I am writing this for me. I am writing this for us. I am writing this so I can try to help the world see why this adoption lark is so traumatic for us.
1:53am is probably not the best time to start writing such a lengthy exposition, however, it’s been sat here under my fingernails, in the depths of my soul, for far too long now. I have been in reunion for over a year now, and =for me= I need to try to start writing it down again.
The story started way back in 1971, when my biological parents got together for a short time – as youth are prone to do – the end result of which became me.
Born in August 1972, I was my mom’s second child, and my dad’s first. Unfortunately (for me), my mom wasn’t the best in the world at being a mom, and by the time I was seven months old, my mom had lost the plot enough that Social Services were wanting to put me into foster care. Luckily (sort of) for me, my mom didn’t want me to wind up trapped within the foster care system, and so word went out on the local grapevine that there was a seven month old kid up for grabs (and this is where the luckily for me part came into it), and the couple that became my adoptive parents turned up at the door to collect me (much like when there are puppies or kittens up for grabs).
Unlike many kids who were adopted, I was lucky enough to be taken on by a deeply loving and giving family that immediately set about attempting to make me entirely at home amongst their clan.
Like most kids, I was deeply interested in the story of how I came to be, and I spent many many hours stood at the side of the bath while my (now a)mom told me – yet again – my story, which went something along the lines of how much my (a)parents wanted a kid, but couldn’t have one, while my (b)mom had a kid that she couldn’t look after properly, and so after some hasty telephone calls, my (a)parents turned up at my (b)mom’s and whisked me away to this lovely new life that I was living.
I was lucky because my adoption was never hidden from me, however, it is only in very recent years that I have come to realise quite how much being adopted impacted upon the life that I lived – and I don’t mean the simple fact of being moved from one family to another, either.
Growing up, I struggled to understand how the world worked. I was a bright(ish), intelligent(ish) child whose favourite questions were “why?” and “how?” Why was the sun hot and the moon cold? I asked my (a)mom. “How does electricity travel through wires?” I also asked. “Where is my other mom?” I wanted to know more than anything though, along with “why couldn’t she (my bmom) look after me?”
Turns out, my aparents thought my bmom had moved away from the area, and my bmom thought my aparents had moved away from the area – but, as I was often told as a child, you know what thought did, they all thought wrong.
Adoption was never a taboo subject in our house, nor even in our extended family, however, I was given some weird (and plainly wrong) stories along the way; like my adad’s mom telling me that I was black and blue when they (my aparents) got me home. I wasn’t, but it’s what I grew up believing, because after all, why ever would I think my nan would lie to me.
I struggled though, in trying to figure out how the world worked. Of course, since I’ve become an adult and delved into the world of the impact of adoption on kids, I’ve discovered that the difficulties I faced lay within the lack of genetic mirroring that I experienced, which in turn led to hyper-vigilence because I HAD TO watch and learn everything from scratch. I’ve also since discovered that the loss of my mom is likely the main reason I ended up being a promiscuous child, having to search for love and acceptance because I could never find that part of me that was missing. Having to HAVE TO be able to love everyone, just in case someone was a someone I was related to.
I hid much of my life away from my aparents. Oh, they knew that I wasn’t the most chaste teen on the planet, but I’m not sure they were (or even are) aware of quite how early I was unchaste though. In fact, I’m pretty certain they weren’t aware of quite how unchaste I was as a child (and yes, I mean a young child, not even half way to ten), otherwise, I sincerely doubt they would have allowed me the freedom to “go out and play” quite as much as they did.
Much as I loved my aparents though, I could not – did not (until adulthood) – ‘attach’ to either of them. I was too wilfully independent to allow myself to rely on them. Much as I loved them, they weren’t my ‘real’ parents.
In my young head, my ‘real’ parents were famous film stars, or famous musicians, or royalty, or fantastic scientists, who were simply allowing my adoptive family to raise me until they had time to come back to fetch me, which could happen at any time, and so I always always always had to be ready to be able to leave my life behind at a moment’s notice.
It never happened however, and so instead I used to try to get to know everyone, just in case the woman on the bus was my ‘real’ mom, or just in case the woman walking down the high street was her, or just in case the annoying kid in my class was really my brother, or just in case the guy driving that gorgeous looking Mack truck was my dad.
I spent my entire childhood living in a fantasy world that only I, as an adopted child, could get away with. While other kids were screaming at their parents and wishing they weren’t their parents, I was watching every person in the world other than my (a)parents just in case they really were my parents, or my siblings, or my aunts or uncles or cousins or grandparents.
I really was very very lonely though. My ‘real’ parents obviously couldn’t love me very much because they never turned up to claim me back from these substitute parents, and so I was never going to be good enough because if even my own mom didn’t want me, then I must be a real bad case. This assumption, whilst based on the twisted logic of a kid who doesn’t really understand what’s happened, nor why, was unsubtlety reinforced by the kids at school, who used to tell me that I was obviously horrible because not even my own mom wanted me.
Lack of self-worth aside, I did continue to grow though. By the age of six, I knew that I wanted a sex-change operation because I was not – under any circumstances – a girl, and so while I was waiting for that to happen, I made myself a strap-on penis from a piece of elastic and a cut-out egg box (personally, I blame that one on too much Blue Peter). By the age of seven, I wanted to be the first woman in the S.A.S. At eight however, I was back to being too busy fantasising about being taken away by my ‘real’ parents to have aspirations of my own. At nine, I wanted to be a stunt man for films like Hooper, and Smokey and the Bandit. By the time I was ten, I was lost; my ‘real’ parents hadn’t turned up for me, and I still didn’t know my own place in the world – all I did know was that I must be this terrible entity, because otherwise, why would they have not come for me by now.
I got by though, and eventually made it to adulthood, whereupon I met my daughter’s dad, and settled down to raise my daughter. Well, I say settled down, but not much in my life had changed. I still scoured the faces of everyone who walked down the road, hoping to be able to recognise some likeness in someone else which would mean that I had at last finally found someone I was related to that I hadn’t given birth to. Nor had my promiscuity abated – indeed, coupled with the necessity of having to be able to love everyone I ever met just in case we were related, it instead became epidemic, leading me into many volatile and risky situations that most people with half a brain would have run a mile from.
And then I found the Internet, which eventually led not only to a marriage (that has since irrecoverably broken down), but also to the knowledge that much of my life was not much more than reacting to my original loss, and finally reunion.
There’s so much more that I want to say – need to say, however it’s now gone 3am, and so instead I’m going to be at least vaguely sensible and go to bed to get some sleep instead.