Assembling Self

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adoption is my kryptonite...and there you have it.


No message from the telephone.
No telegrams while I was home.
No mail came though I checked the box.
No cryptic secrets were unlocked.
No headline in the daily news
or printed words to lend me clues.
No response to questions asked
as weeks, and months, and years drift pass.
Still waiting for a sign or word,
the time my voiceless pleas are heard.
But only silence resounds instead.
Another day, unvisited.

I was talking to my son last night it was a very emotional conversation.  We are dealing with some pretty heavy issues and problems and it's the holidays of course.  I was crying, something I don't usually let him hear me do.  He told me that I was a strong person.  That is something I am always told by others in descriptions of myself.  I tried to relate to my husband how vulnerable in life I feel and he scoffed and added “Karen you'd never know it by the way you act”.  And there you have it “act”.

So many adoptees have to hide how they feel about being adopted and adoption period.  It's understandable considering the amount of flack we get about how we feel about it, how we react it to it, and what we say about it.  I am not one of those adoptees that hides much about adoption.  I figure I inherited this big mouth for a reason so go with your strengths I have been told.  And I do.

But, I don't think anyone really understands the depth of despair, pain, and loss that adoption can bring to our lives this time of year, especially for those of us who are rejected by two families.  I can usually take on the world and people in almost any endeavor.  But I have to admit adoption is my kryptonite.  It is the one thing that can bring me to my knees without a moment's notice or warning.  It makes me feel weak and incapable.

I wrote the poem above ten years ago when I was waiting for my first mother to be able to tell her family and others about my existence.  It still applies today, but it also speaks of the relationship I have with my adoptive family.  I don't know if they love me really, and if they do it's more of an obligatory love and tolerance because they don't really like who I am.  I've had enough of that in my life and who needs it?

I've actually been told several times in regards to my adoptive parents lack of real love and caring for me “Well what did you do to them that they don't want you?”  People can't grasp the fact that some parents adoptive or birth just don't have the ability to love their children in the way they should.  And, it has to be that those children have committed some crime or disservice against their parents because normal people wouldn't behave that way.  And there you have it “normal”.  My statement in retaliation to that is “I'm not their child”.  It's the blatant truth.  I am not biologically my adoptive parents child, and my biological parents consider me my adoptive parents child.  I am an adoptee who fell through the cracks of the system into a bleak and barren dark hole of rejection and abandonment.

Adoption is not normal.  It severs children from natural parents and grafts them into other families many times very different from the genetics that adopted children come from.  It is not only not normal, it is unnatural.  I was not the conforming, accepting, grateful little child as was expected.  I was overt with my questions about where I came from and who and where my biological family was.  I reacted to the abnormal situation that was the abusive Cinderella complex forced upon me.  That of being the work horse, the care taker, the minion while the biological child was loved, adored, and treated with special care, kindness, and favor.  Only there were no glass slippers or prince to show up and save me.

Double family rejection in adoption is overwhelming.  I struggle with self worth every day.  Most don't see it. It's a facade and one that I've become quite adept at wearing.  You learn that being adopted.  For the powerlessness and vulnerability is not something we let show often, except with each other and or to those we feel safe with.  And yet even with that still, there remains so much we fear and hide away even from ourselves, that can catch us off guard, left open and wounded.

So, there ya have it.  Not that's it ever been any secret how I feel about adoption or how it's affected me.  But, the truth is it does more deeply than anyone who knows me that is not adopted can understand.  The best gift I could receive at Christmas this year from those who love me is the comprehension that beneath the exterior of this strong, competent, articulate and intelligent woman, there is always a lost little girl waiting for family to come take her by the hand, and take her "home".


  1. Understand completely.They didn't love the person I grew into.It's taken years to realise it and years to come to terms with it.Our vulnerable adoptee is always there on the inside no matter what it looks like on the outside, always caught unexpectedly by some painful scenario, word, event.The legacy of adoption never deserts us!At least these days all us lost children have each other's understanding.Hope Christmas goes well.x

  2. I just want to reach through this computer and hug you. I'm sorry for your loss because of adoption. I wish your family, both of them, could understand and help you through this pain. I wish they were there for you to be by your side, you shouldn't have to always be the strong one. Adoption is not supposedd to be about the parents but the child, in your case the now adult child. I am not an adoptee but a natural mother. I wish mothers considering adoption would read words like this, coming from your heart.


  3. Thank you Von and Jeanette, I may never have a good relationship with adoptive or bio family but I do have good relationships with those that understand. I am thankful for that.

  4. Many people say (to transracial adoptees in particular) they have the best of both worlds.

    I don't see that.