I “stumbled upon” am_ris on the message boards discussing ANE. Am_ris (her screen name) is a natural mother with a really incredible spirit. I find myself drawn to her message as it resonates with me on many levels. I asked her if I could share some of her posts on my blog and she graciously agreed.
She has some very profound posts (filled with practical application of these concepts which can be directly related to adoption trauma) I plan to share but I would like to begin with a little background. Below is a brief overview of the circumstances of Am_ris’ life and the resulting discovery of the beautiful healing that can take place when we embrace the concept that we are not our stories.
So without further adeau I give you Am_ris:
“How has it changed you?”
It has changed me profoundly. Very much so, on many levels. There are layers and layers of changes. One major change is that I am no longer my story. I have always felt that I was not my story, but yet at the same time, I felt that if I told people my story, they would better understand me, and that would help them to find hope for themselves. So in that way, I felt that while I wasn’t my story, that it would be my story that would help others. I still retain some of that, but in a different way.
So saying, I am going to tell my story in order to articulate the changes that have occured for me. It will not be a timeline of events, but more a list of differences in ‘who I thought and believed I was,’ and how that is no longer who I think and believe I am.
For 15 years, I carried a terrible burden. When I was 21 years old, I got into a situation where I had to give my son up for adoption- I was in a “home” for single mothers. A “home” whose purpose was to separate mothers and babies, sell the babies to wealthy couples, and then make the little mother problem “disappear.” I decided, for the best of my son and myself, to cooperate with them and ensure that I knew where my son when. When the adoption was finallized, I ran away from the compound in which the “home” was. I was pursued with dogs and searchlights, and only barely escaped “disappearing” as others had before me. I carried this burden for so long. Guilt, shame, victim feelings, blinding rage, suicidal depression, PTSD… the list could carry on and on, an endless parade of pain, a litany of suffering.
But I am at peace with it. I never imagined for a moment, not a single moment, that I would ever be free of it. I never thought I could forgive myself or the people who deliberately parted myself from my beloved child. Nor the liars who adopted him (and promised an open adoption- a blatant lie). The reason I point this out in such a way is to show how deeply involved my ego was in the trauma and drama of the experience.
Indeed, to even get to that point, I had come through trauma that cannot be properly articulated. I suffered unimaginably as a child. I was tortured physically. Hit in the head with a bucket and left passed out in a pool of my own blood. Made to eat on the floor with the dogs (fighting for what dogfood I could eat before they chased me away and ate mine as well as theirs). Made to take baths in icewater (or in a frozen lake that had a hole opened in it especially for me). Fed acidic concoctions that would make me vomit and burn my mouth. Sexually assualted. Beaten with electical cords. Hung from a clothesline until I was sunburnt so badly that my skin was blistered, and then beaten for crying when I was taken down and dressed. I watched as one of my foster brothers was chained to his bed and while he cried and screamed and tried to escape to the point where his fingers bled. Watched my mother butchered/dismembered when I was 6 years old. Diagnosed autistic and put into special ed where I was despised and often tied down just to keep me from being disruptive. Adopted at 8 by people who hated my very existance and who blamed me for the loss of their child (my mother). Constantly reminded that I was ungrateful, autistic, would never amount to anything, and other than that, pretty much universally despised and abused by everyone who encountered me until I was about 15 years old. Then I became a foster child, and I was mistreated then as well, though to a lesser extent. I was emancipated at 17 because I would not sleep with my “life counselor.” Raped at 18, homeless at 19….
Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I realized that I wasn’t that story. I wasn’t an abused child. There was this.. place. This part of me inside that could NEVER be touched. Ever. You could rape my body. You could beat my body. You could leave me for dead. You could wound my body, you could violate my body, you could say that I was stupid, you could torment, torture, and harm me in unspeakable ways (and believe me, there is far more than I have told you here)… but that place… oh, that place inside of me was inviolate. It was beyond the power of anything in the world to touch.
And I began to thrive. At the age of 20, I began to live. I decided I would thrive. I would live a beautiful life. I would not be defined by what had been done to me. I stepped up, I stepped out, I stepped forward. I was something more. I was something beyond the reach of all worldly misery. I would be okay.
Then… then I lost my son. And I was no longer inviolate. The sanctity of the Me had been violated. The place in me that could never be wounded was gone, lost, and I was finally adrift and alone. The loss of my child had done what nothing had managed to do it. It stipped me of the memory of That Place within me. It drove me to my knees. It broke my soul. I was destroyed, I was desolate, and I tried to die. I no longer wanted to find a reason to live. I no longer searched for hope. I sought death. I sought the siren’s call of oblivion as one seeks for water in a desert.
But every attempt that I made to die failed. I took pills (huge, huge quantities of pills). I got not even a hangover. I drove off a cliff. My car landed at the bottom, not even a blown tire. I tried to drown in the middle of a lake, and a random stranger wandered past and saved me (what the HECK was some idiot doing out on a frozen lake in a blizzard?? I must work on forgiving that guy, lol!)… I simply could not succeed in ending my life, but believe me I tried.
So where am I going with all of this?
I found it again. I found The Place. I am once again inviolate. I remember now. I remember how it felt to know that there is NOTHING that can take away your Spirit.
My 15 year search for The Place has ended, and my life has been renewed. Once more, I am More. I am Free.
And nothing you can do to my body or take from me can ever change my realization of it again.