Saturday, February 25, 2012

Grateful Adoptee

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t say you’re grateful. You’re an adoptee; we are not supposed to be grateful!

You know what, growing up adopted, was not easy. I had my issues. I was looked at as being different.

Kids would look at and wondered what it felt like too not live with my ‘real parents’. My teachers even treated me different. They have seemed to take ‘pity’ on me. And the comments, oh those lovely comments.

 “You must be so grateful that you were adopted, can you imagine what you’re life would be like?” “Your parents are like angels for adopting you”
“Do you know who your ‘real’ parents are?”
 “Where did your parents find you?”
“Why don’t you live with your ‘real’ parents?”
“if you don’t act right, they are going to give you back”

Should I go on? Hopefully you get the point. I can you know, the comments I have heard through the majority of my life. They are like embedded in my brain. But the best is the media. Serial killer 1 – was adopted. Psycho-path 2 was adopted.

Yes, they highlight the adopted piece, because they want us to think that it is actually the cause of the mental health issue.

Yes, growing up I was taught early on what I was supposed to be. Thank God it didn’t hurt my self-esteem knowing that I didn’t have it in me to be a serial killer. Sorry folks.

 Geeee I couldn’t even kill a spider. What kind of an adoptee am I? Sorry to disappoint.

 So what did it feel like? I felt like an outsider. Just like every other kid. I didn’t always though. I was adopted at age 5 after 2 yrs. of living in foster homes. Let me see, hmmm, that would be 6 different foster homes. It seemed no one really wanted me.

 From what my parents said “I was a handful” So at 5 I entered into another home. I was told that they were adopting me. I remember thinking, “what the hell is that?”. The only thingI  knew for sure was the families that I had entered into were just temporary. Foster care, adoption, I really wasn’t sure what the difference was.

 I was introduced to my ‘forever family’, that is what they called them. I still didn’t get what ‘forever’ was, but hey, I’ll go with it. They did have toys. WOO HOO! So I packed all my belongings in my best garbage bag. Don't feel bad, what did I know.  Suitcase, bag, it was all the same to me.  I really didn’t have much anyway. I lost a few things in a lot of the moves. But who cares anyway, I didn’t. I remember thinking, These strange people were really nice.

They stayed home with me which seemed like a life time. (I think it was 3 months)  But then dad had to go back to work. Boy did I miss him when he left.

But then mom went to work and I was brought to a day care. The first thing I thought was that this was going to be my new family. Odd huh? But that’s all I really knew. I was going to miss those folks, they were nice and I really liked having my own room. But as I learned early on, good things don't really last.  I remember thinking that these kids were my new brothers and sisters.

Then my dad showed up at the end of the day and put me in his car and asked if I had fun. Huh? I don’t get it. Now mind you, my parents did prep me for the big day of day care, but to tell you the truth, they could have been talking a different language. The next day, I went to daycare again; however, I did not have a good day. I threw a 3 hour tantrum. Knocking things over, hitting the teachers and just really non consoulable. 

 I didn’t want to live at the day care; I really kind of liked those other people (my parents). This went on for a while and I even started to kick and hit my parents. Why did they keep doing this to me?  I wanted to live here, didn't know that?  And why do they keep coming back?  Did they change their mind?  I really didn’t understand what was going on. But they kept doing the same thing, day after day, and I got angrier because I was so confused. Why don't they just make up their minds.

I couldn’t even verbalize it, but I was scared and confused. I really felt like I need to take care of myself, because who will? Well, I finally got it. I realized that day care was a place for me to play with my friends, and then I go home to be with those other people. My ‘forever family’.

This didn’t happen overnight; I had trouble for quite a few years. I’d like to say that when I was finally adopted, that life became easy. It did not. But the adoption piece was huge for me. I did finally believe that I did have a family forever. My parents gave me a framed adoption certificate. I hung it on the wall with pride. I also got a stuffed dog. I loved this dog. I called him ‘cheese’. I liked cheese apparently.

I can get more into this stuff in other posts, but this is not the reason for this post.

Oh, look at the time, I better wrap this up.

Ok, move ahead a few years, my parents adopted another boy. I thought it was going to be a playmate for me, but he was so much younger then I was. I was 8 at the time, and this kid was 4. He has special needs, which put a little different spin in our family, but I can write a whole post on my brother, but at another time. So, grateful. Yea, grateful. I am.

 I am so grateful to my adoptive parents. But not in the way people expect me to be. So here’s to Peg and Phil. My REAL parents.

 I am grateful they hung on real tight when I gave them more shit then any parent should ever have to take from a child, especially when at the time, they really didn’t know me.

I am grateful they gave me back rubs till I feel asleep because I was so freaking scared as I wasn’t sure where I would wake up. It could be hours before I felt safe enough to close my eyes.

 I am grateful for my parents who touched me a lot even though I hated people touching me. I even would freak sometimes and pull away but they were pretty consistent with touching me regardless of the message I was sending out.

 I am grateful they didn’t feel sorry for me, but yet understood why I was acting the way I was acting and learned a different way to parent me.

 I am grateful they laid down the rules and held me accountable. Consistently. Even when I was giving them a really hard time. Boy did I give them a hard time.

 I am grateful they told me the TRUTH of my life. They left nothing out but shielded me from the real horror I found out when I got older. But every question I had, they answered.

 I am grateful they made a ‘life book’ for me, a story of my life. Collected a lot of dust, I barely opened up, but I knew it was there and it was my life story before I came to live with my parents.

 I am grateful they had adoption magazines and books around the house as it was the norm in my house. Regardless of how others viewed adoption, in my house, adoption was ‘normal’ and talked about. They didn’t harp on it, but it was not a secret or something to feel ashamed about.

 I am grateful when I asked them if I could meet my birth parents at the age of 9, they said they would support me and even help me, but I had to wait till I was older. I was angry at the time, but now I understand.

 I am grateful for when the time came to search, they NEVER took it personally. They knew it was about me and not about them. I am grateful they understood I wanted to meet them alone and not with them.

 I am grateful that they taught me that there is really no such thing as ‘normal’, it was just a made up thing for people to feel better about themselves. Some kind of measuring tool.

 I am grateful that I was brought up with spiritual beliefs and that in the eyes of God, everyone is equal. That God judges on how we treat others and not by the color of our skin or by who we love.

 I am grateful that though the bible was part of our home, it was not my parent’s moral compass. They had their own ideas on things and that what was taught in my home.

 I am grateful that my parents taught me that when people start using the bible to hurt people, then I needed to walk away and not get in any debate. The anger I may feel is not worth it.

 I am grateful they let me follow my interests and not have me follow theirs. I am grateful they knew my limitations but let me try anyway. As dad always said to me when I felt I wasn’t good enough, “winning is just winning, but trying is everything”. Though he celebrated my achievements, but boy did he celebrates my ‘tries’.

SO there you go folks. If you want to say I should be grateful that my parents adopted me, then fine, if that makes you feel more comfortable.

But for me, and my parents, Its really quite simple. I am a grateful young man because I had two wonderful parents that loved me and taught me right from wrong.

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