Why I’d Say No

In lieu of National Adoption Month, I thought I’d share my thoughts on adoption.

A few days ago, one of my professors who knows I was adopted and that the adoption didn’t work asked me, “If the opportunity arose, what would you say about being adopted again?” At first I was confused and a little irritated, I didn’t know how to respond as half the class was staring at me. Instead of giving a yes or no, I answered, “It’s something that I’d have to think longer on. It’s not a yes or no answer.” She was pleased and moved on, but the question kept ringing in my ears. How would I answer?

I haven’t gone into great detail about all the failed adoptions as I feel they are still a little to personal, but from each adoption a little piece of my heart was changed. The first family that was going to adopt me got tired of fighting my grandparents and when they decided to move, they decided to give up. The second adoption failed because I was having doubts and was still too attached to my roots, something my adoptive mom couldn’t stand. My third failed because it was the mother of my second and things were just uncomfortable. I became the “trouble” child. The last, my legally adoptive parents, failed because of the rejection, fear and the lack of trust.

In each of these adoptions I held the biggest reason for the disruption: the inability to let go of the past and become someone new. I was in so much pain and turmoil that I didn’t know how to move past it all. I needed that extra help. I needed to regress back to major growing points in my life that were missed. Unfortunately, my adoptive families didn’t know or understand this. The families who did understand this refused to do this because chronologically it wasn’t right. I was 17.5 not 2 or 4 or 8. They didn’t have the ability to accept me enough to let me feel safe. I didn’t have the ability to trust them enough to let them in. It was hard. With each family I walked away feeling a little more beaten, a little more bruised. But I didn’t give up.

After each family kicked me out or left, I decided that I still wanted a family. I kept telling myself that there are millions of families out there in this world, one of them had to be mine; I had to belong to someone. As much as I knew S@nta wasn’t real, I wished every year to have a family “come for me” for Christmas. I hoped that some how I’d magically have a family on Christmas morning. I remember being so happy after my 2nd adoptive family asked if they could adopt me, we went on a walk and I told them that I had wished for this for years. Every time an adoption failed, I prayed even harder to a God that never answered..to a God that I didn’t even believe in but that so many people kept saying made life so much more bare able.

So, how would I respond to someone if they asked if I wanted to be adopted into their family? or adopted in general? I think, right now, I would apologize to them for giving them the idea that I wanted to be adopted and then I would respectfully decline. It’s not that I don’t want to be adopted; believe me, I do. I want a mom and a dad and siblings more than anything. But the truth is, adoption isn’t for me. It isn’t part of my plan.

After 4 failed adoptions I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t the only problem, but I was a problem. Because I grew up with my mom it is really hard for me to let her go. For 3/4 of my life, she was the one who I woke up to…despite the horrible abuse and environment. She is the one I called mom every single day. She is the one I took care of when she was sick or coming down. She was the one whose wounds I mended after her boyfriend beat her black and blue. For 8 years I have been so terrified to let go of my mom, to let go of my past and my hurt, that I failed to let anyone else in.

I felt like I was being brave by moving on from each loss so quickly. I felt like I was conquering the world with each step I took forward when I was thrown back. But what I didn’t realize was that for so many years the hoping and wishing and praying for a family where I belonged didn’t mean having  a mom, a dad, and siblings. It didn’t mean forgetting about my mom and shutting everyone else out. Instead, it meant going into a multitude of families and learning from each one something new. It meant putting myself through so much pain and turmoil that I could understand that there is more for me than belonging to someone legally. It meant learning that no matter what is thrown my way knowing my heart and mind and body could be strong enough to beat it.

I want a mom. I want a dad. I want a legal family. But a legal family is not my thing. A legal family, in my case because it is not an option to have my real mom a part of my life) gives the stipulation that there is one mom and one dad (after  adoption) and that you can mourn your first family but that you cannot have your first family. Legal family means being held to an expectation that you are like them somehow. Legal family means calling someone mom and dad and brother/sister. It means learning to conform to new rules and a whole new life style.  These are things I’ve done 3 too many times. These are things I cannot do without compromising the love I have for my mom, because in this moment, my heart doesn’t know how to love like that. I don’t quite understand how to love my mom and love another mom and dad too, yet.

I have a family where I am and even though it’s not perfect, I don’t fight so hard to keep them out. I’ve learned to slowly open my heart and to let them in to see the deep, deep hurt. This family believes in me like no other family has believed in me and each day, I’m learning to allow that. I’m learning to accept their help in whatever form they give it to me and it’s hard. Family is hard. Learning to communicate and react appropriately, to love and to love unconditionally is hard. Learning to respect each members physical, mental, and emotional needs is hard. I’m learning slowly to give my past to my family…to let them help me carry my baggage so that it’s not so heavy…and it’s hard.  We struggle. Sometimes I get so angry at them I wish them away forever–and then I fear they will leave. Sometimes they become so confused and frustrated with me that they yell at me or take a break from me. We fight, more than I’d like to admit, but most of the time we are okay…because I don’t have to call them mom or dad, brother or sister. I don’t have to like sports or go to church. I am free to be who I need to be with the only expectation being that I am: respectful of others, honest, and doing my best. They have taught me what unconditional love is and that love never fails.

