I’ve always hated mornings. Like down to my core hate mornings. I am not a morning person at all. I am a night person. I can pull an all nighter no problem. I thrive at night. I always have, I don’t know why, that’s just the way I have always been. Yet when you have children, and a crap ton of stuff to be done in the morning, you don’t exactly have any other option. You have to get up early in the morning, get the kids up, dressed, fed, lunches made, breakfast made, cleaned up, things packed up for school, and ensure they get there on time.
How my mornings go completely dictates how my day will go. The morning literally makes or breaks my day. If my morning is filled with anxiety, and overthinking, I will end up having a bad day where all those issue just rage on and depression comes out to join in. Please tell me I am not the only one? I feel like I am. I feel like at this point in my life I should have this figured out, but alas… here we are.
So the shift I have started to make to help ease my anxiety that starts to rage as soon as my eyes open, calm my mind, and start my day off on the right foot, and continue on with my day, its pretty straight forward. How I haven’t done this all along, is beyond me. So here it goes… To take back my mornings… First: I have to put on some music. Everything is better with an awesome soundtrack, right? Some upbeat music, sometimes classical, dance, throw back songs that you just know will get you going. Something has to be playing. Second: Get dressed. Even if its leggings and a sweater. Something is better than pjs. If I stay in pjs, I just want to go back to bed. Even if I’m planning on going out later and getting changed. I have to get dressed in something. Third: Coffee. It is a must. Always with the coffee. Fourth: Drink the coffee by the plant collection (this is important because I absolutely love watching the morning sun shine on my plants and dance along the leafs. It brings me joy. This is usually when I end up checking on all my plants and marvelling in any new growth.), and write a list. Brain dump. Whatever you want to call it. A To Do List. Tasks. Order of the Day. Whatever you call it. I write it. I write out what to do, and depending on my mood, I will already add things I have done, just so I can check off the item and get that small amount of joy that comes from that action. Five: Make my bed. There is something about knowing my bed is made, that effects the rest of the house. Seriously. Its true. I can’t explain it, but its real. The bed gets made, and there is a magical shift in the rest of the house and stuff gets done.
Now I am not saying this is some magically list that fixes everything and will work every day or that it will work for everyone. Some days it doesn’t work, and I am learning to be ok with that. Some times I have to switch it up. Sometimes I don’t have time to do everything. And I need to learn to calm the anxiety and know it will be ok. Other times its ok to have a blah day and give it whatever you have.
So here I am, on my mental health journey, trying to calm the anxiety, quiet the overthinking, and take back my mornings.
New Month, New Goals. As always I am on a journey to better mental health, to better understand and deal with my anxiety and depression. It’s been a journey, for as long as I can remember. Some times I think I have it figured out, but that only lasts so long. Other times, well its a wild ride to put it nicely.
So I’m taking it day by day, and breaking it down to monthly goals. Something more manageable that doesn’t seem so overwhelming, like saying “this year I want to…”. Small steps, building up, over time. I’m sure some steps will be backwards, but that’s ok. It’s all part of the progress. I need to learn to not let a few steps back derail the whole thing. I need to learn to be flexible while still working towards a goal.
So for this month, my goals are:
1. Take daily vitamins. Because I am absolutely horrible at remember this! 2. Drink more water. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve gone all day without a drink, besides coffee. 3. Technology free time 30-60 mins. I would love to say daily, but I will aim for 5 times a week. I also love the irony of blogging about wanting and needing technology free time. 4. Move/Dance/Workout 5 times a week. 5. Deep breathing / Meditation. I hope this helps, I’ve tried in the past and it seems to just give me more time for my mind to race and over think. 6. Weekly Game Night. Because family time is important, and we still have games we got at Christmas we haven’t played yet! 7. Journal.
All while still including therapy, self love, self growth, and keeping up with regular routines, like with my plants. I guess that can also be part of my February goals, my plants, and planning my outdoor garden. I already have one round of seeds starting in the house and I need to start more and plan and prep for outside growing too. And yes, I know, I am slightly obsessed with my plants. I love them and the joy the bring me.
