Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

July 05, 2006

A Sort of Tribute

I'm not sure why I posted The Declaration of Indpendence yesterday. I think it's because, as a typical American, I never actually read it in my adult life. And now that I have, I see so many parallels with what happened back in the late 1700s with what's happening in the early 2000s.

Being an adoptee, I also feel a strange connection with "independence." It's not easy to sort through and put it into words, really. But I guess as an adoptee, in a sense I've always felt indendent of everyone. By independent, I mean disconnected. Abandoned by my first mother and never connected to my second. I've always felt disconnected to other people, as a matter of fact. Drifting. Maybe other adoptees can relate to that. I suppose disconnected has a negative connotation, while independence sounds more positive.

In a way maybe it's good to be independent of a real identity. That way you don't get stuck in some rut or ideology or loyalty that keeps you from a larger view. I acted out quite convincingly the artificial identity that others created for me. Now maybe I can make my lack of identity work for me by taking a larger view of the world and maybe helping to change it for the better.

Today I was reading some powerful posts on Chosen Babies. I haven't been reading the list for awhile and now I'm lurking again. One of the big threads recently was dealing with aging aparents. I have felt this huge weight of guilt over not visiting my amother for six years when she went into board and care and later to a nursing home when she could no longer care for herself. I was an only child and never loved her, resented the hell out of her in fact. All I did was to make sure her bills were paid. That's pretty much what she did for me, although she did try to love me on her own terms, I suppose. Overall, she was a cold woman. I must have learned it from her, but maybe not. I don't want to hold onto this grudge. I just don't know how to let it go yet.

Someone on the list said that adoptees don't owe anything to their aparents. That's the validation I've needed to read for nearly ten years now. It is such a liberating idea. We don't need to kill ourselves caring for "ungrateful" (as some of us adoptees have been called) aparents only to build up a mountain of resentment and carry it around with another mountain of guilt for the rest of our lives. I opted out of the resentment and took on the guilt, if you know what I mean.

I have two daughters who are my blood. I nursed them for four years each and tried very hard not to pass along what my amother did to me--i.e., lay guilt trips on them, overpower them with my own sense of incompleteness, manipulate them, etc. I think, thanks to my incredible husband, that I succeeded.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm flying above it all, looking down on my past from a distant objectivity. I almost feel free of it all. Then other times, like today, I feel completely dependent on all the pain, the smothering secrecy, the abandonment and rejection, the weight of guilt and all that goes with being an adoptee. I know, like Gwendolyn says, every adoptee is different and has a different experience. She has made me see that it's important not to generalize (which I tend to do with everything from my highly opinionated viewpoint). Thanks, Gwendolyn, for helping me to see this.

No, I've never seen a therapist. Sometimes I think it might help. Then other times I hear horror stories and I decide I'll just keep sitting here at the keyboard and typing out my heart, putting it onto the screen for anyone who cares to read it. Atilla the Mom calls it Cheaper than Therapy. She's so right. I feel as if there's this warm and indpendent ("loose") community of adoptees and first moms who are gentle with each other and supportive and creative and intelligent, and I'm getting to know many of them from the inside out. This connection is priceless to me, even if it's virtual. The fact that we share the same feelings and that we aren't alone any more. I don't think it will get much better than this for me, at least. I've pretty much exhausted everything else that might "heal" me. Now I know I will never heal, but I can become more human.


Blogger Joy said...

Yeah, I know,
I have a hard time being dependent in anyway.

I feel like if I am dependent, I will end up with an unpayable debt.

It has really damaged my relationships with men, because there is a part of me that doesn't want to share, wants to be my own closed circuit, ya know?


Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Joy-Oh, don't get me started...(lol)


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