(Er, I accidentally published prematurely again for those who might have noticed. My brain. No work. But here's the finished post.)
You know what? I have a good life--no, I have a great life.
Here's the thing, by most conventional measures, I am actually an adoptee for whom "adoption worked out." I'm exceedingly happy and more than content with my life. I have a rockin' husband, a beautiful son, and tons of family and friends with whom a mutual love is shared. My life is full of all the people and love that make life truly worth living and deeply meaningful.
It is this very fact, however, that is used against me as an adoptee. To criticize any aspect of my adoption experience is viewed as ungrateful dissent. And yet, if I were to express that I have had an awful life and am estranged from my family, this would also be used against me. Can't win for losing, or whatever.
If I say, "Yes, I love my parents and have had a great life," my criticisms of my adoption experience are viewed as ungrateful, bratty melodrama. But if I say, "No, I don't love my parents and have had a terrible experience," my voice is discounted as an exception resulting from "bad parenting."
Another Catch 22.
In my case, it's basically saying the end justifies the means. All the ongoing hardship, confusion, hurt, tension, conflict, etc. are negligible, because I am considered "successful" and "happy" in life. To discuss the complex realities of my situation that are not "happy" is written off as just another snooty, malcontent adoptee focusing on all the wrong things. I'm told that I am failing to "move on" with my life, that I am not showing appreciation for the good in my life.
You see, though, I do indeed recognize the good in my life--more than some, if I'll be so bold. You know why? In part, because I am also so keenly, intensely aware of the not-so-good in my life. I am so in touch with the pain, the sorrow, the grief that I am also profoundly in touch with the beauty, the joy, the hope that all characterize my experience as an adoptee. But it is not adoption that has given me the good in my life. It is the people.
You can say, Well, my dear, you would not have all these good people in your life were it not for adoption.
And I would say in return, No, I would not have all these people in my life were it not for being given away and ripped from my first family, my first home, my first country--my everything.
The good that has come to me came through tragedy. As has been said so many times before--an adoptee's life is first built upon the deepest of losses and griefs, and these losses and sorrows remain throughout life. Even some of the greatest joys in life--marriage, childbirth--arrive as instigators of that loss and pain.
As amazing and fulfilling as my life is, it is also just as much clouded, complicated, and darkened by the unavoidable losses and sadness that are inherent to an adoptee's lifetime journey.
Yes, I have a great life...but I also have a complicated life, fettered by the lifelong repercussions of one who lost her entire family and life according to the design and decisions of others--and is expected to be just fine with it all, void of a single question or criticism.