Turning Seventeen

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 →

This Notion of Trauma

(Or, That First Whirling Scar)

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 →

On being a bastard

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 →