#AdoptionWednesday

Can You Forgive? #AdoptionWednesday

29/05/2019

By now, most of you know my adoption story. For those of you who don’t know, here is a quick summary. When I was a baby, for one reason or another, my birth-mother couldn’t look after me, and so I went to stay with my Grandparents. A few months later, my Auntie and My Uncle (my birth-mothers sister and her husband) took care of me whilst my Grandparents had a holiday. From there, the wheels were put into motion, and my Auntie and Uncle took over full time, eventually being granted guardianship from the court. And the rest, as they say is history. My Auntie and Uncle became my mum and dad, my cousins became my brothers. My birth-mother became my Auntie and my brother became my cousin. Pretty straight forward, I know. 

You might have noticed that I left one person out of that story, and that person is my birth-father. It’s not because I have some hidden agenda, or perhaps I have maliciously left him out of the story through years of bitterness. Quite the opposite really, as he isn’t a part of this story. I never knew him, if my parents had never showed me a picture of him, I wouldn’t know anything about him at all. It would seem he was present for my conceiving and then never played a part in my life again. Apart from one time when I was in a post office with my adoptive-mum, and we saw him. He swiftly left, obviously knowing who I was. But apart from a fleeting moment in a queue to buy stamps, he has never existed in my life. That makes it easy for me to forgive him, because he recognised early on that he wasn’t going to be a part of my life and he allowed both of us to move on with our lives, separately. I feel no resentment, no bitterness, nothing at all in fact for him, and I am more than okay with that. I sometimes wonder if my grandparents on his side think about me, or whether his new wife and children know of my existence and it sometimes hurts to know that in reality, I probably exist to nobody on that side of my family, but in their place I have an incredible dad and cousins-turned-brothers who are some of my favourite humans that ever existed. 

My birth-mother, however, is a completely different story. You see, she went from being my mum to being my auntie with a sign on the dotted line. And it would appear to her, the new normal became her only normal. She signed away her rights to me as well as signing away her whole emotional input into me. She kept my older brother too, by the way. That is a pill I will never swallow. I think that’s where a lot of my ‘not feeling good enough’ (that I refer to in almost all of the blogs) stems from. How can a mother decide that one child is good enough and one isn’t? A mother is meant to find it impossible to pick her favourite. Maybe it’s because he was older and therefore more established, or maybe it’s because of the circumstances in which her life hung at that time, but I think it’s one of the most shittiest things a person can do. Her flash decision scarred me forever. 

But it doesn’t just stop at picking which child was her favourite. Because I was adopted in-family, it meant that she was still a part of my family. Every wedding, birthday party, Christmas and funeral posed a risk of running into her. Every single family occasion stirred up anxiety, a worry incase I saw her and my brother living the life that I should have technically been a part of. It has meant that throughout the twenty-five years since I was under her care, there has never been enough space between me and her to allow me to heal. It has meant that instead of working on processing the grief that comes with being adopted, I have spent my time working on what I would say or how I would act if I ever saw her again. 

The last time I saw her she intruded on a dinner I was having with friends. We happened to be in the same place at the wrong time. She drunkenly turned up with her boyfriend at the time, ate her meal, left without paying then dragged me and my partner at the time around four or five different bars in search of the ‘perfect mojito’ – the whole time telling me about the amazing things my brother-turned-cousin was doing with his life. It felt like an almost intentional dig to hear how well he was doing, as if to say “look, he made it, what are you doing?”

And then, her boyfriend at the time asked me if I was her son or her nephew, to which she erupted into a hysterical laughter, rolling her eyes as she reminded him how many times she’d told him the story and that she’d remind him “once again” when they got home. 

I wish I could find the words to tell you how much that hurt. But I don’t think I ever will. Maybe if I told you that I often lie awake at night reliving that moment over and over in my head then you will understand how much it scarred me. 

Adoption resentment is real, and it’s something we don’t talk about enough. Adoption forgiveness is also something that needs more discussion. Because it’s so complicated. I forgive my dad because in my eyes, he did nothing wrong. He knew he couldn’t be who he needed to be and he just left. My mother however, has exposed me to a lifetime of reminding me how I wasn’t good enough. She creeps back in from time to time, making social media posts about how she has cut her toxic family off, or finding me in a restaurant when my guard is down. Time and time again she has reared her head and never given me the chance to get over such a traumatic event. My adoption shaped me into the person I am. It both made my life and ruined my life, and I think I have every right to stand guilt free and announce that I will never forgive her. 

You have every right too, your adoption is your adoption. Your story is your story, and nobody can take away, deny or play down how you feel. Forgive who you want to forgive. Resent what you want to resent. Allow yourself to process things in your own time. 


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