Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

April 04, 2006

Still Broken After All These Years

Wow! I feel so humble and grateful that people actually stopped by and read my post, even after I lost all previous comments. You guys are awesome, and I already feel better after reading your responses. (When I change templates, I copy all the old template and posts to a clipboard and paste onto a notepad, change the template, then paste the old posts and old template back. What I didn't think about was how to keep comments--I guess you can't. Darn. I learn the hard way.)

I love reading other adoptee blogs because that way I don't feel so alone or so crazy. I wonder, could it be that there actually is such a thing as an "adoptee community"? If so, then I see it as the only community to which I belong in this world (not counting the one that includes me with my husband and two daughters.) I think the deepest part of me hungers for community, whatever that means; for connection. I think if you're an adoptee (whether or not you found your birth relatives) reading this, you know what I mean. See, I used to think that finding my blood family would be enough. I told my confidential intermediary that all I wanted was to make contact, introduce myself, then I'd go my way. But that was all just surface talk. Kind of like saying the smallest crumb is better than nothing. I didn't realize how much I longed to keep up a relationship, even if it was with just one of them. I guess there's a lot more that I don't know about myself and "human nature" than I realized. For those of you who have the same longing I did and are searching, I hope with all my heart that you find at least one living blood relative at the end of your search. And I hope that they are amenable to keeping contact, keeping the door open to further relationship. Because that's what it takes to begin to heal, to be whole. Just knowing they're there isn't really enough. At least not for me. And I know there are many, many adoptees who went to their grave without finding; and others, like me, who found too late. I see them as angels, these forlorn ones.

Excuse the sentiment, but I know there's a world of pain out there. I know there are millions and millions of human beings who are suffering with the situations in their own lives. I know that most of them have it so much worse than I do. And until we all have a chance to have our voices heard, the suffering will continue, maybe beyond what we're capable of bearing. Adoptees are, in my opinion, the silent and invisible sufferers. There's no physical ailment that you can point to. And the psychological componants of the state of being an adoptee are still woefully misunderstood. Most clinical textbooks don't even list "adoptee" in their index (at least that's what I read in Primal Wound.)

What I'm learning is that the process of writing all the stuff down here on my blog, the stuff that hurts really bad inside, getting out on the screen for the whole world to read, is truly therapeutic. But some people don't agree with that, or understand it. Just last week I was invited on the Chosen Bablies adoptees list. The list posts member adoptee blogs. I love that concept! But I'm just lurking on the list now for awhile because of this: My very first encounter on the list was a confrontation. A veteran subscriber, a professional therapist, who didn't know I was on the list, commented negatively on my blog. He wrote in his posts that I needed help; that I'd self-diagnosed myself as depressed, and refusing to take pharmaceuticals I was a victim of my own depression. That I was making my depression work for me by blogging my stuff for the whole world to see. Frankly, he may be right (how would I know?), but I didn't appreciate his assumptions. I mean, he's never even met me. When he discovered I was actually on the list, he didn't apologize or anything, just went on with his derogative comments. The deal is, if I'm certifiable and can't afford treatment, then all I can do is to use what I have at hand: my blog.

The reason I mention the list discussion on Empty Cereal Box is to underscore the fact that there seems to be a stigma on adoptees (is it just "poor me" again, or does anyone else agree?). Society in general (which includes the majority of therapists, I fear) says we must all just get over it. We must seek therapy (so we can fit into the mold and be a functioning member of society) and with that, pharmaceuticals if warranted. We are somehow expected to come up with the money to pay for the health insurance it will take. I won't be going that route for two reasons.

  • Unfortunately, I'm unemployable (this is subject for another post). Therefore, I'm currently unemployed. In my case, depression (and lack of self-confidence) has been an ongoing fact of life, especially as I get older. It comes and goes. I mean, I don't walk around depressed every single day. I function well. I laugh. I know how to have a good time. I get stuff done. I'm otherwise healthy (although I may be blind to my own illness, as my accuser would have me believe--I have something to say about that in a subsequent post about a graduate student at a university who just harrassed my daughter, a graduate in medical anthropology, last week, so badly that she had to flee the town on the advice of her professors, friends, and other students--more on that tomorrow).

  • I choose natural over conventional healing strategies for some very good reasons. My life is a showcase for the contrast between conventional and alternative healing methods (also subject of subsequent posts). Therefore, I'm more than a little leery of taking pharmaceuticals to alter my depressed state. I know for a fact that adoptees are over-represented in psychiatric institutions, prisons, and in suicide stats. Whenever I hear about another young gay man committing suicide, I always wonder if therapy with pharmaceuticals could have helped him. I wonder if such treatment actually covers up the symptoms rather than heals the person. I wonder how that compares with being a suicidal adoptee. I'm not suicidal right now and haven't been for some time. But I was during my peri-menopauseal phase of life. So, I did research and found herbs for depression (including St. Johnswort). I made my own herbal tincture to regulate my hormones and depression and took them whenever I felt like I wanted to die. Within ten minutes, the feeling passed and I could function quite well again. It cost me next to nothing and no side effects. I think I made it out of that horror chamber intact. I can't ask for more.
Empty Cereal Box for now is addressing personal issues about being adopted. With work and luck, and good feedback like I've been fortunate enough to have, maybe I'll manage to "get over" at least some of the most painful and long-term aspects and be able to begin to address the political issues. Maybe I'll never get to that point. Maybe I'll become an activist or advocate. Lord knows adoptees have a long, long way to go before we have rights as adult human beings. I mean, there's a lot of talk in the media about civil rights. But I ask you, When did adoptees in all but a few states ever have civil rights? We adoptees are babies in aspic. That's why I posted my baby photo below. Because for me it's a true representation of who I am. Does that make any sense?

