Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What does it mean to heal & why do we expect every adoptee to heal?

It is a slow torture knowing that your birth family wants to be in your life and you want to be in theirs, and yet you remain separated and disconnected because of one decision made so long ago that everyone has come to regret.

It has wounded me and pains me in ways that I can only utter through tears and sobs and gags that although we have found one another we still remain lost to one another in so many ways.

After 4 years of "reunion," I question whether we will ever truly be found to one another...

Yet, everyone--from adoptees to adoptive parents to friends to strangers--tell me that I'm supposed to heal, that I can find complete healing if I just try harder, if I just get my thinking straight, if I just open my heart to it, if I'll just be more grateful, more positive, more of anything but...me.

Why is it that I am made to feel as though "where I am at" is never good enough unless I have somehow arrived at this place of epiphany where I no longer feel anything about my adoption other than peace and goodness?

Maybe this is me, folks. Maybe I'm actually ok with not "healing"--whatever the hay that means, anyway.

Why am I obligated to heal? Why am I expected to "heal completely?" Seriously. Maybe that's not really the way it's "supposed" to be for me. Did it ever dawn on anyone that maybe some folks never heal completely--but that that's ok, that that's just the way it is. And we learn to accept it and live with it and still can be happy and have a full life even though we walk around with this endless wound?

Why do we assume that all such wounds are meant to heal? Have we ever thought that perhaps there are some wounds that forever remain, that never fully heal, because that is simply the nature of the wound?

I honestly never expect to heal completely from these wounds. And I don't expect or want others to pity me for it or to try to heal me or rescue me. To accept this as my life, and not feel pressure or expectation that I must heal completely does not send me more deeply into despair but rather gives me relief. To surrender to this idea does not mean I walk around depressed and cynical nor does it mean that there is something defective or damaged about me. Rather it gives me solace and hope. I can breathe. I can finally accept that my wounds are a part of me just as are the actual physical scars that I bare on my body.

There are wounds physically from which human beings never fully heal. It would be cruel to tell people that have suffered such wounds that if they would just believe more or try harder or do more that they would finally heal completely.

But rather we embrace them with their wounds. We not only support them but often find inspiration from them as they learn to live their lives with these wounds--believing in them and knowing that they can still have hope and live full, meaningful, happy lives. But we also realize that their lives have been irrevocably altered and that daily they will face challenges as a result of the wound, the loss, and the consequences of it all.

Similarly, then, the loss and wounds from being relinquished and adopted will never fully heal--at least for me. I feel it always. It is with me always. Why am I told that this is a bad thing, that somehow I am missing something if I do not feel completely healed and resolved regarding my relinquishment and adoption?

Why am I viewed as though I am to be pitied or that I am neurotic or that I am a negative, unhappy person for accepting that these wounds are a deep, inextricable part of who I am?

And why in the world should I be expected to be "ok" or be "at peace" with my family circumstances? Why should I be expected to be "happy" about a crappy situation? It doesn't mean that I'm miserable about life as a whole or that I walk around moping.

I simply want the space and respect and compassion to be able to accept the complexity of my life and that there are aspects of being an adoptee that for me will always stir sorrow and longing in my heart.

I am not ashamed of this. Why should you be?

Rather, to me, "true healing"--if that's what you must call it--comes to me by accepting that I will never truly heal from these wounds, that I will never truly feel at peace with what has happened and what continues to happen. 

I accept it inasmuch as it is acceptable. But understand that what might work for you as an adoptee or other person who experiences similarly difficult circumstances does not mean that it will universally work for other adoptees or other people.

When someone is vulnerable about the pain and grief and sorrow they experience, the loving thing to do is not to tell someone how you think they should feel but to listen and to have compassion. Pain is not a competition or on a hierarchy. Pain is pain according to each individual. It's fine that you deal with your experience as you choose. But that does not mean that your way is universally appropriate or right for everyone else or that you should expect everyone else around you to deal with their lives and experiences as you do. 

We are complex emotional beings--and hence the ways that we find to deal with our complex and individual situations will vary. Hence, do not so harshly judge those who perhaps arrive at different conclusions.

I do not believe that I can be fully healed from being abandoned and adopted in this lifetime--and why am I somehow wrong or ignorant or obstinate for thinking such? Why am I somehow aberrant for thinking that perhaps I will never feel resolved?

Why is it viewed as somehow lesser or a failure or immaturity for accepting that perhaps I will never fully heal or feel fully resolved? Am I a fool? Am I missing the secret?

I do not believe so.

Rather, I believe this journey I am on is a lifetime journey--one that will not end until I meet death. I realize that it is fluid and subject to fluctuation. Recognizing such, certainly it is not impossible that "healing" can evolve, but for me I believe it will be in a different form than what others have come to expect--they express an expectation of complete emancipation from pain and grief and sorrow that results in absolute peace and resolution. This is not my expectation or my goal. Instead for me, the pain and sorrow will never cease, because I cannot ultimately close the door on the pain and sorrow that come with being an adoptee. Why? Because the journey has no end for me.

And I do not view this as a negative thing.

A commenter named, "madeinkorea" so wisely stated in response to a previous blog post, "How can 'getting over' being adopted be contained as a one time event in your life and you are freed from being an adoptee?" Part of why I do not ever anticipate "complete healing" is that I do not believe my adoptee journey is one that will ever end. I do not believe being adopted is a one time event.

So, please, stop telling me that I am supposed to find healing if I'll just read this book or think this thought or change this perspective or feel more grateful or focus my mind on what you think I should.

I listened to the mob for the first 30 years of my life. And it got me nowhere but into a deep, dark hole of confusion, repression, and self-hate.

I certainly have not "arrived." But that's just the thing--now, I'm not expecting to. And perhaps, that is true emancipation.