Adoptees experience a complex mix of seemingly opposing emotions that may appear irreconcilable. Adoptees may express thoughts that appear contradictory or incompatible.
The truth is that adoptees can think and feel things that at first exposure may seem antithetical to one another. But fear not. As has been said before, that is the paradox of the adoptee experience.
At one point I posted a statement that went something like this: “Whatever punk decided that being adopted is a happy story with happy endings makes me want to vomit and kick a hole in the sky.”
I wrote a post trying to clarify what I meant and what I did not mean by this statement. An excerpt from the pertaining post states:
"It’s not that my family didn’t love me enough. It’s not that I don’t love my family. When I express anger or hurt, it’s not because of what they have or have not done. It’s because of the loss and grief that I feel over what happened beyond anyone’s control.
But when I say something like, 'Whatever punk decided that being adopted is a happy story with happy endings makes me want to vomit and kick a hole in the sky,' it offends my family because they think I’m saying something about them. For the record, then, I am not saying anything about my family. I am grateful for them, and I love them.
The thing is that some wounds run so deeply and so pervasively, that they may never quite heal. And I need to feel safe enough and have freedom enough to feel the pain and the emotion that comes from feeling that loss and grief."
My point is that adoptees may express emotions, as the title indicates, in ways that often seem paradoxical. In the same breath, I can utter that I am grateful for the family that adopted me while simultaneously wishing that it had not been necessary for me to be adopted.
Contradictory? Perhaps at first glance. But ultimately, no.
I can say things like, "whatever punk decided that being adopted is a happy story with happy endings makes me want to vomit and kick a hole in the sky," while at the same time saying things like, "As far as I'm concerned I adore my parents and always will."
I am not contradicting myself.
It could be comparable to a young widow whose husband unfortunately died prematurely. She remarries and goes on to share a very full, meaningful life with her second husband. Does she therefore come to the conclusion that she is happy that her first husband died? Of course not. Does the fact that she still feels grief over the loss of her first husband mean that she does not love her second? Is she contradicting herself?
No. The truth is that it is complex. The truth is that there are certain circumstances and relationships that we must face that require more flexible and less legalistic thinking and understanding. What may appear to be incongruous thoughts and emotions are simply the different lines and numbers used to compose and arrive at the same shapes and solutions.
What adoptees need is not to be forced into one corner or curve of a single shape or into one equation or formula of a single solution, but rather to be permitted to explore all the angles and edges, all the components and calculations that characterize life as an adoptee.