"Forgiveness is letting go of all hope of a better past."
I have always been drawn to this quote by Anne Lamott and it's leanings towards being adopted. I think for years, deep down, I wanted to change my past, to somehow "undue" being adopted...like if I could find a magic wand and a time machine, I could make all the hurt go away and all would be well. Don't get me wrong, I had wonderful adopted parents (I truly did and yes, I was "lucky" even though growing up I never felt lucky. I dislike that word, lucky to me is like winning the lottery and adoption is no lottery), they did the best they could with me and they followed the advice of every closed adoption agency back then "Tell them young and don't talk about it any more, don't treat them like it's anything different than the norm, everything will be fine!" Oh, but we all know how that went and how it had the exact opposite effect on me growing up. Everything was not fine. After many attempts of bringing up adoption and receiving looks of sadness, shock, silence, awkwardness, I grew silent in my curiousity and wonder, turned inward, toughened up and grew callouses where the soft spot of pain and loss should have been able to heal. I was never allowed to fully understand, explore or openly grieve my loss and work my way through the dull pain that I wore like a cape and in not doing this, it would haunt me until I became an adult and it eventually all came spilling out at a rapid pace. Funny, how if you're not authentic to yourself and speak your truth, it will manifest in so many unproductive and unhealthy ways. A dam can only only hold so much before it breaks open.
I felt stifled and reacted the only "acceptable" way I knew of...to act out and be a pain in the you-know-what rebel...yet somehow I was still a "good" rebel, only scratching the surface of rebellion (after all, I was still grateful & didn't want to get returned!). I was desparate for an outlet, for a reaction...anything, for comfort, to bring the loss to the surface, to acknowledge, to work through it, but the only way I saw as a viable and acceptable outlet ("she's just so private...and so angsty!") was to rebel. To act as if I didn't care...but underneath it all, I was a cauldron of bubbling emotions just waiting to explode.
I realize now that my parents had no idea 'wtf' to do with me or my siblings for that matter, we were all classic adoptees, we all had our own ways of reacting & dealing (or not dealing) and they just chalked it up to good old adolescence angst, not realizing there were patterns, definite patterns that we were all struggling in one way or another (either being sullen, grateful, rebellious, perfectionist, escape artist, etc.). This is the shame of closed adoptions with no real counseling for all involved. "If you don't talk about it, everything will be just fine." They had no idea how that silence was the enemy lurking in the shadows of my adoptee fog.
My journey has been a rough road and I remember during reunion when I finally worked up the courage and told them (still grateful and loyal to a fault!) that I had found, I needed to stop caring so much about other people's reactions, I had to learn that it was their reactions not mine and I needed to stop governing my life around everyone else's reactions and feelings. It was time to sweep up everyone else's eggshells that I had grown so accustomed to walking on all my life. I had never been so happy to pick up a broom and sweep those damn eggshells out the door and out of of my life!
What I've come to realize is that even though you can't change the past, you can change how you react to your past and how not to let your past "own" you in a negative way...not to be a victim, but to be a survivor. After all, you are your own GPS and being adopted that GPS gets a little wonky at times. All you can do is keep moving forward, love yourself and to H-E-double hockey sticks with everyone else, they will either come around or they won't, but it's not your job to make them love you or prove your worth to anyone.
Your job is to love yourself....no matter what they say.