There are some days that I feel particularly adopted. Not adopted from the view of an adoptive parent, like “I am loved and wanted and somebody picked me and everything’s gonna be okay and my life is a gift…” But more in the way of feeling rejected and incomplete and not good enough and a mistake and abandoned and unwanted and all of those negative feelings that I can almost guarantee every adoptee has felt at least once in their life.
Growing up, I always felt like a burden. I’ve always felt like I had to “hold my own”, so to speak. I had to be strong enough and big enough and brave enough and good enough and I’m really sick of feeling that way. I know that I’m loved by a lot of people in this world but my reality is that the two people in my life that were biologically most like me and who knew me before I was born, could not take care of me and raise me in their home or family. Carrying this burden gets to be too much. I don’t have to be solely responsible in taking care of and loving myself, but I do have to teach my friends and family how to take care of me. And that too, gets very exhausting.
Most days, I can say that my bio parents could not raise me and I believe that, but today it feels like they didn’t want to. As an adoptee, it doesn’t matter how many people love me or how much love they give. When you have been rejected or abandoned or for whatever reason were not able to grow up in the home you were born to, it affects every part of your life. In fact, just existing can become exhausting. I feel like to exist is to defy everything I am because who I am is unknown. Who I am is incomplete and who I am does not fit. I was not born to be raised in the family that I was raised in. I was not raised in the culture I was meant to be raised in or even the country. I was born in a country and culture of a family that could not have me for whatever reason and because of that, I would say that I am kind of lost and I’ll never be completely found again. That might sound dramatic to some, but it’s true. When you’re an adopted person, you have to create your own. You will forever be at a loss and some days that loss hits harder than others.
I have this temptation to say that this isn’t all, that this burden gets easier to bear or this weight gets transformed into art and beauty when dot, dot, dot. But it doesn’t. Its hard, and it’s always hard because even when you meet your bio family, if you choose to do so or have that option, it will never be the same as growing up in their home. Maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse, or maybe its something else all together, which is what I’d like to believe. Whatever it is, it’s complicated and it’s not easy.
Adoptees, you are allowed to have a bad day or an off day. You are allowed to feel crappy and need a break from teaching the people around you how to love you. You are allowed to be human and you’re allowed to just focus on being, because some days you have to try harder other than others. Give yourself grace, patience, and give yourself a little extra love on those days. I’m not sure who said this first or best but it’s true… “Loving yourself is not selfish, it’s self preservation.”
Good luck out there.
PS: If you are having a particularly adopted day(s) and its just feeling too heavy to carry alone, look for an adoptee support group near you, get in touch with an adoption competent therapist, reach out to adoption resources, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
* Or if all of that seems like a little too much feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.