Thursday, June 16, 2011
And while she's listening to me pour out my heart about how bad my day has been, I realize how her day has been. If she hadn't told me, I never would have realized that the friend listening to my woes had just severely broken her arm the day before (and is now in need of surgery). If I hadn't already known, I never would have guessed that on top of being in pain and having a broken arm, that her tire had just gone flat and that some random woman had just been incredibly rude to her in the parking lot when she was trying to get her prescription.
Having a much worse day than I was, for sure, she still listened to me with care. She moved about her day as you would expect a strong woman would. An extraordinarily strong woman. One who deals with the chronic health issues a rare blood disorder can bring, can have a load of misfortune pile upon her all at once in 24 hour time, and still have time to validate the feelings of her friend who isn't even having as nearly bad a day as she is.
Which makes me remember, I think there are a lot of people out there who assume that there are no complexities in adoption. They assume that being adopted isn't a big deal and thus, when an adoptee says "hey yes, it is a big deal to me" and talks about how adoption has impacted their life, the adoptee just must not have anything else going on. We must be weak because we find fault, problem, pain, complexity, ambiguity, whatever...with something so "insignificant" (so others may think) about adoption.
And on the contrary, the adopted women I know who share their ambiguity, their pain, and the complexities of being adopted with others are strong, resilient women. They are not self-centered or self-loathing. They are smart and compassionate. They are there for you at a moment's notice on a bad day. They do not talk about adoption because they want pity or because they have nothing else going on. They have real lives and real struggles, some really tough ones, just like everyone else, on top of dealing with being an adoptee. They talk about adoption to help and support others.
I wish surrounding society knew this about adoptee women. We are strong women.
Posted by The Declassified Adoptee
Amanda Woolston, MSS, LCSW, CT is an adoption and child welfare focused scholar, author, therapist, activist, and leader. For over a decade, her work has reached millions globally through media, public policy, and writing projects.