Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lost Brother

I remember the day my adopted brother was delivered to our home by a seemingly nice lady in a '50's sedan of some kind.  Even though I was only three and a half I remember it very clearly and was thrilled to have a sibling to grow up with.  I was not bonding with my adoptive parents, to say the very, very, very least.  We became very close not just as brother and sister, but as companions clinging to one another to cope with abuse and the confusion of adoption.  It was a bond that formed out of mutual understanding that the situation we had been placed in was not one of love, family, and “home” but instead one of nightmarish proportions.

My brother taught me to use my sense of humor to lighten the weight of the fear we lived under every day.  We could not change what was happening to us, all we could do is change how we dealt with it.  To this day, I am thankful for the gift of laughter and humor my brother gave me.  I miss him.

We remained close until I left home after graduating High School and he moved with my adoptive parents states away.  I was glad to have grown up and escaped as long planned, but I knew that he was still enduring the oppressive and relentless physical and emotional abuse doled out by our adoptive parents on a daily basis.  But, I was drowning in my own issues stemming from what happened to us and could do nothing to save myself, let alone him.

I have not spoken to my brother in nine years now.  Attempts have been made but phone numbers have changed along with email addresses and I do so tire of running after people trying to get them to love me.  Former neighbors and classmates ask about him, knowing we were so close.  I feel such sadness in telling them we are no longer in communication.  He has cut all of us out of his life.   I believe his coldness towards our adoptive family and even myself is nothing short of normal considering....yeah.

In fact when I began my work in adoption reform and was excited about it and wanted to share it with him he cut me off.  I asked about helping him search for his natural mother and he stated quite frankly and I quote "She gave me up why would I want to look for her".  And in response to our current relationship with our adoptive parents “They clothed us, and fed us, and put a roof over our head.  I am an adult now they bear no further responsibility for me.”  I all of a sudden felt like an old broken down used car that was paid off and no longer of any good “use” to its owners.  What a tremendously sad attitude to have about your “family” but I also knew where he was coming from.  His anger is obvious beneath coldness and sarcasm that continues to grow as he has gotten older.  He was not like that as a child but I believe adoption has severely jaded him, as it does so many of us.

You will find common threads of experience in adoptees, but at the same time, find differences in how we deal, and have dealt, with them unique to each individual.  So much pain, hurt, and loss that did not have to become these common threads of experience in our lives.  So much proof from our stories of the drastic and immediate need for change in how adoption is viewed, regulated, and legislated.

To my brother Jack. I hope one day we will meet again and I can let you know when I remember the good portions of my childhood they are due in large part to your presence in my life and as my brother.   You helped me survive and you are responsible in part for the person I am today.  Though you might feel as though you are, you are never forgotten.  And even in the bitterness and turmoil of what happened to us, you are remembered with a smile.

1 comment:

  1. Our adoption journeys share so much in common...perhaps that is why we are such good friends. My adopted brother and I are only 2 months apart in age. Not a day goes by that I don't blame myself for in someway not being able to fix or rescue him from his demons. All we had as young children was each other and the loyalty is still there, regardless, if we have no contact for my personal safety. Yesterday, I left this comment in response to an New York Time's article about the "Son of Sam."


    "My adoptive mother was an RN and my stepfather was a medical doctor. I believe my parents just passed my adopted brother off as a "bad seed" rather than trying to ask the courts to provide his biological family's full medical and mental health information in hopes of getting him the help he desperately needed. As their adopted child as well, it's pretty telling and tragic to hear my adoptive mother say without any reservations, "We should have never adopted him knowing what we did about his family." From my perspective, I see it being imperative that candid medical history be released to prospective adoptive parents."

    Karen,

    Have you ever thought about having someone else write your brother, Jack on your behalf? Perhaps hearing it from someone else might remind him of that tight bond between a sister and brother. I love you my friend!

    ReplyDelete

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