The Adoptee Pendant

I can’t even begin to express  my excitement about Tracy Hammond making this beautiful pendant for adoptees.

I was blessed to say that I was one of the first to purchase this as a 20 limited edition collection. Since making these Tracy has had an overwhelming amount of responses of adoptees and birth mothers requesting for her to make more.

This pendant symbolizes so much. Finally. I have seen “Adoption” pendants so many times over the years. Adoption symbols, and none of them fit my feelings about my journey. I believe there is a triangle with a heart in it, symbolizing that adoption is based on the “Triad” where there are 3 equal sides. That’s the birth family, the adoptive family and the adoptee. This symbol doesn’t not fit me or my experience. Nothing about the adoptee’s loss is EQUAL to the adoptive parents. We loose an entire family, and for me (and many other adoptees) that leaves us feeling broken in many ways. Tracy mentioned being “Beautiful inside and out BUT broken”. This describes it perfectly. This is reality, and the truth about what my adoption experience has brought me.

Some people have mentioned us focusing on the negative, but let me just say. The REALITY is, it is a negative experience for so many of us. Why should we have to continue to hide our true feelings about how we feel? If someone lost their entire family in a tragic car wreck and they wore this necklace as a symbol of the family they lost, and their heart being broken because of it, I believe no one would give them any static about wearing this necklace. It’s the same for adoptees. This doesn’t mean we are pondering or focused on the “Negative”. For me it means that I have stepped out of denial, and the guilt that my adoptive parents have made me feel for having any feelings about my first family. I have come to terms that my adoption TRUTH is this very damaged tainted, broken heart. That is the TRUTH.

It’s important to know that you can’t heal a wound by denying it’s there. When we have been told our whole lives to be grateful and our right to express love for our first families has been taken from us. How do you think we will feel? BROKEN. I am feeling an extreme sense of loss today more than ever. Why? Because I’m finally grown up, and an adult who has developed my own feelings, and it’s clear to me that I’m just now grieving my loss because my adoptors denied me that right. I have forgiven them. But I hope for future adoptive parents they can learn by reading books, blogs, adoptee journeys that the way adoption has been handled in the past is just that, a thing of the past. You will destroy your adoptive children if you deny them the right to grieve their losses of their first families. You will destroy them if you keep secrets from them. You will destroy them if you speak negatively of their first family. There is so much more, but TODAY I’m totally ecstatic that I finally have something that represents an outward expression of how my adoption has impacted me.

Tracy Hammond, I will always be grateful for you and your creativity in this pendant. Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart for sharing this with adoptees. It means so much.

Thanks for reading!

