Have you ever felt as if you were all alone? I know I have struggled with the feeling. I never really felt as if I truly fit into any group. That was until I met three friends who changed my life and made me realize even when you think you are alone, you really aren’t. There is always someone else going through what you are going through.
I used to be jealous of my friends who were not adopted. Growing up, I felt like there was a mark on me that made me different from all my peers. When I was younger, my friends used to say hurtful things about me being an adopted child. Not everyone was doing it intentionally, but it still hurt me.
Somehow, that feeling has managed to stay with me throughout the years and even now into adulthood. It made me feel as if I was somehow isolated from the rest of the people in my world. Even in my own family, I felt like this was some sort of stigma. I would feel funny whenever I would say things like, “It runs in our veins,” because it wasn’t true and felt different for them.
To understand what I mean, you would literally have to walk in my shoes. It’s one thing to sympathize with someone, but it takes it to a whole different playing field when you can truly say you know what it is like.
You have been to those places where strangers stared at you and your parents because you didn’t look like them, and when people called strangers who you’d never met your “real parents” and didn’t realize how disrespected and angery it made you feel.
You’ve had some of your friends look at you differently and call you “affectionate” names and poke fun at a real problem because they didn’t know any better. You’ve been at the different family events where you kind of sat by yourself while your family members interacted, wondering why you don’t act like anyone else in your family.
You’ve been on the emotional rollercoaster where you’ve felt unloved and unwanted. You’ve asked yourself countless times, “What’s wrong with me that people who didn’t even take the time to know me would make that choice to give me up?” You’ve seen how it has affected all your relationships, and has made you hold onto the people in your life so tight because you don’t want them to abandon you. People who haven’t been adopted count adoption as a blessing, but this thing can cause real pain and baggage.
When I began to move outside the small society box of my peers I had known from kindergarten through high school, I found out that I was not the only adopted child out there. Call it what you want, but no one else I knew was adopted during those school years. It wasn’t until I went to college and made friends with different people in my classes that I had finally found the group that would become my support system.
I was free to be me. I didn’t have to act like anyone other than myself. I didn’t have to feel bad about being adopted. I wasn’t dodging pity or sympathy, and these people were not the nosey and insensitive kind I was used to. They understood me because they knew exactly what I was going through. We were all going through it together.
It really started over small talk. My friend, Brittany, opened up to me and said she was adopted. In that instant, I felt more connected to her than I had to some of my closest friends at the time. We began to call each other sisters, and joke around about the idea being true. Who really knew? This one topic sparked deep conversation, and our friendship grew as we began to share the emotional struggles and frustrations we felt as a result of being adopted.
I felt as if I was looking into the mirror when she would tell me how she felt and would express her feelings. She was the one person I felt like I could really come to about all this and the one who could truly understand the recent journey I have embarked on.
Even though I now had someone to relate to, I still wasn’t content to open up and share with others like I did with her. In all actuality, had Brittany not opened up to me, I would have never had the privilege of having such a close connection to a wonderful person.
That’s when I realized something.
What if I had kept my mouth shut? Even though I had love from my family and friends, none of them really understood me and how I felt. I would have still felt alone with my thoughts and wouldn’t have had a partner in the road I was traveling on.
I realized then how company is much better than being alone and decided to open up to some other people I knew who were adopted. It took guts and heart, but I had both. I was surprised when I was welcomed with open arms, and soon we developed a group where we began to share our stories.
We would cry with each other when expressing our hurt and frustration at something we couldn’t change about ourselves. We would encourage one other to think positively and try a different approach when the baggage of being adopted reared its ugly head in our lives. And we would celebrate when we overcame the different issues it caused.
We linked arms and embraced the journey together when we made the decision to find our birth parents. And I can honestly say I couldn’t have made my journey without them.
“m b v” as anything but a highly anticipated train ...
Stupid human race