May 31, 2013

Just Another Day In the Life Of a Resilient Adoptee

Welcome to another Adoptee Restoration post where Deanna emotionally bleeds all over the computer welcomes you into the journey of living life as an adult adoptee in search and reunion.

Adoption is a complex world, made even more so by the use of amazing technology like DNA testing.

If you aren't living in adoptoworld you probably won't get this post. Those who do live in this parallel universe, be encouraged. You don't need another glass of wine or bowl of Chunky Monkey to survive. You aren't crazy. You're just adopted.

My first DNA results came on Sunday night and I read them and was on a high. Then I
talked to my search team on Monday and spiraled into a low. 

Some readers were taken aback by my use of the word search team in my previous post, and emailed me and said, "Search team? What is a search team and how do you get one? Can you get me one?"

Everybody doesn't have a team of people to help them search. Some people do it on their own. It's possible.

DNA has a steep learning curve and quite frankly, I know when I'm in over my head. 

Thankfully I'm surrounded by people who know what they're doing.  My team is made up of contacts I have made in the adoptee/mothers of loss/search angel community since I've been an active part of such. I formed relationships, one at a time. You can too.  Become active in conversation -- and make friends. You will meet people along the way, connect, give help and receive help.

I had a rush of excitement over the first round of results coming in, while still in the dark about the process. Then on Monday when I talked to the team, I realized the need to buckle up and hold on to the bar. 

Tuesday and Wednesday I hit a wall in what became really emotional days. The weight of everything hit me. I experienced a fresh wave of anger over the fact that I (or any other adoptee) is placed in this position. It's NOT okay.

I thank God for the technology of DNA testing but quite frankly it's outrageous that we  face having to do this simply because some people in our lives insist on secrets and lies.  And, we also face it because of unjust laws.

In addition to this, I also came to an awareness of the magnitude of what the team has to go through to interpret my results and conduct the search. It is utterly overwhelming  to me what a team of people, the majority of whom have never even met me in person, are doing on my behalf. They tirelessly give of themselves to do all this, while a family member who has the information that is rightfully mine sits by and does nothing. Well, not nothing. I wouldn't call having an outright lack of compassion, and caring not a whit about the suffering or the human rights of others nothing. 

This slayed me all over again.
My blood pressure shot up.
It stayed up for five days. 
I thought about going to the ER but resorted to measures at home trying to bring it down.

I went to therapy and explained how I was feeling.
Among other things, my therapist reminded me, there's only one way out -- through.
I had to let myself feel the pain as horrible as it is.
Like alcohol poured into a gaping wound.  
Facing reality is the only way to move ahead.
Not getting busier to get beyond it. 
Not working myself into the ground.
Not emotionally eating it away. 
Not denying it. 

We don't move beyond what we're unwilling to confront.

Laura Dennis, (my friend and fellow Lost Daughters sister/blogger) called me on Tuesday after work. We have long talks from America to Serbia, thank you, Magicjack! usually while I'm laying on my hammock. Gently rocking back and forth, I expressed what was in my heart. I cried and she cried with me. Now that's a real friend. The rain began to come down, mixing with my tears, and I poured it out until my battery went dead. Not uncommon for Laura and I to run out of battery before we run out of words...

I went inside and ate dinner with my family.
Finished up some more work.
Lit the candles in my bathroom. Filled up my big tub. Planned to just lay there and relax, but then an emotional dam burst. 

The tub feels safe. If your face becomes a wreck, you're already wet anyway so who cares? 
Crying until the hot water turned cold.

Searched for my flannel pajamas. Not a time for sexy.
Husband has a cold and cough and hasn't asked for sexy for a few days, so it's okay.
Laying weary head with damp hair on pillow.
Pulled the down comforter up.
Turned out the light, shut stinging eyes and let out a sigh. 
Asked God for a better day Wednesday.
Turn light back on, read Jesus Calling.
Let the words sink down into my spirit.
Sarah Young always reads my mail.
Turned light back off.
Please God pleeeeeeeeeeeease, let the pain subside.

I'm not going to drug myself with food, with denial, not going to bite my acrylic nails off. 
Not going to say asinine things like, "everything  happens for a reason."

Some things happen because people do stupid things.
They occur because people choose to care about themselves more than they care about others.
Don't let me be that way, God. 
I soooooo don't want to be that way. 
Make me the opposite of those who are searing my soul...

How does a person become so cold they care nothing about the suffering of another, especially of one they have birthed?

Adoptee Fantasy: My hero, Jack Bauer, comes and uses whatever means necessary to get the information. Waterboarding is not out of the question.

The alarm goes off.
Surely I had already shed every tear possible the night before.
Filling the tub up again and sliding in, the second tsunami of grief surprised me.
The only way out is through.
But how long is through?
How long does it last?
This week my therapist said, "Let's practice listening prayer and ask God the question together."

We closed our eyes and prayed. "You ask God the question," she instructed, "and while you do, I'm going to be praying for you."

Five or ten minutes passed. I opened my eyes.
"What did He say?" 

I said, "He said it needs to take as long as it takes."

"Okay then. Can you accept that, without guilt?" she replied.

That darn guilt. It chases me down.

 My adoptee friends say it hunts them down too, at a frightening pace. You try and try to out run it...and it's relentless. 

Alongside guilt runs a monster named shame. They are partners in crime. I hate those guys.

Back to the bath.
Laid there crying, releasing the salty tears til' raisin-like skin and cool water come again.

Plush towel rewarms my body. Wrap up. Pop contacts in.
Can't control the weeping yet. One pops out and the other goes up into my eyelid.
Unrelenting grief can frustrate. 
An amalgam of emotions churn within, having no respect for my daily agenda.
Work is waiting.
What about work doesn't grief understand?
Make another cup of dark roast coffee. Makes anything more bearable.
Sip on it while gently working contact back down to eyeball. 
Pull robe on, replace piles of wet kleenexes with bath towel as a more effective handkerchief.  
Bury my face in the towel and give in to the sobs that wrack my body.

"How long today, Lord? I need to get ready for work. I have a family. I have a job. I have responsibilities in this world. Did you forget? A lot of people are counting on me. I can't just sit around and cry. I have to preach tonight. You have to help me pull myself together." 

Step into closet to pick outfit and get dressed. 
But the only way out is through.
Miles yet to go on the journey through today. 
Not finished processing today's grief.
Plop down on the floor in closet. 
Facing mourning, not just morning.
Mourning loss, disappointment, rejection. Yes, it's rejection no matter how you spin it.
What will allay this tempest of affliction?

It would be easier to go eat an entire bag of chips than process pain.
No. That was then. This is now.
Laying there amidst fifty pairs of high heels, billows of grief keep coming.

God, please say something. 

He talks to me like this, I promise.

Answering me as I lay on the closet floor, He says: "Aren't you glad you don't live in the closet like some people you know?"

"Yep. Darn right I am!" I respond aloud, sitting up and feeling the strength to stand.

Sometimes I don't need a whole message. Just a word. A sentence is even better, like gold.

Choose another set of clothes. 
Let's wear something bright. Something bold.
Something that speaks, "I'm out of the adoptee closet." 
At least to me, it symbolizes that. 
Even if no one else knows it. It speaks to me.
That's what matters in this moment.
My therapist says I need to learn to be content in my own company, and nourish my soul. 

Garments on.
Walk out of closet.
Fresh set of contacts in.
Make up on.
Hair done.
Preached like a boss on Wednesday night.

Adoptee resilience at it's finest.

Adoption doesn't make me a success.
Getting up again does.

*All Photo Credits: Deanna Shrodes