If I Die Tomorrow, What I Want You To Know Today

Let me first say this is in NO WAY a suicide letter or anything of that nature. I promise you and give you my word. I’m a Christian and I value my life and look forward to any days I have on earth to spend with my amazing children, and one day grandchildren.
It’s REALLY been on my mind and in my heart lately so I wanted to write about it. Maybe it will give me some comfort in sharing my feelings.  I wake up daily, with the weight of the adoptee emotions at the front of my brain. It sometimes seems impossible to get through a single day. Some of those following my blog know my journey. For those who don’t, basically I ran from processing any abandonment and rejection issues from my adoptee situation and drank alcohol to cope my entire life because the pain was so deep; I didn’t know what to do with it. My adoptive parents denied that I should feel any kind of way about my first family, or have any adoption related issues. From the time I was 12 I was drinking and at 37 years old I decided I didn’t want to live that life anymore and I started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery. It’s been a life changing journey for sure! I’m 39 now, and I have been living a sober lifestyle for a year and a half TODAY. This has definitely been a tough year and a half. I have made the choice to dig deep and pull out all my skeletons from my past and put them out on the table and work on them. I’ve asked God to come in and help me heal from these hurts, habits & hang ups.  I’ve came so far in this little bit of time. I no longer have the desire to drink, he’s taken it. That’s a huge victory in itself.
Image Courtesy of Master Isolated
Let me just tell you a little about my life. I have 3 amazing kids. They are my world. They are the reason I wake up every day and push past the feelings of abandonment and rejection and all the emotional issues being adopted has brought me. They are the reason I’m alive today, because without them I have no reason to be here.  I truly mean that. I have a wonderful career, caring for the elderly. I make handmade soap and get great joy from coming up with new creations, and sharing them with others. I have a WONDERFUL church home, and an amazing church family. I’m very active at my church; I am there 2-3 times a week trying to fill my life with positive, happy things. I spend my days trying to give back because so much has been given to me. Having 3 healthy amazing children is HUGE in my eyes. They are all great kids too.  I live in a fairly nice home. I’ve been blessed with a new car recently, and to the outside world life would appear to be picture perfect.  I don’t have a man in my life, and quite frankly I’m not sure if I ever will again. I find it very difficult to explain my deep rooted emotional adoptee issues to people that don’t understand what we go through, and it’s just easier to keep things simple and be alone in that area. I get more frustration or grief from sharing my feelings with someone and they just look at me like I’m crazy, or assume I’m just stuck on the past and I need to just “LET IT GO”. Trust me, if it was that easy, I would have just LET IT GO a long time ago. Let me mention, that when an adoptee is sharing their feelings most of the time we just want someone to listen. You can’t fix us, only we can fix us and this traumatic situation we have been put into. SO please just listen! I stay very busy so I can keep my mind off my adoptee reality. When I sit, I think. Writing has been a way for me to process my emotions and feelings in a healthy way. I may not be the best writer in the world, but these feelings and this place is all mine and I feel I finally have a place to share with no interruptions. Do you know how many times in my life I’ve tried to speak about my adoption feelings and someone interrupts me, or they say something ridiculous like “Aren’t you glad you weren’t aborted? Or “You were a gift, God planned you before you were born” Just about every single time in my life I have had someone interrupt me, or say something very insensitive about how I feel so I learned I had to hide my feelings until recently. I’ve broke out of my hidden shell in the adoptee world. I speak out, and I’m not scared to share how I feel. Do I have to hide it from my adoptive family or my biological family? YES I DO. Although some of them try to understand, in no way do I want to hurt their feelings by speaking how I feel. It’s created an awkward situation because I feel I have to live a double life, and that everything is still so much of a secret.  But at least I’m sharing my feelings with the rest of the world, and it does bring me comfort.
Enough about me and back to the topic of me sharing my feelings for this blog post.
I am unsure if these feelings I’m having are so strong because this is the first time in my life I have soberly processed all these emotions, or if I’m stuck with feeling this way until I get out of this hell on earth we live in. I knew this would be a difficult journey when I began, the day I quit drinking, August 12, 2012. I know God is with me, I know I have friends that fellow adoptees that support me. I thought by now it would get easier. It’s been a year and a half. Why am I not feeling some sense of peace with my adoption journey? I have peace with almost everything else, but not this. I’m at a limbo with coming to the conclusion that I very well may feel this way for the rest of my life here on earth. I guess I can describe it as an aching, deep sadness that never leaves. It’s always there; it hangs over my head, every minute of every day. It’s always there. I’ve learned to put on a smile for those around me, especially my kids. I never want them to be burdened with my issues like I always was growing up. My adoptive mother made it a point to cry daily, and express her unworthiness of being a mother as well as self-medicate with prescription pain pills. This made me want to keep as much of my emotional issues from my kids, because let’s face it. Why should our kids have to deal with our emotional issues? They shouldn’t. They do listen when I speak about certain things, but sometimes I sit and wonder. “I wonder what they would say if they knew how broken my heart really was?  I wonder if they really knew that they are the only reason I’m alive today.” Of course I never say a word about those feelings. I just keep it to myself and keep moving. I never want them to think they have anything to do with it. They bring me more joy in my life than words can even express and because of them, I have a reason to let my feet hit the floor every morning.
