Assembling Self

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Mirror My Nemesis

I see this person staring back at me and wonder who it is I see?
Are these her eyes?  Is his face the same?
Do I look like them?  What are their names?
Mirrors like pictures tell thousands of tales but the stories told have always failed.
In lending me the slightest clues to endless questions and intangible truths.

Mirrors.  Mirrors are normal and every day parts of life.  They are everywhere and especially with the current trend in selfie taking.  Mirrors are not only a reflection of who we are now but a reflection of the people we come from.
My former husband used to tell me that "You have never passed a mirror you did not like."  That is not only not true, it is possibly one of the most "untrue" statements about me that has ever been made.  I actually don't like mirrors.  I don't know if I ever have.

My obsession with mirrors is not vanity it's a constant search for validation of who I am and where I come from, of which I get none.  Perhaps briefly maybe shortly for a moment when a glance finds me in good light and clothes and reflects an image I like to see.  But, that is not often and less often considering my age.
Discussing age recently with my friend, that seems to be an increasingly more discussed subject, she stated now every time she looks into the mirror she sees her mother.  I stopped cold with that.  How I wish people knew how much adoptees long for that.  Too see anyone that resembled them young, old, or in between.

Children grow up looking into faces of those them resemblance.  Most have siblings along with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family members bearing the same facial features, personality traits, and even habits, likes, and dislikes.  Biological family members can certainly be quite opposite but adoptees are void of any tangible evidence they physically belong in their adoptive family.  There is an extremely important missing part in the family bonding process.  This is not to say that deep bonding between adoptive children and adoptive parents/families can’t happen however, it can present a problem that can become a life long issue.

This is what I knew growing up.  I asked about my mother who had relinquished me and was told she was very young, very tiny, and very pretty.  I was lucky to be born with good genes but I don’t know who they come from.  My mother, father, grandparents, who is it this athletic build I inherited come from along with the habitual lip biting all of my children also inherited including the nose I’ve come to hate for most of my life?  None certainly come from my adoptive family who couldn’t be anymore different than I am.   Not many people truly know what it is like to live your life founded on and steeped in a complete mystery and searches that can lead to brick walls, lies, illegalities, and secrets kept.  My children and their children are also in the dark about the genetic background and they’ve lost out as well.

Why is it that genetics are whitewashed in adoption as unimportant but vital to nonadopted persons who are building family trees with ancestry tracing and genealogical research online?  Why is it that adopted persons are expected to give up all knowledge of where they come from and the genetic factors that make them who they are?  When will it be time when ALL adoptees can obtain the same information that every other citizen of this country has a right to?  Adoptees are not blank slates to be written on by other families, we come genetically wired and coded before we are even born.

I will never have a right to force relationships with my biological family but I have a right to that option as others do.  I do have the right to have my original birth certificate and biological family history and information.   All adoptees do and we always will.