What a good looking question.
Can I counter with, What didn’t I learn about Open Adoption in 2011? This was The Year of Realization. It was the year I openly started writing about my adoption experience. It was the year I started reading research about open adoption, or adoption in general. It’s the year I delved a little deeper into the unknown waters of the trauma that I suffered through the hands of other people. I learned a lot. About others. About adoption. About feminism. About me. More then I depended on actually uncovering or learning.
The biggest lesson I learned?
I will always live with this. It is a huge part of who I am. It always will be.
I will always be a “birthmother”. I cannot take back anything that happened to me almost a decade ago. A thought that both comforts me and renders me feeling so helpless that I wish I could crawl into bed and sleep forever. I cannot undo the pain that still sears through my heart. I will never be able to erase the memories or the feelings associated with those memories. I will always have moments where I feel the debilitating sense of grief that comes associated with adoption loss, and I will have moments where I feel like it’s going to be okay.
I will always carry this with me, until the day I die.
No matter how many words I eloquently splay onto this screen, no matter how many posts I publish to the internet, no matter how many times I see a therapist, or how many pills I am prescribed to take to help with the anxiety. It will always linger. It will always be color on the inner walls of my soul. Always.
It sounds, when written like that, incredibly dreadful. It is something that I should have already known. Ironically, it’s all a very freeing thought. The idea that I have come to realize that the adoption is a part of me, like my arm or my leg, is liberating. It’s in me, and unless I want to lose part of who I am, I would have to completely sever that tie within myself. And I won’t do that. I have lived a good portion of this post-adoption life living in a haze, numbing myself from the reality of what truly occurred. Refusing to get angry at the players who used me as a pawn in their own game, and instead, turned inward, destroying myself in every way I possibly could instead of stepping into the light.
Because I know that this will be a part of me as long as I walk this earth, I’ve more readily accepted that I need to navigate through the muddier paths of this journey so I can use my voice to join the multiple others who have been traumatized, or isolated as a result of adoption. I need to speak so women, many women know that adoption isn’t always a miracle and that there are many hidden aspects, crucial ones that could impact your life in so many incredible ways, not always positive. Because I know that this is who I am, I understand me a little more.
Adoption has been written, etched into my DNA. Maybe it wasn’t willingly, but it’s there. And it’s shaped a good part of the woman I am. I won’t change any of that, not because I don’t want to, but because I simply can’t undo it. What’s done is done; I am a birthmother.
I will always live with that.