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On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adoptee Identity and the Fear of Losing Connections

Photo by La Citta Vita via Flickr
I have been thinking a lot about connectedness. This is different than belonging, which is fitting, like the stone in the center of a peach. Connectedness does not require the perfect environment. It is more like a house in a yard on a street with a park at the end; these things touch each other and may, to some, be considered part of a whole, though they each exist independently and might exist equally well someplace else.

I’ve long understood that I don’t belong in my adoptive family the way other people I know belong in the families they grew up in. I am a very different kind of person than most of my adoptive relatives. I don’t value the same things they do. I don’t communicate in the same way. I don’t enjoy the same activities.

Yet, I am connected to them. For a long time, they were my only foundation. As many adoptees do, I have often hidden parts of myself from them, and I realize now that this is because I’m afraid of losing my connection to them.

What would losing that connection mean? What would it feel like to no longer be connected to the only family I knew for all of my formative years? When I try to imagine this, I feel like I’m about to fall off of a very high cliff into a great abyss with no discernible bottom. And I don’t like heights.