Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I Thought I Was Adopted

Written by Don Shetterly

After reading Jody's last column, it got me thinking.  In the column, she wrote about "how it feels to be adopted."  I love how she shares some of the most personal parts of her life to help others find healing in their own lives.

For a long time, I thought I was adopted.  I truly did.  I had nothing to back it up with, and while every account made it sound like my parents were really my parents, it was hard to believe.  I went through life thinking that I had to be switched at birth or adopted or something.

How else could you explain the horror and torture, trauma and abuse that I went through?  I didn't think there was anyway a normal family would do this to their kid.  I figured I had to have ended up in the wrong family.  Surely then, I was adopted.

Finally in my adult years...

It probably wasn't until well into my adult years that I got to meet some of my cousins.  The physical characteristics were similar in many ways.  Even though I didn't want to accept that this was my family, I began to see that I was NOT adopted.

I know there was a time early on in my life where my mom had to choose between me as an infant and my dad who had hepatitis.  From what I was told, it was very contagious, and for some reason, she chose him over me.  I don't know all the particulars or details and probably never will.  However, I always felt that separation anxiety with my mom, and it never left even until the day she died.

There was another time I was told that when I was very young, something happened and I came to live with my cousins for a time.  I don't remember it.  I don't know the details, but once again I was separated from my mom.

I struggled to be away from my mom...

When I would go to church camp in the summer, I struggled to be away from my mom for a week.  I was always worried that she would be there when it was over.  When I would see her at the end of the week, I'd cry uncontrollably making my dad feel very uncomfortable.

It always felt like I had to be good enough to get chosen or loved by my mom.  My dad was another story.  I don't think he ever really wanted me that badly and my life made his life feel threatened.

Even until this day, I struggle with feeling that people who love me are going to leave me.  They will want nothing to do with me.  They will choose someone else.  I struggled hard with that.  I think this is the part that really resonated with Jody's column post.

I'm glad she wrote the post because it helped me to explore this further.  In my relationships now, I struggle to think that anyone would love me enough to keep me.  I feel like I will at any moment be cast off as not wanted or not needed.  It affects my relationships because people do love me, but I'm so afraid of being abandoned that I hold others at a distance.

More and more I'm coming to terms with what that felt like to be passed over and not chosen.  I know I was too young to put it into words, but it impacts me in a big way.  I do try to keep telling myself that what I went through years ago, was what happened then.  It is not what is going on now.

One day I hope I will understand this more, but without the details of what truly transpired, it is hard to put it into context.  I was NOT adopted, but some days it felt that way, and at times, I wish I could have been born into another family.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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