Do you have any goals for the new month? I would love to hear them!
Before 2020 (I have a feeling a lot of stories will forever begin with that, anyway) I killed a lot of plants. Every plant that came into my house unfortunately decided it was better off not here. Like for real, all of them. Cactus, Succulents, Flowers, Orchids, other green plants that I don’t know the name of. My mom would buy me planters for outside the front of the house, and even those, dead. It became a running joke with everyone. I killed plants. I didn’t mean to, I always loved plants, but they did not love me back. Maybe I loved them too much, tried too hard, over watered them? Who knows. It will forever be one of life’s great mysteries. I started to hate garden stores. I stopped buying plants. Then 2020 happened, Covid and lockdowns happened. I know there will be some people in my life that will like to say that they started me on plants. They didn’t. Sadly that was TikTok. Like most people I got so bored during lockdown that I downloaded that app. I was instantly drawn to the people showing off their plants. There was something peaceful about it. I started slowly, getting “easy” plants, the “hard to kill plants”. I was still scared I would kill them, so when people would bring it up, I would brush it off, or make jokes about it. As lockdowns continued, as the anxiety and depression raged, I slowly started getting more and more plants. Garden centres became my happy place. Winter of 2021 / Spring of 2022 I really gave in to my plants.
Winter of 2021 I spotted a beautiful little Monstera at the grocery store and decided to buy it. I did not think about the walk home and -20 degree snow storm outside. The poor plant had almost fully given up by the time I made it home. This was the first plant I had to try to really take care of, bring back from the brink. And I did. It’s alive and thriving and pushing out two new leafs right now. Just look at those beauties! I’m obsessed!
I noticed as my plant collection grew, I was changing. I got up early in the morning (and I am not a morning person in the slightest) so I could catch them in the early morning sun. I would sit and watch as the sun moved and danced along the window, sipping on my coffee. I would spend my quiet mornings while the rest of the house slept checking my plants, always so excited when there was new growth. Learning how each plant needed different things, different soils, different lights, some thrived on bottom watering, others didn’t. It wasn’t all green and happy, some plants still died. But I didn’t give up. I kept trying. Kept adjusting, learning, trying new things. Summer of 2022 I took what I learned and attempted to garden outside, got some outdoor plants and created my own little oasis. It was so blissful. Waking up early in the morning to go outside and walk around in the sunshine checking on my plants and watering when needed. Or evening drinks outside with my palm tree and birds of paradise tree. Picking fruit and veggies from plants I had grown from seed. Picking enough greens to feed our pet rabbits. I found so calming. Who would have thought?!
These little routines changed me, calmed me, and taught me. It is ridiculous I know, but people and plants are so very much the same, each one is unique and different, with different needs and thrives in different environments. I wasn’t thriving or growing in the environment I was in, and I had to change it. The patience I showed my plants, I started to apply to myself. They became part of my self care routine. When I am stressed and anxious, I sit by my plants in a cozy spot. I watch the sun dance on their leafs. I love having these little connections to nature in the house and all around me. Especially during this dark, cold, and gloomy winter. These plants calm my soul, they reach deep inside to my inner most dark anxiety and fear filled places and calm me.
Having my plants has changed me and calmed me. Ridiculous or not, it’s true. I am now a Plant Lady, I talk to my plants, I love visiting different garden centres, I love being surrounded by nature, big and small. And honestly, if it is something that will help with my anxiety, I am all for it! I will take all the plants I can get as long as they are helping!
Any other plant people out there feel the same? Or am I own on this adventure?
I miss writing. Writing with no agenda, writing just for me, therapy for the soul. That’s what this was for me. At least before it was. Before 2020. Then 2020 happened, and then 2020 happened to everyone, and it just didn’t stop. I lost myself, I got lost in a fog, just a dense fog that I didn’t know which way was up. I was so lost that I didn’t even realize I was lost. I thought I had found myself. I didn’t, I really didn’t. I was just so overwhelmed that I was grasping for air and trying so desperately to convince myself that I was fine. Oh how I tried to convince myself everything was great, that I was standing tall. I was so very lost. Anxiety consumed me. Depression raged inside me and all around me. Fear darkened everything. Self doubt crippled me. Emotional wounds ripped me open leaving gapping painful holes all over me, I swear I could feel them as if they were as real as me and you. And I still tried to stand up and smile. I lost so much of me. Parts of me broke and completely crumbled.
