hard learned lessons  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If you have read previous posts here, you know it has been an eventful time for us. So many walls were torn down, mysteries solved and demons faced and conquered. I truly believed that our family, all of them, adopted and biological, were on the tail end of a long adoption journey. We had went from strangers to family. It took a long time, but once the ball started rolling, it rolled at warp speed.

I had a phone conversation with my parents the other night. Mom called just for the reason to tell me how much she and Dad enjoyed meeting Lori and my brothers. She thanked me for allowing them to be a part of it all. But mostly to express how relieved and happy they were that this finally took happened. I was on cloud nine, she spoke of future visits, including meeting my biological father Jim.

Overjoyed with how positive this experience was for all of us, I called my sister. I wanted to share with her what Mom had said and catch up with her. She had her final surgery connected with her cancer and was on the mend.
The talk was filled with memories of our childhood, my issues as a teen, my new found peace with just being me and the huge impact 2008 had on all of us.

As we wandered down memory lane, sister said something to me that struck me like a sharp blow to the head. She said we should be 'grateful' for our life. Any adoptee knows what this word evokes. Not that I am NOT grateful, trust me I am. I had a great life, Mom and Dad gave us more as kids than most will see their whole life. I took this opportunity and new found open door policy that we seem to have utilized and stopped her. I told her I was grateful...but no more than she was. I think I lost her for a few moments, but I wanted her to understand, I needed her to understand.
I began to tell her how I had heard these words my whole life. Perfect strangers telling me I 'should be' grateful. Grown adults looking at me with expectant eyes informing me how 'lucky' I was for not being aborted. I left it at those few things. I could hear in her voice that she did not like the idea of someone saying such things. She really seemed to understand that-yes I should be grateful, just as much as she was. Not for my adoption, just for having good, solid parents that loved us. Both of us, equally and individually.

This opened the conversation to things that I don't think she was prepared for. But like I said, I needed her to know. I could not let her continue through life thinking our adoption story was the way all adoption stories were. Because its not the norm, I am an rarity in the adoption world.
I preached on and on about abusive adoptive parents, rejection by both adopted and biological parents, lies told by agencies and just some really horror stories of people I have come into contact with over the years.

She was appalled. She was shocked. She was hurting for those whom did not escape as easily as I did. She was sickened by the processes and procedures that were practiced in the real world, right under our noses, not just some foreign place a million miles away.
She quietly asked me why they always thought Lori was a 12-13 year old runaway with a serious drug habit. I told her why we thought that....MOM AND DAD WERE TOLD THAT. The agency lied to them. They lied to Lori. And we were not the only ones. It had been going on for years, decades.

Overall, our adoption was tame. The lies were minimal and it all worked out in the end. But others.....oh the others that live every day with the pain.

Sister was intrigued by the stories that poured out of my mouth. I gave her this blog. I have never told her before that Lori and I had this. This was ours and only ours. But she should know. I gave her the website address to the site Lori and I are members of. It is commited to adoptees and anyone involved in the 'triad'.
I want her to see. I want her to know and understand.
I told her about the protest coming up this year in Philly and about last years protest in New Orleans. She was interested. She feels this is something we should fight for.

I think she gets it, more than she did before. The puzzle pieces just keep dropping.

My family is making more of an effort to see what I came from and what I experienced. They are more open than ever to hearing the stories and they are receptive to what adoptees are doing to change things. I feel its finally sinking in that I am not out to replace them, I am just out to find out where I came from and who I am. No one will ever replace them in my life. But there is room for everyone, and they can see that now.

I will talk more to sister another day. She is extremely intelligent and respected. Maybe if she learns more, she will pass along her knowledge to someone else. Then maybe they will pass that along. Its a small thing, but a start.

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