I guess I will wrap this up by saying what I wanted to say all along. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want everyone close to me to know that I am no longer suffering. I’m no longer in pain. I no longer have this deep dark sad wound deep in my soul from being separated from my first family. I no longer have to make hard decisions in the reunion process. Recently I’m being faced with the decision of going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time that’s 94 or not going, she lives 13 hours away. You might think that’s an easy decision to make. But for me, I am grieving daily about the loss of relationships with my first family. Do you know how hard it will be to see my biological grandmother for the first time in my life and know it will more than likely be the last and only time I ever get to see her? Words can’t even describe my thoughts on that. What may seem like something amazing to some and I feel is amazing as well, but that’s not all. Knowing that I missed so much with her, and it will never be replaced, and that the one and only visit will be the last is just flat out depressing for me to think about. And I think about it daily. I grieve the losses of my first family daily. I wish, I wish, I wish runs through my mind daily. If only things were different or maybe if I was different they would have accepted me. Yes, both my biological parents rejected me and this has caused me the most amount of grief you could ever imagine. I don’t think that pain will ever go away, but I do hope and pray it will get easier. Today I want the world to know, that when my time is up on earth, and when God takes me home to be with him this pain will all be gone. I look forward to that day and I’m extremely grateful that I believe in heaven and hell because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have that place of pure peacefulness to look forward too. I long for the day that my heart is whole, and peacefulness takes over my mind. Some may say, “Well you have a choice now what you do with your current situation”. You are so right, I sure do. I’m sorry that I can’t just wake up one day and make the pain all be gone. It’s feels like a knife slicing my heart or a constant loss and grieving feeling that is always there. I pray for God to make it easier for me and other adoptees that are going through the same emotions that I might be. During the rest of my time here on earth I will continue to work on healing, and grieve in healthy ways. I will continue to speak about my feelings. I will continue to reach out to adoptees. I will continue to wear the mask that I have had to wear my whole life, ever since the moment I found out I was adopted. Why wear the mask you ask? Well, because it’s simply easier than letting everyone know my heart is literally ripped into shreds and I struggle daily with my feelings of self-worth, abandonment & rejection. If I appear to have it all together at least I don’t have people thinking I’m some ungrateful, angry adoptee.
I believe God can definitely heal our broken hearts about so many things in life. But I have come to accept the fact that my root issues of abandonment & rejection are here to stay.  This has been a big thing for me to accept. I have always used alcohol to take the pain away, but today it’s as raw as it was the first day I stopped drinking. You would think that time would heal, but the truth is when a piece of your heart is missing, or shredded sometimes it never heals. It’s leaning on God in times of despair and trusting that he has a purpose and a plan for me and my life is my main focus in my life today. I realize all adoptees are different, and we are all at different places with our journeys. Some adoptees are at total peace with their journeys, and I would give anything to feel that way about mine.
But let me just say one more time, if I were to die tomorrow please know that my life is far better than the one I have lived here on earth because my broken heart will be healed. My abandonment & rejection issues will be gone. It will be sad for my kids to loose me, but at least they will have some amazing memories with me to remind them of our time together. Adoptees get absolutely none of that when it comes to our first families. I hope that one day if they will read this and know how much I loved them, and how I thank God for them every day. I do look forward to the future with my kids, and my future grandkids but I also look forward to the day where my heart is whole. They will be the beginning of my family tree and that brings joy to my heart.  I hope this letter would bring them peace to know that I’m in a better place where no suffering occurs. Every single day is a struggle and every single day I suffer mentally with my adoptee issues. I hate the thoughts I have, and look forward to the day they are all gone, the day I go to heaven.
For any adoptees that may be reading this, can you share some of the healthy ways you cope? Or some of the things you think of or remember in your mind that get you through another day? Do you share some of the same pain I do?
Pray for me and I’m going pray for you too!