In this moment, I would say no to an offer of adoption…even if it was from any of the people in my “family”…because I know that once the idea that I have a MOM hits, the trouble will hit. I would say no because I have a family. I have people around me who love me and who believe in me. I am adopted–both legally and undocumented…

 

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What Love Means

A few years ago, when I lived with my adoptive parents still, Zheila asked me what I thought love meant and what it meant to have a mom/what a moms role is. Wanting so desperately to have these things, I thought I knew exactly what it meant, yet I came short of an answer. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I didn’t know but that it wasn’t what I was getting/ what was happening. Two years later I can confidently answer her question and this is how:

Love is unconditional. It doesn’t judge for the little mistakes I make. Love doesn’t look at me as a diseased child. It doesn’t try to mold me into something that I wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t care that I was abused for 3/4 of my life. Love see’s that I am trying my very best and accepts that. It is accepting and kind and walks with me on my journey. Love doesn’t expect anything in return. It picks me up when I’m in my darkest moment and helps me build stairs from the bottom of my well. It offers to sit with me on the bathroom floor as I injure myself just to feel something, even though it’s hard and then follows through. Love wraps me in its arm when I feel the most unloveable. It doesn’t expect me to be my age. And though I don’t have experience with an actual mom,  I finally know what it would feel like to have one. They are not my mom, but Bailey, Becca, and Grace (my therapist) encompass me in love every day and show me what I never had. They make sure that I am okay. They make sure that I am safe. Every day Bailey tells me good morning and goodnight. She reminds me that though I’m a broken, I am not shattered. She makes sure that I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge and offers kind words of encouragement towards my success. She makes sure to tell me often that I am loved and that I am a good person. She will pull me into her arms and rock me like an infant if I am unable to cope with the world and just need help. Becca sets me on a path of logical consciousness, helping me to survive every day at school. She too allows me to be broken and still feel loved. She doesn’t talk to me daily, but when she does she never forgets to let me know that I’m loved. Like Bailey, she offers me one of the greatest gifts–the gift of a friend (their daughters) who is much like myself. She will wrap me in a hug as I stomp my feet and cry. When I’m struggling in school, she sits down with me and walks me through and helps me to process what is going on.  Grace also checks in on me every day. She makes sure I have taken my pill for bed, that I’ve survived a day, and that I’ve completed everything needed. She offers me a deeper therapeutic relationship than the average therapist which allows me to have someone to connect with when my main support is  unable. She laughs with me and holds me when I cry. She holds many of my darkest secrets and keeps them safe while letting me know that she still believes I’m an ok kid. Like the other two, she offers me someone who thinks much like I do. She understands me at such a deep and emotional level that is both terrifying and satisfying, as do the other two. Each of these ladies offers me a love that is pure and kind. They give me a love that’s intentional and unconditional.  Each of these women have shown me in a multitude of ways that no matter how broken I am, no matter how many mistakes I make, they will always love me. They all three make sure that I have a roof over my head and that I’m eating. They sit with me in my darkest time and let me regress as far as I need to in order to heal. They wrap me in their arms when I’ve had a bad day.

Though these women, combined, offer what a mom is supposed to offer (unconditional love and support) it isn’t always easy. There are hard things about love and about having/being a mom. We struggle sometimes. I reject their love and after a while rejection is just plain hard and exhausting. I fight them tooth and nail when they try to help me understand that I am lovable and that I am worthy of love. Most times they fight right back. They fight my brain with me…but sometimes they lose it. Sometimes they yell. Sometimes one of them even screams. They take a step back and recoup and it’s hard! I don’t like it. But this is love and this is relationship.

These ladies aren’t my mom and never will be…but they have given me a sense of family and worthiness that I have lacked my entire life. They have given me relationship without stipulation. They have given me relationship without hurt (though I’m not going to lie, quite often relationship is pretty painful anyway, in a struggle kind of way.)

This is what I want my adoptive mom to know now. These are the things I would tell her if she asked me what love was and what it meant to be/have a mom. These are the things moms are supposed to do and this is what love looks like. I know she wouldn’t agree and that’s okay because for now, my “mom” fill is complete. I don’t need a mom and I don’t want a mom. I have love and I have three wonderful women and 3 of the most amazing friends who support me in all that I do. I’m surrounded in pure and unconditional love and trust and it feels right for me. It feels like what I need and for now, it feels like enough. Love is patient, but more importantly love is forgiving.

“Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you…”

 

Because we’re human…

Because we are all human, we all make mistakes. We all hold on to our anger a moment too long, our tears a drop to many, and our fears a bit too far. But what happens when these mistakes step into the middle of a relationship and threaten everything you have worked for? Everything that you had going? Do you keep going?

