The first time I ever found anything on my birth father was his name....on a WANTED list.
Sitting alone in a public place, barely breathing, with my heart beating outside of my chest...deer meet headlights...muzak playing...espresso machine hissing....wtf. Shocked, stunned, silence. I will never forget that moment, those feelings...the visceral reaction brewing...the internal struggle between head and heart. It can't be...it just can't be...can it? Suddenly my life began to move in agonizing slow motion ...AGAIN. How many times would I have to get on this ride...unknowingly? THIS is what it's like to be adopted...this is the definition of a closed system...pandora's box personified and sanctioned as "wonderful!". Such a wonderful web of secrets and lies. I've come to learn that the truth hurts more when you have to find it yourself, dig for it....alone...and without warning.
Everything I found after that just got worse and worse. It was almost too much to bear. I have my fathers eyes...heartwarming to learn this from one of his many inmate records. I was shattered and unprepared (the irony is that this was all well known, just not to me....I was deemed unworthy of being given the truth before I searched...it was known full well what terrible things I would uncover).
The thought that I was somehow related to (and created by) such darkness unnerved me...unhinged me. I was crushed by the weight of the truth and that it was purposely withheld from me. I found myself, yet again, attempting to put the shards of my adoption mosaic back together again...humpty dumpty fell off the wall...humpty dumpty had a great fall...rinse and repeat. It all could have been avoided..hard truths that could have been delivered with compassion but weren't.
It has taken a very long time to come to terms with the truth. I'm sure there are a lot more truths that I am still missing. I can only look for so long, read only so much, find only so many siblings cast aside, without having to put it away and not search anymore...ebb and flow. The breaks are getting longer and longer and I'm getting stronger and the edges have softened somewhat. I'm learning how to extricate myself gracefully from the biological chaos I keep uncovering. I've learned how to separate who I really am from all of that. That I am not just the sum of parts.
I've learned that its not all nature or nurture, it's a potent mixture of both. I know now what the true definition of a father is and isn't. I understand now. I've been watching home movies lately and there I am, a tiny child with my adoptive father and I now see that a true father doesn't scatter his offsprings into the wind like dandelions.
A true father answers to Dad, a true father holds the hand of his young daughter while she's trying to mimic the older kids on the jungle gym...a true father keeps a close eye on his daughter at the pool, a true father smiles proudly when his daughter learns how to walk and holds out his hands for a running sprint hug, a true father swoops in when her daughter takes a tumble and hugs her close, a true father pushes the swing over and over, a true father tries to make his daughter laugh when the tears begin to fall. A true father doesn't care that you're not by blood. A true father cares that you are okay as you journey on your search and cares how you feel about what you uncover. He is firmly planted come what may and allows you to grow, retreat, return, rinse & repeat...because he's always been there for you and he always will be.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.
I love you,