Being Adopted and Looking Back

NOTE: I started this draft over 2 months ago and I could never imagine where life would take me since writing this post. I am publishing this, but I will post on what has happened since.  Some of my statement on my next post will contradict my feelings here about my adopted family, but I do not want to change a thing.  I am setting the date back two months because I want to keep the flow of the time frame.

I watched a profound move last week on Amazon Prime.  It is called Adopted.  If you are adopted, have adopted or are thinking of adopting, please watch it.  It is profound, heartbreaking, yet hopeful.  In the mid -90’s, I got the book Being Adopted.  It was as profound as this movie was, but it did not give me another person’s words and emotions like the movie did. I have not read it since that time because it was too loaded with raw emotion for me.

Although, I did not deal with the cross-cultural issues that were discussed in the movie, I have deeply felt 95+% of what the adult adoptee went through for most of my life.  And I worry daily that my adoptive parents will pass away before anything can be healed and that they see and accept me fully for who I am and allow me to accept them for who they are.  Until Easter Sunday, I had held tightly (probably too tightly) onto the hope that one day, all could be healed.  After a very traumatizing conversation with my father, I realize that nothing has changed between us since I was a young person.  My wish for healing was crushed, but at the same time I feel released from a lot of guilt and stress about not measuring up to what he thinks I should be.

I know he loves me and I love him (and the same goes for my mother), but the trauma that is caused by the initial abandonment by a birth mother can never be swept under the rug.  Adopted kids carry that burden with them and they are expected to just be grateful for the fact that someone chose them to be their child.  What is unspoken is that for someone to choose them, someone first had to choose to give them up.  They are expected to fit in and no one mentions the void in their life from being abandoned.  Added to that is the difference of love between a biological child and an adopted child.  I have older and younger brothers, who are their biological children.  There is a difference in love.  It cannot be helped.

The easy answer for unwanted pregnancies has been adoption.  It makes everyone on the outside “feel better” about the situation.  “Well, So-and-So got pregnant, but she gave the baby up for adoption, so it all turned out well.”  No one looks at the trauma to the mother, the child and the adoptive families.  I have been front line in this argument a few times on social media because I don’t buy into the thought that unwanted pregnancies should just be dealt with by giving the baby up for adoption.  I was grateful that a woman dear to my heart echoed the same words from a different perspective.  She said that babies and people who have been given up (both orphans and those adopted) have a hole in their soul from the trauma of being unwanted as a baby.

Right after that (one of those Universe things), I friend sent me an article called The Primal Wound.”  It was the biggest eye-opener of all and completely put into words much of my experience as a child give up for adoption.  Please, please read that article.  There is also a book.  I have not read it yet, but I have ordered it and look forward to reading as soon as I have a moment.

In my very early 30’s, I got to meet my birth mother, her family and eventually my birth father’s family, including half brothers and a sister.  He had passed away in 1977, so I never met him.  My experience was pretty classic and similar to the author of “10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know” above.  She gave me up and never looked back until I showed up one day by phone calls.  I cannot say that it didn’t hurt when she wasn’t as excited to know about me as I was about her.  It did.  Finding your birth parents is Pandora’s Box because you really never know what you will be handed on the other side of that phone call, email or meeting.

Although I do not have a relationship with my birth mother, it has been healing overall because I see where I came from and why I am me.  Let’s just say genetics wins, hands down.  And I do have a good relationship with a number of aunts, uncles, cousins on my birth mother’s side, plus I have brothers and a sister on my birth father’s side and they are amazing.

There are a few articles on the profound connection between biological mother and child that I would love for you to check out if you are interested.

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains

The bond between mother and child

10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know

Adoption: Trauma that Last a Life Time

(For books linked in this article, please see this for an Amazon Affiliate disclaimer. For the articles listed, there are no affiliate relationships of any kind.)

 

 

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The Worst Times Make Us Who We Are

I can attest wholeheartedly to this truth. Throughout the years, I have learned not to question so much of what we have gone through but to appreciate what it has taught us and what blessings that these experiences have brought to our lives, including having to go public about our situation and Geoff’s health throughout the last 15+ years.

If Geoff had been well, we wouldn’t have found Santa Rosa Beach. We wouldn’t have moved here at the spur of the moment because of a chance that the local health food store owners gave us by hiring me. Geoff would not be singing full-time again and so many blessings would not have happened. That’s just the short version.

It’s better to tell your story to the world and make it a better place than it is to hold it in and be ashamed or worried. Our worst moments do make us who we are.  That is why I have a blog.  It’s not to tell you all about us just because I think we are important.  We’re not at all.  We’re just the McBrides.  It’s to share our trials and breakthroughs so that we can spread the love and hope to those around us.  If one single family is helped by our story, we will be grateful.  That’s our amazing adventure.

Social media makes it seem like everyone has a perfect life.  They don’t.  We don’t. No one does.  I don’t care who you are, your life isn’t all roses.  Things happen.  There are ups and downs and craziness.  We need to get back to real and stop watching “reality” on TV.

Here’s a TEDTalk about this subject of sharing who we are. 

I am in the process of writing more, but I have had to have a chance to catch my breath so that I can delve into how we want to give back to the world as a family from all the love and support we have had, but at the same time we have to look to the future.  This is why I have not posted much lately.  Where will we as a family thrive and not just “get by”?  What do we need to do in order to get there?  How can we help others who are going through similar problems and challenges that we have faced over the years?

We all need to consider how we can help others more and more each day, even if it’s just a smile and a touch of kindness.  Tell your story and do what you can to make the world a more beautiful place to be for everyone.

Life is about love and joy. It’s about giving back and paying it forward.

 

The hardest thing I have ever done in my life

We had to go ahead and develop a GoFundMe account after all we have been through over the last 15 years.  We told a bit more of the story there about Geoff’s health but will continue to tell through this blog in the future.

He was in the hospital this morning (12/10) and was diagnosed with more bronchitis and possibly non-smoking related emphysema.  We are awaiting more details.

Update on 1/10/16: We achieved our goal, so I took the account down at the end of December.  We couldn’t have made it through without the help of our community, loved ones and strangers.  The outpouring of love was absolutely incredible.  We are so humbled and appreciate everyone’s help.

We are still waiting on figuring out how to get Geoff’s lungs better.  He can’t be on extra steroids because they stop working and they affect his Addison’s Disease.  He’s just muddling through right now.

The other factor is that health insurance in Florida is not the greatest.  Our plan caused the specialist not to take him before Christmas (although they didn’t tell us that until we called).  Then, instead of seeing him, they referred him back to his primary care doctor.  Honestly, we have been going to a family doctor who doesn’t take any insurance for the last few years.  He can’t refer him to the specialist.  Geoff’s been out of town this week, so we will start working again on that tomorrow.

I won’t get started on the crappy healthcare system.  I just wanted to update this post.  Happy Sunday!