In the last couple of weeks the topic of my adoption has come up more frequently then it usually does. Adoption is also one of my featured blog topics but for some reason I have not written on it yet…
Could be the fact that I was skirting around it, maybe I hadn’t really been ready, or maybe I just didn’t know what I wanted to say – Either Way …
Ive said may times to people that this was the second time I was saved in my life. The first time was my mothers decision, depending on your stance, to put me up for adoption allowing my current life to transpire; now, that is not to say that if she had decided to opt for an abortion, I wouldn’t have still been saved …
When my parents tell their story of how they came to adopting me its draped in curtains of love, hope, admiration, completeness, and just plain knowing that i was the little girl for them. I do know the painful, saddening, disappointing side of their story – my parents had been married for 12 years before their decision to adopt, they had always wanted children of their own and really started trying to become pregnant when they were ~5 years into their marriage. They tried and failed. Tried and failed. Tried and failed (please think of the term ‘failed’ loosely because I do not think ‘not’ getting pregnant as a failure in any sense other then the literal ‘omission of [an] expected action.’).
Several months into trying and not getting pregnant my mom found out it was due to her fallopian tubes being tangled together not allowing for the egg and/or for sperm to travel as needed… needless to say, this was traumatic for my parents. It was their life dream to have a family and for my mom, as well as generally every woman, a family is created with – Your babies. So they struggled with their wants of children for several years and finally came to a shared time in their lives of wanting to adopt.
I don’t remember adoption because I was 6 weeks old and I don’t remember being told I was adopted, I just always knew that I was, and hence have always had a feeling that I was different, that my family was different. My grandmother (aka Maw Maw), told me her rendition of when my parents told me –
“You were 2 years old when they told you. They wanted you to know before the other kids you were with in daycare and the kids you would be around in school with started pickin on you because you were not like your parents. Honey, to your momma n daddy, the other kids would not be nice about it and they wanted to be sure you knew and were ready, to protect you. So, they told you one mornin before they brought you over to me, they dropped you off, and you stood at the door watchin n waitin for them to leave, then once you saw they were out of the driveway, you turned to me and said somethin and just started ballin. Bless your lil heart, you just didnt know what to do and you didnt understand what they had told you and it was like you were waitin to come over to me to tell me what they said.”
Life didn’t change after that, I was still close to my parents and they were close to me. We had a functional decent parent/child relationship as I got older and honestly, compared to other people I knew/know, I feel we actually have a pretty good relationship.
The adoption dream is that, its a great wondrous event in 3 peoples lives that makes everyone whole and complete and sets all in the world right again. And in many cases it does, honestly for my parents it did, and in my existential life, I was very complete. I was in a loving home with a loving family, whom I could not have chosen better. From all aspects of my family, aunts to cousins to nieces and nephews to extended family friends who are ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’, I never felt or saw an ounce of indifference from anyone.
But here is the thing that people dont think and rarely talk about with Adoption …
Where I felt different & incomplete was within my being and soul where there was a perpetual hole.
I didn’t know and understand it as a young girl through my teens and even into young adulthood. What I do know is I was always searching for someone and some group or culture to be apart of and through this enduring search I learned why I had my fears that stemmed from abandonment, my weaknesses that stemmed from envy & jealousness, why I strived for the attention of love, security and reinforcement in every close relationship, and why I had the fascination with ‘my’ culture(s) and the culture(s) that I wanted to epitomize.
The drive to belong to a group or culture was because of my cultural difference with my parents. I am Mexican and they are White. I know that there is the current cultural perfectual idealism that there are no differences other then the ones we knowingly and willingly create but I have to disagree. There are key differences between my parents and I that I always believed stemmed from the ‘blood’ that flows thru my veins, the better way to put it is that those keys were passed through my energetic & biological connections to my blood lineage, in popular terms, Genetic Memory (some intro readings: ‘Memories’ Pass Between Generations, Memories Can Be Passed Through Changes in Our DNA; Ghost In Your Genes).
Another interesting aspect is all the questions people feel they are entitled to ask. I have been questioned on why I have a German last name and asked ‘what are you?’ because of my white parents and my brown looks. People would ask if my Dad was my grandfather or if my mom was full blooded Mexican and my dad half white, as these types of explanations were the only one’s for people to rationalize why I was brown complected with brown eyes and brown hair and my parents were white complected with blue and hazel eyes.
Then there was the ‘fitting’ in aspect, when people hadn’t seen my parents, and it was just Me. I was Mexican to the White & Black kids and I didn’t fit in with the Mexicans because I wasn’t ‘Mexican’. I didn’t know my culture because I didn’t grow up in it, I didn’t have anyone in the family who spoke Spanish & didn’t grow up with the traditional foods and traditions. When older generational Mexicans realized I didn’t know Spanish, I would often immediately face looks of disapproval.
When I showed up at the reservations or appointments I set or when it came time to hand over my credit card, I was immediately given a look of distrust and question because my name personified an older white woman not a young Mexican woman.
And when I finally answered the questioning people –
“I am adopted”
The first reaction and words from 99% of those people were – “oh, Im sorry.”
“Sorry, for what? Im not.”
And with the questioning, the perpetual hole, and the internal loneliness came – guilt. I felt guilty for feeling the way that I did because I felt like I was being unappreciative and disrespectful of my mom and dad.
But I did have questions and I was searching so when I was in my early 20’s I decided to pursue meeting my birthparents, not to ask them the ‘Why’ questions but just to meet them and know them so that I could know more of myself. I unfortunately learned that the catholic adoption agency I was adopted through, would tell the mothers that came to them back in the 70’s – to forget this ever happened, don’t think about your child and don’t look them up after you leave, My birthmother had the mark of the quintessential catholic cardinal sin and guilt that they willing bestow upon their believers – My heart sank and went out to her, but this meant my chances of finding her was on the high side of slim to none and that I was a traumatic experience for her.
It was only when I was going thru an experience that my birth mother went thru with me, that I realized that – I am what she felt and experienced during her pregnancy with me.
It was like a whirlwind of epiphanies opened my consciousness to help me understand, why I do what I do, why I feel the way I feel which helped me be able to learn & see, Who I am.
So, point is, being adopted is more then just being brought into a home and having a family life.
There are inherent challenges of identity and individuality that society has in the past neglected and intentionally ignored but is now coming to terms with and actively changing.
Many of the questions, looks of disapproval, and reluctance are now to me just those natural human prejudices and racial inhibitions to question why someone wasn’t the expected norm. I understand this now and accept it not as a negative but as an opportunity to introduce new perspectives in peoples minds and hearts, and most importantly, my own mind and heart.
I stood apart, learning to embrace my uniqueness.
I still have gaps in my completeness.
I still wrestle with my fears of abandonment.
I am still wrestling with my cultural identity.
But these questions are not losses they are gains.
This experience has allowed me to be who I Am.
I mean — Whats Normal Anyway?
Featured Image from Dyana E. Hesson
(The articles, art or people mentioned are in no way affiliated with bluecove insights, all points and views are strictly those of bluecove insights)