I’ve waited a long while to write this post in hopes that my feelings would subside, but alas they have not and so I must write. As a young adult with a trauma history things get pretty confusing. I come from a world that made complete sense to me but that didn’t make sense to others. My world was okay. It was predictable in the most unpredictable ways. I didn’t have to worry about hurting others or making them sad. I didn’t have to watch what I said because I knew what I couldn’t say. I knew the ropes like I know the back of my hand. My world was simple in the most complicated of ways. It was comfortable in the most uncomfortable ways. But it was my world. It was what I knew. It was what I loved. That world was crazy and abusive, but it all made sense. I now live in a world, and have for the last 2 years, that makes no sense at all. The world before, the one that no one but those who were inside it understood, felt normal and the rest of the world seemed crazy. And now that I’m standing on the outside–the real normal side–I feel like I’m in a world that everyone else understands and I’m stuck at the window trying to rub it clean so I can see through. Since being a part of this “normal” world my eyes have been open to a lot of new things. My heart has learned a few lessons, one being: we are all human and we do make mistakes regardless of how perfect we try to be, or want to be. We fall and we shame ourselves for that fall. Sometimes because of the shame we try to place blame on others to lessen our pain or to reduce our failure. We deny that we regressed and try to move on with our lives as though nothing ever happened but deep in the back of our minds that secret begins to rot and create turmoil that keeps evolving until it’s faced. We begin to focus more on the bad things happening in life and the good things gradually start to fade. We place unrealistic expectations on to each other and get scared or angry when those expectations are not met. We overreact when something is out of line or not up to our standard.  It’s a cycle, and it’s detrimental in this “real”, “normal” world…yet we each struggle with it at some level.

Two years ago I believed that Bailey was this perfect person. That she never lost her cool and that she followed everything she preached to a T. Two years ago I also believed this about Becca. I didn’t know them, only by phone. As the past two years have gone by I have learned that they too are human, that they mess up. And it’s really hard for me to forgive them when they do. It’s hard for me to put my hurt feelings and expectations aside and realize that it’s okay that they aren’t perfect. It’s really hard and I know, sometimes, it is really hard for them to put their hurt feelings aside as well.

For a while now, things have gone fairly well. Aside from the small frustrations there haven’t been any large meltdowns from either party (between Bailey and I…but I’ve had a few with Becca), until last week. I don’t want to go into detail as I want to keep things pretty simple here but I melted down due to some major confusion about my standings in Bailey’s family. I failed to communicate with Bailey the night before about my confusion and the longer I held on to it, out of fear of her reaction, the more it grew. I knew the morning of the meltdown that I couldn’t hold it in any longer but was intentional on when I would let it out. I asked Bailey to come in and let me know they were leaving when they were leaving. She did. I waited a few minutes until I was sure they were gone and I just let it out. To my dismay, they hadn’t left. Bailey walked back into her room (which is where I was staying as my room was being used for guests) and in attempt to not let her see me melting down I ran to the bathroom and locked it. She told me to unlock it and out of fear I wouldn’t. This is where it escalated and she became human. We both lost it. No one was hurt and nothing damaged but in the end I was kicked out, again. Since that day, Bailey hasn’t communicated with me more than a goodnight and good morning text each day.

There’s a lot of blame going on about this meltdown. A lot of he-said-she-said, I-did-this-but-she-didn’t-do-this business that is being caused by not having the proper communication days ago. Things that are both frustrating and hurtful have been said via communication to a third-party. And this meltdown is carrying on into something bigger than it ever was. This is where my two worlds collide. This is where I feel the comfort in the Crazytown world because this is what happened in Crazytown, and this is where I find the confusion in the “real”, “normal” world because the degree to which all of this has/is unfolded(ing) is not a degree of Normalcy in the “real”,”normal” world.

This is where I have to remember that Bailey is human. I have to remember that Becca is human. I have to remember that we are all human; we all have feelings and our own hoops to jump through before we can reconnect or start over. But it’s hard. My feelings are still very raw towards the situation and I hold a lot of frustration towards Bailey right now. Some of the things she said to me in the heat of the moment are still circling in my head, causing me to doubt my progress and her acceptance of me, as a whole. And even though I know that we will move through this and soon it will be over, it doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make me any less human…allowing myself too much anger or too many tears over hurt feelings…and it doesn’t make allowing her to be human any easier either.

A letter to myself

To the voices inside my head,

Sometimes I wonder if you’ll ever go away; sometimes I fear that you’ll go away. You’ve been with me for as long as I can remember and the thought of losing you sends me into a frenzy.

People would argue that because of you, I’m schizophrenic…but they don’t understand. They don’t listen. They don’t understand that mom was schiz and that the difference is large..that hers can go away, mine do not because mine protect. Instead they try to drug me up and force you out… These are the types of people you caution me from. The people who have degrees and are too quick to medicate and too slow to listen…but then scratch their head in confusion when I tell them that the meds didn’t work. Together we walk out and I wonder if they will ever understand. Will they ever listen?

Not only have you protected me from the professionals, but death as well. You taught me how to survive in this world. You told me how  to handle people beating me. You took all of that in and have used it to prevent the same thing happening again. When I was little and taking care of my siblings, you taught me to love them but to not let them love me because somehow you knew that one day we wouldn’t be together. You knew that one day, things would fall apart and your job would increase…and to prevent them from loving me meant making your job less painful.

For each girl you have instilled in her the ability to seek out the good and turn heads at the bad. Some choose differently, but you taught them that good is possible. You encouraged each, within their own ability, to survive if one failed at protecting me. You joined them in a team with you to keep me safe, no matter what the circumstance may be/have been. You didn’t realize that in teaching the girls to seek the good, you would put your job in jeopardy of being taken.

You’ve taught me to be weary of compliment. To watch my back in every step I take, because this world can be a dangerous place. You still do your best to protect me…to keep me from possible heartache…by telling me things that make me believe that I am not able to be inside a relationship safely.

