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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Holiday "Show"


Since I have no idea who or where my biological family is I will always have in the back of mind many thoughts and questions especially at certain times of the year like Christmas.  What religion or faith, traditions, dishes and recipes have been passed down, and where do they gather and visit?  Growing up I always related my adoption and family rejection situations to "The Little Match Girl", or "Land of the Misfit Toys" in Rudolph, my favorite was "Frosty The Snowman" 'cause the little girl's name was Karen and she got to escape and travel away from her family.

My adoptive family were not Holiday type people.  It was a chore to even put up a tree, there was no decorating, and the cooking was usually done by my grandmothers who we only saw once or twice a year.  They were very stoic and unemotional people so joy and expression of it was something that seemed to be looked on as a sign of weakness.  My family was far from poor but gifts were practical ones, money was not to be wasted, so no extravagance was shown, no stockings were hung, no sweet sugary goodies baked in the kitchen, and no wreath on the front door.  I was taught life was long and hard and you endured it and it was to be taken very seriously.  My loud sense of humor growing up was not appreciated and squashed at every opportunity, along with my expressive emotional nature and my very soul.  I knew we were different from others at a very young age.

So, the holidays for adoptees like myself can be very lonely and difficult times of the year.  I am not allowed to know the names of my biological parents, my siblings don't know I exist, and the relationship with my adoptive family (not for a lack of trying to extend that olive branch) is basically nonexistent.  This time of year can be so hectic and stressful for most people but it also magnifies how much of an outsider many of us are.

This poem is not one of my best.  It was one of my first I ever wrote.  But it does define exactly how I feel, as many adoptees feel, about being left out in the "cold" by one or more families.  Certainly I have my adoption community family and I am thankful for that every day.  But it does not replace, nor will it ever, the loss of two families I will never truly be a part of.

The Christmas Show

I see my friends at Christmas going to visit their families.
Groaning, moaning, and complaining about all the difficulties.
To get to all those people that have to see.
To buy and wrap all those gifts and go where they're expected to be.
There's always people arguing and rushing to and fro.
Sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents and more.
Too much to do too little time and they are wishing all the time,
that they could be somewhere alone, or someplace else rather than go home.
I guess they'll never imagine in any form or way.
How much I envy watching all their crazy days.
For if you've never lost it then you will never know.
How much of an outsider, I feel watching "the show".


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Honesty

Well folks, reunion number two has failed.  No more contact, save email.  And maybe a phone call now and then.  All because I sent a "Hope you're having a good day!" text message.  And the wrong person saw it and started asking questions.  Happy Holidays!

There are so many reasons why reunions can fail.  But when it comes down to my failed reunions at this point, the big reason is honesty.  Honesty is so important in life.  It's where we get our integrity.  It's how we are open about who we are.  Its the basic part of a relationship.  You can't have a relationship, not a real one, with someone you can't trust.

My first mother and I weren't honest with each other.  Our reunion failed in part because I wasn't honest with her about my feelings.  She would say something that was hurtful and I would let it go and pretend it was all alright.  And these hurt feelings just keep building.  And so when things headed south, we had a relationship that was based on her hurting me and me not saying anything.  That's not the kind of relationship that can survive for a long time.  Our reunion also failed in part because she wasn't honest, with me or my first father.  She wasn't honest about what she wanted.  She let me think that she wanted to talk to me or potentially meet me and when I asked, the truth came out.  She doesn't think of me as her daughter and can't ever imagine meeting me.  She also wasn't truthful to my first father when I got in contact.  They are married so there was no reason for her not to say anything.  When I contacted him eight or so months later, she was furious with me for letting her dishonesty known.  Lies and secrets doomed our relationship from the beginning.

My first father and I started our reunion a little over a year ago.  I learned my lesson.  When he hurt my feelings, I told him about it.  When things weren't working out a certain way, I told him about it.  I wasn't mean, we couldn't always make changes to fix what I was hurting about, but at least he knew.  And he was able to apologize.  An apology can at times go a long way.  But unfortunately he kept me a dirty little secret in his life.  Our reunion has failed because he lied about who I was again to people who should know about me.  He was point blank asked who I was and he lied.  And because he doesn't want to be forced to lie again, he's cutting me out of his life except every once and a while.  Honesty would have gone a long way here.

I guess this post is to show people how important it is to tell the truth, even if it's hard to hear if you are forging a bond with your adoptee/first parent.  Let my tale be precautionary to you.  Secrets and lies hurt. They leave wounds that cannot be healed by a simple apology.  And that hurting will keep coming back.  I shutter to think of how others will react down the road when they do find out about me and realize they were point blank lied to.  So be honest.  It's a hard thing to do.  I know.  But so worth it in the end.