Beneath the placid surface lies the unquenchable quest for answers arise.
Lines of truth in vain I trace to fill the void and empty space.
They thought the quest to find would die that determination could not survive.
For connections severed and erased to a life uprooted and displaced.
My desperate soul in sorrow cried as I give the puzzle one more try.
Collecting fragments left in place.
Searching for pieces of my face.
The title was intended to repeat the term real since it's so elusive to me in my life adopted that I felt the need to emphasize it. Being adopted the term “real” is one adoptees can struggle with constantly. Being adopted brings with it a questioning of the “reality” we are supposed to conform too when we are taken from one family and placed into another. Being adopted leaves adoptees with multitudes of questions about what is “real” in their lives and what is not. I wrote this blog in haste and it may not be my best but I believe the ideas, emotions, and struggles of adoptees will come through hopefully. It seemed important enough to keep me up until 2:00 a.m. ideas and sentences pinging around in my brain that I felt the need to get it out.
I will also state that this blog post is my reality about adoption and my experience with it firsthand while being involved in adoption education and activism over the years. It might not be every adoptee’s real take on the reality of adoption in their life, I wouldn’t expect it to be. I do believe it is a real struggle defining reality for adoptees that we spend a great amount of energy navigating differing stories and juggling of truths, half truth, and lies. The mysteries that surround where I came from seem steeped in more controversy than the existence of UFOs and I’m fairly certain there have been more sightings of Big Foot than of my original birth certificate.
A great majority of adoptees grow up in closed adoptions, are uninformed or misinformed by adoption agencies, lawyers, or adoptive parents about family background and history, or adoptees were abandoned anonymously or orphaned without recourse to valid information about biological families. Even adoptees placed into open adoptions wonder, question, and seek to confirm what they are told as well as searching for current and more accurate knowledge of who they are and how they came to be. Just about anyway you slice adoption there is a vast amount of potential confusion for adoptees when confronted by the informational foundations nonadopted persons have at hand and the conflicting accounts and inaccuracies not to mention the information we are given, or not given. It can not only be frustrating but detrimental when we are not allowed to question it and are instead shamed into believing we don’t deserve truth in our lives.
I’ve spent a fair share of time mulling over the facts, the only ones I was given growing up, “Your mother was tiny and pretty”. Considering I was similar to that description with the added knowledge from a non-id letter through the courts at age 39 from my biological mother (before she went back into hiding) I’ve done my fair share of stalking women in shopping centers putting the puzzle pieces I had of height, weight, hair color, and eye color into place to see if they fit and I could be related to this person. And mostly of not obviously looking as though I am trying to do so. It seems a little crazy, but isn’t not knowing where you come from as well as who your parents, siblings, and who your relatives are somewhat strange?
Which can leave adoptees living in a limbo fantasy land creating, uncreating, and recreating different scenarios that may or may not be steeped in reality. I remember as a child endlessly wondering if my biological parents and family were dead, or missing, if I was stolen, or the worst case they just didn't care about me. How horrific for a child to begin life and grow up with such monumental looming issues in their heads, and hearts, and minds.
What is missing the most in adoption is the truth. If adoptees are required to be grateful for being adopted, and we are forever to no end being told we should be, why would any adoptee be grateful for omissions, redacting, falsifications, misrepresentations, deceit, fabrications, and falsehoods perpetrated upon our lives, our birth certificates ammended, while the very truths that shape and mold who we are from conception are being withheld from us? Why is truth expected of people yet not a given in adoption?
If you can’t tangibly define your "reality" then how can you really ever be “real"?
“Perhaps there are those who are able to go about their lives unfettered by such concerns. But for those like us, our fate is to face the world as orphans, chasing through long years the shadows of vanished parents. There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.” ~Kazuo Ishiguro "When We Were Orphans"