(first published 2013)
A great recent post over at Lost Daughters reminded me that I had been meaning to come over here and whine about St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not going to link to the actual post, because they are only tangentially related, and I don’t want to compare the author’s real pain of being an Asian adoptee my whining weakness at not being Irish enough over here.
So, St. Patrick’s Day. I’m actually Irish. At least, I think I am. My parents were told what nationalities I was during the adoption process, and I’m pretty sure Irish was one of them. But really, after so many answers of, “I’m not sure, Amy…hmmm, English, Irish, German, maybe French, Norwegian…I don’t really remember.” I don’t feel very positive about it. There were a lot of nationalities, and a lot of other details, and it was so very long ago…so I’m “sort of maybe really Irish.”
Being that many of my online friends are Catholic homeschoolers, tons of pictures of their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations flooded my internet haunts over the past two days. Parties, decorations, special food, Irish Dancing, everything. They were proud to be Irish and rightly so.
(warning, whine on:)
I’m only Maybe Irish. I feel silly celebrating the way my Really Irish friends celebrate, claiming the joyous part of their heritage. I have no heritage. It was lost when I was relinquished. My adoptive parents were Italian, German and Hungarian, but that’s not ME. Besides, they didn’t celebrate anything culturally, the closest they came was celebrating Christmas as a Catholic, LOL. And I know plenty of people that aren’t Irish celebrate things like St. Patrick’s Day. That’s not my point, I guess. It just hurts that I don’ t know what I am, and that I want a heritage, I want a nationality, I want to connect to something deeper than myself and eat yummy green food like all my other Happy Irish Friends who are somehow connected to each other even though they have never met.
ETA: I just realized a major reason I don’t feel free to celebrate my maybe Irishness – my adoptive parents were NOT Irish. I know it’s not, but if feels like I’m giving them a “slap in the face” when I proclaim who *I* (maybe) am, when it’s not of them. Like it’s stripping off the facade, and they are not into that. I don’t want to hurt people, especially for something I’m not even sure of.
I still feel adrift though, woman without a country.
A related article: The Family Stories That Bind Us — “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”