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Finding words…

08 Jul
As a child I thought about being adopted many times over the years but as I have said before, I seldom talked about it.  Of course there were many reasons that impacted why I didn’t talk much about it.  One reason I had the desire not to hurt my parents (even though they wouldn’t have been hurt as a child you don’t recognise that).  Another reason was the difficulty of saying something that would negate and make people uncomfortable after making the comments about how wonderful it was that I was adopted.  But at the most basic level of all, I just could not find the words to explain both sides together that made sense, and once I found the words it was easier to just not talk about it.
Finding the words to talk about adoption requires not only to be able to describe all the emotions of being adopted, but at the same time to provide an equally strong argument to ensure your loved ones aren’t harmed by your words.  Stop and think about how you could do that in any scenario in life where there is good and bad – it’s really hard and when it comes to adoption – it’s near impossible to make anything sound both good and bad at the same time.  It’s a no-win situation that I never could solve so I just let it be…
I let it be until I got sick and the reality set in, my own mortality smacked me in the face and finally the dam cracked wide open and by then, I really had no words.  That experience of loosing my speech, also made me realize how as children, why some of us who did feel the losses, never spoke of the loss simply because we didn’t have the words.
I thought about this last week after I went to see my family doctor for refills for my heart medications.  I forgot to make the appointment so I was being squeezed in and promised the receptionist I would be quick, so I did not take the time to mentally prepare for the upcoming appointment.  I rehearsed in my mind how I had felt recently on my way to the appointment, and only expected those questions and to have my blood pressure taken and the refills written up.  But during the visit the discussion took a different turn and I had no words or answers and it surprised him, shocked him would be more accurate.  I could not remember my neurologists name.  I struggled to get out complete sentences.  I mixed up the medication names.  I had gaps of time within those sentences.  I gave vague answers without real content or specifics that I usually have ready. 
Driving home from the appointment it dawned on me that I always mentally prepare and rehearse answers to any possible questions for several days before each appointment.  Something I did not realize I consciously did or why I did that – but in reality it makes sense.  I do now what I have always done – work to put the best spin possible on everything – work to make others proud of me – work to make people not worry about me – I’m always okay, no worries, all good. 
And I realized that I learned how to do this simply because as a child I needed to ensure others could continue to feel good about my adoption.
So from today forward I am going to try to be less prepared and let my entire world (instead of just my mate) see the reality of how my life has impacted me and not just the good.  I pulled a couple of quotes from the stack of medical consult letters I have accumulated since I got sick – these quotes litter every letter from every doctor, and in reality without the review and rehearsal they are not my reality and would not paint such a rosy picture.
2006 – She has improved in her typing. Her word finding has also improved, although she still has occasional difficulties with word finding.
2007 – This patient has had remarkable neurologic recovery.
2007 – She has found improvement of her word-finding abilities.
2009 – Her word finding is significantly improved.
2009 – Considering the profound degree of her initial speech deficit, her current quite fluent speech is remarkable.
And the reality is that I still have major issues with my speech and my typing that I just do not let people see.  The same reality that existed as a child who felt the losses, the questions, the curiosity, the void, but had no words to describe both sides so everyone still felt good, so I did what many do, I said all was fine, all was good, no worries, no issues, life is good.  And life was good and is good, but is was also bad and is still bad, but I had no words then to explain both sides.
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11 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Adoption

 

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11 responses to “Finding words…

  1. Dannie

    July 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    speaking now solely as an SLP, I find that your speech/language improvements are quite remarkable. Even if there is still trouble, the gains seem to have been remarkable.

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  2. The adopted ones

    July 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Dannie they are remarkable but not to the degree they think they see, because without the mental rehearsing the level is much less. Just like the typing when I am trying to put my thoughts into words – one day I will post my first draft and then multiple edited finished post for all to see.

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    • Dannie

      July 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      oh I believe that AO, Just speaking from my summer experience at both inpatient/outpatient therapy, I worked with some people that had a hard time even with mental rehersal and delayed ability to “get clearer and find their words”.

      The one woman that had made the most progress during her insurance approved 40 sessions, was a very persistent woman, who practiced by doing crosswords and word puzzles all day long outside of therapy. She used to whiz through them and was very annoyed and would let me know how annoyed she was at how much slower she was at them, however, by practicing and being persistent with her word puzzles, she could get the words she needed even though it took her a while. Not perfect and not to the same standard as before, however, my client that I had seen the most improvement in.

      However this client did know how much harder she had to work and she was still reconciling the fact of her diminished abilities even though she had made great progress. Not being on the other side of the therapy table, I can’t imagine…but I do believe that you have to go to more lengths in order to get your thoughts out!

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      • The adopted ones

        July 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

        I didn’t have any therapy I just did it all myself. But I worked every single day to rewire my brain…using my ds daily (still do) on puzzles, crosswords, mysteries, scrabble, reading medical journals, typing responses on the internet, starting the blog and yes – my progress has been amazing and am ever so glad our brains rewire…

        I think it was also because of how hard I worked my brain before that helped too – my job required a lot of attention to detail, learning new stuff all the time and analyzing data on many different projects so… I took an IQ test about a year after my stroke and it showed specific areas where I had issues with so I practiced in those areas hard, and that I had lost about 15 points compared to one before. I should take it again and see how much I have improved.

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  3. Von

    July 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Would never have known.I do believe we can make these ‘miracle’ recoveries in the way you have, by concentration and hard work. I’ve had a similar experience which I won’t share here but I do know the persistence and courage needed to keep going and the determination not to remain a victim is sometimes similar to that required to get through adoption.Do you think there is a connection between the two ‘events’?

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    • The adopted ones

      July 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      Oh I totally believe I am stronger willed and able to push through simply because we have to learn early that we have to adapt and deal with it.

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  4. Sarah

    July 8, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    So does this mean you will not mentally prepare anymore for appointments? If so, I hope you explain to the dr that you are not mentally preparing so they don’t think another event has taken place. Maybe write a note down now and keep in your car to take with you to your next appointment.

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    • The adopted ones

      July 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      I’m going to try Sarah. I will though write notes when something happens and take those notes with me and go over them with the doctor – instead of spending a couple of days recalling and wording things. I will tell them that I think this is better because then they can see the reality because I make everything sound minor.

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  5. Sunday KoffronTaylor

    July 9, 2011 at 5:38 am

    As a dyslexic, I have some understanding how daunting the task of writing a post can be and no one from the outside could ever imagine all of the work that goes into a post or even a simple face book comment, and I frequently still get it wrong and have some come back and tell me “I think you meant “college” not “collage” it all looks the same to me. (Which I really don’t mind unless it is meant as an insult “what idiot doesn’t know the difference between “college” and “collage”? – one like me, that’s who!) I admire that you have worked so hard and that you are willing to put yourself out there to educate people on adoption and the importance of accurate medical records for adoptees and their families.

    And as a mother of a child with neurological issues, and resulting trouble with “finding words” I find your story inspirational, I know that she will find a way to say whatever it is she has to say. It may slow her down, but it doesn’t ever have to hold her back! Thank you for that.

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  6. cb

    July 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

    All I know is that you make more sense than many people I know. (including myself, I think lol)

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  7. Raven

    July 11, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I echo CB’s opinion. You do make a lot more sense than most people I know do. You’re very articulate and write very well. I’m so glad you’re doing this blog!

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