I spent some 18 years of my life feeling like I had done something wrong.
As if I, as an infant, had been so awful that I'd been unwanted. In spite of growing up in a home filled with love and support I struggled with the whys and hows and the questions I hadn't dared ask surrounding my adoption. So, as a coping mechanism, I worked towards perfection. I would be so great that everyone would want me on their team, as their friend, in their life. But, that back fired and I'm really glad.
That's how I learned it's OK that we don't all want the same thing.
For as much as I wanted to unearth the answers about my biological family, my half brother didn't. For as much as I wanted to speak with my biological father, he didn't. For all the answers I wanted, some people chose not to share. For all the things I wanted to say, some people didn't have the desire to listen or to know me and they chose to pretend I didn't exist. And so, bit-by-bit, that nagging sense of being unwanted started creeping back into my heart.
I tip my hat to the women who voluntarily put their children up for adoption in the hope of a better life. I tip my hat to the men and women who work tirelessly and often thanklessly to make sure the rights and best interests of young mothers, newborn babies and families who'd given up hope are represented. I tip my hat to people like my parents, who could have a lot more money and fewer grey hairs (or more hairs, in Dad's case) had they not gone through the process of adopting two children.
But I didn't always.
What parents of adopted children don't always realize is that, no matter how hard you try or how much love you shower on your child, the questions are still there. No matter how many pieces of paper or documents or reports they read or social workers who tell them "it was for the best", the questions will never be answered. What my biological family doesn't know is that many of my questions are still unanswered, and I'm finally able to live with that.
Not knowing is sometimes hard, but I learned that knowing can be harder still. Knowing that my biological mother faced some of the horrors she did hurt my heart. Knowing that my biological father refuses to acknowledge my existence hurts my heart. Knowing that he married a woman and adopted her children hurts. Seeing how the unease and unresolved questions from our various adoptions has taken a toll on my siblings hurts, too. But like so many things in life blame lays nowhere. Laying blame doesn't help. Harbouring anger and resentment and sadness only makes the pain greater, like rubbing salt in a wound.
Coming to terms with the facts surrounding my adoption hasn't been easy, and perhaps it never will be - maybe I never will. While the facts are hard and fast, the emotions are slow and they stick to you, flaring up unexpectedly and intermittently. The things I want and don't want are sometimes within arm's reach, but sometimes they are totally out of my control. And that's OK.
I wouldn't want it any other way.