Wikipedia – “Watermarks vary greatly in their visibility; while some are obvious on casual inspection, others require some study to pick out.”
The symbolism of it. Adoption has left a watermark on my life. In some areas of my life, it’s very visible, and in others, you really have to know me, to know where to find it. I find it interesting in my life to see that, up until now I’ve been very open about some aspects of adoption and more quiet about others. To the outside world, I was a happy birthmom, who was so “strong” and so “smart” and so “wise” for giving her baby up for adoption. I was a saint.
However, deep inside my soul I was tormented. I realized the other day…just how deep it really went. I’ve always been a writer of sorts, and for most of my life (although not really for the last give or take 10 years… how ironic, since the adoption closed) I have kept a journal. In it I write about my everyday life, people I know, my thoughts and feelings about the world, and my own self reflection. I keep every single one of my journals, because I like to look back and see “where I was at” and what patterns or themes keep coming up for me that I need to work on. I decided last night to go and have a peek in my journals to see if I had any thoughts about adoption. Journal entries spanning a period of 10 years, and there was nothing on adoption. How could that be? I thought about my sons adoption all the time! I thought about him everyday! I visited with him four times a year!! How could such a HUGE piece of my life just NOT be there? I sat on the floor with my old journals all around me, and allowed myself to go there. It came slowly at first…the knowledge my heart had tucked away for me. “Safe keeping” it said, “for when your ready”. “I’m ready, give it to me”… and it flooded into my awareness. Times in my life that I had a different opinion of adoption that strayed from the rhetoric I was taught.
I was so terrified of what people would think of me if I dared voice that I was not happy with adoption. I was so scared in fact, that even in my own personal journals, I didn’t dare write a word. Writing anything down, even if only to myself, made my feelings real. Admitting to anyone that I wasn’t happy, would make me “bad”, “bitter”, and “emotionally unstable.” Even though I was an “open adoption” birthmom, I operated on a “closed birthmom” ideal. ( I’m sure that has a lot to do with being raised by a mother who was a birthmom herself, and who was in a closed adoption). If you don’t talk about it, it isn’t there, you’ll forget it. My heart knew better. My heart is wise. My heart knew that one day I would have the strength to talk about my real feelings on adoption and how it has affected my life. That time is now. Even now as I write, my brain is working in the background. “Downloading” all these memories, thoughts, conversations, and images that have always been a part of me. Feelings that have been a part of me, yet unspoken. There is so very much in there. In that place I was so scared for many years to acknowledge. Like a secret second life I have lived in some other dimension. I am in awe of my own self preservation. I have survived adoption. That, in itself, on some days, is a miracle. My dad told me once that I am the strongest person he knows. Tooting my own horn for a second? He’s right.