14 Comments:

Blogger Lady said...

Stuff the professional advice! Personally, I'm leery of folks who make a living off of other's sorrows. Besides the fact I've met a few counsellors I think are bonkers themselves.

Anyway, I like your blog. The more I can learn about adoption from the adoptee POV, the better I am for it.

You keep writing and the folks will keep dropping by to read.

4.4.06  
Blogger kim.kim said...

You are totally employable, as long as you work for yourself, writing, doing creative things or working for someone who understands who you are and makes space for you not to have to fit inside a grey box. I am not employable in most fields which is why I have to create my own work which I do really well.
I love your blog. I am so glad you are here.

4.4.06  
Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Lady-Yeah. Screw the "professional" advice. You're absolutely right. We're our own best counsel.

Kim.Kim-Some of the last words my b-aunt told me were, "If you want to write, then write." I like your suggestions. They work for me.

4.4.06  
Blogger Kippa Herring said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4.4.06  
Blogger Lady said...

My thing about couselling is this, IMO, adoption has really not been studied. It seems to be addressed as a footnote rather then a full blown issue.

I have read a few papers/research about adoptees but the studies have been limited to adolescents.

Same misgivings about couselling for the natural mother. Much adoo about bitterness, very little research as to why the nmother's feel as they do.

As for any concrete studies on long term reunion, haven't seen any to date.

4.4.06  
Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

Both adoptees and moms have been told that we should "get over it". But, the reality is, that we don't. We can do some healing (I'm all for natural, too), but no one would condemn us for being sad and depressed if we lost our arm, or if our natural mom / child died and we were grieving their loss. But, they don't realize that the loss of our mom / child at birth was a TERRIBLE loss, and that if we don't grieve, we can't heal.

And, yeah, I've searched for professional help, and they don't know what they are doing.

(well... except maybe Joe at adoptioncrossroads.com because he is an adoptee... )

4.4.06  
Blogger Lady said...

Agree Heather, Joe and the adoption crossroads site are terrific. But you know the "powers that be" don't respect Joe's position because he is an adoptee!!

4.4.06  
Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

Yeah.... isn't THAT ironic? ((Rolls eyes)) Of course an adult adoptee isn't going to have any concept of what adoption issues are buried beneath our smiling surfaces. GRRR. F* The System.

4.4.06  
Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

That's freakin messed up what they did to you in the hospital.

Say... your bdad had to sign relinquishment papers didn't he? I wonder if there is anyway to get those papers.... I know it would be very difficult... because I know on my daughter's birth certificate, the person who signed the relinquishment papers wasn't listed. But, still, there should be papers out there.

4.4.06  
Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Heatherrainbow--Ya think? I don't even think my bdad knew I existed, but I could be wrong. I mean, I was born "out of wedlock" when my bmom was still married to another guy (my half-sister's dad). I doubt if he signed anything. His name wasn't even on my OBC, according to my search angel. Damn straight the hospital thing was MESSED UP BS. Freakin' nearly destroyed me.

4.4.06  
Anonymous Lisa V said...

Re: civil rights of adoptees. I have always believed in open records, but I really didn't feel like I had a dog in that fight because my children are both from very open adoptions and we had their OCB's. Or so I thought. I went to apply for my oldest's passport last week and was joking that we could get one in her birth name and adoptive name. Then I looked at the OCB- it was one of those pretty hospital ones. Not a legal one. I emailed her birth mom and she said she didn't have one either, that she had never thought of it back then. So now I am pissed that a state worker can see my child's records, but I can't, and more importantly she can't. And we would have to go to court to get it. Nuts. Completely nuts. She is not old enough to care, and maybe she never will- but it should be her choice, not a judge's.

4.4.06  
Blogger Jean said...

i am glad you are blogging:) welcome to the group. I just found you and will be back to read everything soon:)

Kristen Jean

4.4.06  
Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Lisa-When are we gonna take control of our lives and pass that control over to our kids????? Sometimes I wonder where all our beefing is gonna get us. Yours is just another example of how the adoption industry is another form of slavery.

Kristenjean-Thanks for your visit. I'll pop over for a visit to your site sometime today. Always good to connect with more people affected by this barbaric system.

5.4.06  
Blogger aloneinthedesert said...

Hey ECB,
I just want to say that you write beautifully and from your heart. I am totally enjoying your thoughts and writings. Please do keep writing.

Thanks for being here, good to hear from you!!

5.4.06  

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