Assembling Self

Sunday, November 6, 2011

An Adoptee's Divided Heart

I laughed out loud, one of those throw your head back, chuckle and snort kinda laughs, when I saw this graphic above.  It's SOOOOO me.  And, part of life is discovering who we really are.  Celebrating the parts we are proud of, and hiding the parts we are not so proud of, and laughing about them too.   And sometimes, denying the really really scary parts we don't know what to do with.  When you are adopted this can become difficult if not impossible when the knowledge of where you came from is withheld from you.  I will always remember getting my non-identifying information stating my birth grandmother was an extremely nervous and anxious person.  And I thought AHA it's NOT a character flaw I inherited it!!!

There are many parts that make up my adopted self.   There is the stronger and more healed version of the “new me” I've become since adoption counseling, workshops, seminars, conferences, and support groups.  There is the “angry me” that comes out of hiding when my feelings and emotions are dismissed or ridiculed, especially by those who buy into the adoption industry propaganda and myths.  There is the “activist me” who comes alive at the first sign I can educate or inform anyone about adoption and adoptee rights.  Lastly, there is the “lost and wounded me” who has been rejected and abandoned and is still at age 52 trying to find her place in the world.  The “little girl” who is never far away and is just below the surface waiting to be triggered by harsh criticism, judgment, ridicule, oh.....and Holidays.

I am many things besides an adoptee.  But it seems that being adopted affects the other parts I am wife, mother, friend, teacher, and writer etc... But I think sometimes being an adoptee there is a portion of you know one ever sees.  A part that we never give away of ourselves that is reserved and held back.   It's self preservation plain and simple.  If I don't fully open myself up to the world then I can never be fully hurt, or rejected, or abandoned...again.

I just have not come to terms that I will never know who my biological family is. Much of that I credit to watching people find and be reunited after decades of search.  A larger part is denial.  In such huge monumental life situations it really can be a great coping tool.  Hopefully someday I can take all the segments of me and combine them into one solid person.  For now, I wait, and I hope, and I write.

I think a lot of my adoption poetry is sappy and syrupy.   But, it is also part of me. The part that is dealing with the trauma of childhood and adoption and the adult I've become because of adoption.  It is probably the closest anyone will ever get to truly knowing who I am as an adoptee, including myself.

Divided Heart

Pieces of me live between what I expose and what's unseen.
Unable to reveal my dread I keep it locked inside instead.
Afraid to show the chasm depth, half-filled with hours that I've wept.
Oceans full of pain I know, and agony I refuse to show.
This shattered soul still hidden well, conceals the terror I have felt.
This fear that I can't bring together the segments that have long been severed.
Until I bridge these separate parts.
I live in this divided heart.

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