2020 started with an emotional hit, then another hit and so on and so forth, I had some medical issues, day surgery, my mom had a car accident, my daughter was healing from her surgery she had a few weeks prior to the new year. Then I got the message, a cousin messaging me on a DNA site asking how we were related. Within days I spoke to a stranger who may or may not be my biological father, and got another DNA test. Got the results from that. Spoiler, he was my biological father. I met him. And then Covid locked down the world. Fear took over the world, chaos took over. It was an emotional roller coaster, all of it, and it didn’t stop.
It’s been 3 years. The fog has started to lift. The emotional wounds have started to heal. The trauma doesn’t knock me to the ground every day now, just some days. They are farther and further apart now. I feel my strength returning.
2020-2022 was a lot. Especially 2022, it was the year of heartbreak, devestation, clarity, healing, hope, and happiness, and peace. It sounds strange, but it was. By the summer of 2022, so much had happened. So many life altering conversations, situations, circumstances, had happened. It was cathartic. Summer of 2022 I released it all. The pain, the hurt, the tears, the trust and respect I had for some people and situations from different walks in my life. I saw my self respect, my self worth, I saw it clear as day as if it was a fragile glass ball, and I guarded it like my life depended on it, because at that point it did. Summer of 2022 I spent in my garden, I spent with my plants, I spent in the water and sunshine. I got back to nature. I tried new things. I did things that scared me. I even made my own jam with fruit from my own garden. And honestly that would mean a lot more if you knew me in real life. I felt a shift within my soul and I embraced it with open loving arms. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, I also poured myself into therapy. I let my guard down with friends and family. The fog lifted, the world started to make sense again, and I started to heal. And I found myself. I put the broken pieces back together that I needed to. I embraced the pain and learned from it. Some broken pieces got left where they were, there was no going back. I healed. I found peace.
2022 wouldn’t be 2022 without one more ass kicking though. I had surgery in October. The healing from that both physically and emotionally has kicked my ass once more. I’ve spent countless hours crying, crying from the physical pain, crying from the emotional pain. The unexpected grieving that came with it that completely knocked the wind out of me. I know that if this situation had happened before, the outcome wouldn’t be the same. The strength, self love, self worth, and healing I had already started, helped me and guided me through this.
I’m not sure what 2023 will bring. I hope it brings more happiness, more peace, more healing, more adventures that lead to better understanding and self love. Honestly at this point, I have no “plans” for 2023, no “New Year’s Resolutions”. I want to just go along and embrace and welcome all that is for me, and see where this adventure takes me.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. As an Adoptee and Birth Mother, I can talk forever about this, so lets talk again. Remembering that it doesn’t matter if you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, know an adoptee, read a book, or anything else, unless you are actually an adoptee, you will never truly understand. So please for the love of all that is holy, stop telling Adoptees how to feel, that their feelings are wrong, that they are over reacting, or anything else like that. Adoptees have every right to feel everything they feel, all the conflicting, hard to understand feelings, they are all valid. Just because you dont understand something, does not make their feelings wrong. So lets talk about belonging. Its a strange thing. We simultaneously belong to multiple families, yet dont fully belong to any. We are forever an option. In our adoptive families we struggle to belong, we dont look like anyone, we dont have the same mannerisms, traits, we struggle to fit in and blend in with our families. We notice all the questioning looks we get by people trying to figure out our connections to each other. We have even had to deal with strangers comments and questions. Our adoptions are constantly pointed out to us, when people compare looks, especially at family events. We are constantly referred to as the “adopted children”. When we go to the doctors and asked for medical history, there is a big blank spot, or adoption is simply written there. In school its pointed out every time we are asked to do a family tree, learning about genes and asked to go back in our family tree with eye colour, hair colour and such. We are constantly asked if we will ever look for our families, then guilted as soon as we decided to do it. We are asked what its like to grow up in a home with strangers. We are referred to as being “chosen” or “picked out”. People ask us how much we cost for our parents to ‘buy’ us. When people do family trees there is constantly a symbol next to our names for adoption. More times than people care to admit, adopted children are placed for adoption again because they didn’t “fit into the family”, or some other issues came to the surface. We are considered an option. We are told we will be sent back. When we get in trouble, we are told in must be in our genes and what a burden it must be for our families to deal with us. Then