To protect me, you, and the girls, you have created a habit of asking, or demanding, that I hurt the people closest to me–sometimes physically–before they can hurt me. You remind me of the things my parents told me as a young child in attempt to make me realize that people can be cruel and that not everyone see’s the value in each other. And in each attempt you make to protect me, I fight. I refuse to listen. I try to shut you out so that I can’t hear you, so that I don’t have to fight the desire already planted inside of me to walk away. When you tell me to hurt someone, I tell you to shut up that you’re not needed. When you tell me I’m worthless I let it sink in and take it to heart that I really am worthless, that no one wants me, and that I’m good for nothing–but I’m not sure those are the messages you are trying to get out…because for so long, you taught me how to live, to survive, in a world that I didn’t belong.

I never used to fight you. I used to trust that you knew what was best for me. I lost sight of that. In the last 3 years, you and I have been on odd terms. It’s been a very love hate relationship. You’ve worked your hardest, cautioning me to be weary of what I walk into, and I’ve gone against all of it trying to shut you out. Now that I finally have people who love me the way you taught me to love my siblings, you are scared. You don’t want to go away, nor do I want you to, and you feel as though Bailey and Becca are taking your place. You feel as though they are replacing you in the ability to keep me safe and take care of me and that I’m allowing to let that happen. You are right, I have fought to let that happen…and I’m sorry.

For so many years I’ve wanted someone, in the flesh and blood, to have my best interest in their hearts and to fight for it no matter the trouble it caused them. When we sought and found Bailey and Becca, I finally felt like this dream was going to become a reality. But it’s not. NO ONE can protect me in the ways that you have. They love me, yes. They protect me. They make sure that I’m okay and that I am safe. They do all that you do, they just do it differently. They do it in unison with you. Trust ME when I say that neither of them want to take your place. They want to work with you, with me, and with the girls to create safety and peace in my life…but I’ve not allowed that because in fighting you, I fight them. I fight everyone and leave myself utterly alone. In fighting your warnings, I tell myself that you are wrong that you no longer have my best interest in mind but rather you just want to hurt everyone that is close to me. Thanks for protecting me in that way.

I thank you for the work that you do now, that you care enough to want to keep me safe. After tonight’s battle with Bailey, I agree, love is scary. It’s uncomfortable at times too…but it’s okay. It’s the working passed the rough spots like tonight that really matter…and in working together, you and I, I think that this rough patch can end.  For so long, you’ve kept me safe. You’ve protected me from life..and now I ask, Can we change the approach we take in protecting ourself a bit? Can we take away the blood and gore? Lets work together to learn what this life, without hate, can be. Me, you,the girls, Bailey, Becca, and Leslie… lets all work together. I promise you that I will not allow them to take your place. You will always have a place in me. You will always be my protector….but there’s a saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”..lets create our village with the people here that we know are safe and move forward. I’m sure together we will go far and for the both of us, I think it will be nice to not fight so much. Thank you again for helping me through the past 22 years. You’ve done an amazing job.

PS: I’m glad you’re trauma related voices, not schizophrenic voices.

Processing Trauma

Before I start anything…I wanted to thank Nancy, over at Ordinary Miracles, for having me guest post. It was quite the experience!  I had planned to write about a dream I had but saved it for this blog…because it’s really more personal than what I did write.

Sometimes, I do wish that my brain worked in a different way…a more typical way. I am able to use so many of my past experiences as a driving force for my future, but there are times that those same past experiences get in the way of my daily life. Last week was one of those weeks. These next few months hold key to a lot of trauma and my body holds like a ticking time bomb. I never know when something is going to come up…but last Monday/Tuesday I struck gold. I had one of the most horrifying dreams I have ever had (and I have them almost nightly)… Here’s a short bit, just to give you an idea:

A few days prior, there had been a small bombing but the police had yet to catch the culprit. The town decided to carry on as usual and went about their daily doings. So, a few nights after the bombing, Bailey, Becca and I decided to go to a community event where there were candles and people and we were just going to meditate/talk. I was sitting on one side of the circle and Bailey and Becca on the other. We had both electrical and regular candles and all of a sudden all the electrical ones went out…I, out of fear, ran to Bailey and sat on her lap. Only a few seconds later the rest of the candles blew out and everyone started to get a little tense. I started panicking, clinging to Bailey and screaming out for her—as if she were my mom—and crying. A few seconds later and a bomb went off, completely exploding everyone including Becca and badly injuring Bailey.  I went to Bailey and clung to her when a second bomb went off and she exploded…with me holding her.

I woke up crying. I rarely wake up crying. I have come so accustomed to bad dreams that I still toss and turn and freak out in my sleep…but I don’t wake up doing it. I woke up and EVERYTHING around me was as it was in the dream. Exploded body parts everywhere. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I no longer sleep in Bailey’s room so I couldn’t just roll over and wake her. I wasn’t sure if either Bailey or Becca was okay. So, I did the logical thing and went and lay by Bailey’s door until she woke up and then curled into her arms, sobbing when she did..later crawling into her lap and crying again…and I texted Becca. They were both fine.

This is how my brain process things of today…current events. It takes the traumas of my past and combines them with whatever trauma the world is having.  It took my massive fear of both Becca and Bailey leaving and combined it with the Boston bombing; and for each traumatic event that has plastered the news, I have had a dream relevant including the people who are closest to me.

