Monday, December 14, 2009

Finding a Voice

For years, I did not know I could feel the way I do about adoption. I didn't know it was okay to be ambivalent. (This is perhaps evident in the fact that I still seem constantly to apologize for how I feel.)

Not knowing anything about the experiences of other adoptees, I thought I was weird for feeling so ambivalent about my adoption. Now I know that it is common, if not universal, to feel this way. For myself, it is incredibly validating to find out that I'm not alone.

Expressing my frustration and ambivalence about adoption has led to some pretty annoying reactions from others: why are you so angry? don't you realize other people have problems? why can't you get over it?.

I'm reminded of the different descriptions I've heard of typical male and female conversational styles. Men often (not always) try to "fix" problems. Women often (not always) are looking for empathy for their problems, not solutions. While I bristle at such stereotyping, I can't deny that it ever is true.

I'm not looking for a "solution" to my "problem" of being adopted. That ship has long sailed. Finding others who would listen to me, who could understand and empathize, was terrifically useful in giving me a measure of peace about adoption. Just having someone acknowledge my ambivalence and even anger is helpful.

It's not about fixing anything. It's not about lashing out. It's not about hurting others. It's not about getting over it.

It's about knowing I'm not alone. It's about having my feelings validated. It's about having someone empathize with me.

Not pity. Not sympathy. Empathy.

Finding a voice can be a scary thing. And it's the most important thing I can think of.


Shari U said...

I guess it just is what it is.

As a mom (and perhaps as a female), I want to offer words of encouragement and comfort and yet, I know there are no words, at least not from someone who hasn't walked your path. I do wish you peace and I'm sorry for your pain.

GooseBreeder said...

Yes empathy is so good to find and it only really happens amongst those of our own kind.Our trauma will never go, be healed or disappear but we are survivors, do what we can to learn to live with it.Now it seems we need to start talking openly so others understand the injustice, the negation of rights and so on.