if and when we are able to find birth families, we are treated an as option. We have to wait to see if our birth families will accept us or reject us, again. Always an option. IF we do get accepted, we rarely ever fully get accepted. Our lives before they met us dont matter because they never knew us. We are never truly the first born, second born, third , or last born, because we weren’t there. When people talk we are separated in speech, like “my kids and you” or “my boys and you” its always “them and you”. There is always a subtle separation in speech. We are told to wait till kids are older to be told about us. We are told to wait because older generations can’t hear about us right now. We are kept secret from some members of the family. We are told to wait till their kids are fully grown before they will consider spending holidays with us. We are told they have their own traditions and things they love, and they won’t grow and evolve those things to include us. We are told that to involve us in traditions would be the same thing to them as throwing away years of family traditions with ‘their family’. Always the separation in speech. Never fully accepted. We aren’t considered ‘close family’ when it comes to family events, birthdays or holidays. We are told that people need time to adjust to our existence. We are told that people that are supposed to be our family need time to figure out if they want to ‘try to be friends and see where that goes’, instead of truly accepting that we are family and include us as such and work towards building relationships that way as sister/brother/cousin/son/daughter or whichever it is. We are always treated as an option. Someone that belongs, but not fully. We are welcome, as long as we stay in our little corner over there, and dont mess with their family setting and traditions. If we dont fit in just right, we are again abandoned, because we will forever be an option for people. An option they can walk away from whenever a single issue arises. We constantly walk on egg shells out of fear of being abandoned again. Many times adoption reunions fall apart after a couple years. We belong to multiple families, yet not fully and truly. Its a weird sense of belonging, being on the outside looking in, longing for acceptance, longing for connection, feeling at home, being surrounded by family, being loved and accepted, and still feeling alone.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. As an Adoptee and Birth Mother, I have a lot to say on the subject. This is however a subject that only Adoptees can truly understand. It doesn’t matter if you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, know an adoptee, read an adoption book, or anything else, unless you are an adoptee, you will never really understand. And every adoptees journey is so different.
Being an adoptee is complicated. We are constantly told that we should be grateful, feel lucky, and be happy that we were “saved” or “chosen”. And here’s the thing, we can feel grateful, we can feel lucky, we can be happy with the life we did get, we can love our life, we can love our family, and at the same time we can still feel angry, hurt, sad, abandoned, long for a biological connection, we can mourn for a life we never had, mourn for the loss of all that could have been or maybe even should have been. And we can experience all of these emotions at once, and not have it take away from feeling grateful, or happy, or hurt, or abandoned. It is so hard to put into words that will ever truly explain what it is like to be an adoptee. To live with such drastically different feelings conflicting with each other all the time.
I’ve lived my life with people telling me how I should feel. Telling me my feelings are wrong if they have ever been anything other than grateful. I’ve had people be mad at my existence. I’ve been called selfish and ungrateful, rude and mean, for wanting to find my birth family. I’ve even been called selfish for wanting to then spend time with the people I found after spending my entire life apart from them. I’ve been told I was never wanted and that they never wanted to ‘waste’ a name on me when I was born. I’ve been called a home wrecker, intruder, and worse, because I found my birth family. I’ve had people separate me from “real” family, and put in a little corner off on my own. I’ve even been told I am too old. When I found who I believed was my birth father, thats what he said to me. This man believed I was his daughter right from the start and even tried to find me when I was 2 years old so he could fight for custody of me. But then when I was almost 28 years old, I found him. And he didn’t want anything to do with me. One of the many reasons he gave me, my age. He said I was too old now. He said I took to long, and I was too old now, and none of it mattered, and I was too old to celebrate anything, too old to care, too old to start building a relationship. He was so angry at me that I took too long to find him. He had other choice words too say to me over the years, but anyway, that was the first time someone complained about my age, used my age against me, told me i’m “too old” for something, but it wouldn’t be the last time. Throughout my journey other people have told me the same thing and used my age against me for various reason. I’ve mourned the death of a man I believed was my birth father, just to find out years later he wasn’t. I could go on and on about the things said to me. The way people treat me as an after thought, as an option, mad at my existence, and more.