Another Day, Another Struggle

Over the last few days it’s been made apparent to me that there is still so much deep dark sadness deep in my heart from my adoptee issues. Is it ever going to go away? I truly don’t believe so. I believe the key for me is to work on coping skills as much as wishing they would go away. I remember hearing another adoptee state one time, “It feels like a life sentence”. I believe this statement sums it up the best for me.  Even as a God fearing Christian who is in a recovery program from these very issues I still have hard days, and rough patches and they seem to send me in a downward spiral into complete sadness and feelings of despair.
Let me make this clear that I am a truly blessed person. I am thankful for everything God has given me in my life, and for the fact that I have 3 amazing healthy children. I have an awesome career, a small handmade soap business on the side. I have an amazing church family, and a small circle of friends I wouldn’t trade for the world. I wake up daily and as soon as my eyes open I am thanking God for getting me to where I am today. From where I used to be I’ve come along way. I’m very thankful for my health, and for the few family members I do have contact with in both families, adoptive and biological. I’m generally a very upbeat, happy and positive person. I don’t sit around and feel sorry for myself or focus on the negative aspects in life. I focus on the future and what it’s going to be like when I have my future grand kids, and maybe a husband one day although that’s neither here nor there to me. I focus on my relationship with God, and that’s the most important relationship I have in my life. Then comes my relationships with my kids.
I can certainly say that if I didn’t have God or my kids I wouldn’t be here. I would have nothing to live for. I was hoping that my feelings of being less than, or inadequate were tapering off and going away but I believe they are still deep down there because I wouldn’t feel the way I do when I have this downward spiral of sadness that seems to come and go. It’s hard to build yourself up, and have feelings of self-worth when you have been through what adoptees go through. All adoptees are different and we are all at different stages of our journeys. We are always second class, second choice, we always have to worry about everyone else’s feelings more than our own. How do you think that makes us feel? We have to worry about what everyone will think about what we say about our journeys so we keep quiet to avoid ruffling anyone’s feathers. I find time and time again I have to defend my very feelings against people that have no clue of what it feels like to be adopted but they always seem to have an opinion or something to say. More than likely they blend in with the rest of society on how glorifying adoption is because they know someone that has adopted and believe its all rainbows. They never once taking into consideration of adoptees loose an entire family before they gain another one.  We are forced to suffer in silence because no one understands us.  We can never grieve the loss of our first families because our adopters deny us that right by telling us we should be grateful.
Finally at 39 I am grieving, all on my own. Because once again no one understands but other adoptees and I believe some birth mothers may understand to an extent but not fully. They lost a child; we lost a whole family and our very own mothers and fathers. Not that one is more or less than the other, because I know losing a child is traumatic and they too were more than likely denied to grieve the loss of that child but for us to have to pretend our whole lives that we should just be grateful is just flat out wrong and traumatizing. The loss of our mothers is traumatizing. Any time a mother and a child is separated a trauma occurs. This trauma needs grieving, and the proper healing to take place. Now how is that going to happen when adopters pretend it’s not even there?
I’m in a recovery program called Celebrate Recovery. It’s a Christ-centered recovery program. It’s to help everyone overcome their hurts, habits, & hang ups. I am certain God put I in this ministry to not only work on my adoptee issues but to help share the realities of the silenced side of adoption and that’s an adoptees voice. I have prayed for grace and peacefulness when I share my issues because again, I always have to worry about who I offend and whose feelings I might hurt. I give my testimony for the second time on April 3rd. I gave it this past September but I sort of sugar coated the depths of my adoptee issues, but I am spending the next 3 weeks rewriting it and I am focusing solely on my adoptee issues because I truly believe being adopted, and the impact it has had on me is the root of my dysfunctional behaviors and life style patterns. It’s why I always drank alcohol to cope. It’s why I always tried to cover the pain and hurt. It’s because that pain and hurt is so tremendous that it’s unbearable at times. I have been living a sober lifestyle since August 12, 2012. No alcohol and no drugs, no anything to numb the pain. I can tell you it’s the most difficult journey to walk and the emotions I’m processing are very real and some days I don’t even feel like going on. But I have to because my kids need me. I wake up, put on the sugar coated smile and appear to have it all together for everyone around me. But deep down it still hurts. I’m not sure if that will ever go away.