The hardest part about my brain processing this way is that it feels SO real, and when I wake up my world stays the same as in my dreams. Another hard part is that to those who don’t know me or understand me, they see me as a person with no feelings because I don’t process what has happened right then. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months.  And so when things like the Twin Towers, Virginia Tech, Aurora Shootings, or the Boston Bombing happened, I seemed so desensitized that those that can’t understand me I am made out to be an unemotional, manipulative, insensitive, uncaring person. These are people like my adoptive parents, my foster parents, and the therapists that have all dx’d me with alphabet soup–the people who are unwilling to recognize that it just takes time for my body and brain to process things. Sometimes it’s just taking that time to notice that when I’m not sleeping, I’m not sleeping because processing these things is just too scary and there was never anyone there to let me know things were still okay. But that it doesn’t make me an insensitive nor uncaring person. We are all on our own journey and we all process our journeys separately…and no ones journey should hold them liable of being insensitive because they don’t process in the present time.

Silly Stress Sunday(s) #1

Okay, as promised, I’m going to post some funny (or what I think is funny) things that I, or the people in my life, have done in the past week (this week I’ll go back further, just to do a catch up) due to stress… Stress makes you stupid, and in my case the stupid is a soft blanket to land on during my overwhelmed/stressful times, because I have learned to laugh at it–most of the time.

  • A little back story: We have a friend here for the weekend who was adopted from Romania. He’s super sweet and funny and I have to say I’ve never been so okay having a new guest, especially guy guest, over. He fits right in with Zhanna and I…I think Bailey has wondered what got herself into a few times! 😀

So, Friday I had to present one of m finals for school as well as speak at an adoption conference in the afternoon. I hadn’t had more than 3 hours of sleep in more than 72 hours..and I was extremely overwhelmed and filled with anxiety. On the way home, Bailey, Zhanna, Constantin, and I were talking and all of the sudden I just kinda asked, “what language do Romanians speak?”

Zhanna, Constantin, and I were playing a new game on the wii. The game required us to collect these sock things, as a gnome. Not going to lie, it was fun…we laughed for like an hour and a half straight. Anyway the game was kind of hard and if you didn’t time it right, the gnome would die and make funny sounds… I just blurted, “When people die, does it really sound like this? Because if so, that’s kinda creepy” (had to be there moment.)

  • Change of topics. Now we’re headed to therapy land. My therapist rocks..just saying. She’s the first therapist I’ve EVER had that actually understands me and WANTS to understand me. Typically we play…but one day we decided to draw. While we were drawing, Leslie asked me a ton of hard questions about my mom and all of the yucky stuff that happened. They were super personal but my mind was so occupied on the drawing that I didn’t realize that I was actually talking about and she kept asking…

After therapy, Bailey always asks how it went. Usually I give the same answer, because usually it’s the same–it goes well and is “fun” but emotional. This particular day we had talked about a LOT of deep deep stuff so I was shut down. When Bailey asked how it was my response was, “Leslie asks a LOT of questions.”

Another week, I brought in Mr. Slammy (medicine ball used to get anger out) and we were using it as part of our play. I drew a face on it and said that it was Zheila. The ball is fat and Leslie started slamming it. She was like, “this is my dad and his big fat head. *instert another slam* This is carrie and her big fat head*Instert another slam* and this…” and as she was slamming, I just kinda blurted out, “Maybe all mean people are fat heads?”

  • Last for the night because I’m exhausted. My speech gets all wacky and I can’t talk straight when I get stressed or overwhelmed and shut down. 

The other night Bailey was getting ready for bed and when I was trying to talk to her I asked, “Are you going to teeth your brush?” (yes, happens often)

While giving my talk at the adoption conference this week, I was talking about Crazy town vs Normal town thinking (irrational/rational)… I didn’t know how to explain Crazy town thinking in a way that wouldn’t sound mean towards my bio/adoptive families so I just left it at telling them that it’s irrational vs rational. Later on in the talk, though, someone asked about caseworkers. My response was telling them to care…and then I gave the story about my first foster home and the stupid worker I had. When I told them that she told me to be thankful for living with a spanish family they all started laughing…and out of nowhere, I just blurted, “You DO get crazy town”

Okay…that’s enough for tonight. I’m exhausted. I wish that I could remember more right now, because they happen on a daily basis, but I’ve only slept like 8-9 hours in the last 4 days. So, goodnight y’all! Look for this again next week…hopefully! 🙂

A “Has-Been” and “Once-Was”

Well..I see that I didn’t exactly stick to my, “keepin it real–silly style” plan! HEHE, oops, sorry about that! But really, I will start one, it’s just a matter of time. School ends this week, for the summer, and I am bound to have loads of time on my hands to actually write down the moments in which stress debilitates my brain!

