Part Four ~ Heritage and Identity

It happens often enough, these highs and lows. At this point in my journey there are more highs than lows though which is good. I don’t obsess over the subject very often although If the truth be told I still think it takes up more of my life then it should.

Yesterday was a yuck day as you can tell from my post. If I allow it all in and really start thinking about it I get weighed down by it’s bulk. It covers my whole essence like a wet blanket. On those days it’s hard to function. It zaps the purpose out of things.

There are two very distinct ways to look at this whole issue of finding my identity. Both are represented as a constant presence in my life by society. Below is an example of each.

I belong to a couple of online groups but for the most part I have recently just steered clear of them, not wanting to invite the sadness as though it were welcome. Yesterday I thought I would just read a few posts, dip my toe in the water so to speak. The very first post I read had me running for the hills. I am going to paraphrase here to protect identity as groups like these are nothing if they are not confidential and safe. So this person says something to the effect that after years of searching and having found they can say with great certainty that until you get your “history” you are……shall we say………half a person. WHAT?!?!?!? Ouch.

Alrighty then. I have been searching for 12 years on and off of course but ACTIVELY searching for my lost identity has been a part of my life for THAT long. How incredibly pathetic. I remember when E said “you have my half, that should be enough.” and I remember questioning myself as to why it wasn’t. If the maternal side of my birth family had welcomed me with open arms would I feel differently about wanting to find my paternal side? Am I looking for identity or acceptance? I try to be real about it, honest with myself which for me (and I have observed this in many adoptees) is very difficult to do. I think the reason it is so hard to be honest about what I want is because there is no model of normalcy to be ripped from the pages of everyday life. Nothing to base “normal” on here in adoption-land.

I find it absolutely horrifying to think that if I never get my answers, never feel love or acceptance from any birth family member, never find out the origin of the other half of the blood that courses through my veins, that I will be sentenced to live my life as half a freaking person!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can I simply say; I am done and no longer need any of it! I can look to the family I do have for love and acceptance as has been suggested to me about a zillion times. I can own the part of my nationality I am aware of and make it all that is necessary to feel whole. I can live a happy and productive life without question as to whether or not the guy bagging my groceries is my father. Right. Yea. Sure. No problem.

So my husband and I are having this totally bizzare conversation. The kind of conversation only someone who is enmeshed in our world can have. A conversation so over the top hilarious that we shake our heads afterward. In a nutshell we were joking about the theory of past lives and how wild it would be if he (my husband) had been my birth father, killed in Vietnam and reincarnated just in time to grow up and become my husband. That it would be ironic if the man I was looking for was sitting right next to me the whole time! It gives a whole new meaning to the twisted game show phrase “Who’s Your Daddy” doesn’t it? lol

You think you are absolutely nuts because the entire world is telling you to just be happy with what you do have and the worst part? THEY ARE RIGHT! But that doesn’t do anything to take away the desire to know the truth. Nothing. Yippeeeee I get to live my life pushing thoughts out of my head, squeezing feelings out of my heart, justifying it all the while by simply saying it is abnormal to expect more? Remember in the movie Young Frankenstein when Igor mistakenly reads the label on the brain in the jar as Abby Normal? That was so funny! Do you think it coincidence that that particular sceene would come to mind right now? I feel so lucky to live in a society that thinks my name should be Abby.

I tell you what, society better figure this out soon because I am going to be one pissed off chick if I have to live the rest of my life as either half a person with an identity crisis or abnormal for not being O.K. without the answers I currently seek. We as a society of otherwise intelligent human beings damn well better come up with a concise model of normalcy on this issue of identity! Until then people like myself are just flapping in the wind. Is it important or isn’t it? Are bloodlines and origins important to us as a society or aren’t they? Is it important only to kings and queens of which I am neither? Or am I? You don’t get to go around flaunting ethnicity, flying your flag, serving up recipees passed down from generation to generation, hanging your coat of arms on the wall, declairing importance to your heritage and then turn around and tell ME it’s not important!

