Adoptee, born at the Magic Valley Regional Medical Center, April 15, 1974. I spent 23 years trying to figure out all the details, concluding my search in 2019 after meeting my biological father. I'm working on a book that encapsulates my thoughts on adoption in general, and the experience of being adopted.
We are all individuals, and our interests and desires are formed as much by our biology as our experiences. Those who are raised with their biological parents find corresponding interests driven by genetic similarities, something often completely missing from the equation within an adoptive family setting.
When there are no shared interests within a family dynamic, there is no support to develop those interests.
At best, I would be left on my own to engage with those things I found interesting. In many cases, I was punished for my interests, or actively prevented from pursuing them. I learned to hide what I was reading, I developed speed-reading unintentionally along the way, my constant state of near panic, a adolescent-long hyper-vigilant state of mind, drove this adaptation.
But it also left me convinced that I was inherently flawed, broken, and unvalued. My inner world was awash in self-erasure, fantasies of some distant rescue operation underway to recover me from my life and bring me back to my true parents. And when that rescue never came, the feelings of hopelessness grew ever stronger-Continue reading “Self-Erasure”
I remember the LA Riots as the thing that was happening when I was locked up.
I only recall the newspaper headline, and half a photo, seen through the grill of a vending machine outside the mental hospital, a Meier-affiliated Christian mental hospital my adoptive parents had driven me to in Plano, Texas.
I was sixteen, nearly seventeen, and they were frightened out of their minds. I was signed over to the institution, and that was it for a while. I was alone. Continue reading “Turning Seventeen”
I have post-traumatic stress disorder. It is this complicated notion of trauma that is central to my desire to write, in part for my own process of coming to terms with my PTSD, but also in an attempt to provide a voice, albeit one among many, to call for a cultural shift in understanding both adoption and PTSD.
My trauma was not centralized in the moment of the adopting – although it was my first traumatic moment after birth. If that had been the only traumatic incident, though, there is still certainly enough research to support that as a possible causal factor in the onset of what Nancy Verrier terms “the primal wound” in her 1993 book of that name. The other trauma is detailed as much as I am able to recount it, and consists of incidents and physical abuses.Continue reading “This Notion of Trauma”
In the abstract, the adoptee is positioned across two tensions of the state – the assumption and legitimation of identity, and the power of the State to maintain an arbitrary secret indefinitely. When an identity is held tenuously, when identity is the first injury, individuals will find challenges to identity and authority re-traumatization, and suffer accordingly.Continue reading “On being a bastard”