Okay, but really…time to get to the nitty-gritty. I’ve had something on my mind for a little while that’s been kind of bugging me. Well a few things, but this in particular has really stuck to its guns and made a home in my head. In 2 days I will be speaking at a conference directed mainly towards adoptive parents and professionals, and again next week. I applied a few months ago and was asked if I would be one of the closing speakers. I was really excited to finally have the opportunity to discuss adoption with adoptive parents because I feel like many adoptive parents, and professionals especially, could greatly benefit from talking with and getting advice from adoptees.But the closer it gets, the less excited I am. Instead…I’m starting to dread it. I’m not ready. I’m not equipped. My mind takes off in a million directions and reminds me of all the reasons I really shouldn’t do this:  I’m not even an adoptee. I’m a “has-been”, a “once was”. My final adoption didn’t work out, and neither did any of the ones before it. So, how can I go to this conference and speak for adoptees if I am merely a “once-was”? How can I portray and speak the voice of the many adopted children, world-wide, if I am no longer one of them? Does this equate to a person who overcame cancer, speaking in behalf of all those fighting against it? Do I have that privilege? because the truth is, my battle was lost. I didn’t win the battle of becoming a part of a family. Doesn’t that make me an impostor, posing for those who really need a voice? Do I tell them straight forward that all of my adoptions failed? That I was not wanted enough to be fought for? Do I inform them that the possibilities of their children being like me are not slim, and that they shouldn’t give up? How do I explain to them the things that I want them to know and still be completely honest with who I am and where I am coming from because The truth is…my adoptions sucked. I’m not going to lie, I was, and still am, a pretty difficult person. I like things my way and at my pace and I regress often, but am more than willing to learn your ways too. I am funny and intelligent, but I have the attitude of spitting bull. I was full of anger and hate for the things that haunted me and the little support and understanding I was getting…and my adoptives couldn’t help me through that nor handle where I was coming from.  I, as a whole, was completely outside their scope of parenting abilities and so they gave up. They sent me away and told me to never come back. So what do I tell those parents who are coming to this conference for advice and learning material on their children? Do I discuss with them the things that are working now? The things that Becca and Bailey have provided me with in fighting for me, even though they are not my family? Because those are the things that have helped. Those are the things that would have provided the families I had with the connection we were all seeking. Do I allow them into my world? Into the world of a “has-been”, a “once-was”…and show them what real love, unconditional love can do for their children? Because I don’t want to go in as an impostor, filling their minds with the voice of their children…only to be known as a “once-was”.

Dreamland VS Reality

According to Yahoo news, because of the position I sleep in, I am a rigid worrier. ‘Tis true, I am. To be fair, I don’t sleep much anyways, but the rigid worrier is true.  Sleeping has never been my thing. I have gone days with no sleep and during my high stress periods over a week with less than 4-5 hours of sleep. In an average night, I usually get about 1-4 hours interrupted. When I do sleep, I dream…and often times it’s not a happy, merry dream. The majority of my dreams are repeats of things that have happened in the past, mostly sexual abuse, and at times have entered past abuse into the present. In addition to the already traumatic dreams, I dream vividly. It’s as if my dreams are my reality. So many times I have woken up and not been able to tell the difference between what I have dreamt and what is real. Sometimes I get dreams that don’t add up, dreams that don’t focus on the past but are still extremely real and extremely terrifying. Last night was one of those nights.

I dreamt that Unakite was no longer in prison and he and my mom were together again. I was still living with Basil and Zheaila but we lived in Utah. Becca, Bailey, and Zhanna came to visit and everyone except for Basil decided to go camping at my aunt and uncles cabin. Zheaila, in an attempt to connect with me and help me see that she cares, invited my mom and Unakite to come to the cabin. Once at the cabin, we decided to go to the lake. My cousins Fei and Livi, Jesliegh, Zhanna and I went on the boat and while tubing my mom and Zheaila started to argue. Because my Uncle Gavin was driving and there were no men, besides Unakite, on the shore to keep the argument under control, we were forced to go back. Once back on shore we decided it best to go home to the cabin and just chill. When we were getting ready to leave my mom told me that I needed to decide who I wanted to ride with–her or Zheaila–and I needed to decide at that very moment. I, out of fear, chose to ride with my mom. During the drive Unakite started to touch me. Soon the touching turned into groping, then kissing, and before I could get out he was on top of me, hurting me while my mom happily, without care, drove. When we got back to the cabin I got out of the car, opted to take a shower last, walked to the back porch and sat. Knowing this was an odd behavior for me, my Aunt Eliza came to talk to me but I couldn’t tell her. I shut myself down and everything in the world around me disappeared. I could hear her talking to me, the panic in her voice echoing with a quick rise, and then I could hear her calling Gavin, Bailey, Becca, and Zheaila in fear that someone else was going to get hurt. I kept trying to make out what they were saying but it was coming in mumbled, and then I saw it… Gavin had sat down with Unakite and was calmly speaking with him, my mom sitting 4-or-so feet away, and everyone else scattering to entertain the children, in an attempt to distract them from the happening chaos. As soon as Unakite could see that the children were in a different room, he got up and started running. Gavin stood up and with one pull of the trigger, shot him. He laid there, face down, with blood gushing all around him. My brain started spinning even more and my mom started screaming. Gavin calmly picked Unakite up, put him in the back of the jeep, and drove him to the hospital. Within minutes, everyone went back to what they were doing before there was any question of me being abused. Eliza, Bailey, Becca, and Zheaila sat chatting in the living room, Zheaila went back to playing with Livi and Fei, and I sat. Jesliegh was the only one who didn’t return to her prior activity, instead she sat still in another room. She, like I, sat wondering what happened and why everyone was acting as if all was right in the world. And then it hit me. I stood up, I stumbled into the room where all the adults and Jesliegh were and asked Jesliegh to drive me to the hospital. Knowing she couldn’t drive, as she is only 12, everyone just stared at me. In desperation, I asked again. Jesliegh walked up to me, grabbed my waste and started sobbing. I stood there, numb and emotionless, and asked one more time for her to drive me to the hospital. After the third time of asking, Bailey and Becca stood in unison and offered to take me. Zheaila and my mom started to get upset again, arguing that it is their job, as I am their daughter. My Aunt Eliza took Zheaila and my mom into the other room to calm them and ushered for Becca and Bailey to take Jesliegh and I to the hospital. Once at the hospital I found Gavin and anger took over me. I freaked out and started hitting him and screaming.  Then I turned to Becca and Bailey and started lashing at them. I lashed at the three of them for what seemed like forever because though my brain was telling me that FINALLY someone protected me, that these people helped me, I was furious that they had hurt Unakite. After I had settled, Jesliegh and I walked into Unakite’s room where he was finally stabilized and awake. Jesliegh standing beside me, her hand in mine, started sobbing again. I took the oxygen cord and started to kink it, in attempt to cut off his supply and kill him, when he muttered, “if I die, the ones you love die. If the secret spills, you will die. You are mine, tell anyone and you will die.” I panicked and in seconds was wrapped in the arms of Bailey and Becca, sobbing. Gavin picked up Jesliegh, closed the door to Unakites room, and we all went back to the jeep. When we got back to the cabin, everyone but my mom was dead. She had killed everyone. Gavin took his gun and shot my mom. Bailey, Becca, Gavin, Jesliegh and I stood looking around at a pool of bloody, dead bodies.

