I am torn …
I am torn …
After my adoptive mother passed away, I learned that she had been secretly working with one of my cousins to put together a book on her genealogy. For much of her adult life, mom had walked away from her strong religious upbringing. However, apparently, placing the information in the prestigious Family History Library was important to her, even if she wasn’t a member of their church anymore. Genealogy would have meant little to her had she not been trying to make things right with the church and her mother towards the end of her life, as genealogy is an intricate part of their religious beliefs.
Although the reality did sting, quite honestly, it didn’t come as a surprise to me to discover that she had purposely left me and my adopted brother off her genealogy. I knew it was done with malice in her heart; the name of my first adoptive father, an alcoholic, was also missing from her genealogy. But the name of her only biological child, who she had raised in the church, was right where he should be on the correct branch.
When I have shared my sadness and disappointments out loud, I get a mixed reaction when it comes to adoption and genealogy. One will say, “Well, you really shouldn’t be on there anyway; you are not blood,” while another person will say, “That is so wrong.” I am torn! The deepest part of me wishes that someone from the tree I am really supposed to be on would come alongside me and somehow make it right. Being excluded from my adoptive family tree deliberately, and complicated with not knowing my birth parents (like thousands of other adoptees), intensified my feelings of not belonging. The lack of empathy and silence from many of my adoptive mother’s family in a difficult situation has made the emptiness hurt even more.
Up until recent years, I felt so alone as an adoptee. In getting the opportunity to meet and talk with other adoptees, many I now call my friends, I realized that no matter if our feelings and struggles are each a little different, we still share a common thread. We want our voices to matter and for others to understand that our journeys don’t miraculously become easy once we are placed for adoption.
I love contributing my writings to books I believe in – at the end of January, I am proud to have my newest essay coming out in my good friend’s book, “The Adoptee Survival Guide.”
I am certain not only will the book be a helpful resource for adoptees, but enlightening for those who want to challenge themselves to see life from different perspectives. Thank you :)!