Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Post: Discovering my own Dysfunction

By guest blogger: Holly 

“Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.” - Ludwig Borne

When the fog clears, you find yourself with a very large pile of rubble. The type of rubble that takes years to sift through in order to pick out the valuables left behind. It isn't for the faint of heart.

I am an adoptee born in the “baby scoop” era; 1963. My birthmother; was one of the Florence Crittenton girls who disappeared from her small home town shortly after discovering her pregnancy. Adopted at 3 weeks of age by a 35 year old childless couple, I grew up an only child who always knew I was adopted. I was raised by a woman who likely would not have passed a home study today. I never bonded with her, and never heard “I love you.” growing up. While I was always clothed, fed, and had all my basic needs met – life was very shame based. “My story” was a lie, and any questions I asked resulted in my being shamed into silence. There was verbal, emotional and physical abuse. I left home at 17 years old, and I never returned.

When I turned 18, I immediately visited the Family Service Agency, which had handled my adoption. I was given the obligatory non-identifying info, and began a search that lasted 5 years. I met my biological mother and her family, to include 2 half siblings when I was 22 years old. The reunion was happy, yet overwhelming for me. I had two young children and a dysfunctional marriage at the time.

Fast forward to 2005; so much life happened in that time. (Another marriage, two more children, another divorce, and rejection from my biological father – a whole other story!) I had recently come out of my “adoption fog”, as well as the “reunion honeymoon” phase. My current husband and I had started the process to adopt a child from China. The wait was a long one, over 3 years to be exact. I spent those years studying attachment theory and disorders. What I learned was not what I expected. I was the one with the disorder.

Anxious/ambivalent to be exact. Yes, I’d been through some therapy, but never did the therapists think my adoption issues were important. I tried to address them, only to be silenced. Again. Fortunately there was Nancy Verrier (a godsend!) and her books, “The Primal Wound”, and even more importantly, “Coming Home to Self”. The later opened my eyes to many of my repeated behaviors, and I began to see the accountability that lay with me. Only I could change my reactions, and not be doomed to be a product of my past.

Recently I began to follow a blog: http://www.karencaffrey.com/blog/. The most helpful thing I've ever heard was when Karen asked something like, “In your reactions are you coming from the rational thinking adult, or the wounded inner child?” My moment of Ah – Ha! I began to see the pattern.

I’m acutely aware of my now 5 year old daughter’s issues. I notice things about her that other’s wouldn't see. I can’t fix that hole she’ll carry. I can’t take away “adoptedness” from her. I know that love doesn't fix everything. My heart hurts for her. Whatever her journey, I’ll be available and non-judgmental. And I hope I can be gentle on myself, accepting that no parent is perfect.

So where do I go now with this? I read. I study. I journal. And I ask myself that question; Is this my hurt child, or is it the adult I am now? Not as easy as it sounds, especially when you've been doing things the same way for so many years. But with practice, I’m confident I can begin to catch myself. And maybe, just maybe….I’ll start looking for a therapist who has experience in adult attachment issues.
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About me: Holly is an adult adoptee and former blogger called “The Creepy Adoptee”.  She was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, and after 9 years in Washington State, is returning to the Arizona heat. She’s been in reunion for over 25 years. She is the mother of five children, two step-children, a grandmother, occasional photographer and a lover of books.

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