Painful truths.

The first painful truth I learned about my adoption is that my mother is dead. I did not realize it would be the first in a sequence of painful truths.

Here is a painful truth: My mother gave me up to save a marriage that failed a few years later.

Here is a painful truth: My mother’s life was hard. There were only a few years where she didn’t live paycheck to paycheck, and those years were a long time ago.

Here is a painful truth: My mother had kids that she kept and raised as a single mom. We enjoyed a brief period of correspondence until a couple of weeks before the reunion when they suddenly disappeared, stopped responding, and ultimately never showed up to meet me. I guess I was a painful truth to them as well, a truth they decided to ignore. I hope that changes, but it’s not as big a disappointment as I thought it would be. They came after, and I’m not quite as interested in who or what came after. With one exception, but I’m not blogging about that right now. Later. Secrets and lies, it’s what we’re used to, isn’t it?

Here is a painful truth: The circumstances specific to my adoption put me about a thousand miles from my natural family. We are in the same country but from very different cultures. The life I would have had, had I grown up with them, would have been very different. I don’t know if I would have been very different, but if not I would have had a very hard time.

Here is a painful truth: I can’t honestly say my life was made better or worse because of adoption. If I could say that it was made better, then I could feel good about the choices everyone made. If I could say that it was made worse, then I could feel some justified outrage about my adoption. But while some things are clearly better, and other things are clearly worse, it’s really not possible to evaluate a set of “might have beens” in any meaningful way. I really don’t know what I might have made of my circumstances, or how happy I might have been having known nothing else. This is a painful truth because it positions me as a bewildered object acted upon by unseen and unaccountable forces.

I’m tired of being adopted. I’m tired of evaluating my current life in terms of how things might have turned out otherwise. I’m tired of evaluating my natural family in terms of how the life I might have had with them would compare to the life I have now. And I’m tired of having to just accept what I have since I can’t change it anyway, when doing so lets the people who made all the decisions completely off the hook.

Of course, I really don’t know what the point of keeping them on the hook would be. It’s done, and the key decision maker is keeping her silence on the matter.

Here is a painful truth: I went to my mother’s grave, not really knowing what I would feel but thinking I would feel something. I felt the heat of the setting sun on my face, and the hard, dry dirt under my feet, and the sparse blades of grass brushing my fingers. I felt exposed, I felt like I was on display, I felt like something was expected of me. It was hot, and uncomfortable, and empty.

Graves only say goodbye. Goodbye, again.


9 Responses to “Painful truths.”

  1. 1 prairieguy August 18, 2007 at 10:40 am

    The “might have beens” bothered me for a long time after I met my birth family….fortunately overtime I was able to let that go and realize my life was my life and what I did with it was up to me and not the “might have beens.”

    A reunion brings up so many emotions…it takes time for one to fully realize what they have experienced and how to go forward….know you got a support system out here in cyberland -:)


  2. 2 Andie D. August 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    I’m tired of thinking about the what ifs too.

    I think it’s only natural to entertain them, but no one really wants them to stay.

  3. 3 Julie August 18, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    I call them the “shoulda-woulda-coulda”s, and I abandoned them long ago because they are crazy-making. And being an adopted person is crazy-making enough.

    ” … I’m tired of having to just accept what I have since I can’t change it anyway, when doing so lets the people who made all the decisions completely off the hook.”

    I think this is key. At least in terms of why grown, otherwise mature, responsible people like us continue to talk/blog about being adopted. It’s not so much about keeping those specific to each or our lives on the hook as much as it is PUTTING those people on the hook who perpetuate all of the negative practices associated with adoption. In short, we don’t want what happened to us to happen to other children.

    That is certainly one of the main reasons why I will never stop talking about it.

    I care about children. Maybe I care about children because it is a way of caring about the child I was, the child who still lives in me who couldn’t speak for herself then, and can only speak for herself through the adult I am now. Who else will speak for her??

  4. 4 Sunny August 18, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    I am tired too, iB. I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait until S&R was “over”, so I could get on with my life. I actually thought I’d be like other people after that.
    Well, I’m not, and I never really will be. I used to obsess constantly, but somewhere in the 20+ years I have sort of accepted it as my life, my history.
    You’ll go through lots of stages, move past them, then go over them again…thanks for sharing.

  5. 5 joy21 August 18, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    It took me a long time to do “what if” like until this year after 17 short years of reunion, after a lifetime of reunion. It was too painful, I wouldn’t allow myself.

    I was so determined to be a “good adoptee even THOUGH I was reunited” like despite my scarlett U, for ungrateful by searching, I was still going to pull this off.

    I hope you have lots of compassion for yourself and don’t borrow trouble like I did. What if is part of your story.

    We really do come with dopplegangers, and it is not our fault.

  6. 6 Elizabeth August 19, 2007 at 3:01 am

    iB I’m sorry your sibs didn’t meet you. I think a lot of us are tired, I know I am. Thanks for sharing.

  7. 8 Peach August 20, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    My First Mom had also passed away before I found her…thanks for being so open and writing about your feelings and experiences.
    I also have a relationship with my First Mom’s family and it has been wondering, and bitter-sweet. Hugs!

  8. 9 Nina September 23, 2007 at 3:29 am

    “This is a painful truth because it positions me as a bewildered object acted upon by unseen and unaccountable forces.”

    Consider yourself positioned! You WERE.

    I respect and acknowledge your state of bewilderment. It IS bewildering.

    I just loved that you wrote that. Very beautiful. And sad. And true.

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