Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Foot in Two Worlds

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about this whole adoption thing.  I mean, it is November after all and it's pretty much forced down everyone's throats.  So naturally I've been thinking and pondering and complicating.  What exactly does adoption mean to me?  I mean in a real, tangible way.  How has the fact that I'm adopted (note the present tense) affect my life?  Interesting questions to think about, and clearly one blog post isn't going to cover it well enough, but I'll at least take a crack at it (seeing as it is November).

For starters, from the get-go I've had four parents.  Four very real parents.  There are no fake parents in my life.  How does that affect me?  Well, it means that while most people have to deal with insanity at some point from just two of their parents, I have to deal with it from twice as many people.  It's no secret that I think my adoptive parents are great.  My first parents are pretty cool too.  They did produce me after all...  But every family (more like every person) has their flaws and I have twice as many flaws to deal with.  I have to deal with two fathers who are intent on embarrassing me.  It's cute, until it's not.  I have two families to worry about in terms of safety.  You know, like when we got hit by a hurricane in New England, I had to worry not only about my adoptive family, but also about my first family who lives a lot closer to where they were supposed to get some serious damage (which didn't happen thank goodness!).

And this also means that I have twice as many birthdays to remember.  I'm horrible at remembering birthdays.  But I find myself having to remember a lot more now.  Now the lucky part is that I can't send my first parents cards without it causing major problems.  So that helps a lot.  I do have a budget to keep after all.  Even though I don't have to send cards, I still have to remember my adoptive mother's birthday, my adoptive father's birthday, my first mother's birthday, and my first father's birthday.  Not to mention that I have an adoptive sister, and two first sisters.  Even though they may not know about me and therefore I'm under no obligation to acknowledge the day, I still want to remember their birthdays.  Oh and rather than just remembering my adoptive parent's anniversary, I have to remember my first parent's anniversary too.  Which actually isn't that hard because my first parents were married the day after my first mother's birthday.  What a nice gift to their offspring.

On the plus side, I do have two strong women in my life to look up to.  I may not always see eye to eye with my first mother, but when it comes to anything other than me, she's a great person.  And my adoptive mother is amazing.  One of the best.  So it's pretty cool.  Also, because I only live with one set of parents, I can laugh about all the crazy stuff with my first father because he only sees my side of the story.  It keeps me sane.  I have two dads to ask advice from.  I have three parents I can depend on to have my back, maybe even four.  So ultimately, that's a pretty special thing.

So being adopted means I have four parents, and all that goes with it.  This manifests itself everyday in my life.  It's something that affects me every day.  Along with that, I have two sets of extended families (one of which doesn't know about me).  Surprisingly this is sort of cool.  Whenever someone in my adoptive family does something stupid or idiotic (which happens quite a bit), I can point and laugh because "Those aren't my genes!"  It's special.  At the same time, nobody knows my extended first family so they don't know of the insanity that happens on that side of things.  Insanity that kept me from being "kept in the family".  Which isn't fair, but who said life is fair?  What my cousin's don't know won't hurt them :-)

What it ultimately breaks down to is that sometimes I am caught between two worlds.  I have one foot in the world I grew up in, and another foot in the world I was born to.  There are times I feel it pulling me apart, like when I'm on the phone with my first father, and my adoptive dad calls.  Do I switch over?  Do I ignore the call?  Talk about being pulled apart!  But these incidences tend to be few and far between.  It's something I'm learning to deal with.  It's something that every adoptee in reunion has to deal with and come to a decision about.  Some won't want to deal with it and will pick a side.  Others will try to ride it out and pray that someday it gets a little easier.

So that's part of my answer of what adoption not only means to me, but how it affects my everyday life.  If you've made it through this rambling post, kudos!  Clearly I need more caffeine.  Until next time,