At the height of our adolescence when we are struggling with self-awareness many adoptees and mothers who have lost children to adoption are struck a lifelong traumatizing blow.
For the adoptee who has been told they are adopted, adolescence and biology classes bring a new awareness of the flip side of having been chosen. Someone - the most important in our psyche - didn't want me, gave me away, rejected me. The result can be anger, depression, denial, addictions or a need to over-achieve and difficulty forming relationships.
For mothers, it is often around this time, or early 20s, that we are facing losing our children which all too often in the past was accomplished through dehumanizing us as sluts, an embarrassment to our families, and not fit to parent. Undeserving, even selfish to think about it. Today, the messages are subtler and put more of the onus on the mother allowing her to feel more in control by making decisions like to whom she hands her most precious child, so she may even greater regrets and less others to blame later on. Many mothers relinquishing today are also faced with out and out deception and feel betrayed, but that's another issue for another blog post.
We too suffer from all the above named, from anger to addiction, to deep depression, to lives of having to prove ourselves and surely difficulty with relationships.
For myself I see the lifelong scarring these negative messages has done as deep and powerful as the loss itself - a loss we weren't even allowed to grieve! A loss we were made to suffer in silence, acting as if nothing had happened which only worsened it's traumatic effects.
No matter what I accomplish in life, those voices of my not being good enough remain crystal clear. I can over shout them at times, ignore them, but they are always there, albeit on the back burners of my conscious mind.
Our adult lives are built on a foundation of UNWORTHINESS and SHAME because adoption is so surrounded with secrecy and unworthiness are shame are extremely TOXIC, traumatizing messages. They are insidious and effect every aspect of our lives.
MOTHER'S DAY for me is a constant reminder of my failure as a mother of my firstborn, while for adoptees it holds it's own special painful reminder of the woman who didn't scale the tallest buildings to keep her.
As this dreaded weekend approaches, I wish all my peeps the best it can be.
My wish for all of us is a toast of forgiveness. Forgive all of those who caused us pain. Forgive all who tear families apart. Hold them responsible for their actions, and keep healthy boundaries, but try to forgive to lighten your load.
And most of all forgive ourselves!! No sappy cards or gifts. Just be kind to yourself and know that your E-N-O-U-G-H just the way you are!!!
Affirm yourself. Empower yourself. Take back all that adoption has taken from us, emotionally. Our family tress are irreparably broken, but just as Katrina and Super Storm Sandy victims rebuilt lives, we too can work to rebuild our storm ravaged psyches. For most in New Orleans that did not mean ever coming back home. Their homes have never built rebuilt and never will be. Their pasts and everything they had totally destroyed, annihilated like and adoptees pasts, genealogy, lineage. It meant starting over. And we must, too.
Know that you are no more responsible for having been given away than any child is responsible for any childhood abuse or neglect. Mothers, know that you did the best you possibly could with what you had at the time in terms of physical and psychological support as well as knowledge of what it all would mean down the line. Forgive yourself for not being a psychic and seeing the future, for, for many of us that would have meant fighting harder.
REJECT THE SHAME and RECLAIM YOURSELF as a wonderful human being.