Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I've been reading through Betty Jean Lifton's Journey of the Adopted Self, and I hit upon a passage that really hit me hard. She is quoting an adoptee who struggled through reunion:

"I'm not controlled by adoption stuff anymore - I have it under control. We're always going to have scars, but some adoptees and birth mothers don't let go. They get stuck in adoption issues and keep repeating the same stories. It takes work to free oneself."

This hit me, in large part, because I worry that I am one of the adoptees she's talking about here.

Am I stuck? I've been dealing with these issues for 30+ years. I feel like I'm wallowing in my adoption issues. I need to let them go and move on.

But how does one do that? There is real pain here. I can't just ignore that. So what do I do to move on? How does one stop being bothered by this? I don't think adoption is my whole life (though it's become a larger part of it since reunion). But I can't imagine what it would mean to be oaky with adoption.

Or is that not what this adoptee, quoted by Lifton, means? I don't know. I do know that I don't talk much about adoption, except with other adoptees, because I feel like I'm wallowing in this pain. I don't want to be annoying, so I keep it to myself. I haven't been journaling nor posting here much.

Part of me acknowledges that dealing with, and accepting pain is important to leading a healthy mature life. But I don't know what to do about this situation. When the pain seems so ingrained in the situation, letting go just seems to feel like burying and ignoring it.

I guess I am one of those adoptees. And I don't like it. And I don't know what to do about it.


Mark said...

Hi Phil...

Am an adoptee too; 52 and "in reunion" myself. I see two things in the comment you quote, one, some "don't let go" and two, some "get stuck". These aren't really the same thing.

My car gets stuck but then I hold on to it in order to get it out. I don't let go. If I did, I'd lose the car.

Sometimes holding on is good; and getting stuck is a fact of life. If that isn't too remote an analogy for you I hope it helps. Being adopted is a fact at the base of our existence on this earth. It isn't erased or forgettable. I'm not letting it go.

phil said...

Thanks, Mark... That does help some...