But here’s what Adoption gave me, besides trauma, abandonment issues, heartbreak and more, it gave me a beautiful family that has loved me so fiercely. It gave me two parents, that at 36 years old I can honestly say they have always been there for me, never missed a holiday, from Valentines Day to Christmas, never missed a birthday, never missed a school event, been there for every milestone in my life, the birth of each of my children, they were there and visiting the hospital every single day I was in there. They have been there for each of my Mother Days, especially my first after my oldest son was born, which I couldn’t have gotten through without them. They even celebrate my wedding anniversary. Always there for me. And in turn they have always been there for my kids. Every birthday, every holiday, every school performance, every event at school, they were there. I’ve lost count of the amount of cakes my mom has baked with my daughter every time she says its a dolls birthday, or a stuffed animals birthday, it doesn’t matter, my mom is there to celebrate with her and make it special. Family trips all together. When my kids were/are sick, my parents were/are the first people I called, and my Dad would sit up with me during the night and the kids while they had croup, or an ear infection or whatever, my parents were there. Because of the parents I got, I was able to live in Kenya. The people I met there, amazing friends that have become family. Not to mention I met my oldest sons birth father there. Without living there, I never would have met him and had my son. And I can’t imagine a life without him. And my husband, who I met through a cousin on my Moms side. And now I have 3 more beautiful children, and an amazing man in my life. And I wouldn’t have had them, met all the people I have, lived in all the places I have, done all the traveling I did, if life hadn’t put me down another path, if someone else didn’t make one of the biggest decisions in life for me, a choice I didn’t make or was given a say in. And I am so incredibly grateful the life I have had so far, the people I have met, my family, my friends, my husband and my four kids. There is no way I could wish that away. But having said all that, I still mourn for what never was. I still feel sadness over missing out on years with so many other people. Its a complicated thing. It doesn’t make sense. And it is so hard to mourn for something that you never even had. But all while feeling grateful and loving the life you did have. So I dont know what else to say in this ramble. Other than its Adoption Awareness Month, and being an adoptee is complicated, amazing, beautiful, trauma filled, beautiful, and every other mixed emotions.When an adoptee tries to explain their story, share their complicated conflicting emotions, dont try to correct them, dont tell them how they should feel. Let adoptees feel what they feel, and not be shamed for it. Listen to what adoptees have to say, even if you dont understand it.
One year ago my world got flipped all around. Everything changed and nothing made sense. Yet somehow it all made sense. A year ago I wrote this post about a DNA test I took on one of those sites, I thought nothing of it, because you know, I already had all my answers from my 10 year search. But turns out I was wrong, so very very wrong. And the man I believed to be my birth father wasn’t, and I had to start all over. This time however it only took 17 days. In 17 days I messaged a stranger on Facebook, took a paternity test, and met my birth father. All in the span of 17 days my world changed forever. And then you know a global pandemic happened and put all plans on hold and made it impossible to meet people, family, and spend time with them.
Here we are, one year later and I am still trying to wrap my head around everything. Its been a lot. And today is a lot. I have all the emotions fighting it out for dominance. So many big, giant, conflicting emotions. A lot has happened in a year. Relationships have changed, which I guess is a totally natural thing, one way or another, good or bad, relationships change. I still can’t figure out the right words, or emotions to describe the last year. Yet I’m going to try, for my own sake, I need to get this out. I need to make sense of things.
