Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Tribe

I've been devouring the new edition of Betty Jean Lifton's Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience since getting it for my birthday. I could probably post whole chapters that speak to me, but I have no interest in violating copyright laws.

Still, something grabbed me today, and I need to post it.

Call them what you will - a pseudo-species, survivors, exceptions - adopted adults insist they feel outside the mainstream of human existence. Instead of asking "Who am I?" they ask "Who are we?" Speaking an emotional shorthand, they compare common traits in their adoptive parents as if they had emerged from a communal womb. They sound like brothers and sisters reminiscing about the family. The gravitational pull of their shared experience holds them together in their own private galaxy. Just as society has kept secrets from them, so they kept secrets from society. It is this private world of tribal secrets that binds them together in a new kind of kinship. Together they have a chance of discovering who they are. (p. 63)

I may have said this before, but bears repeating: I didn't know any other adoptees growing up. Not that I knew of, anyway. So when I started meeting adoptees at the beginning of my search a couple of years ago, I was shocked to discover that I wasn't alone. Others had had the same experience I had. Others felt the same about their adoption. Others felt just as lost and confused.

It was reassuring in a way that few things have been.

The Adoptees I've met in real life and on the web were instantly recognizable to me. I don't feel like I have to explain everything to them. They often seem to understand intuitively what I'm talking about.

Indeed, meeting Shelly was a weird experience. I told her about my search for no apparent reason. I didn't know she was an adoptee. But it just seemed that she might understand somehow.

Adoptees are definitely my people. And those of you who aren't one of us may never fully understand us. And there's a part of me that's jealous of that.

1 comment:

birthmothertalks said...

I am a birthmother feel the same way. I am all alone in this world, but not really. There are others around me, but we don't go around telling other people the real truth about us. I am sure we don't share the same issues, but the same problems of not feeling like our feelings are normal.