To the adoptee who doesn’t understand,
You are lucky. Lucky isn’t typically a word that many of us adoptee’s actually like. It gets redundant hearing it over and over how grateful we should be and how lucky we are that we were chosen. It’s a word that sometimes plagues us with guilt as we know that there are thousands of others who want to be exactly where we are all the while we are searching and yearning for something else. It’s a word that before adoption we thought meant family, that when we saw a friend get chosen we knew they were lucky. But you, you’re a different kind of lucky.
You are the adoptee who, despite the idea that you’ve lost everything, is content. You are the one who tells your mom “no” when she asks if you have any interest in searching for your first mom. You wake up every morning with a certainty that you are right where you belong. You are the adoptee who couldn’t imagine questioning the idea that your parents are your parents despite there being no blood ties. You don’t need to worry or wonder whose eyes you have or if your giggle matches your first moms. You are so settled in who you are and in your family that none of the “before” matters.
I envy you for that because I am not that adoptee. I am the adoptee who needs to know, who wants to. I am not settled with who I am or where I belong. I was adopted older, therefore I too am lucky, but I don’t feel lucky knowing I had to lose every last bit of what was mine to gain something new. I know whose eyes I have and I know where I get my unsettled southern twang when I’m dysregulated…but I’m still not settled. I need something more. I need to truly know my first mom. I know she is. But I need to truly know her.
I don’t know if you envy me. Being completely content in your family and your adoption gives you a different experience than my own. Are you the kid that was the “good” adoptee? The one without the issues? Did you ever envy the attention I received for wondering? Or do you agree with me? Are you the lucky one for having no questions? Just like I do, do you make assumptions? Do you assume that I’m just not grateful or that I don’t love my parents?
Not only does being curious and needing that knowing separate us, but being an older adoptee does. It only puts one more brick between my understanding yet complete envy of you. I have a past and I know my first mom. I know what she did and does and I know that she didn’t want me. I know that in my first 14 years she hurt me and allowed others to hurt me, yet I still yearn. I still desire that connection with my firsts so badly. But I shouldn’t. I should be like you: content. I should be happy and okay with being adopted and having other people “want” me. But I’m not.
You and I, we don’t understand each other. We question each other’s motives and thought processes marking one to be healthier than the other. We wonder how if we’ve been given so much we can seem either overly grateful or not grateful enough. Maybe we even try to place ourselves into each other’s shoes to see what life would be like. We have so much that connects us but there is a world between us. We don’t understand each other but the truth is, we are the same. Either way, we have people who chose us and if that makes me the bad kid for not being as appreciative or attached, and you the good kid cuz you’d never dare think that your adoptives aren’t your parents, I’ll take it. It’s worth it. It’s not really a matter of I am or you are lucky, I think we are very much the same and a very much lucky…in our own ways