This past year has been amazing. It really has. It has been so wonderful, magical even. Things have just clicked. There are these things, these little moments, these little things about myself, that just make sense now. Things I have kept to myself my whole life, parts of myself that I always kept just for me, because it didn’t feel like it was right to show them to the world, that no one around me would understand or connect, and now, it makes sense. The connections are there. And its weird, it feels foreign, I don’t understand it most of the time, but it all feels right at the same time. One of the strangest things has been to meet people that I look like, you know, other than the tiny humans that I created and birthed myself. Like being able to see myself in other people, and not just looks, traits, habits, beliefs. Its been such a shock to me, and I just don’t know how to explain what that is like after 34 years of life to finally experience that. Something that is just so common to most people, that it never crosses their minds, something so common that its not a big deal to people. And here I am completely crying and falling apart about it.
Can we also talk about how weird it is to find these people, essentially strangers, but they are family, and you feel a connection to them, but they are still strangers, and having to build friendships/relationship with them. Like we are strangers, but I’m their daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, granddaughter. But despite being genetically connected, we are still strangers. Who just happen to look alike, be related, and have things in common. But still strangers, and still family, all at the same time.
Also I need to mention that for the first time in my life, for my 35th birthday I got to spend the day with a biological parent. I still think about that day, and I am still in shock about it. That day meant so much to me. It was and still is such a big deal. Something so simple and easy that a lot of people never give it a second thought. And yet I had to wait till my 35 birthday to have that happen. Its unreal. That day was simply amazing.
Despite all the good and wonderful things, there has been so much fear and anxiety. And overwhelming amount of fear and anxiety. A big dark scary cloud that just follows you around constantly, threatening to ruin everything in the blink of an eye. Because sometimes adoptees get rejected by their families. Sometimes families decide they dont want them, they aren’t a real member of the family, they dont belong, and a whole list of a million other reasons. Sometimes adoptees are the ones to change their mind. But in my case, after 10 years of searching, 7 years after finding my birth mother, and 1 year of this, I know I’m not going to change my mind. I know what I want. But these people I just found, these strangers who also happen to be family, I dont know what they want. They never knew about me, never knew there was even a chance I was out there, never waited for me, I was never a thought for any of them. I was a total and complete surprise. My first reunion of course didn’t go well. So that fear of rejection, that fear of things going badly, was/ is all too real for me since I have already experienced it. And a year later, it is still there. Some days are better than others. Some days its a dull hum in the background, other days its front and centre. I hoped by now, a year into this, that it would be gone by now. Maybe one day. Hopefully one day. Hopefully soon.
I’ve also had to heal from the last reunion I had, the last 8 years with my birth mother. The guilt I have for believing her for 7 years. The pain caused from the man I believed was my birth father. The anger at myself for it all. The anger at her for her choices. There has been a lot of anger and guilt and pain I’ve had to try to heal from. Some days are better than others. It has been a slow process. I dont know if thats just a normal thing, or because it is mixed in with so many other things going on. Some days its hard to separate my feelings from the joy and happiness I feel, and the pain.
Having the chance to know my story, my real story, get real answers has been amazing. Yet in a way it has also been heartbreaking. That I can’t explain, even though I badly wish I could. Even just to myself. But I can’t and it is driving me crazy.
So really how do you even begin to describe a year like this? A year of finding your truth, your family, your connections, and followed right by a global pandemic. A global pandemic that has its own fears, anxieties, hardships, stress, depression, and is keeping you apart from some of the people you want to be with the most. Its been so hard, and heartbreaking. To know these people and have to stay away. Its soul crushing and destroying. The timing of all this. It makes it so hard. I believed my birth mother for 7 years, thats 7 years I lost with these people, 7 years without a global pandemic that I would have the freedom to know and meet and spend time with these people. But nope, that didn’t happen. I had to have all this happen right before and during a pandemic and global lockdown.
So here’s to a better year, a year with less fear, a year with more connections, a year of building better relationships, getting to know people, and hopefully being able to see them and spend time with them. Heres to a year where my emotions aren’t so raging and out of control. Where things make sense, where I can explain my emotions.
Everyone’s adoption journey and search is different. Everyone has different feelings towards things. And this is mine. Gotcha Day is a something that I don’t like, agree with, or would ever celebrate for myself. And I’m so glad and thankful that my parents never tried to make that a thing in our house.
