If I were to choose the one biggest aspect of my life that has shaped me into who I am today, it wouldn’t be a person but a concept. The concept of my adoption. Whew, it feels good to get that out there. Now, I know that if this were some sort of speech that I was giving in front of my entire high school, around this moment, all I would receive in response to this revelation would be awkward silence from teens that don’t have a single clue how to approach this fact. Adoption. It’s not a dirty or bad word. It’s just a word like any other. It’s a mere three syllable word that has molded me into the person that I am today.
I found out I was adopted in the second grade. My mom and I were sitting on the curb in front of the California Science Center while waiting for my dad to pull up with the car. It wasn’t a shock to my system nor did it provoke a meltdown or an inquiry, despite the common misconception that when you tell a child that they are adopted, their world will flip and flop all around. Every child is different but for me, it was simply what it was. I barely blinked an eye and I suppose we can tie this to my family’s open book-like upbringing. I knew deep down that I was adopted from the annual adoption picnics that my family and I attended and the casual talks. It didn’t necessarily take long for an inquisitive nearly seven year old to piece two and two together. When I found out officially in the second grade, I was seemingly at terms with my adoption.
As the years went on, I found it starting to take its toll on me and I found myself wondering “Why was I given up on from such a young age?”, “Why wasn’t I worth it?” and “Is there something about me that just made me not enough?”. My mind started floating to places and questions that I never asked aloud until my freshman year of high school. I was hurt and sad beyond measure. Naturally, this hurt and sadness started forming into anger and bitterness. Deep rooted abandonment issues stemmed from my very inner being and nothing was enough for me. I needed answers and forms of acceptance and love that I felt were simply a never ending pit.
In my sophomore year of high school, I met my biological mother. To tell you the absolute and gory truth, I wanted her to apologize. I wanted her to see the mess that she had made of me emotionally. It wasn’t about the fact that I couldn’t see her point of view. It was more about the fact that I was undergoing a battle with myself and she had left me to deal with all of the emotional turmoils of her decision. Meeting her made me angry, yet I wished to grow closer to her. The less logical parts of me wanted a relationship with her and I watched myself get torn apart in a tug of war between hating her and wishing for more.
The first month of meeting her was full of high hopes, expectations and both sides trying their hardest. She made an effort to get to know me for an entire month and then the trouble began. The next three months were rocky between us because she had a job, a boyfriend, family and friends. She had more important things. She stopped making an effort and I couldn’t possibly blame her for that, yet I found myself blaming her nonetheless. I’d say that it hurt even more than before I met her because her decision to distance herself and make little to no effort was a conscious decision. When I was a baby, it couldn’t have been my fault that she gave me up, but as a fifteen-year-old, she was able to get to know me. She didn’t want me and that hurt. We stopped talking for months.
Last week, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and stumbled upon her engagement post. It felt like all my unsolved wounds were ripped open again. I remember the hurt first and then I remember the anger. She couldn’t have been bothered to send me a personal text before an Instagram post. To be fair, she texted me the day afterward, but it just hit me with the reality that I am not a part of her world.
I understood that she had her own life and people she cares about and I know that my life isn’t all too bad either. It was just my selfish but natural mindset to want more. I constantly felt empty due to the concept of being adopted. I had simply idealized her to the point where nothing she did would be enough. I went in with much too high hopes and as a result, all she could do was fall short.