I am currently reading the book Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge. I intend to elaborate more on my thoughts about the book and perhaps even dedicate a separate post to each of the "Twenty Things" and how they relate to my personal adoption experience and that of my adopted daughter. However, this past week I discovered a twenty-FIRST thing I wish MY a-Dad knew.....
"Please Don't Tell Me What a Bad and Difficult Child I Am/Was"
Adoptees already face the heartbreaking fear that in some way we did something terribly wrong to result in our relinquishment. Did we cry too much? Were we always sick? Did we have major temper tantrums? Were we too demanding? Were we unlovable? Ugly? Sad? Not easily entertained or amused? Did we not smile or laugh? So much goes through an adoptee's mind of what we might have done differently, even as a small baby, to make our Moms love us and want to keep us.
When my a-Dad announced on more than one occasion this week that I was "a very taxing child" I began wondering if perhaps that was the case even BEFORE I was adopted. Is that why my Mom chose to "get rid of me"? Had I worn her ragged in my 2 short years of life and made her decide she wasn't capable of raising me? For so long I was led to believe my relinquishment was such a loving choice on her part! But was it? Or was it a personally selfish choice because I was a difficult baby?
Imagine my sadness this week as I've considered the idea that I displayed such deplorable behavior worthy of bringing up even 30 years later! I mean, what am I supposed to do with that information? Am I to apologize for putting my a-Parents through such hardships in raising me? Am I to become defensive and declare that I thought parents knew, when deciding to start a family, that their children might not always be perfect? Am I to extend my deepest gratitude for them muddling through and keeping me after my Mom clearly chose not to keep her horrendously disobedient baby?! I mean really, if I was that bad I'm sure they were well within their rights to just give up on me too. And if they made the decision to fight the hard fight of bending and molding me to their will, why still hold me accountable 30 years later?
Oddly enough, I do not remember being a bad child. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall the exact opposite. But now I wonder...was I so horrifically awful that I'm repressing those memories? Or is it natural for children to think they never do wrong thus are ultimately unable or even unwilling to acknowledge their shortcomings? I don't know because I would be the first to tell you that my relationship with my a-family was less than pretty during my late adolescent young-adult years, due mostly to bad decisions made on my own part. I can acknowledge that I gave them a pretty good run for their money after I started college. But honestly, prior to those years, I cannot point to a single thing that I ever did that was so terrible.
But there's the paradox. While I can't remember my failings as a child, clearly I had some. And how my heart aches at the thought that it was those very failings of which my a-Dad speaks that caused my Mom to abandon me.
6 months ago