I woke up after that, panicked. Looking around my room, I could see the bodies of those I loved. My entire environment had shifted from what was reality, into what my dream had been.I shook the depth of it off…but the feeling stuck. My day was backwards. I was more shut down,  mean, clingy, demanding, and dysregulated than I have been in weeks. Days when I have dreams like this, or dreams that are repetitive of the past, I often have meltdowns and other behavioral issues. It’s hard for me to know that I’m having those issues though, because my body is still trapped in the vividness of dreamland.  I wish that I could capture the depth and vividness of my dreams and put them here, but I can’t…they are too real and too raw.

This is my process

Courage is doing something that scares the crap out of you, and doing it with conviction, determination, and will power.

I don’t know if I will ever fully understand the things that have happened in the last 24 hours. I understand Bailey’s side, but I struggle with it. Easter was a very difficult day for me, for multiple reasons. This holiday has always been my hardest and this year my past trauma really reared its ugly head. Saturday was a good day. I mean relatively, but it was. We had a great day. Bailey had a bout of irritation, but we both pulled out of it beautifully. Before bed we re-connected and had a very deep conversation. Instead of getting angry, I cried. I have had to learn to do this. I went to bed just fine, however, when I woke up I was completely off. I had a really bad night terror and woke up still in it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel so helpless and out of control. Flashbacks in the middle of the day–no problem. Waking up in a flashback–horrible. I was in a “sulky” mood all day. I didn’t ask for help and I couldn’t pull myself out of flashback mode. Bailey told Zhanna and I that she was going out with friends later that evening…the flashback got worse. It’s like the whole world changed. All of the sudden I was in my moms kitchen watching her leave. She was promising me that she would be back even though she wouldn’t be. It was like Bailey and Zhanna were invisible and my surroundings were that of my childhood. I was little and powerless in my mind’s eye. Later, we started coloring Easter eggs and a lot of old Easter memories drowned me and then Zhanna and Bailey were leaving for a while. Once again I was watching my mom leave. When Bailey said goodbye and went to give me a hug I just stared into space, blankly. I didn’t want to see my mom leave again and not come back for days. When Bailey came home things spiraled. Not because of her, because of me allowing my past to control me and refusing to ask for help. She tried being loving, but I couldn’t allow it into my heart. I got upset and repeatedly slammed the door. Again, I’d turned into a much younger Ruby and Bailey turned into my mom, literally. I didn’t see Bailey, I saw my mom. I was terrified. All of the bad people surrounded me and just kept multiplying. I wanted them to go away. The last time I slammed the door Bailey insisted I go to the punching bag to let go off my anger; I refused. Little to her acknowledgment I didn’t know where I was and who she was in reality, all I could see was my mom yelling at me. I don’t remember much of what Bailey said but I know that she tried multiple times to redirect me. I got so mad, so scared, that I kicked a hole in the wall. Mind you this was after throwing my phone, laundry soap, slamming doors, and screaming at the top of my lungs that I hated the women I was staring at. Bailey, but in my minds eye, my mom. Because of my violence Bailey kicked me out. I collapsed. My whole world shattered. I felt like I was losing everything, again. I don’t know the feelings I was feeling but I hated it and still, feeling it now, am not a fan. I can’t explain it because the only emotion I have successfully been able to pin point are anger, sad, scared, and occasionally joy. But this feeling is not like any of those that I’ve been able to identify. I do know that I am sad and I am scared. I also know that this is the way my process is supposed to be. This is just the universes way of letting a stubborn girl know that it’s time to get her butt in gear and heal herself. As hard as this is, I know it’s true. I wasn’t allowing myself to heal very quickly. I was taking it slowly for sanity sake. I know focusing solely on healing cannot happen because I am an adult and I do have to support and take care of myself. So, instead I was giving each task only a certain amount of energy. I know focusing solely on healing takes more energy than I have as long as I have multiple other things to do as well. I was keeping my process at a pace that I knew that I could handle mostly on my own. I wanted the minimum amount of help. I still allowed, and most of the time desired, Bailey’s help in regulating myself. {IE: rocking, hugs, talking to the youngest me, and supporting all the other little girlies} I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, but I also didn’t want to ask for help. That wasn’t my life plan. I came into this world knowing that eventually this is the push that I would need. But, it’s hard. This kick out has been one of the hardest kick out’s I’ve ever experienced. Why? Because I know that it’s not forever. Bailey is not ditching me, she’s not leaving me, and she’s not giving up on me. She is simply creating a small space to allow safety. She is teaching me that I can be safe no matter where I am. it’s hard because I have the most amazing best friend who is not giving up either. I don’t have the excuse to not get better. Before, I did. Every other family led me to where I am, allowing me to have this excuse. None of them loved me unconditionally. None of them were willing to stick through the muck. None of them have faith that I can, and will, get better. I didn’t feel near as good with them as I do when I’m with Zhanna and Bailey. I have so much to live for, so much going for me. I have so many people supporting and cheering me on. I have a job. I have a house. But most of all, I have a “family” who loves me and wants me to get better for me, not them. I have healed so much in the last eight months. I know what being happy feels like and that is what I am striving for. This separation isn’t forever. Bailey and Zhanna still visit and we talk and text. We both know that safety is important and that is why this must happen. It wont last forever because neither of us want that. We want things to be our “normal” again. What I will gain from this separation: 2 homes, safety for myself and others, more love than my little heart will know what to do with, and a whole lot less anger. Now, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of this two hours ago. For the past 24 hours I have been in a place darker than any I have been in for a very long time. I was ready to give up on life. I didn’t want to be alive. Honestly, this healing business is hard and I couldn’t see any light in the darkness. I couldn’t see anything good in what had happened. I’ve had to sit in an unknown feeling and let my heart talk to me, something I literally never allow to happen. I had to reach out to multiple people for help when normally I’d just deal with it on my own. It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. But above all, it’s satisfying to be able to see a light in something so hard. I also know that I won’t always be able to see what my heart see’s. I know there will be moments when my courage is hiding under a rock and my illogical brain will be the one antagonizing and beating on it, ensuring it doesn’t peek out. But, I won’t stay there because there is hope. I have hope that I will make it. I know that I will make it. I have hope that my future will be brilliant and wonderful and I won’t be trapped in anger and bitterness forever. I have come this far on hope…There’s no reason to stop now.

