The Vulnerability Of Honesty

28 Sep

By Shadow the Adoptee

Earlier this year, E, my first mother, had a breakdown. She is doing alright now, is in an assisted living center, and comfortable. The Never Ending Emotions that seem to be a never-ending occurrence in adoption left me unable to find the words to continue my story of reunion with E. Once again, I found myself grieving the “what can never be” of adoption.

I had fully intended to continue blogging by taking up where I had left off, in my story of reunion with D, my first father. As I considered how to go on with my story, I found myself at a loss for words there as well. I just couldn’t seem to find the words to tell the story without giving details of the things people said and did. Giving those details would leave everyone in my life, everyone I love, open to the scrutiny, and judgment, of others, who would see only what they wanted to see. They would not open their minds to see the bigger picture, without applying their own bias. The tendency of people to use the actions of those, we, the adoptees love, to dismiss the feelings we express about adoption, in order to satisfy their own needs, is unfair to all those we love. How could I do that to the people I love, when I am the one responsible for my own feelings?

It wouldn’t be the first time the feelings I expressed were dismissed, the blame being placed on others, instead of people hearing my words, not only in cyber world, but the real world as well. I was getting really worn by it all. Frankly, I was really tired of people telling me I didn’t feel what I said I felt, then telling me what to feel, and why I should feel that way. That was never the point. I felt what I felt, and who is anyone to tell me otherwise?

My purpose in writing is not to put all of those I love out there for the world to criticize, make assumptions about. And judge. Finding the words to continue without doing that has proven to be more of a challenge than I thought. If being honest in the sharing of my story, and my feelings about being adopted, was going to get me, and those I love, nothing but judgment, criticism, and dismissal, I suppose I figured what was the point. I stopped talking about adoption. If people weren’t going to listen, then wasn’t it just a waste of my time?

I was recently reminded just why I began blogging, and telling my story to begin with. I was reminded how no one seemed to understand what I was going through, how terrified I was, and how crazy it all made me feel. I remembered just how, totally, alone I had felt, until I found others, who had gone through the same feelings.

Once again, I began thinking about just how to tell my story, staying true to my purpose of relating just exactly what it feels like to be an adoptee in reunion. I went back to a particular adoption forum, where I have been a participant for many years. I began reading from my very first thread, and post to the forum. I was astonished as I began to read my own words. I hadn’t even finished reading the thread I had started, and the posts, I had written, contained within, before tears began to form in my eyes. My heart began to break as I read my own words, knowing what the future held for me.

My words were so full of hope, so innocent, and so “I’m going to be alright now that I’ve reunited”. It was like watching the deer, standing in the middle of the road, stunned by the bright lights, wide-eyed, unable to move, just before the car, well, I had to stop reading, take a moment, and have a good cry.

When I was able to go back, and pick up my, so-well-documented, journey, I began to laugh. So sweet were my words, so full of joy, and optimism. It made me smile, because, as I read the pretty reunion story with my dad, how “awesome” it was, I couldn’t help but realize what those words I wrote were not saying. There was so much more going on that I suppose, I didn’t want to talk about, to acknowledge, much less put on a public forum. What would people think?

There was so very much I simply did not understand about what was happening to me. In the beginning, I never talked about the anger. I never talked about the tears I shed. I never talked about the grief. I never talked about the fear and confusion over all the emotions I was feeling. I never talked about how, at times, just functioning was a struggle. I focused on the joy. I focused on the happiness, it was, after all, awesome, this reunion with my dad. We were both so happy. We had each other, and nothing would ever change that. I never talked about those negative feelings, but they were, most definitely, there.

To this day, I have difficulty watching stories of reunions. When I see them, I can’t stop my mind from going back, and remembering my euphoric joy at meeting D for the first time. It never fails. My thoughts follow the path that I know reunion to be, and I can’t stop from wondering, as I watch the, newly, reunited’s joy, “And then what?” The story doesn’t end there. It’s what happens next, after the cameras are gone, when reality begins to set in, when the feelings of what was lost begin to override the joy that no one wants to talk about, or hear. Reading my own story, in my own words, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Who is that woman, and where did she go?”, so innocent, so unaware of the emotional volcano that was about to erupt, what ever happened to her?

When I look back over the years, I sometimes wonder how I even survived. I suppose it took the realization that I was emotionally in way over my head, the help of a fabulous therapist, who, of all things was an adoptive mother. Thank goodness she was able to set aside her own feelings as such, and truly listen to me. I suppose, too, that had I not found a particular forum when I did, with many adoptees, and birth parents, who were willing to talk, and listen, I might not have made it through. Through talking, hopefully, I am able to help other adoptees, and those that love them, understand the joy, the grief, and the pain of adoption.

Note: this is a great post from Adoption Truth. I hope you will take the time to read it, and hear her words…and then Rebecca’s words about a comment left on the post.


Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Adoption, biological child, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

3 responses to “The Vulnerability Of Honesty

  1. TAO

    September 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    It’s so very hard to craft a post that speaks to the full reality. So very hard. You worry about this sentence, that sentence, how the person will be seen – especially from those who want to fault your actions.

    I struggle and worry each time I go to hit publish…same feelings, worries and concerns. It should not have to be this way.


  2. cb

    September 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Good to see a post from you, Shadow 🙂

    Having read yours and others ongoing stories about their reunions, I also often watch those programs on TV and wonder how they will develop. One hopes their relationships will develop from strength to strength but they will never be what they could have been although they can be something special in their own right.

    I only have contact with extended family and that is going OK, probably because those sort of relationships have always been fluid. I am now starting to feel like I’m just another cousin and niece which is good. I think I’m still coming to terms with being my bmother’s daughter, if that makes sense.

    I do think I take people’s reunion stories to heart as I tend to think “is this what would have happened if I’d got to meet my own mother”? I read first mom’s stories and think is that how she would have felt? I read a thread on Cafe Mom where the reader said that she didn’t miss the child she relinquished and, though a few other first moms posted and didn’t feel that way, one or two others did and said they did. At least half of the general public posters (mums who have no connection to adoption) said that they can understand not missing the child because of there being no nurture connection and most of the AP posters said that they hoped their child’s parents felt that way. That thread really depressed me.

    IRL I know two people who are in contact with their original families and they are still in regular contacct after 25 years – one relationship I think is rathr up and down, whereas my abro’s relationship seems good (though I’ve nerver met his mother despite how long he has know her).. So they are all different, I suppose.


  3. shadowtheadoptee

    September 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks CB. It puzzles me that expressing my feelings seems to be such a threat to others. They are my feelings, and my opinions. I don’t expect others to always agree, or even like it. I just expect them to listen, hopefully with an open mind.

    I rarely participate, anymore, on the forum I mentioned, yet, I still receive PMs from people dealing with adoption issues, and reunion issues. Of the many, many, people I have talked to, online, and in real life, I have yet to meet an adoptee, in reunion, who hasn’t felt, to some extent, all the feelings I mentioned in this post. So many of us reunite thinking we’ve never had any issues about our adoptions, only to find, a few years down the road, just how many issues we really do have, and just how much being adopted has influenced our lives, and who we are.



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