For those that don’t know, I’m adopted. I’ve known from a very early age and it changed my world.
I grew up overseas as an army brat with a mom and dad like most people from my generation. My father worked a lot and my mother spent her time at church and reading. I can’t say that my life was wonderful or even the picture of a happy family, to do that would be lying.
I can look back on my life and remember the good times…picking out Christmas trees and decorating them, singing Christmas songs around the advent wreath as we lit a candle each Sunday to count down to Christmas, I can remember family trips we took around Europe, that was all great and I’ll spare you the hurt and anguish of my life but I always knew there was something wrong. I look at pictures of my childhood starting at the age of 5 (my age of discovery) and my smile is gone my eyes are sad…there’s something wrong, there’s something missing…
I came across the paperwork easily enough, I had been reading since a very early age (my mother was an English major so reading was of upmost importance) I was being nosey and found papers with my name on them and proceeded to read them…adoption…I was a child and had no idea what that word meant. I asked my mother about the papers and she proceeded to tell me the story of how she and my father came to be my parents.
I can remember thinking that it was neat, that I was special and I was chosen and a gift from God because after all that’s what my mother told me. I didn’t really understand that in essence I was given away…
As I got older and understood more of this word adoption I would tell anyone and everyone that I was adopted especially when they would say I looked like my mother or my father, I was always quick to point out that they were NOT my parents that I was adopted so I could NOT look like them. I grew up feeling out of place and never good enough because after all if my mom didn’t want me and my family life was subpar then it must mean that there was something wrong with me and no one could ever really love me or want me.
I kept everyone away from me after all they were going to leave me too and if they didn’t I knew they would treat me poorly so I started to depend on myself. I turned inward and listened to my thoughts and filled myself with so much anger and fear that no one would be able to hurt me again. I kept to myself, yes, I had friends but I knew they wouldn’t last. I got my first dog when I was in elementary school and quickly learned that no matter what he would be there for me so my direction turned to animals, they love you unconditionally and they are there when you are hurt or sick and they don’t leave if you’ve done something wrong, my dog was my best friend and my only confidant.
In my teenager year the self-hatred and lack of worth grew stronger, see I had dream that my “real mom” would come get me and take me away from the life I was living, I held on to that fantasy for years but it never came true…I turned in on myself so much because I was lost and flailing like a kite with no string that my depression and my anxiety grew so much it encompassed me…love no one and let no one love you they all leave you…that was my mantra. I build a fortress around myself that no one could enter, sure I’d think I was in love but I have since learned to love is to be vulnerable and I was not letting anyone in.
I grew up and got married even had a few kids but I could never run fast enough or far enough away from my pain, it haunted me in everything I did, something was always missing, that proverbial puzzle piece of my life…I trusted no one, not even my kids although I had brought them into the world and I loved them with all I could I still could not trust that they would stay. I married a couple more times and with each one I brought the same issues…abandonment and trust…why could I never believe that anyone could possibly love me so I would sabotage and hurt anyone before they hurt me.
I started to look for my mom years ago, almost 20 to be precise, I could never find her. I knew her name and I knew where she lived when I was born but I couldn’t find her. I searched for years without telling anyone. I would read those adoption papers again and again trying to figure out how and where she could be and how I could find her. I just wanted to see her face, I just wanted to know the simple things…do I look like her, do I act like her, did I get my feet from her…mostly I wanted to know why she didn’t want me and what I did wrong.
It had been over 10 years since I started the search and I had come across a website that could possibly help the search. I put my information in there and waited for something, nothing, by this time I was fully into my anger and it was spilling out everywhere. I lashed and cried and squished it all down because I wouldn’t be seen as weak.
One day I got an email…she had been found, my birth mother had been found. I though the email was a scam, I thought why should I trust this stranger who had never met me and was in a different country, why???? I relented though, what could I possibly have to lose after all it wasn’t like I had ever known her or my birth mother. I have her my number and we talked and she gave me my Mom’s name, it changed when she remarried a few years ago. I clicked the link and sure enough, my moms face staring back at me…40 years I had waited to see her, 40 years I had questions and for 40 years I had such anger…when I saw her those things went away. I knew her immediately, I knew that she didn’t want to give me up and that she loved me, I just knew.
The following weeks I asked the important questions and she answered them for me. I dealt with my mortality, I mean if you have no mom and you have no history do you really die and if you do, does anyone care???? I looked in the mirror and I saw her face staring back at me, to be honest it scared me. The biggest thing that happened was I actually have a true life mom that has been searching for me and loving me from afar. I finally feel peace and I finally feel whole and now I am desperate to fill in the years that we have spent apart. I have learned a lot about my mom and she has become my confidant and my shoulder to cry on when I’m felling down or anxious, she has the words to life me up and give me strength. Most of all she has given me peace and a sense of belonging I have never had. I love this woman probably as much as she loves me….