Yesterday I wrote a post on Instagram about my adoption…
“ever since becoming a mother my adoption has become harder for me. this is not something i talk much about out loud, on my blog or in this space, but it’s something that makes the tender loop in my mind, as if the questions i have and the feelings i feel are a set of footprints a worn path in the middle of an overgrown field. perhaps this is not the place to share this sort of thing, i don’t know, but i feel called to. i feel called to crack this open a little bit, if even just a sliver, to let some light in. adoptees, our experiences are all very different, drastically so, but it makes me feel good knowing there are others out there that maybe sharing in some, if even one, of the same feelings i am experiencing today, at twenty nine, and as a mother, as a daughter. just maybe.”
After leaving it up for several hours I removed it. While I thought I was ready to share this vulnerability of mine on that platform, it turns out, I wasn’t. Every time I saw those blue clouds and pine trees on my feed (the photo I chose to go along with the post) it made me feel squirmy. Although I am not really certain of the precise why behind that squirm, I am fairly confident it has something to do with shame. Something to do with frustration. Something to do with not wanting to hurt anyone involved in this tangle. Something to do with the fear I have in moving forward with this part of my story as a mother to babies that soon will have questions of their own…questions that will tie up loose ends to a part of their story. Something I feel I am not quite able to put the right words around in the way that I want, because those feelings are just too big right now. They are too overwhelming. And it seems every time I want to write about this part of myself and share it with others who may be able to empathize, something prevents me. A wall goes up and I figure, what’s the point? Why lean into this when it hurts? Why pick at it?
But I suppose this is a start. Or that Instagram post was, even though I took it down. It was a step in the right direction for me, because I do wholeheartedly believe that opening up about things that bring us shame and sadness, things that give rise to questions, is a step towards healing. I believe we are here for community and for compassion. I believe we are here to grow with one another in love and share our stories so that we may become stronger and better and kinder.
And another thing that keeps running the circuit: sharing something that runs as deep as this does, opening up about an internal piece of my soul that is probably the most intimate part of who I am, on a public place like social media is kind of like giving someone one piece of a very large and layered puzzle and expecting them to figure out the whole picture with grace. It can be misleading and often times leads to misunderstandings on many levels. By sharing what I did, I think I unfairly lead some to assume that my situation is a bad one, and that perhaps that I am ungrateful for being adopted. The truth is, I know I am blessed. I feel it with every fiber of my being. I thank God every day that I was given such amazing parents and a solid foundation from which to grow. I have no regrets. I love my parents. I love my family. I also love my birthparents and birth siblings, with whom I do have relationships. That is where things start to get muddy, because currently my adoption is an open one.
Setting that aside for right now, as a mother, being adopted brings so many other things to the surface. It has stirred up questions and concerns I have about how to be open about this with this with our children, for my story is their story too. There is not a lot of literature out there, not much that I’ve found anyhow, about how to navigate this situation. About how to tread these delicate waterways that inside don’t feel so delicate at all.
I have big questions. Questions that I most likely unfairly assume most people who are not adopted would never care to ask, in which case, might make them seem trivial to the outsider looking in. But I want to know all the details. I want to know all the seemingly insignificant bits that make up my story from before I was born. Pieces that I suppose prove to me I came from somewhere. From someone. I want to know who held me, who saw me, who made decisions, how they felt, where I went, the doctor appointments, the kicks, where she went, where he went, where my parents were, who, what, where, when, why, how. I want to know it all because it matters to me. Because that gap, though small, is still a damn gap. I want to know not because I am ungrateful for what I have, but because my experience is real and raw and a chapter that I know very little about out of fear of hurting someone, maybe even myself. I am afraid of what the answers might be and afraid that learning the answers might cause someone pain. I don’t want that. But I am someone who thirsts for knowledge of all kinds, for understandings beyond my reach, for the opportunity to sit with something that might just help connect the dots a bit…so that is why I want to crack this open.
I think my postpartum depression after having Alfie, along with my severe troubles with separation anxiety when Andrew left for work, was somehow linked to all of this. What I do know is when I felt those feelings of fear and anxiety, they seemed to rise from the same source, a place of unworthiness and doubt. Despite knowing I am loved and that I don’t actually need the all of details to be truly happy, I still want them. I was still given up for adoption. This all still happened, and because adoption is a lifelong process and not a one-and-done deal, there’s a longing within me, a need to make sense, and a need to feel connected to something bigger than myself.
So, this is my start, my first chapter, so to speak. This is my opening up and sharing and getting honest with myself (and you) about something that scares the shit out of me. If you happen to be adopted and a mother, or even if you have some small tangible connection to this, I’d love to hear from you if you feel like sharing a bit of your story. I think we all have a lot to learn from one another and if this space gives us that gift of connection, what a blessing. What a blessing.