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.