Monday, June 7, 2010

Adoptee Identity

As though it wasn't enough to be confused about my identity because of my adoption, increasingly I seemed to be confused about my identity as an adoptee. How do I fit into those who identify as adult adoptees? Am I angry? Am I calm? Am I overly-simplistic? Am I too nuanced? Am I holier-than-thou about my exceedingly clever views about adoption? Have I not thought through the issues well enough?

I'm not making sense. I know this. That's okay. This is my blog. I don't have to make sense if I don't want to.

I read so much about adoption. And I see so many adoptees speak with authority about their ways of viewing adoption. In books. In articles. On the web. Some of them I admire. Some of them seem condescending. Some of them seem confident, and some just as lost as I feel.

How I feel about adoption, about all my families, is... complicated. And I'd be the first to admit that I "deal" with a lot of that complication by minimizing its impact on my life. I live nearly a thousand miles from any relative, adopted or blood. I keep distance between myself and my families, as a result I do not have to confront and settle conflicting emotions about them.

I would never claim nurture doesn't matter. Obviously how I grew up affected me in profound ways. But I have worked so hard to forget it, going back twenty years, long before I was really willing to confront adoption issues. And it seems obvious to me that nature matters.

Growing up without other adoptees around meant that I didn't know what was "normal" for an adoptee (if there is such a thing). I had no one to talk about it with. Now, reading about how others think through the various issues, I still sometimes feel like I'm a stranger in a strange land. And the problem is, I don't know anywhere that doesn't feel like that.


Von said...

Thanks for this post, we all are strangers in a strange land it seems, finding our way,learning gradually and making the changes that seem right for us.It's hard work, dedicated work too when you have that thirst to know, connect and communicate your ideas about where you are.
I spent 29 years in another Hemisphere and never quite understood why until recently.Nice not to be alone in adoptionland any more and see there are people out there who understand. Good wishes....

Real Daughter said...

Tanks for this! The only adoptee I was around while growing up was my a bro.

Being around all those bastards in Philly last year was overwhelming. I felt comfortable around them, and that is no easy task. I did feel like a "stranger in a strange land", but they were MY strangers....if that makes any sense....

ani said...

I can really relate to this post,,