Gotcha Day is the day of ‘celebration’ when a new child enters a family, whether the day the new family got the child, or the adoption was finalized. It can be called “adoption day” or “family day”. All depends on the family that chooses to do this.
Well yes I am incredibly grateful that I was adopted into a loving family, a good family. I got to experience things I wouldn’t have other wise, like I got to live in Kenya. Those choices that were made for me before I was born put me on a completely different path, but that path lead me to my ex, and my husband, which gave me my children. And I can’t imagine life without them. But lets get something straight; I got all of that because my life was traded for another.
I lost my name, who I was, the chance to know my heritage, my story, my family, knowing who I belonged to, and where I came from. My name was changed, I was handed to another family, and got sent down a completely different path in life. A new family may have got me, but that day is a day I lost myself.
Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where everyone expects the victims (adoptees) to be nothing but grateful and appreciative.
And I am grateful and appreciative, but I also suffered a great loss. A loss that I’ve been trying to figure out, process and deal with my entire life. And just when I thought I had, I got thrown a curve ball.
Adoption is so much more than one family building their own family. There is so much loss behind the scenes. As one family is being built, another family is forever apart. The loss of adoption is felt by the adoptee and birth mother and father and their families. As an adoptee I’ve had to grow up missing people I didn’t know, wondering about them constantly. After I actually found my birth parents, I found myself grieving a life I never knew.
I’m in a unique position. I am both an Adoptee and a Birth Mother. I have experienced loss from both sides of this.
I placed my son for adoption, and I did it in an open adoption so I could know him, be there for him in whatever capacity he needed me to be, and so I could answer any and all questions he ever had, and so he wouldn’t be left alone and wondering like I was. I wanted him to have the life he deserved, but to still know where he came from, his story and to know without a doubt that he was loved, wanted, and that I will always be there for him. He knows who I am and he knows who his siblings are, and he gets to have a relationship with us all. It doesn’t take away from his loss at all, he has his own loss from the choices I made for him before he was born. And I can only hope he sees and knows that I do it all for him, and that I did it out of love for him.
The day my son got placed with his new family, his ‘gotcha day’ so to speak, the day his parents hearts swelled with pride and love as they took home their new son. The day their family was completed. That was the day my heart and soul forever broke and would be missing a piece from that moment on. The day their family was put together, was the day that my world and chance at a family together forever fell apart.
As an adoptee with a closed adoption I felt the loss of people and a life I never knew. I was left feeling ever so slightly like I never belonged. Just ever so slight out of place. Always searching the crowed for someone that looked like me. Always missing a piece of myself. Always wondering where I came from. Always wondering why.
As a Birth Mother, my heart and soul forever broken and missing a piece, enduring a pain so deep and raw, that it still hurts to this day. The day my son went to a home that was my home, was the day my heart didn’t just break, it shattered. It’s a day that I will forever remember, for far different reasons than his family will remember that day for.
There is so much more behind each and every adoption story. There is so much more behind the happy new growing family. There is so much more to all of this.
The desire to have a connection/relationship to someone you are biologically related to isn’t something someone can understand unless they have been denied that chance. It is so hard to explain. I was adopted at birth, it was a closed adoption, and I was left feeling alone and always wondering. Yet I always felt a connection and pull towards someone, some where, I just never knew who or where.
My Adoption Tattoo
Now at almost 35 years old I have all my answers, finally. But part of me is still left feeling alone and wondering. 7 years ago I found my birth mother. It should have been a wonderful experience. But it wasn’t. It started off well enough. She said all the ‘right’ things. She said she wanted me, thought about me all the time, she said she loved me, she said she wanted to build a relationship with me. She said she wanted to be apart of my life and my kids. She said she cared. She said she would always be there. She said we were family. She said all the things I wanted and needed her to say. And then something changed. I can’t even tell you what. I don’t know when it all broke down. I don’t know when it turned to hate. I can’t tell you those things, because I refused to see them when they were happening, I made excuses for them, I took the blame for it all. I must have done something wrong, what that was, I didn’t know exactly. I wanted to be the daughter she would be proud of and want. But I just wasn’t. I fought like hell for something that was never going to be there, the connection and relationship that should between a mother and daughter.
