The first day of National Adoption Month still has me mulling over a conversation I had last week with a former co-worker, one I hadn’t talked to for several years. It felt good to reconnect and we chatted like we’d always done working together. As the conversation evolved, my friend asked how I was doing now, how many years it was since my events happened, I answered him.
Then my friend started talking about how others always say how people like me are lucky when you really aren’t. How people can’t see how going through that, and surviving, doesn’t make you lucky. He got it. I wish more people could stretch that way to see it isn’t just the after, it’s everything. Yes, I was lucky I survived, but at the same time, I really wasn’t lucky at all, my life changed because of it. People see me, and see someone who looks fine, I do, on the outside. I’m not though, I’m limited in many ways you can’t see, I am not who I was before, I never will be, yet, I also appreciate every day. I can simultaneously grieve the loss of who I was, and appreciate who I am now, the life I have now even on bad days.
People who don’t have life-altering events are the lucky ones, but the way we, as a society, views it, we are the lucky ones. I think it is because we aren’t comfortable with anything other than the good. It’s hard to just sit with what someone is going through, or has gone through something bad, we get nervous, we don’t know what to say. Instead of just saying I’m sorry, I’m here, I’m listening, how can I help, we resort to platitudes. We try to see the bright side – which is good, but not when it diminishes, or glosses over the loss, the struggles, the hard, by refusing to acknowledge it is now part of who the person has become.
The above works the same for an adoptee. We all have different stories, different events that led up to needing, or at least, to our being adopted. Some adoptee’s will have had far worse events and losses happen in their lives than others, so much worse. So my question will always be – when will people (society) see that it isn’t ever lucky to need to be adopted, that it really isn’t lucky to have been adopted. Instead, just honest recognition that every child deserves a good home, to be loved, and that adoption can do that, but no child deserved what led up to them needing a different family than they were born into, to lose everything. When will people be able to stretch like my friend did, to not just see the now, the after, but everything that lead up to now, the losses, because it’s all connected in the person who experienced it. Everything that happened to them – makes them who they are now.