When Life Was Easy

Sometimes I truly HATE my life! I feel like giving up because NOTHING I’m fighting for is worth the fight. I get so exhausted and worn down that I don’t know what to do. I’m so tired of working so hard and not getting anywhere and/or losing progress. I hate that it’s one thing after another, always. I hate when people ask if you’re okay and clearly you are not, but you have to fake a smile and say yes just to appease them. Right now I feel like life is harder than it ever was living with my bio family. Life then was simple: stay out of mom and dads way, don’t fight the abuse, and don’t get into trouble. Of course that led to major survival instincts…but still, it was easier! A few posts back I posted about losing my job. Well, today was my last day! Not only was it my last day but Bailey was gone, Zhanna was “busy” and everyone else was busy too…so that left me alone to deal with everything. I have to say, I’ve not hated Bailey more in a really long time. This sounds selfish and I know it does but right now, in this moment, I HATE her. I feel so much animosity and anger towards her. I don’t mind that she was gone, I’m used to that. But she didn’t even connect with me today! Typically we connect in the morning, evening and then at bed time. Not today. There was no connection. She’s on vacation so really she shouldn’t have to, but she knows that this was going to be a really hard day and still she didn’t care. She didn’t connect yesterday, today and we will connect again tomorrow night when I pick her up from the bus stop. Honestly, I don’t want to. I don’t want to talk to her, because I know that I’m going to say or do something that I’ll regret later. I know that she has a right to her social life, and I’m all for it, but I am unjustifiably angry. I am in my “negative thinking” cycle…and I’m trying so hard not to be. I can’t help but to think that she didn’t connect because she didn’t want me to damper her day. It wouldn’t be the first time. She keeps telling me to just accept life instead of fight it…but I can’t. Accepting life means that I fail. Accepting life means that I settle and I am NOT willing to settle. The other night I was talking to her about the new job I got, I will work at a residential retirement home, and I could hear the underlying annoyance. I KNOW why I don’t want to work there. I’m tired of taking care of everyone else, I’ve been doing it my whole life. I’m tired. I’m worn down. I’m not sure what it’s going to be like when I pick her up tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be fine. She’ll probably go on like nothing ever happened and life is just peaches and cream, because for her it is. I’ll probably throw a smile on my face and welcome  her home, happily. I’m at the point I just want to throw in the towel. I’m ready to just give up. I see so well why my mom chose the life she did. It’s easy. You don’t remember half of it because you’re either drunk or wasted. What a life, huh?