I just noticed my avatar for this blog’s pseudonym as I was typing a comment on another adoption blog today. I laughed. The blurry snowflake photo I have is from a holiday visit to meet my first mother’s extended family. It was maybe a year and a half after she and I met the first time, and I learned, heart-warmingly, that I was never a secret from her siblings, husband, or all my cousins. So I went out to meet the whole family.
I was petrified. Of what, exactly, I don’t know. Unlike reaching out to my mother, I really didn’t have great fears of rejection. Who rejects a new cousin or niece they’ve always known about but never met? But, still, I don’t always do well with new people, and I was stressed and scared. Being near the holidays, everything was lit up and decorated, and the determined cheerfulness of the damn winter holidays seemed to mock my general frozen-ness. But these snowflakes were just so pretty, so I took about 100 photos of them, trying to get one in focus. Between shivering, night-time photography, and probably my stress level, not one of them turned out clear.
So I have blurry snowflakes. And they remind me of that meeting, and of feeling, in a very bad way, like the “very special snowflake” — a unique individual who stood out, just by virtue of existing. I used to feel so damn weird, being adopted. The only person I knew who was adopted was my brother, until I got to college and made a friend there who was also adopted. I was deep in the fog then, denying that I was curious or that adoption had affected me. That college friend and I have talked only a few times since then, and the last time was a few years ago when she reached out to me. She told me she and her husband were considering adoption, and as I was the only other adoptee she knew, she wanted to know what I thought. Sadly for the sake of that friendship, I told her, honestly. I was less than a year into reunion, roiling with feelings, and I don’t think I told her what she wanted to hear. That was the last time we talked.
Since then, though, I’ve discovered other adoptees to read and sometimes talk to. I’ve met other adoptees in person now, and made some friends who have this one deep life-altering thing in common: we are adopted, and we are all trying to process what that means, almost daily.
I no longer feel like a special snowflake, and that’s the best thing ever. I’m not alone.