Well I’ve really dropped the ball on writing for National Adoption Month 2015, haven’t I? I had such high hopes that the prompts given by Lost Daughters would be just the impetus I needed to blog.
Best laid plans and everything…
But then I got sick, and then we had to give our guinea pigs away, and the next day my mother-in-law died. Sad in and of itself, that also brought back traumatic memories of my father-in-law dying. Maybe I’ll write about that sometime. There was just way too much going on in my head to write to someone else’s prompts, and not enough clarity to write about my own.
So on to today’s prompt from Lost Daughters:
Talk about how your adoption has influenced your decisions in forming and/or raising a family of your own. Has being an adoptee hindered or helped you in finding a life partner and maintaining that relationship? How has your adoption affected your desire to conceive your own biological children? Have you considered or would you consider adopting a child? If you are a parent, how does your adoptee experience affect the way you raise your children? And on the flip side, if you’re in a committed relationship and/or are parenting, how have these things informed your experience as an adoptee or your view of adoption in general?
I always “knew” I would get married and raise what to others must seem like a large family. Growing up, I would ask my parents if they would adopt more children, a request always met with horror. Gee, guess I’m screwing up this adoption thing so badly they would never want another, my childhood brain told me. I understand now that two children (one bio, one me) was more than enough for them and for many people of the time, and now. But back then I figured it must be all my fault. I wasn’t good enough. And if my high achieving, good-girl, people pleasing persona wasn’t enough, what then? There was no hope.
So I got my large family by having my own. Luckily I met a handsome Italian Catholic who was one of four children, and having four or five was what he wanted to do also. Do I think I wanted many kids to replace the blood bond I never had with anyone? Perhaps. But I was also always a “kid person” – my favorite jobs were babysitting, then after graduation I worked with adults who were more like children, and then children themselves. I love the purity and straightforwardness of children, probably because of growing up living a lie. I had had enough of lies. More on that later.
Has being an adoptee hindered or helped you in finding a life partner and maintaining that relationship?
Hindered in finding a life partner? No. That was “fate,” and I knew when I met him that he was the man I would marry, despite me dating someone else at the time (that relationship was never healthy, it was no big mistake to leave it for my now-husband). Hindered me in maintaining that relationship?? YOU BETCHA.
Luckily my husband has the patience of a saint. We’ve been married 20+ years. He’s a good man, and I’m so lucky to have him, but his personality, mixed with my own personality and my adoption trauma, can sometimes lead to huge problems. He also married a woman “in the fog,” and when I came out of the fog and realized I had absolutely no real “self” – that everything I had done up to that point was to be kept and loved, not to develop my own “me”…well, it was a mess. I wanted to be “me” – he wanted me to be the person he married. You know, the nice one, LOL! They seem to be two very different people.
I also don’t know how to find myself, to become myself, while in relationship with others. Being a wife and mother, my days are spent at the service of others. While that’s wonderful, it leaves no time for me to even figure out who I am, to do what I want in order to integrate some kind of “self” that I think I might be. This has been the hardest thing about my life. I have no idea what to do to “become” and anything I can think of is something I can’t do because of family. If anyone has any books or resources for developing a “self” in an adopted person, let me know. And before you just say “Take time for yourself! Figure out a way!” I’ll let you know that my oldest is almost 18 and I’ve been trying to figure out how for that many years. My children have special needs, my husband has chronic injuries, I’ve lost all support system and have no real way to get it back, trust me, I’ve tried!!! So it needs to work within the confines of that, and I can’t figure it out, and apparently neither can the therapists I’ve seen. *eye roll*
Have you considered or would you consider adopting a child? If you are a parent, how does your adoptee experience affect the way you raise your children?
There was a time I really wanted to adopt a child. Then I came out of the fog and saw the problems of adoption and all the corruption. I knew from prior experience at work that I could not handle foster care or adopting an older child with “issues”. At least not until I figured out my own!! And that hasn’t happened.
I believe my style of parenting is very informed by my adoption and the parenting style of my adoptive parents (i.e. avoiding the things they did that traumatized me more!). I try to be a very “what you see is what you get” parent. I don’t keep secrets, I don’t tell lies (we don’t even do Santa except as a “story”…I just couldn’t lie to my kids like that in the name of “fun”.) I don’t hold grudges. I empathize and enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of my children instead of wanting to form them into something *I* want – I try to help them discover who THEY are.
Parenting has also been hard, not just because my kids have issues and I have no support – but simply because it reinforces the pain of my adoption. I go to the ends of the earth and back for my kids, every day. Why couldn’t someone have done that for me? Why am I so worthless and they so special?
My inner child is seriously jealous.