Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post: When Lightning Strikes

By: Jasmine

"I am an adopted female that sought and found my birth farther when I was 33 years old and 7 months pregnant with my second child.  I found my birth mother 2 years latter.  I was raised in a family where my older brother was also adopted, but not blood related to me, and my adoptive parents eventually had a child of their own, who was my sister 4 years younger than me. When I found my biological family I experienced a wide range of emotions that were overwhelming at times. My blog is about the honest feelings, and emotions that evolve when I found my long lost biological relatives. I am an individual who is navigating and stumbling through in hopes to weave more deeply the love and untangle the confusion."  You can read more of Jasmine's writing at her blog: Weaving Love, Untangling Confusion.

As I continue to figure out, 'where do I fit?' after being reunited with my birth family for five years now, an image comes to mind of a strong beautiful tree with reaching branches and full foliage, that gets struck by lightning. CRACK! And one of the branches becomes fragmented from the whole. A severation drops the branch lowering it down to the ground swiftly with a hard landing into trauma.

Lightening lacerates the limb from the tree as adoption sieges the innocent babe from the arms of their kin. This first profound loss shapes a frame for the adoptee to mature within a scaffolding cemented with abandonment and loss forevermore. The adoptee can grow and build from this with amazing love, strength, and vitality, but the early structure has been soldered with a wound of abandonment.

This tree continues to grow and move on without the amputated limb for decades. My birth mother and birth father once married, then divorced before I was born, have lived separate lives apart from each other and have been without contact since my birth. Yet the image of a solid tree takes me back to my conception, and that primal need to want to bond to my lineage, my blood, my family tree. According to Lorriane Dusky on her post, The universal need to know who you are,,

"..there is plenty of hard evidence that people do want and need to know where they came from, where they fit on the tree of life, whom they are related to, whom they look like, where they get all of their special and unique traits."

The truth is in my exile away from my biological family I have been raised, nurtured and molded by another.  Reuniting, I found I just don't easily fit as if I was always an extension on the biological tree from the onset.  I have been changed under the circumstances I was sequestered.

My adoptive family sought for and found that limb lying on the ground many years ago. I laid on the ground exactly 4 months after the lightning struck, before I was adopted to their orchard. I was picked up, and eventually realized the humbling truth that a limb cannot be attached to another tree either.  To keep me safe and nurtured I was planted next to my adoptive parent's tree. My roots took hold and underneath the provision soil of my adoptive parents guidance, love and care I began to heal and grow.

I always knew I was not from the same genetic fiber of the larger tree that took me into their haven.  About 3 years ago, the family tree I knew began to deteriorate. It started to become diseased with diabetes and cancer. First, side effects from decades of suffering from diabetes swiftly and quickly manifested brain lesions in my adoptive dad's head and ended his life rather abruptly. Secondly, my mom suffered from another form of cancer, one that was not so swift but rather long and painful with many treatment options only to end in the unavoidable. She died five months ago.

This large tree that took me in, helped me blossom and sheltered me is gone. There is a large crater in the ground where it stood for 30 years shy of a century. My perspective has undoubtedly changed as the void in my scenery now displays a different point of view. I am coming to terms with this significant loss and barren pasture that has reshaped everything I now see.

In this ruin where my adoptive parents now lay, I found in this void that I have been reaching for my original roots. I want to know where I came from, who I am, and what is the story behind the people whose genetic code makes up my DNA? My adoptive parents sheltered me and steered me away from any inquires of my birth family, in simplest terms I was told, I am their family. I was challenged and questioned when I had wonderings. They would ask me, "isn't our love enough?" Of course it was, and as to not provoke their belief, "if I seek and find my birth roots, then I am seeking more love," I didn't investigate my own history. The fear that they lacked insignificant love for me or that my biological parents could love me better is heartbreaking.

I kept my curiosity for seeking my biological parents at bay out of respect for not wanting to hurt my adoptive parents and not wanting to challenge what was always unspoken. It was when I started having children of my own that I broke the unspoken taboo, and claimed my birthright to find truths of my past to know the initial fibers of who I am. An anonymous person responded to Lorianne Dusky's post by stating,

"It is usually those who are secure in the knowledge of who they are biologically who tell those of us who aren't that it really doesn't matter and that family is based solely on relationships. I don't think the issue is whether or not the adoptee feels it is important or even if s/he wants to know his bio-relatives, I think the issue is that every person has the inherent right to know this information about him/herself.  What s/he wants to do with the information is up to him but everyone should at least have access to the information."

As I understand and learn about my birth family, I find I want to adhere back to the original tree that has welcomed me with open arms. And this is where the visual of the lightning humbles me to an understanding, which I will never be able to rivet myself in that place where I was once fragmented off and expect to grow from there as if the trauma never happened.

Reuniting with my birth mother and birth father has been a struggle to comprehend re-connection similarly in a severed limb's effort to reattach to its origin. A painful truth begins to sink deep within... as a limb cannot be reattached to the tree once fractured off, nor can I be reattached to the place of origin of my beginning. As I continue to develop a relationship with my birth family, I have continually tried to tie myself back to the tree, only to fall back off with a gust of wind. I have tried to use screws and rods and drill myself back onto the tree, but I end up with more scars and cannot get the necessary nutrients from the sealed over aperture.  Where do I fit in?

When unrolling my biological ancestry family tree scroll, I seem to be an addendum. The calligraphy of the known members have been inked in for years and the branches already colored in, I feel like I am a footnote to the whole tree, or a *that says see below.

*This is our biological child given up for adoption, raised by another family. She sought and found us when she was 33, now added to the family tree on this date.

Parental loss is one of the greatest loss an individual will ever grieve. Whether that be as an infant and a lifelong grief process or as an adult when parents age, grow ill and die. The pain is unbearable at times. The pain of my adoptive parent's death has awaken the first affliction of parental loss from adoption. I am grieving on top of an abandonment wound that has never fully healed.

In deep despair and heartache where the open wounds of parental loss ooze with mournfulness, I can now allow myself to finally flush out the deepest part of the wound with love. Love passed on from my adoptive parent’s epitaph along with new found love that has been running through my blood all along.  As a tree drinks up the nutrients and cleansing water from the sources around her, so do I sip up an abundance and rich nutrients left by my parents. Their life cycle is returning to the ground composting their teachings, love and beauty within me and my siblings.

It is here in the soil where I was raised that I am gaining the strength and wisdom to journey on, and to stretch my branches and grow fuller and more beautiful every day. It is here in their loss that new life is blooming in me and allowing me to stretch my roots beyond their soil to my original land. It is in this strange dichotomy juncture, or division and connection of parents, where I am finally beginning to feel as one. No longer separated or severed, but standing strong on my own with support from all the ample parental minerals and supplements offered when lightning strikes you away from the main tree and you preserve through the pain and trauma.

I am finding comfort in knowing where I stand strong in my adoptive parent’s soil and where I can continue to reach for compassion and love from the origin of my biological heritage. In the midst of grief, I found I have new life and two reservoirs to gather from, and two ecosystems to support me as I continue to discover what it means to be a daughter.

Photo credit: dan