what you know, right?
I am a rock, I am an island
I am an only child, I have seven older brothers and sisters. Contradictory, you would think, right? No. I am my mother’s only child and my father’s eighth. The next sibling to me in age is 36. That’s a 14-year difference and quite a stretch. Up until very recently, I had never even lived with one of my siblings, so I’m having a go at it now.
The reason I say I am a rock is because there is a severe difference between my family and me. Any resemblance between them and me, though there is quite a lot, is mere coincidence. I am not like anyone I know or have known before. I share no blood with anyone I know, be them family or friend. I am separated, displaced, always have been, though I hope to remedy that in the future. I stand out, I stand alone. I am adopted.
Studies have shown that humans obtain 25% of their personalities from each biological parent. So after all of that 50% is used up, you have 50% to spend on your environment, your relationships, your experience. So let’s do the math. Anything I have in common with my parents is learned habits. I have plenty of clues as to what my biological parents are like, because I am carrying the weight of their actions or acting out their joys, pleasures and disappointments at every turn. Missing they may be in my life, but very visible are the pieces that they put into me.
This leaves adopted kids where? I was told when I was 4 years old. I’ve carried that little bit of knowledge for 18 years now. And dealt with the twists and turns it has either made me take or allowed me to get away with. But the weight….many say that being adopted has not really had an affect on who they are and where their lives are taking them. I scoff at this thought, because psychologically speaking, it is going to leave one feeling very strange. And now that there is scientific backup ….okay, look at it this way. Adopted children are lacking that whole where did I come from knowledge. My history starts on June 26th, 1978. It starts with me, not my heritage, not my ancestors. I am my own friggin’ history from the get-go.
Children experience enough trauma just figuring out where they belong in the family they were born into, much less that no, they came from somewhere else all together, and no matter what they do, this will always make them different. Perhaps they will embrace the family that ‘wanted’ them so very badly. This is good, but it can also bring about a whole feeling of being ingratiated to that family, a feeling of wanting to do anything in order to be accepted, in order to please. Perhaps they will revolt, pull away, feeling the distance between what is and what could have been. Sticking out like a sore thumb in the back of their minds, never feeling accepted because the differences between them and their family. The fears of being adopted sound something like, “Why didn’t they want me?”, “Do they really love me, or did they just take what they could get?”, “They are all a jigsaw puzzle, am I just an odd piece in the box?”, “Will I ever fit anywhere?” Classic fear of abandonment.
In my experience, there are two pretty distinct ways of going when you are adopted. You can be a victim of your environment, or you can excel at being very much yourself. It is scary, as you learn to numb the pain of not really knowing where you belong at a very young age. You are forced to accept that you are just not going always be a part of the whole. You rely on yourself. You build yourself up. You create yourself probably more than anyone you know has. Or you can be filled with the terror that you will not connect with anyone because that chance was taken away early on.
I choose to be unlike what others expect of me. I choose to be what I expect, what I see for myself, and I like where the pieces of my experience, my blood, my environment fall together. I have to, it’s all I have.
I am taking up the project of finding my biological mother up again. I was on very shaky ground there for a while, so I decided that was not an obstacle I wanted to throw into the mix yet. I have always wanted to meet her, I think I know enough to find her. I don’t want anything from her other than to meet her, thank her. There are questions that I have, I would like the chance for them to be answered. I feel there is so much I don’t know, and I don’t think I will be able to rest or take my next step up in life until I do this.
I know a good portion of myself, I just want the chance to get to know the other half. I have the second book in the series, I want the first one now. And just once, I want to see the boulder this old rock fell off of.