November 25, 2013

There Is More to Me Than Being An Adoptee

Recently I was talking to an adoptee friend about her search for her original family. It's been a long and winding search, over many years time. When I asked what the main obstacle was in achieving her goals, without missing a beat, she said, “time.”

Photo Credit: Speed Pro Photo, Flickr

 I understood completely.

It has been difficult for her to keep up with her search, with all of her family and work obligations. I face the same challenge, and maybe you do too.

There is the factor that time is running out when it comes to original family members who may be deceased by the time you find them. 

And, there is the factor of the responsibilities of your current life.

We are adopted, yes.

But we aren’t just adopted.

Adoption is a facet in our lives – an important one that never changes no matter how old we get. We will never wake up, not adopted.

And yet, our adoption is one factor.
Being adopted is not the totality of our lives.

I am not simply an adopted person.
I carry many other roles and responsibilities. 

Wife, mother, minister, coach, writer, conference speaker, member of various boards/committees, and more.

Before you perceive this as some kind of glamorous life, realize:

1) It's not. 

2) Every week in addition to working full time pastoring a church, I also:

Clean my house. (Some weeks it is less clean than others.)
Cook meals and clean up.
Pull weeds in my yard. (Lots of them. Year round. And get fined if I don't. I'm convinced that HOA rules are actually taken from the Satanic Bible.)

Throw away old food that is in the refrigerator. My least fav job.
Sort, wash, fold and put away underwear and socks.
And a crap load of other stuff that nobody wants to do.

My dream if I were suddenly blessed with money falling from the sky would be to hire someone to do all the things I don’t want to do.  Then I would just do what I love. (Lead. Preach. Write. Help people. Cook supper when I feel like it. Go to Carrabbas more than I do now.)

So, my dream has not come true yet of dead presidents on paper descending from heaven, therefore, I carry these responsibilities. 

Many ask how I do it all. Hundreds of times, I’ve been asked that. I finally decided to write a book about it.    

An adoptee once asked me to me…”How do you do all this, AND you’re adopted?” By her own admission, adoption seems to be her life, 24/7.

My answer is that if you focus on nothing but adoption, it will be impossible to successfully fulfill your roles and responsibilities, and Xanax will become a really good friend.

Do we need to face reality? Yes.

Is coming out versus being in the fog preferable? Yes.

But focusing on adoption 24/7 will drive anybody to the point of insanity. Maybe because when you get down to it, focusing on adoptee issues involves trauma and loss, and to do that without a break would be taxing on anybody.

There are times my husband has to say, “Deanna, pull back just a little bit. It’s starting to swallow you up..."

I speak to the practicalities today because I notice many adoptees are frazzled and burned out, simply on searching issues, alone.   
Right now I’m searching for Mr. Greek (my natural father) and there are days it has been all encompassing. On my day off (Friday) a few weeks ago, I worked on the search. Sitting in my nightgown with my laptop, I drilled down on the search all day long and kept going into the night, straight through to the next morning. Until 4 am.    

I didn’t eat.
I didn’t sleep.
I just kept going and going and going. 
Then I slept in until noon on Saturday. 

The clock may be ticking for Mr. Greek. I may find a grave, instead of a person. But truth be told, I can’t sit in my PJ's in front of my computer on a daily basis, working on my search. 

I have a family.
I have a church to lead.
I have a house to keep up.

This is my house, be it ever so humble. (Good weeding job, Deanna. Good job.)

I have a life.

If I focus on nothing but adoption and my search 24/7, the rest of the life I do have will fall apart. 

And that would be horrible.
More trauma.
More pain.
More loss.
The last thing any adoptee needs.

My family
 From the very beginning, even when I was searching for my maternal family, I have always maintained that God doesn't want me to allow the family I do have to be destroyed to find the family I'm searching for.
So a balance is needed.

My husband is good at reminding me of the need to take a break.
This past week our family went to the opening night of  Catching Fire, together. It was awesome.

Maintaining a strong marriage is a priority to me. Spending time with my children is so important, although they are older. We don't remain a close family without intentionality. Spending time with friends makes life so much richer.

During other times, I just need rest. 
Sometimes the most spiritual thing I can do is take a nap with Max.

My Max

Adoption is a part of me.
It's an important part of me.
But it is not all of me.

It's not all of you, either.