I am drawn to both comedy and horror, as it seems they are the spaces in which complicated human experience is best mirrored.
I believe my relationship with my adoptive father changed in my eyes when he threw me across a river in the ‘south hills.’
We lived in Twin Falls, Idaho at the time, and I’ve tried to recall exactly how old I was… I suspect I was 11, I believe this was in the summer of 1985.
Our church had coordinated a forest retreat, held in the area colloquially known as the south hills. In any other part of the country, these would be called mountains. Idahoans pride themselves on being of a sturdier stock than the rest of the country (except, perhaps, Alaskans) and the attitude toward these smaller mountains was that they were ‘no Sawtooths.’ When I make these references, I want to stress that these are attitudes I absorbs unknowningly, that the quotes could have been said by any of the adult men in my life at that time, and that I was a compulsive eavesdropper. I use quotes to distinguish the phrasing, which I do recall quite clearly, even if those who uttered these statements are otherwise forgotten.
I am at times relctant to move forward with explaining to people what happened – Continue reading
I remain a subjective, at times compulsive, narrator in this story.
Unlike a true non-fiction book, by its very nature my story is somewhat fictionalized. I myself reside as an identity infictively resonating within a governmental institutional practice – my status is functionally different than that of the non-adopted, and as with other closed-file adoptees I have more in common with those in the Federal Witness Protection program. I do not know for sure that these memories are not all of the same thing, or metaphors for some completely different experience altogether. And for many people who are adoptees, that positioning can be much more problematic than my own. Continue reading
It, in this case, being the impact of adoption on an infant, a child. Why should the impact of adoption not be weighed against the alternative, whatever that may be? I am conditioned to picture the alternative being a series of horrors, a spectrum from the neglectful to that of murderous parents, slavery, a life of poverty and crime from the moment of birth. We all are, in some sense – and the rising anti-abortion laws further the narrative of adoption-first approaches throughout certain regions within the United States. That central myth is a preservative narrative shielding a poorly regulated confederacy of institutions and private interests that facilitate an enormous industry that trades in human life.
An industry ruled by special interests, worth billions, and incentivized by religious pressure to provide children to homes for conversion. Read “The Child Catchers” by Kathryn Joyce to get caught up on how we got to this point. Continue reading
The real drugging began in a mental hospital, where I had been brought by my parents, against my will.
I cannot recall the precise timeline of events. I do know specific dates, because I spent specific amount of time in the hospital setting, and I know I celebrated my 17th birthday behind its walls.
I believe the issues began earlier, with the prescription of doxycycline and a summer of heavy exposure to sunlight. Continue reading
(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