We don’t talk anymore. I know things happen for a reason. I know sometimes we just have to let go of people, despite the pain it is best for us. I know you can’t force a relationship with someone. I know all of these things, but I also know, that all of this hurts. I still grieve over this. What could have been. What should have been. What I could have done, should have done. How could I have been the daughter she would want. What I lost. What my kids have lost. What she has lost. All of it. It is such a mix of emotions, some days I don’t know how to sort them and process them.
This woman gave birth to me. She should want me. She should love me. She should be here for me. I should feel a connection to her, and her to me. But she doesn’t. I’ve tired to work through this, process this, and I tried to move on. But here’s the thing; how can I fully move on from this, from the person that gave me life? Nature, biology, genetics, cosmic pull, whatever you want to call it, it is a strong force. Now when I feel that desire, its surround with grief and so much pain. It is always there. Sometimes its quiet, so quiet I can’t feel it, other times its screaming so loud my whole body hurts. Why would I, how could I, want someone that so clearly doesn’t want me? Why do we put ourselves through such pain? And how do you explain this to anyone else? Unless you have gone through this first hand, it is so hard to explain and have someone else understand.
Despite everything, she’s still there, in the back of my head. When something happens, on holidays, birthdays, milestones. And it hurts. I don’t want the grief, the guilt, the shame, the feelings of intense pain of being rejected every time I think of her. It shouldn’t have happened this way, but it did, and I don’t know why.
Finding myself. Finding my place. Finding where I belong.
My Adoption Tattoo
I never imagined I would be almost 35 and still trying to figure this out. I spent my entire life wondering, dreaming, day dreaming, wishing and hoping. My entire life I felt out of place. Any time I was out I was scanning the crowds for someone, anyone, that looked like me. Searching for a hint of something familiar. Where did I belong? Who did I belong to? Where did I come from? What was my story? What is my family’s story?
I spent nearly 10 years searching for my answers. And when I thought I had them I felt more lost than I ever had. I accepted my fate that I would forever feel lost and out of place, something was missing. I vowed to myself that I would move on. And I did. I let go of my hopes and dreams for a happy reunited family. I let go of the idea that I would find some magical place that was right for me, where I belonged, where I was finally free to be me, to know me, to truly know me. To know where I came from, who I belonged to, and what my story was. I gave up and I moved on. I made my own happy little family. Forever missing a piece of myself, but I was happy, and content. The aching was still there, but it was a dull hum, no longer a loud thunder following me around.
And now here I am. I have my answers. My truths. My absolute truths. I’m learning my stories. I’m learning family stories, my family stories. But here’s the thing; I still don’t know where I belong. What if I never do? What if I am forever feeling split and missing.
I got sent a family tree. My family tree. And it was amazing. It was beautiful. It was absolutely stunning. It was the most wonderful thing, and it completely ripped my heart apart and took away my breathe. This was the family I was robbed of. This is the family I missed out on for the last 35 years. This is the family I lost and I am now just learning about and grieving.
For the first time in my life I could see in writing where I belong, where I came from, my family line, my family legacy. I was able to look back to see MY Great-Great-Great Grandparents. And you know what else I saw, no one I knew and no one that knew me. I saw family connections. I saw family stories. I saw a family legacy. I saw love. But I didn’t see where I actually belonged, beyond where the DNA told me I did.
My entire life all I have ever wanted was to feel whole, to know what it was like to know who I was and where I came from, to know who I belonged to. And now I do, but at the same time, I feel lost. Maybe its because this is all still new. Maybe its because I’m almost 35 and I’ve missed out on so much. I wish I knew. My heart, my soul, my mind, my body are all so tired, it all aches. It aches and longs to know where I belong. To for once, not feel out of place.
As I sit here staring at this family tree, trying to find my place, and realizing just how many family trees I am connected to and apart of. I don’t just have a family tree, I have a whole damn family orchard, and I’m getting lost among the trees.