Monday, November 25, 2013

Adoptees Supporting Adoptees

This past weekend I had the pleasure of driving to Indiana to meet in real life with a fellow adoptee who I had met on Facebook, spoken to by phone and through Skype.  Her name is Lisa and I will be posting her interview on the Adoption Perspectives show regarding her adoption story below.

We met in Richmond, Indiana at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant where Lisa ordered her favorite food -- chicken and dumplings.  I ordered the sampler platter and only liked the Chicken and Dumplings. Our lunch felt comfortable, like we had met many times before.  Lisa shared with me the details of her reunion with her brother who too loves chicken and dumplings.  Lisa also shared with me the many difficulties she has experienced while searching and processing new information she has learned during reunion.  Details aren't important for this blog; however, it was so nice to be able to speak freely with another adopted person about our struggles growing up adopted, how we began to heal and search, and laugh about how God is Great, Beer is Good and People are Crazy!

After lunch, we drove to the Antique Mall in Centerville, Indiana and spent a few hours browsing the never ending shelves of antiques.  We giggled and just walked down memory lane as we saw different toys from our childhoods and commented on how many of our relatives owned these trinkets at one time or another.  We managed to spend hours shopping without buying one single thing!

Today I am reflecting on what makes it so easy to be able to talk to another adoptee and I had also thought back to all the adoptees I have known personally over my lifetime.  Here are some common traits I have noticed in adoptees:

Laid back and easy to talk to
Will call bullshit when we see it
We are not trying to be somebody we are not
We go our own separate way than our adoptive families while still loving our families
Are fun to hang out with!

Ok, so maybe I'm a little biased, but that is what I've seen amongst adopted people I know.

The greatest thing in my opinion about hanging out and talking with other adoptees, and Lisa was no exception, is that you can speak freely about your adoption, share both positive and negative feelings, the good, bad, and ugly aspects of reunion without having to explain or answer a ton of questions.

No need for explanation as to "Why are you searching? or "What does your adoptive mother think about you searching?

That is the beauty of hanging out with a fellow adopted person.


I am posting a recent interview that Lisa did documenting her struggles growing up adopted. She is able to truly verbalize these struggles in a way that many adoptees cannot so not only do I admire Lisa for her honesty, but by speaking out she is helping other adoptees and adoptive parents understand what it feels like growing up in our shoes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Warning! I have issues!

As an out-of-the-closet adoptee, people may assume that I have completely come to terms with all things adoption-related. Nothing could be further from the truth.  I have some major issues, which I would call life-long, as an adult adopted woman. Are these issues post-adoption or just life issues? Who knows! They all blend together, I guess.

It is true, that I no longer feel ashamed for speaking about my losses, pain, fears, anger, etc.  The part of me that was not o.k. with myself has been healed for the most part.  However, there are some life-long issues I deal with in marriage, at work, as a parent and a friend.  

You are probably wondering why I decided to write about my "issues" in this blog post.  I guess part of the mythology that comes along with being adopted is that we are either expected to have peculiar psychology (like a serial killer) or we are considered completely FINE with all things adopted since loving parents raised us (assumption-- not necessarily truth).  The truth always lies somewhere in the middle.

I have my issues and I have my strengths.  I accept myself, warts and all, and I hope that by sharing my own warts with you, it can help you in some way wherever you are in the adoption constellation. 

Adoption itself is an issue for me as I have (hopefully by now) shown within this blog. However, what does that mean exactly?  It means I have some learned behaviors in reaction to losing my first family and gaining a different one.   I also have learned behaviors from growing up in a dysfunctional home.


This major issue has been covered the most in my blog; however, it bears repeating:  when you don't know where you come from, it is a major stumbling block.  Search and a reunion with my maternal side as an adult has been very healing for me as well as learning about myself through DNA (see this blog where I learned my ethnicity after living over 40 years not knowing it).  However, identity issues still haunt me. 

I am currently in a place of working on acceptance in this area.  However, I will not gloss over the fact that not having my paternal history puts both me and my son at risk by not having a complete medical history.  I write about this issue here.

Pushing people away

My husband can attest to this one.  We have some communication limitations in our marriage, like most marriages, and when the heat is up, I will push him away in response to his pushing me away. When both people are pushing, it makes for a difficult time to come to together and resolve things. This is an area I will probably never fully heal as it has been an ingrained behavior since childhood.  I just accept it for what it is -- my protecting myself from rejection.

Hanging in relationships too long

I attribute this to my reverse fear of abandonment.  Because I fear abandonment, I don't want to abandon others when clearly there is a big white flag waving in my face that the relationship needs to end.  I have drug some relationships out and even tried to revive them after death.  This part of me has been healing and I have recently ended a couple relationships in my life as a result of this healing. I finally realized I deserve to be treated as well as I strive to treat others.  

I have noticed since I ended some painful relationships, I have had much more time and energy to focus on my "business" and I am improving in that area daily.  My psyche is also freed up from the negative input that was surrounding me within those relationships.  

Being the ear for everybody

I was not listened to as a child.  So as an adult, sometimes instead of dealing with my own stuff, I listen to everybody else's and I am told I am good at it.  I probably should have become a counselor, but the truth is, I am a little exhausted from hearing everybody's problems!  Now I listen when I am in a good place and when I'm not, I don't answer my phone, email or the door!  I have learned to take care of myself but this is an issue I still struggle with. I work with a population that tells me their stories on a daily basis and I feel that this is where my gifts lie, but sometimes I need to hang up the counselor/listening hat and just be alone. Being alone is my favorite activity -- it re-energizes me and allows me to be a better person.


Guilt is something I have struggled with alot in the past year.  I am healing in this area.  Ending painful relationships leaves you with guilt -- even if you know you have done your best.  It is something that can be worked through and I am facing it head on.  In my head, I know the difference between true guilt (when I have breached my own ethics) and false guilt (guilt from other people's drudge).  My heart is slowly catching up with my head.

I have relied on God and praying alot this past year at work especially.  It really does help me to put myself aside and really hear people that I talk to.   I could be sitting in my car crying 10 minutes before work but then have a really good day in spite of that.  (Yes, this is a true story that repeats some days).

Not taking care of my business

One of my good friends says, "If you don't take care of your business, your business will take care of you".  Oh, how true that is.  I am really bad about sorting through paperwork/mail, etc at home.  I just want to pretend it is not there and sometimes I do just that.  I ignore it.  Well, we all know that if you don't stay on top of your stuff, appointments will be missed or worse.  I'm working towards facing my disaster of a dining room full of only God-knows what, one paper at a time.  It's like I have a fear of actually looking at this stuff. I have no idea what this is about but I'm fighting against my avoidance of all things paper.  The crazy thing is, I have really good organizational skills.  I know where most things are in my house, except for my paperwork.  

You may have completely different or many similar issues as I do.  Whatever they are, I hope you will have the strength and commitment to face them, accept them and love yourself in spite of them.

Peace to you:)