Sunday, November 27, 2011

...not broken but blessed...

as national adoption month comes to a close, i find myself reflecting on my personal experiences with adoption.  then, when perusing facebook, i caught a conversation that really got me thinking about my own adoption and boog's adoption.  while i know that so many strides have been made as far as the stereotypical adopted child, birth parents, adoptive parents, etc. i feel like adoption is still very misunderstood.

it seems like many believe that adopted children are inherently broken.  i even confess that as a child, i felt this way as well.  being adopted didn't make me special.  it made me different.  i remember once a neighborhood kid was teasing me, and he ended his prepubescent diatribe with, 'and you're ADOPTED!'  my friends all laughed.  i walked off crying.  i hated that i was adopted.  in fact, i resented it.

my teenage years weren't much better.  my poor mom had to deal with so much crap.  i lashed out at her because i didn't believe she was my, 'real mom.'  we didn't understand each other.  i didn't feel as if i was hers.  there were times i felt so envious of my friend's relationships with their moms.  being adopted was basically the bane of my existence.  i often thought, 'why can't i just have my real mom back?' or, 'why didn't she love me enough to keep me?'  talk about adding to my already high list of insecurities.  if my own mother didn't want me, then what was i worth in the eyes of anyone else?  i didn't belong in my family.  i didn't look much like my siblings.  i didn't connect with them.  i was an awful big sister, actually, and i have tried so hard to make up for all the crap they had to put up with too.  it was really a confusing time for me. i felt as if i had no identity.

i wrestled with these feelings until i was around 21 years old.  when i married studly, things seemed to change between me and my mom.  this is when things really started to unfold and make sense to me.  

i understand that my biological mother was in no way capable of giving me a stable life.  i don't know why she did what she did, and i don't hate her, but i realize that i would not have had the best of much with her.  from what i know her life was a bit crazy; filled with stealing, drugs, leaving me on people's doorsteps.  that is no life for a child.  i even had a stint in foster care because of her lack of parenting abilities.  luckily i have a wonderful, loving, and completely capable father who rescued me.  even more luckily (grammar face palm) i have an amazing mother who took me in when i didn't have a mother to turn to.  

i am not broken because i am adopted.  i am blessed.

of course it was hard to accept the way i was brought into my family.  adoptions from my era are almost 100% closed.  i knew nothing of my biological family, if they loved me, why my biological mother couldn't take care of me.  i didn't feel loved by both families.  i more or less felt betrayed.  

i am embarrassed to also confess that when i found out i wasn't able to have children on my own, adoption felt like some sort of awful parental sentence for me. 

how wrong i was.  my mom is my mom.  i've said it a billion times and i'll keep saying it.  i would have struggled either way, being adopted or not, and i feel like the struggles of, 'growing up adopted' were quite tame to growing up in such an unstable home.  i have been given every chance in the world to succeed because of the parents i have.  they came to my soccer games, supported my voice lessons and endless choir concerts.  they sent me off to college, prayed for me, and most important of all, they love me.  

my son is not broken because he is adopted.  he is blessed to be loved by so. many. families.  open adoption will hopefully ease the fears that i dealt with as a child.  boog will never have to question where he came from, or if he was loved.  it is because he is loved that he is with us now.  we keep in contact with his birth mother because she is a part of his life and of our life.  sadie was an amazing mom to boog for the first 14 months of his life.  she will be here to tell him she loved him so much she wanted him to have what we could offer him.  he has birth families that keep in touch, that love him, that we visit with, and he will never have to worry about a hidden family that is out there somewhere.  

adoption is a sacred exchange.  it is a wonderful way for those who are unable to start a family, and those who are not ready to parent to give their child the best.  

boog is no where close to broken, and neither am i.  

we are loved.  we are blessed.  we belong.

these are the most important things in life.

 (sadie, kenna, studly, boog)

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Ashley said...

I cannot tell you how much I love you. You're meant to be. That's all.

You amaze me.

I love you.

Janae said...

Fist let me say that I love reading your blog. I love all things adoption and people who share so freely. I'm Janae and I am also adopted. So are my 2 brothers and 1 sister. I never felt the way that you did, but I can't help but think that at some point my siblings have had those same thoughts. Maybe they still do. I don't know why I don't have those feelings. I have wondered this as well. I wonder how my Mom and I have such a strong connection and I harbor no resentment. While it seems that my siblings feel much like you do. I don't think they feel it all the time, but I think that they have felt it and maybe still have some of those feelings harboring inside them. But that is their story to tell, not mine. But growing up in a family of four adopted kids with very different personalities has made me ponder this topic a lot.

I think its complicated and different for each person and I of course can only speak for myself. I do think it easy to blame things on adoption, especially when things seem to go wrong, really wrong with your life. Many people want something or someone to take the blame of things that have happened to them or just the natural difficulties of life. And since adoption is such a big part of your (meaning anyone who has been adopted) it is very easy to pin it on that. It took me a long time to realize that being adopted actually has little to do with it. The problems that my siblings have with my parents, or me or other problems in life are just that, problems. Problems that anyone could have even if they were birthed to their parents. Feelings of rejection and not fitting in often happen in biological families. We just need to take what we are given and make the most of it. Don't let what happened to you in the past hold you back.

You are an excellent example of that. It seems you face the challenges of life bravely. You rock!

Sorry for the long ramblings and bad grammar. I didn't pay enough attention in English class.

Erin said...

love. love. love.

Shannon said...

so good. also, i just read a really great (really hard) book. i'll email you about it. i think you would really like it, if you haven't read it already. if you have, i'd love to talk with you about it. and my favorite line? grammmar face palm. hilarious.

SSS said...

I came across your blog through Rach and Ry and I love the way you write. All three of you are cute as buttons and I love your honesty. Oh, and I love that your husband is a pharmacy nerd, too. ;o)

Amanda and Shaye Scott said...

This. is. beautiful.

Kristin said...

Great picture!

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