We’re at the start (ish) of National Adoption Week, a week that we at The Adoption Social feel is traditionally about recruiting more adoptive parents. And actually, we think it should be about more than that – what about support for adoptive parents after adoption? More importantly what about support for adoptees? So this week we have guest posts from adoptees – today’s guest post is from Davina…
For each one of us adoptees it means something different and without wanting to sound like a hollow reality TV programme, we are all on a journey. Being adopted with all its connotations, to me, is life-long as I believe it is for all members of the adoption triad; birth parents, adoptive parents and the adoptees themselves, but not all journeys are the same.
Over the years I have dealt with my adoption in varying degrees. At secondary school I would tell anyone who would listen that I was left in a cardboard box underneath a pool table in North London, primarily to trivialise the pain I was trying to repress but also to try and get my friends to laugh in my self-appointed role as the perennial class-clown. In my twenties and early thirties as much as I tried to keep my attachment disorder (namely the insidious feelings of abandonment, trust and rejection) under wraps, inevitably they would eke out and rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune of times and only the brave hung around to try and understand what the hell was wrong with me. Thoughts and feelings about my birth mum had never been far from me and they had affected my behaviour more than I realised.
At 21 I met a man who amazingly hung in there and loved me despite my protestations and after 17 years of knowing each other, numerous break ups and heartache on both sides we got married. I got pregnant last year after two miscarriages and during pregnancy, being adopted (I hate the word issues) once more started screaming loudly, a sound I could no longer ignore or extinguish.
When my little boy was 3 months (the exact time I was given up for adoption) I could bear no more of the incessant questions that were continuing to punctuate my already broken sleep. Was I loved? Was my birth mum ok? Was she alone throughout it all? After binge watching far too many Long Lost Family and knowing my own feelings, I think the most important question for us adoptees is the first. Was I loved?
After 38 years and with my ever supportive mum’s blessing I accessed my adoption file. Amongst all manner of correspondence I found a handwritten letter from my birth mum that left me in no doubt, that I was indeed very much loved and adoption was an act of love from her to give me the best in life, something that she felt she couldn’t do, but broke her heart in the process. The first person I showed it to after my husband who was with me at the time, was my mum. The loving woman that she is, she cried as much as I did reading it and told me I had to find her and let her know that I had indeed had the love of two parents and a happy, family life which was my birth mum’s enduring wish for me.
So my journey continued with a search for my birth mum. Through the love of my mum reaching out to another mum, it enabled me the freedom to find out more about my past, of which I had been longing for but needing that vital blessing first.
Through my file and the Internet I found my birth mum and all her side of the family in 24 hours. My social worker has written to her and at present there has been no response.
It would be amazing to have a happy ending. To meet my birth mum and to say thank you for the huge sacrifice she made for me and for her to see that I haven’t turned out too badly! To have the chance to get to know her and who she is would just be incredible. In my wildest of dreams I also see both mums embracing and through the tears there is healing, compassion, understanding and love.
Yet I know and am realistic that this may never happen. Not everyone gets their happy ever after.
It is my brother’s story to tell but his start in life was the complete antithesis to mine and it has affected him all of his life; he was also adopted but from a different birth mum. At my dad’s funeral 6 years ago, he bravely recalled in his touching tribute during the eulogy that it was my parents that had kept him out of prison. In particular my dad who tried to give him the space and attention to vocalise the hurt he was feeling rather than to channel it into negative behaviours. To any adoptive parents reading this, from an adoptee and ex-SENCO point of view, you do make a difference, you change lives and you change outcomes for some of the most traumatised and damaged children in our society today and I wish there was more recognition for the wonderful care you give, sometimes in the most trying of circumstances.
I have hope for the future. I live in hope, patience and faith. My faith (something my birth mother wanted me to have) has kept me sane throughout my life. Although like many, it has wavered over the years, it has become stronger when I made the realisation only over a year ago that actually my faith is not all about religion and rules (as strange as that might seem) but actually it is about a relationship. A relationship with a loving God that knows my name, planned my days before I was born, wants the best for me and ultimately loves me.
No matter what happens next in my journey and who walks in and out of my life again, I take huge comfort in knowing I never was and never will be alone. There is a song by Casting Crowns called ‘Praise you in this Storm’ which has kind of become my anthem. One of the most powerful refrains in the whole song is ‘As the thunder rolls, I barely hear your whisper through the rain “I’m with you”…….every tear I’ve cried, you hold in your hand, you never left my side…….’
When you have been left, abandoned whether in love or not, it will affect you, there is no doubt. Knowing and trying to accept that you are loved by whoever is important to you, brings peace, healing and ultimately knowing where you belong. Love wins, every time.