I wish sometimes I could record my thoughts about it. I was lying in bed last night with my mind racing, praying and asking God to just take it all way. Take away the sadness and pain. I was thinking about never really blending in with either of my families. I felt like an outsider in my birth family because we had no memories to speak of, no history to share. Its awkward building relationships with people you should be so close to but you are virtual strangers at ever extent. It’s even harder when they live far away. I have cut ties and let go of all my birth family accept my biological brother who is amazing. The rest of them have been too painful even down to the biological cousins. I pulled back and threw in the towel on all the rest of the relationships. I have wanted to go see my biological grandmother for the first time but at this point I’m thinking that may cause me more harm than good. How would you feel going to see your biological grandmother for the first time ever and knowing that was the only time you would ever see her so it would be your first and last time ever meeting her? Talk about emotional. Maybe if it would be better emotionally if I never went. I never opened that can of worms. Do you not realize how hard this is? I have to choose between seeing her one time or never at all. I shouldn’t have to choose this. It’s not fair. With my adoptive family, I don’t know what I would do without my cousins and my one brother I do have contact with. They have all been amazing, but sad to say it’s still not the same. We are close, some of us but we don’t share the same genetics and I always felt different and like I didn’t fit in with them either. It didn’t help growing up in a step family. So not only was I the adopted child, I was a step child also. My adoptive dad was awesome but he was also far away. We never were able to have a close relationship. But I love him dearly. IT WAS DIFFERENT! VERY DIFFERENT! I never felt like I belonged with either family. I’ve had to accept this.

I’m thankful today I have created my own life, with my own family whom are my children. This is what I wake up for every single day. My kids.

 I will continue to write about my journey and share it with the world.
Thanks for reading!

Adoptee Speaks

Never stop speaking about your biggest hurts, or your biggest struggles. Those same hurts and struggles are the same thing someone else is going through in life. You never know who you might inspire by speaking about your journey. That is what my blog is for, to speak about my biggest hurts, pains and struggles. Writing is empowering and healing. This is why I share my journey.

It’s important that we never stop sharing or reaching out to those who are in the shoes we were once in. I can’t tell you how much it would have meant for me to have a person of support in my life when I was going through my reunions with my birth family that understood the emotional aspect I was going through. I did have some amazing friends and a very few close adoptive family members I confided in, but no one could relate to the issues I was dealing with. They definitely tried and I love them for that. Once I started speaking out about my adoption experience and reached out to adoptees then adoptees started responding

I feel that God is going to use my journey to help someone else, to help expose the realities of adoption and how it feels to be adopted. In return it will bring healing to adoptees all over the place. I love blogging because this is my place and no one can tell me how to feel here. No one can tell me I should be grateful for being separated from my first family. No one can heal a wound by denying it’s there.
Today I’m grateful I’m at a place in my recovery from LIFE where I can be of a sound mind and body and inspire someone else. I will say this journey isn’t an easy one. I still struggle with being adopted, daily. I cry almost daily about some sort of loss or grieving that may come across my mind. Today what’s really on my heart is how much I missed of my birth family. I missed everything. This makes me very sad. I can’t just get over it. I have to process these things, and accept them which I have done. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Not one day goes by that I don’t think of my birth family in some way. I didn’t choose for things to be this way, they were chosen for me. It feels like things are all over the place with both families. The only adoptive parent I have in my life is my adoptive dad. I’m thankful for him, but he’s far away and has been my whole life. It’s hard to have close relationships with someone who is always far away. I love him dearly but I wish he was closer over the years. Both my birth parents rejected me, and this hurts beyond words can describe. My adoption experience has had EVERYTHING to do with my life and the way I am. My relationships with people and how much I love myself have had a direct impact on my adoption experience. I suppose you would have to be one of us to get it but I’m going to keep trying to explain through my writings.
I believe today I’m growing in my relationship with God, and that’s what keeps me sane. He’s turned my hopelessness into HOPE and my brokenness into pieces mended back together. Little by little I’m healing, and growing. If I didn’t have God like I do today, I know I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m thankful he helped me find my biological family. Regardless of how the relationships turned out, at least now I know. At 39 years old I know where I come from, who I look like, and where my people are. No more wondering and being tormented by thoughts of despair in finding my people.
Thanks for reading,