Friday, June 4, 2010
I've been thinking about adoption a lot.
Maybe it's because I've been watching that show "16 and Pregnant" during my "breaks" from work. The show has got me doing a lot of thinking in of itself, and a lot of it has to do with the one girl who decided to give her baby girl up for adoption.
That young woman was my birth mother 29 and some odd years ago.
She had to debate, with my birth father, whether or not they felt that they could raise me.
They had to ponder on what kind of life they would give me if they kept me.
They weren't 16, but they were young, and they had their vision of their futures. It did not involve parenting.
I have always known that I was adopted.
For as long as I can remember I knew the story by heart - how my mom had been pregnant with a baby boy and had an ectopic pregnancy resulting in an emergency hysterectomy. I knew the story about the waiting, the agony of being 'examined' to see if they were 'worthy' enough of being parents.
It's horrible what they make people go through - every time I think of it I recall a tweetie who once tweeted (or blogged, and I'm quoting VERY loosely so if it's YOU then I'm sorry if I get it wrong!!) "All I need to do to get preggo is buy a 6 pack, start smoking crack, and have sex in the back seat of a car." It sure seems like people far far FAAARR less worthy of being parents are given the gift of a child on an all too frequent basis. But I am digressing. This is for another post.
The fact that I have always known that I am adopted has made much of my life a series of questions. Up until recently, only CLOSED adoptions were permitted in Ontario. This meant that I know nothing about my birth parents, where they came from, or how they lived. I've always wondered, who am I "supposed" to be? I have always had these 'urges'. I've always been drawn to a life far from the one I'm living, intrigued by different lifestyles (often ones which seem to make my parents cringe). Where do these urges come from?
More recently, as I'm getting older I'm starting to also really want to know what I'll look like 5, 10, 15 years from now. I have no way of knowing.
What little I do know sparks my curiosity even more. When I read the disclosure from the Children's Aid Social Worker who was in charge of the adoption all those years ago, I get shivers down my spine reading the many similarities between myself and these two youngsters, my birth parents (I'm now about 8 years older than they were when they had me).
It is not easy to find people in Toronto, despite the fact that I now know the name of my birth mother and where she was born, and where she lived when I was born.
Especially people who may not want to be found. And I am scared to find out that she doesn't want to be found, so thus far I am just sitting on the information I have, holding it close, but not too close.
It seems like I do that with a lot of things - hold them close, but not too close. My animals are an exception to that. But with people I have a hard time (as you know if you follow my tweets.) I wonder how much of that has to do with my adoption. I wonder how much of my inherent loneliness comes from my adoption. I wonder if I cling to the wrong people sometimes because I still have unconscious (and sometimes conscious) feelings of abandonment.
Despite the fact that I have loving parents and family, I had plenty of everything growing up, I got a top notch education, and I always had all the necessities I needed, I still wonder.
I don't want to come across here as being anti-adoption. I am far from that. I think that adoption is a wonderful way of making sure that children are loved and cared for, which in my option should be the #1 priority in our world. I just really feel that children need to know where they come from, and what their genetic story is.
Lets face it, there are just certain things that there is no escaping from, and genetic make up is one of those things. I have never been able to answer the question "Is there any heart disease, cancer, diabetes (etc etc) in your family?" I would really like to be able to one day.
I would like to know my story - my WHOLE story, not just the details that my Mom remembers of after I was born, but all the details, of my heritage, my history.
I feel as if I live my life as a series of unanswered possibilities.
If I knew that my birth parents were doctors, for instance, would that have made me more motivated to stay in University and pursue a more demanding (and respectable) career? Was it the fact that I knew that my birth mother got pregnant at a young age that made me feel like I should be sexually mature and experience before my time? Did those feelings lead me down certain destructive paths I have taken in my life?
As I mentioned before, I've always felt a pull towards a lifestyle vastly different from the one I was raised in. Perhaps if I knew what kind of lifestyle my birth parents lived I would not feel so estranged .Maybe I'd relax, knowing that I'm not doing anything 'wrong' but just living differently than my Mom & Dad would have preferred. Maybe if I knew that my birth parents lead a similar life to mine I would not feel so guilty for having disobeyed my Mom & Dad.
Maybe I'd feel my destiny for a change.
So many questions, so many curiosities. I'm not sure what I will do with them, but for now they remain floating in my head, waiting for the right moment to reveal itself.
I love my Mom & Dad, so that right moment may never actually arrive due to the pain that I feel it may cause them. I'm not sure that they will ever understand my need to find out where I come from. I don't blame them- they did an amazing job raising and taking care of me and it must feel a like abandonment to them when they think about my curiosity.
But all the same, that curiosity is growing daily. Especially when I am faced with judgments from my family about how I live my life. And when I am faced with feeling alone, lonely, different. I have never really felt comfortable being entirely 'myself' around my parents, or my extended family. There has always been a filter to protect them from my cussing, my rage, my insecurities, my doubts, my wildness, my occasional vulgarity, my inner party girl. I wonder whether or not that filter would be there if they were my birth parents.
The notion of unconditional love also makes me ponder. There have been countless ups and downs in the small unit of our family, and my Mom & Dad have professed unconditional love throughout them all. But yet, despite their claims, I feel that I am somehow substandard, not achieving enough, not quite the package that they were hoping for 29+ years ago when they were awarded the greatest gift of their lives.
I'm not sure what I had hoped to achieve by writing this post. There isn't a definite point here. I feel it's important to share the views of an adult adoptee (of a closed adoption).
So many wonderful ladies who I have met through my own battle with infertility have begun their adoption journey. Some have been struggling through their journey for far too long already. I hope that I haven't stepped on any feelings with this post, and again I'll re-iterate that I am certainly NOT anti-adoption. I just wanted to open up a discussion between us all because I have faith that every last one of you amazing women hoping to adopt will one day hold a baby in your arms. And that baby may one day grow up to have the curiosities and questions that I have. I feel it's important for those curiosities and questions to be explored together, and maybe this discussion can help prepare for that day.
My life on this blog has always been an open book to you all, I hope that my honesty and openness about this slightly touchy subject is not in any way hurtful or painful for any of you, my dear readers. Please join in on my discussion of adoption, whether it be from the point of view of an adopted person, or an adoptive parent.