This spring is filled with two major events that are “about” adoption for me.
I have registered for part of the AAC conference in Cambridge at the end of this month — I couldn’t afford the full week (time or money), but I am hesitantly looking forward to being in a space that actually is ABOUT adoption rather than being the one who brings adoption into spaces it is not really wanted. I am, of course, registered under my actual legal name (fictional as it is, it is my reality), not the fictional one chosen for authorship here. I feel conflicted about that — the pseudonym here — but the consequences of complete openness, of having, in yet another way, to balance all the feelings of family and friends, would inhibit what I write here.
This is a safe space I’ve opened for myself within the crazy hurricane of reunion. I write because the writings of other adoptees have helped me immeasurably more than I will ever find words for. Just in case I can do the same for anyone else searching the internet, even in a small way, I throw these posts out there. But I’ll be just regular me at the conference.
I am excited and also scared. I’m still tiptoeing through spaces trying to avoid triggers sometimes, and the conference itself, even registering for it, has brought up boatloads of feelings that won’t be ignored. I am pretty sure (intellectually, not emotionally) that I won’t be the only one feeling so much feeling, and that’s comforting. This will be my first time around many adoptees.
The other big spring event is a wedding in my natural family. I feel odd being invited — I still don’t feel like I fit in there, and I’ve met my cousin once. I feel at once gratified to receive the invitation, to be given an opportunity to spend time with my family, and like a complete and utter imposter who does not deserve this invitation at all. Who am I to think I am family? I know this is “excluded adoptee narrative” taking over my brain — I am so good at feeling left out, on the outside, not included. I am very bad at understanding what it might feel like to be part of the group. I am going to try to learn.
This family is gracious and lovely, but they are part of the reason I write pseudonymously (is that even a word) online. I don’t know them well enough to know how any of them other than my first mother feel about adoption, and given my a-family’s reactions to my search and feelings, I am (perhaps unfairly) assuming that they, too, would be mystified and overwhelmed by all the feelings I have about it. So I keep quiet and I play as nice as I know how.
Sometimes, it is very lonely to keep this part of myself separate from my families. I have friends who know how I feel, though as of yet, I’ve given none of them the URL for this blog. But I guess my newfound hurt, lonely, sad, and so very raw adoptee-aware self isn’t ready for full-time exposure. It is part of the whole of my self, it is a part I’m working on acknowledging and integrating, but I’m still much better at keeping things to myself than trusting the world with them.