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There's no Place like Home
I was born in 1957 and adopted at the age of three weeks old. Had I been conceived a decade later I may not even have been born. I view adoption as one of the most selfless gifts one can bestow on another. Actually on several persons. First, they are giving the gift of a family that has the means and ability to raise their child, carried for 9 long months in their womb. Secondly they are giving a gift to the prospective parents/parent that will take in this precious child and love it as their own.
As a young child, having first learned of my adoption status I remember feeling a sense of dismay and rejection. That my "real" parents didn't want me or love me enough to keep me. The mind of a four year old child is so unformed and has such incomplete information as to make things up to explain that which they do not understand. For me, it became a defining issue for many of my formative years.
I grew up thinking that I had been abandoned and unloved and it affected my ability to view the tremendous love and joy that my adoptive parents had in raising me. Other persons perhaps do not go through this angst. And others probably feel much as I did.
I recall being eight years old on the playground during recess of my third grade class. I heard two girls my age talking about how they had traits of one or the other parent. One girl said, "My Mom says I got my Dad's eyes" and the other girl replied, "My Mom says I look just like she did when she was my age". This filled me instantly with a sense of not belonging to the same world these girls did. I immediately thought "Who do I look like?; Who's eyes do I have?". It is normal as a young child to want to be like everybody else; to fit in and be a part of something.
Only later, in my twenties and in counseling for some depression issues did I learn how much this lack of knowing impacted me and caused me to question my viability in the world. A sense of connectedness was decidedly lacking and probably had much to do with the poor choices I had made in choosing life partners.
In fact, I believe that I chose to have my children as young as I did because I just couldn't wait to have a biological link. I recall lying in my hospital bed, shortly after the birth of my daughter and over hearing my then Mother in Law say "I didn't even need to ask which one was my grandchild because she looks just like her Mom". I took that in and let it wash over me; I had finally found who looked like me, if not who I looked like!
Intuitively, I could not make myself search for my birth parents. I thought about it; I had boyfriends and persons who cared about me over the years suggest that I do a search. Perhaps this information could help me let go of that sense of rejection and not belonging? I agreed in theory. But whenever I thought about finding anybody from my birth origin I could imagine my parent's faces and feel their hurt and possibly rejection. It was so strong that I just could not bear to do it.
After I had turned forty my relationship with my parents deepened in to much more of a friendship. We had Saturday dinners together. My mother took me with her to see the Nutcracker performed locally every year at Christmas almost until her passing. My father passed unexpectedly the day after Christmas in 2009. It was very difficult for all of us as can be expected. We all had suspected that my mother who had several serious health conditions would not live as long as my father who remained in excellent health at age 87.
My dear mother surprised us though and she managed to move out of their home after 45 years and 66 years of marriage and into her own senior apartment. She stayed quite independent for several years.
In the interim I had moved out of the country and my daughter had stepped up to the task of helping my mother run errands and buy groceries. I moved back at about the time my mother's health began to fail and my daughter subsequently moved away.
The last two years of my Mom's life were some of the sweetest we ever shared. I got to actually know her as a fellow woman. I viewed her with my older, more mature vision for the strong, plucky woman she was. I saw her through several health crises and eventually took care of her and spent most days with her. She was a member of a group that did a free Senior luncheon the second Saturday of every month. I was her partner to those luncheons for nearly two years. Saturday's were so special to me as those were the designated days also that we would do her grocery shopping and have lunch together. I will be forever grateful for having had the intuition to return to the US when I did and be there for this woman who was there for me since I was three weeks old.
My dear Mother passed on February 20, 2014. She did go peacefully, though she was alone at the time. As any of you readers know, who have lost their Mother's or Father's, it is one of the more difficult losses to overcome. I lost my beloved husband in 2002 and it was devastating in it's own way. But, this loss just rattled me to my very core. I have spent the past 8 months thinking at 500 pm every day "I have to call Mom" as that was our daily routine. I just graduated from my school as a Certified Health Coach, and during the ceremony I thought "I sure wish Mom were here; she would be so proud of me"
So, the point of these ruminations is that through this experience of growing so close to my parents later in their lives I kind of lost the drive to discover my birth origins. Then, on the brink of my 57th birthday which just happened to be meaningful to me having been born in 1957; I decided to see if I could find my original birth certificate. I did obtain that certificate. I learned my name at birth including surname and the name of my birth mother. I even briefly joined a website that assists person in researching their ancestry.
After a few days of searching and finding some information, I discovered that it was all rather meaningless to me. I realized that if I were interested in knowing about any history, it was that of my Mom and Dad that raised me! I had already been doing searches based on this "what if" notion that I was somehow biologically linked to them. I was learning about my maternal Grandparents and the ancestry of my adoptive parents. That made sense to me; those are the people after all who loved me; saw me through crises and were by my side through all of life's important events.
This birth person; I don't know her. Yes, it was a bit liberating to at last have a name to go by and to know her age when I was born and some of the details surrounding her decision to have me adopted. But once I knew that piece of information I did not feel the need to know one bit more.
It was much like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Glenda the good witch informs Dorothy that she had the power to return home all along. She merely needed to click her heels and repeat "There's no place like home" and she would be back.
I now know too that I had my family and the important identity that I thought I was missing all those 50 plus years all along. It was always there.
If I had any advice to share, it would be to treasure those that love you. Appreciate the good in your life that is right before you. If you have questions, ask them while you have the chance. I only regret that I wasted so many years feeling incomplete when I had all that I ever wanted within my grasp all along.
Life is too short to chase rainbows when the pot of gold is already at your feet.