Make up your mind so I can make up mine.

Crap is crap. You can pour rose water all over it and make it smell like a rose but underneath it’s still just plain-old-crap. And THIS my friends; finding our way when most of society tells us we don’t need the answers and the rest telling us we are only half without them…….is just crap that only smells like a rose.



Filed under Adoptee Family, Open Records

6 responses to “Part Four ~ Heritage and Identity

  1. Oh man, good post. I think it’s just human. I mean, people like to have connections to the world around them and identity plays a large part in not only how society sees us but in how we see ourselves.

    It’s like with me and this whole ethnicity thing. I grew up feeling completely out of place and I guess getting in touch with my lost heritage is my way of trying to find my place and re-attach myself to the world around me.

    The truth is, it just sucks feeling like a piece of lint in the wind. Why I “really” feel that way is anyone’s guess. Is it acceptance or identity that I’m looking for? I think I’ve found acceptance in many areas of my life on a social level. There’s other parents, friends and family but something is still missing at the core. It’s a vacuum that I’m still struggling to define and fill.

    I’m like you in that I don’t obsess over it so much that I can’t function as a “normal” human being. There are days though that I’m overwhelmed with loneliness, sadness and a terrible sense of loss. Of course, when life calls you just have to push all that aside and get moving but it is a constant with me and probably always will be. There’s just some things you can’t replace.

  2. Mia

    I know, I always described the feeling of finding E as finally feeling tethered to the earth. Even being denied contact that feeling remained.
    And you are right. There are some things that you just can’t make up, write on a piece of paper and voila, like magic it’s real. It doesn’t work that way.

  3. Heh. My Husband and I have off the wall conversations about our “past lives” (which we may or may not believe in) and how he was a soldier in Vietnam and I was a hippie. Yes.

    Anyway, back to the subject: I have no advice. I hate being told to squeeze my own thoughts and feelings away… and it ticks me off that others feel you should do the same.


  4. Mia

    lolol Jenna! IF I believed in past lives (which I may or may not) I bet you and I were both dancing around wearin’ nothin’ but flowers in our hair.;o)

  5. I totally agree. I can’t see myself as being half of a person. What is so ironic is that it is okay for a non-adopted person to understand their own identity but it is not for an adopted person. For some people, we should be just be grateful. For others, we are just half a person if we have searched and found one birthparent. Like you, I am beginning to understand who I am without a birthparent. I do have a family that loves and supports me. It just feels like a blank spot in my life that I want to fill in with life and color. I don’t think it makes me half of a person. A part of me just wants to throw paint and color over that blank spot. Would I just be covering it up or would it be something else? So I sit back and think about what I am going to do with that blank spot since I can’t fill it with what deserves to be there. I guess time will tell what the theme is going to be.

  6. Mia, you are a wise, old soul and this is a fabulous post! You have really captured the “betwixed and between” world we (adoptees, etc.) live in.

    I tell you what, society better figure this out soon because I am going to be one pissed off chick if I have to live the rest of my life as either half a person with an identity crisis or abnormal for not being O.K. without the answers I currently seek.

    For me, after the searching, the reunion, the highs and lows, I guess I’ve settled in a place where I accept being relinquished has impacted me deeply and the effects are lifelong. I am tired of hoping external sources (reunion, politics, will power, what have you) will resolve how adoption makes me different from your average person and am learning to include my relinquishment/adoption experience as part of my authentic make-up, rather than try to “fix” it.

    It isn’t an easy road. You have to ignore those who believe you should “be okay” with it, as well as those who believe you will remain half a person if your reunion relationships fall short of curative.

    I am not the “walking wounded” but I do carry a fair degree of pain from my experiences. That is part of me and I function much better when I embrace it.

    I hope that made some sense. I hate writing long comments in these itty bitty boxes ;o)

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