It has been quite some time that I removed myself from Adoptionland. No blogging, no keeping up with Facebook pages, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. No getting sucked into lengthy discussions about the ethics and morality of domestic infant adoption in groups. No more being triggered by pregnant women in crisis who think so little of themselves and their worth that they vehemently push back against anything you try to warn them about. No more advocating, no more in-fighting. No more keeping up with the latest bills or doing everything in my power to make sure those who are unseen be seen. Completely and utterly stress free, well, in regards to all things adoption-related that is.
But here’s the thing.
You can’t escape Adoptionland, no matter how hard you try. I initially made my exit for a couple of reasons, but most notably because I didn’t want to have my daughter constantly surrounded by my presence in this community. It’s really hard to work out your own feelings, or figure out exactly what you need, when your birthmom is everywhere online. But, try as I might, I can’t escape Adoptionland. There is no escape. I will always be a part of this community, no matter how hard my desire not to be, even if I just took up residence on the dark side of town and refuse to leave my broke-down Adoptionland house.
You can’t escape being a birthmom. Even worse, your child can’t escape being an adoptee. You can’t escape the identities you each own in regards to these two facts, in regards to each other. It will always be there. The identity I had prior to relinquishment is gone, forever. But I’m the lucky one, because the identity my child should have had has been gone since the day she was born.
We will always be, to each other, almost mother and child. Almost.
We text. We call. We visit. I get a butt dial because she accidentally enabled the “emergency” contact phone call. I help her with things like printing out forms for jobs. She gives me grief about how dorky and old I am. From the outside looking in we may be mistaken for any old mother and daughter. But we’re not. We’re unique in a way we don’t wish to be unique. We are lucky to have the rapport we do in our relationship, but also unlucky for the rapport we don’t have, the things that should be easy and are not.
I watch as she slowly dips her toe into a whole new Adoptionland. The new part of town I’ve never visited before with all new residents and visitors. It’s something I know she’s kept mostly private all this time, taking it all in. I’m okay with that. More than okay with that. She shares a little more with me as time goes on. I am proud of how she handles herself, and others. She is smart and articulate. She communicates her thoughts and, if applicable, her feelings with passion and maturity. She is patient where I would not have been. She is blunt when needed. She is the marginalized, the adoptee, and does not owe the world her services in adoption education, yet she still gives them freely so as to hopefully spare others the pain she has felt. This is because, despite her hard exterior, she is kind, she is empathetic, and she cares about others.
Have we had our fights? Oh we’ve had doozies. Some I didn’t think we would come back from. There’s no instruction manual on how to navigate reunion in our circumstances. Despite it all, here we still are. Still trying to figure it all out.
I worry that someday Adoptionland may hurt her. It can be a cruel country with little regard to the sensitive ones. But then I remember that she’s a fighter and it’s the rage of seeing injustices that fuels her fight and I know that Adoptionland, while it can be exhausting, will not break her. It will only light the flames that keep her going.
Sometimes I want to come outside of this broken down little home I’ve made on the far side of Adoptionland, this house I’ve barricaded myself into so no one can get in, and more importantly, so my uncontrolled rage can’t get out and do anymore harm. Sometimes I feel like I have a purpose here and need to be running down the streets doing…what exactly? I don’t know. I no longer feel it’s my place to take up space where others, more relevant and more recent, should be.
I started this blog over 8 years ago. A few years after that I became submerged in the world of activism. I cringe at things my younger self has said in regards to adoption from time to time. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Despite my desire to make change again, I’m unsure if my season has not ended. I don’t miss much about it, but what I do miss, I miss fiercely. Especially my people, of which I’ve largely avoided because of the complicated feelings that surround them.
I’m still here, Adoptionland, if anyone should still care. You may just have to travel the long, windy, road and knock for a really long time before I answer the door.