Internalizations Gone Wild


I grew up assuming that I was adopted because my biological relatives could not take care of me. Implicit within that assumption was that they did not want to take care of me. I never found it to be very harsh. I just assumed that they were unable to care for me and so they gave me up so that I could have a better life, never looking back.

I can’t recollect anyone every actually reciting this narrative to me. Not my parents or my sister. I do recollect learning about adoption and orphans, albeit vicariously, through public discourse. I was probably first exposed to it in a movie or a book. Maybe from another child at school as an elementary kid.

Somehow, someway I internalized that narrative. Interestingly enough, I also internalized the response to that narrative. The response to accept that narrative as true for the world and myself and to not question it. There was no need to question it because it was considered The Truth.

Its kind of fucked up that I internalized that information so well and for so long without ever really challenging it. I scare myself sometimes when I realize how effectively I subscribe to, and abide by, dominant social norms. Needless to say I’m quite impressionable, which I might add is probably largely influenced by being adopted (not going to go here in this post though!).

Now, here I am, solidly barreling towards my 24th birthday and I’m starting to wonder about my biological relatives and let me tell you it’s scaring the shit out of me.

For the longest time, well probably 20 years, I’d never ever even considered the possibility that my biological family didn’t want to give me up. Or that they wanted to see me again. It pains me to no end to think about a family who loses a child or gives up a child unwillingly. I guess I’ve just never allowed myself to be that child in that narrative.

This personal revelation has come about through reading blogs. Through hearing other people’s experiences with reunion, failed adoptions, failed reunions, and many other stories of search. Reading first mothers’ posts and adoptive parents’ blogs has allowed me to think about my own situation, my own circumstance and has empowered me to question that dominant narrative, as terrifying as it seems.

I think it terrifies me because it allows me to begin to consider my biological relatives as family. Something I’ve never allowed myself to do. Never wanted to do. It seemed like too much work. Too much drama. Too many emotions to deal with. Plus, if I begin to consider them family what comes next?

Reunion?

That has never been a desire of mine. I’m unsure whether it has become one, but it’s now on the table. I remember my father (presumably my mother said the same or he spoke for them both) saying that he would help me as much as I wanted in returning to India or reaching out to biological relatives. I never thought I’d ever take him up on the offer, now that he is gone, I’m beginning to wonder if I should’ve.

Should I take my own initiative?

It is quite interesting and often times amusing how strongly the realm of possibility is determined by what is believed. Not by physical means or by so-called facts but by opinions and impressions, opinions and impressions that form our beliefs.

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4 thoughts on “Internalizations Gone Wild

  1. Just remember that you alone decide what is right for you. Being adopted is a journey, and it seems we all have different feelings at different points in our lives, and each feeling is what it is, neither right or wrong.

    Just remember to breathe, and take all the time you need to come to a decision – that is the right decision for you. Even if that decision is whether to continue exploring your feelings or put them away for another day. You need to do this with peace and certainty of rightness.

    • Thanks TAO,

      It’s sort of funny how I dip in and out of these feelings. I mean when I allow myself to think about them they get pretty overwhelming but they don’t override or rule my daily life.

      I think most of my processing will be cognitive repositioning and re-learning. I tend to process the shit out of even very minor emotions so I’m reluctant to jump head first into this.

      I agree that there is no wrong or right decision but it does seem like there is a hell of a lot riding on it. Thanks for the words of wisdom it’s always nice to hear others thoughts when I become so introspective.

      • Kumar – I think every one of us has experienced the when I think about them, and then put the feelings back away for a time until we are ready to dive in again. Consider yourself pretty darn normal. I would go months, and months, and then one day out of the blue start thinking again, and delve into the thoughts about what to do, what I wanted for 3 or 4 days, and then put them back away for a time. You are right, the smallest thing seems pretty overwhelming. I think this is the best way, because then you find a certain peace with whatever your ultimate decision is. You’re good.

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