the issues that I have (and that other people have, too), and better understand those feelings so I can better deal with them and expend the energy of my anger as positively as possible and b) make people AWARE of the fact that there ARE people who feel like me (even people who’ve had wonderful lives), that these issues exist, that the adoption system is appallingly flawed, and that THAT AFFECTS THE LIVES OF MILLIONS.

Sometimes I feel like I’m dwelling on it, or I ask myself if I’m dwelling on it, but no, I don’t think that I am. Is this something that I’ll ever ‘get over’? I don’t know. There are some stains that just don’t come out no matter how badly we want them to. I WISH I didn’t feel this way. I WISH it was cut and dry. I WISH genetics don’t matter. I WISH I didn’t have to worry about having a relationship with the woman who birthed me who also happens to be a complete stranger.
…you have a tendency to say "everyone" (meaning children raised by birth parents) has something that you don't due to the fact you were adopted. I was tipped by your entry about birth stories. Well, that's just not true. To you, being grouped with other adopted people isn't cool, and neither is it the other way around.
The person who left this note (and it’s weird for me to say that since she’ll read this and I’m not sure if it’s better to speak in a voice that responds directly to them or just talks about them. I hope the tone isn’t stand-offish or offensive) responded to that entry with…

…a claim that she does not have a birth story, followed shortly thereafter with…

…her birth story. Granted, it was not one that I believe she things is a positive birth story, but my point was not that everyone has positive birth stories, it is that they have them and know them. I don’t even know where I was for the first week of my life. I could have been in Canarsie for all I know. (Don’t you like to say ‘Canarsie’?)
As far as being grouped, I…I don’t know how to respond to that. I’m tempted to say that, well, it’s the only way to do it.
I guess for me, from my experiences life does suck. Bad shit happens. You can either wallow in it and let it rule you, or you can climb on top of it and kick the shit out of it. Then live your own life out of spite.

This is true and I agree 100%. If adoption was one single experience, something that happened to me once and was then crash bang over, that would simplify a myriad of things. Believe me. Unfortunately, adoption is still happening to me. It happens every day. Some days, like when I’m napping and I get a phone call from a private investigator in Flagstaff who says my birthmother would like me to call, please, it happens more than others, like when I’m drinking.

See, the problem is that there isn’t one single thing to do anything with. It is the abandonment, it is the two weeks following my initial reunion (which have been documented, but the noter does not realize were quite the clusterfuck of a lifetime), it is reunion, it is birthday cards begging me to meet, it screening phone calls, it is learning to say ‘I love you’—no—it is learning TO LOVE and to do so unconditionally because that’s the way it should be, right? It’s finding out that I have a half brother and sister, and a whole slew of people who look like me and talk like me and are assholes like me who want to meet me and it’s figuring out how to say to them, “No, not yet. Maybe not ever. Sorry.” It’s hoping that I can get past this all so I can meet my grandparents who speak Turkish. It’s something new every day. And I don’t know how to handle it. There is no program that tells me what to do or how to feel or what to think when I found out that my birthmother drinks Busch beer and loves NASCAR.

I can kick the shit out of it all I want, but there’s going to be something else there tomorrow. It’s like those things in Mario that shoot the bullets. They’re never going to run out of ammo and you’re never going to get to stop dodging it no matter which direction you run. On second thought, you can always stand on top of a brick, but that makes it hard to complete the level now, doesn’t it.

I honestly do believe that we are truly the master of our own destiny. Making excuses for what's happened TO us only prevents us from doing things FOR ourselves.

Again, I agree. So far, I don’t think I’ve let anything hold me back. I’m still working on things, but I never stop working. I’m a perfectionist. I don’t make excuses.

I think in five years you'll feel differently.

I think this phrase was based on a certain assumption of how I feel. (And I don’t say that like ‘you THINK you know but you DON’T know, whore’.) So I’ll take the opportunity to again reiterate that I don’t blame adoption on things that happened to me. I view myself as always hating adoption the way I’ll always hate cilantro, try as I might to like it. (Oddly, when I mention my hatred for adoption, people leave notes suggesting I might try harder to like it, but when I mention I hate cilantro, I get a lot of notes that concur. What’s up with that.)


Judy said...

My take on peoples' reactions? -- because honestly, I've been one of those people who hasn't understood how people could say "I hate adoption" -- is that people (i.e. me, at times) equate "I hate adoption" with "I hate my family" or "I hate families" or something like that. It's almost like people saying something so heinous as "I hate people." or "I hate all children" or . . . I don't know. Something completely Un-American and something that would set someone apart from almost everyone else.

I'm not saying that I think that way now -- but, to be honest, it's taken me a LONG time to get to the point where I can understand "I hate adoption" more as "I hate what's happened to me, I hate having been separated from my mother, I hate feeling different from other people, I hate this constant worry/feeling of abandonment," and not a general feeling of hating people or hating families or hating LIFE.

If any of that makes any sense whatsoever.

Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

I can't stand it when strangers send me long emails detailing what's wrong with my way of thinking and outlining their plans for my mental readjustments.

And cilantro lowers LDL and raises HDL.

Robin said...

i hate adoption, too. not sure on my feelings about cilantro, though.