Life can be complicated and overwhelming at times

15 Jan

Daily contradictions in a life filled with complicated realities.  Painful memories have been triggered by the news that push to intrude into my mind instead of staying firmly in the past.  Simple welcome memories that pop into my head that bring me joy in the middle of a mundane task in one moment, to  fear of what lies ahead, to sheer awe at what someone did, sometimes even for me.  Days when I’m caught unaware by a rush of nostalgia that washes over me sparked by a simple object or picture that caught my eye, quickly dampened by the collision of other memories and knowledge of that time intruding to remind me that life really wasn’t that simple, or good.

That, to me is my life right now, a series of ever-changing and overlapping feelings brought forth from what I am experiencing right now, the deep ugly that is coming out of the woodwork of society, the degrading of civil discourse, the sheer racism being spewed from every corner.  And if it’s exhausting for me living in my sheltered life, I can’t imagine what the level of exhaustion must be for People of Color in America.  I’m also keenly aware that people keeping their true feelings behind a careful veneer isn’t any better (and perhaps worse) than people being blatant about their true feelings of hatred and distrust for anyone who doesn’t look like they do.

When I feel this overwhelmed with what’s happening in the world today, I take the cowards way out and delve into genealogy, my safe space, while continuing to engage in adoption conversations hoping to share a bit of wisdom, hope, or empathy.  This weekend, I delved into the genealogy of my maternal family of birth and came here to write the following.

I was working on my family tree yesterday on ancestry and decided to search the internet for one name.  That name linked to a write-up that detailed my great-grandparents, an overview of who they were, what they did, where they lived, their children and who they married, their grandchildren and their spouses and children.  A true find as I don’t have the same family stories I’ve heard throughout my life as I do with my family by adoption to guide my research.

I love that I found it, that someone felt inspired to create it for history.

It also stung, and today it still stings, despite the reality is that it is what it is, what families did, they moved on, they didn’t document what else happened, even if they knew.  I knew going in that just like reading old letters doing dad’s family tree that I wouldn’t like everything written, that good with the bad is the reality.  This journey to know those who came before me and my generation comes at a price, always, although maybe not as in your face as this document was that detailed who my mother married, who her children are, which made me look back up a couple of generations to how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren my great-grandmother had when she passed, that made the sting deepen, but the reality is that I wasn’t there, I wasn’t part of their history.

Adoption and being adopted is complicated – no matter what age.  In this instance, family secrets were rightly left out based on what it was created for.  It still stung, just like reading grandpa’s letter to his cousin who referred to us as borrowed children stung.  Not really part of either in many ways.  Not being listed, known about, seen as family, always on the outside looking in at those privileged to be born and raised in the same family, instead, being other.


Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , ,

10 responses to “Life can be complicated and overwhelming at times

  1. Luanne

    January 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    There is this hidden space within genealogy where family secrets lie. It hurts to know one’s whole life is affected by a secret. Since I do a lot of genealogy, I see it a lot. And since I’m related to 3 adoptees, I notice right away when there’s a “secret” and feel icky.


    • TAO

      January 15, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Icky is a good way to describe it. You know I’m more pragmatic in an it is what it is way than emotional and I think that’s why I get caught off guard when something stings. After mom passed and my sister said she talked to her mom everyday I was literally speechless at the sting, despite the fact she’s had a 40 year relationship with her mother – it stung for mom, and it also stung for me because that will never be for me. I’m rambling… cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne

        January 16, 2018 at 1:28 am

        Yes, I can imagine that it would sting. I’m so sorry. No, you’re not rambling!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cb

    January 15, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    I first contacted my bfamily via a genealogy society (I discovered that both my maternal grandparents were related to a convict and his brother and I discovered a site for that convict/his brother where there were 3 books. I wrote away for the books (3 for $10 was a bargain) and in one, there were pictures of my bmother/uncles/grandparents and in another, pictures further back so that pushed me on to actually make contact.

    I am now mentioned in the latest book (as are my twin siblings who died at birth (never mentioned before)) although I made it clear that the entry should make it reasonably clear that I was adopted out (I think it says CB born HB).

    because my maternal bfamily’s ancestors settled in one area of my state and hardly moved until the last generation, there is a reasonable amount of stuff out there on them and they are mentioned in other family trees in the area.

    One book I have that I think is lovely is a book that was written about all the “residents” of one particular cemetery near my bfamily’s home town where my bmother/siblings/parents/grandparents etc etc all grew up. I think there are about 300 people buried there from the mid 19th century onwards to fairly recently and the book has a page about the lives of every one of them (which includes the convict/brother) and it gives an insight into the lives of the families of the area. My older relatives probably would have either known or knew of everyone in the cemetery.


    • TAO

      January 15, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      That’s amazing CB – and the book about the residents of a cemetery – that would be amazing and a worthy endeavor to do, hard, but it would be incredibly interesting too.


  3. Sheryl

    January 16, 2018 at 1:48 am

    I want to have my son’s name added to our family tree but I’m not sure how. Do I join an ancestry/genealogy website and begin adding names? My grandmother wrote her Memoirs in 2002. In that she included a family tree and list of descendants. Of course my son isn’t in the book because she didn’t know about him. I’m also trying to contact the printer to find out if it’s possible to have an addendum printed with updated/correct info.


    • TAO

      January 16, 2018 at 4:03 am

      Awe Sheryl – how sweet. You can create a tree on Ancestry for free seeing as you have all the info. Cheers!


      • sheryl772062348

        January 17, 2018 at 1:10 am

        Great, thanks! My son’s adoption was unnecessary and shouldn’t have happened and I want to make things right as much as I can. I’m hoping he won’t feel the sting as much…


        • TAO

          January 17, 2018 at 4:05 am

          If you change your name the system doesn’t recognise you as already approved, sorry you comment went to moderation.



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