Thursday, August 8, 2013

It only takes one person to believe in you


As I was cheering a friend on today through a really ugly drama, I remembered a story told by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  I have read all her books so I believe I read it first and then heard her talk about it on her radio show when I used to listen.  (Please don't even go all "I hate Dr. Laura" on me because I love her even though I disagree with her ideas about adoption).

My friend referred to has been in an isolated situation within her marriage.  For years, she had nobody to talk to. She always reminds me that I am the one person she can talk to (for which I feel honored).  We met by chance when she thought my dog (a white Maltese) was her lost dog (a white Shitzu) one day at a children's playground.  Our kids are like siblings at this point and we see each other every day.


 But back to Dr. Laura's story . . . .

When Dr. Laura was in practice as a marriage and family counselor, she counseled a woman who had past drug issues and not a very supportive family.  Dr. Laura found this client to be highly intelligent and throughout the counseling, mirrored this and other positive attributes she saw back to the woman.

This woman, not only went through drug treatment successfully, she went on to receive several college degrees.  Why?  Because Dr. Laura saw something in her that nobody else had cared enough to see.  Dr. Laura believed in this woman which in turn helped the woman believe in herself.

This may sound like a hokey story for the average person who has many supportive friends and family.  But there are people in your circle right now who confide in nobody. There are people who feel alone in their pain.

How does this translate to adoption?   I had one person for years who supported me throughout my search for my roots -- my husband.  He was my rock and for that, I will truly be forever grateful.  Later, my search angel, Greg, mentioned that he was helping me in my search to "pay it forward".  Thinking back to how he put his neck on the line for me (a complete stranger) brings tears to my eyes.

If I accomplish nothing else, I want this blog to be a safe place for adoptees to come and know that even if nobody else in their lives are supportive of their need to know who they are, I am. If nobody else in your life understands the frustration of having no records, information or clue about your identity, I do understand, because I've lived it. 

If every single person in your life is saying "just get over it -- let sleeping dogs lie"  -- know that I will never say that and will be cheering you on when you accomplish each and every milestone in this life-long journey of adoption.

Many adoptees feel stifled, afraid and alone. Many only feel safe in speaking to one confidant or none at all.  Many only speak freely in the private Facebook adoption groups.  I listen and converse with adoptees every day.  Many of them are very well-adjusted, from loving adoptive families, are well-spoken professionals who have everything in their lives together, but this one piece (adoption).

There is shame involved in being adopted, but it is more of a hidden shame than what adoptive parents feel about infertility and birth parents feel about being unmarried and pregnant.   It's an un-named shame which some will call the "fog" and others will deny because we didn't "do anything" to earn it.  But it's there, along with the fear and the denial. 

As a society, we have a long way to go to allow honest dialogue from adoptees without the bashing, assumptions, myths and glamorization that come along with adoption.


It only takes one supportive person to help another believe in themselves and push forward.

Be that person.








10 comments:

  1. I really needed to read this today! I'm so glad you posted it. In an hour I'm going to be telling my adoptive mother that I found my first family (a cousin and my mother). I'm terrified. My husband is supportive in his own way, but I don't really have anyone to talk to, someone that understands or at least treats me the way I need to be treated about it.

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    1. Amy...I am here to support you as well. I have been where you are, and I called it "slaying the dragon." I was also terrified beyond measure, but I did it.

      I hope it "goes well" but if not, it's ok. I would just say to you what I learned about myself...ultimately this is YOUR life you are handling...you don't have to have permission or approval from the parents who raised you to handle your own life.

      Let us know how it goes! Lee H.

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  2. Amy, I am with you in spirit as you do this huge thing. I was terrified after I found my birth mother as well. So terrified that I could not tell my a-mom. I asked my husband to do it. I urge you to join a Facebook adoptee group, or join a adoption support group in your area if you prefer live interaction over cyber space. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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    1. Lynn, can you recommend any FB groups? I was on a few but they were just for searching, not really for "support" in living, if you know what I mean.

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  3. I like Adoptees Supporting Adoptees the best. If you can't find it, send me a friend request on Facebook (I am listed under Lynn Wetherill-Grubb) and I will direct you to it. Some groups can be a little angry and I try to avoid those.

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    1. Thanks Lynn, I wasn't able to find it with a search (or several searches!) so I'm off to send you a friend request. :)

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    2. I found you but could only "follow" - I sent you a message to your "other" folder there on FB. Thanks again!

      Amy

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  4. Thanks Lynn.... as an adoptee I think I have always felt alone and felt an incredible need to take care of myself. Always on-guard that I might be 'given back'. That in itself is so isolating. I have done a lot of important things in my life totally alone. I have even gone into surgery alone while I was in college, and hadn't told my aparents. Yes, they cared but we weren't close and it never occurred to me to tell them! Seriously... Now I realize that I tend to push people away by saying... "oh yeah I am fine" or "I've got this" etc... when I realize that I don't have anyone else to help me through. I am trying to unlearn this behavior and finding the adoption community online (and a little counseling) has been a huge help to me. I also forgot the power of prayer. All together it IS making a difference. I am successful with education and career, but not so much with relationships! I am liked... and have a few friends but am finding with the support of other adoptees, I am making progress to find me, find happiness, and the ability to say "Yes, I would really appreciate your help and support". I am getting there. It is a process, but I encourage others to come together and support each other...

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  5. FYI author,"Dr." Laura is averse to adopted children searching for their bio parents. Probably because she herself considered adoption when she couldn't conceive before fertility treatments. Control freak that she is, she didn't want any complications. However, finding bio parents seems like an inevitable desire for most.

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    1. Thank you reading and your comment. I admire Dr. Laura. I have read all her books and you are correct she does not support kids finding birth parents; however, I have heard her be supportive of adults who are getting ready to meet their birth parents. I think her position is protection of children at all costs and you just never know how an outcome with birth parents will affect a child emotionally. It's a risk anytime you add someone into the mix. One belief Dr. Laura ascribes to which I tend to agree that biologically does not necessarily make a family -- love is most important. For those of us (myself included) who didn't bond well to either bio or a-family -- friends and the family I created is the one that means family to me. So Dr. Laura is correct and incorrect -- the blood connection of the family I created is of extreme importance -- but it would not be without the love ties that bind and that biology is not a requirement for love.

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