Assembling Self

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Adoptees In Transition

“It’s the same with people who say, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Even people who say this must realize that the exact opposite is true. What doesn’t kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak, makes you whiny and full of yourself at the same time. The more pain, the more pompous you get. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you incredibly annoying.”  ~Rob Sheffield "Love is a Mix Tape"

I am moving half way across the country in three days.  This move is necessary but it is far from wanted.  I am leaving behind an eleven year marriage that is broken, my three children, friends, and for 30 years now the place I have called "home".  I have given away most of everything I own, donated what I could to charity, and reduced what I have in the last year by about 90%.  I am leaving behind my three children, yes they are grown, they are still "my children".  I am stepping into total unfamiliar territory and out of everything I have known for decades.

I know these roads, and stop lights, and school zones, and neighborhoods like the back of my hand.  I know the comfort of homes I have lived in, playgrounds my children grew up on, comfort food I could get right around the corner, take-out menus from places I already knew the menu from by heart just needed the phone number, and establishments my family celebrated birthdays in.  I know the season's weather, and the time of light and darkness, and where I went through the door every day I called home.

Friends try and tell me how great and wonderful this new adventure is.  It might be what is best for me, but it is based on pain and loss.  It is a lot like being adopted.  Adoptees are expected to be grateful for new families, without being able to mourn for the loss of their original one.  It's like telling someone who is losing their legs to focus on being thankful for their arms.  It undermines their pain.  It causes them to feel misunderstood and for their suffering to be dismissed.

A dear friend who has known me for 25 years or so who GETS ME, said this recently.  She nailed it as far as how adoptees feel about loss, especially those of us who are held at arms length, by two families.  Her comments below:

"Unfortunately, this "adventure" has been forced upon you and it is devastating. I have lost all of my possessions at least a couple of times in my life and it sucks. Starting over with NOTHING sucks! Not knowing the outcome of the "new beginning" sucks! Everyone on Earth wants to have that feeling of belonging...(you especially) and we associate our surroundings..home, furniture, clothes and other "things" with a sense of self. Without family it is all one has to call their own. Losing these things can feel like waking up in the wilderness, naked, and all alone. I DO understand and I know that it's terrifying and I am so sorry that it has come to this."

I feel I've lived in my life walking a tight rope with no safety net below.  I am told I am strong and brave.  I have had no choice.  Adoptees can often find themselves left out in the cold, in the darkest of unending nights, left behind by those that gave them life and those that promised to love them. 

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” ~William Shakespeare 


  1. Whatever you need, Great Spirit will provide. This has happened to me many times. It's a test. You are one of the most remarkable people I know. If you need anything I can provide, please do not hesitate to ask. Your friend for life...Trace

  2. Thank you Trace. Your presence in my life is a gift.

  3. All my best hopes and wishes for you, dear soul. Go with grace.

  4. The pain of change, the pain of being alone, the pain of not being heard or believed: it is more than one can bear. I am with you. We are told that we complain too much, that we do have this or that. But we are still alone.

    I am here for you. I will always listen. I often sequester myself, but I will come to you. I send much love as you go on your journey.