Adoptees: Trying to Make Up For What You Lost Will Crush You

Our family - back when all the kids were still in the nest. <3

When I was younger, I fantasized about having the perfect family. Then I grew up and knocked myself out trying to have one.  

I've been married for 31 years. I tried so hard at marriage to the point where it was unhealthy for me as a human being at times. I believe marriage is about two people out-serving each other. Out-forgiving each other. More than anything it’s about servanthood. I still believe that, but for some years in my marriage, I allowed things to happen that weren't just about servanthood or forgiveness - they were unhealthy, and needed to be addressed and corrected. They have now been rectified and I am so thankful for that. My point is that I allowed those things to happen thinking that I had to make it work or save the marriage at all costs - even at the destruction of myself.

I tried at parenthood to the point where I shamed myself over and over again if I made a mistake. (And I made plenty of them, like any parent.) And when my kids had any kind of problems, I took it suuuuuuper hard. And I blamed myself for anything that happened.

The reason I did all this was that I wanted to achieve the perfect family – at any cost – to make up for things I went through earlier in life. (Relinquishment, adoption, and the dysfunction of my adoptive family that ended in the divorce of my parents.) My thought was that I would do whatever it took – at any cost – to have the perfect family once I got a chance to do it myself. I would sacrifice whatever necessary even if it killed me to have the perfect family.

Can I just tell you that it got incredibly heavy? So much so that I had to give up the goal. I haven’t given up on having a good family or even a great family. But, I have surrendered my goal of having a perfect family.
When I became an adult my thought process was, “I’m getting this. I deserve it after all I’ve been through.” Now I realize that nobody – adopted or not – gets a perfect family. Because we are all flawed human beings. You can have a good family but if you are striving for perfection it will be so dang heavy, you will feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Sometimes I catch myself in the throes of disappointment over how something went with my husband or one of my kids and I realize, there I go again…having this false expectation of perfection – from them or from me. I have to remind myself all the time that it is just that – something false that was never appropriate for me to strive for.

I have come to terms with the fact that family or anything in life will never be perfect this side of heaven, BUT – we can create something that is really, really good. 

I know I am not the only adoptee that tries to “make up for” all that I lost in life. In my effort to do that, I put a heavy yoke upon me that I was never meant to bear. Maybe you are at this point today, adoptee, where you have tried and tried to create a world that makes up for all that you lost. If you are feeling the crushing weight of that today, can I just encourage you – let go of the expectation of perfection and breathe. As someone once said, life doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing.

I Cannot Live With You If You Are One of "Those People"!!!

This is us!

My marriage could have seriously been in jeopardy this past year, over an Ancestry test. 

No, it's not what you think. 

This past year my husband tested on Ancestry. He was really excited to do it, and to investigate his family heritage. Before he tested, I warned him that he may well find some surprises along the way. “You might have relatives you don’t know about – even close ones,” I said, “and when you do, you have to help them.”
“Well, how do I know if I want to help them if I don’t even know them yet?” he said. 

“You don’t have a choice but to help them!" I said. "You’re married to me!” LOL

Okay, I just said LOL, but really I wasn't joking. Not at all.

I didn't care if that test showed that he had 10 siblings he didn't know about. He's married to Deanna Shrodes gosh darn it, and that means he helps people who take DNA tests. It's The. Way. It. Is.  

I told my husband in no uncertain terms, "I cannot live with you if you are one of those people!" 

"Who are those people?" he said. 

"Those people are those who don't help other people who are trying to find their family. 
Nope, can't live with those people! Just. Can't. Do. It.

That is a special type of cruelty that cannot co-exist with me.

So, the Shrodes didn’t have to wait long to actually have to live this out. Larry didn't have any siblings waiting in the wings, or any kids I didn't know about. Nevertheless there were surprises. Someone reached out who was a cousin match, searching for their father. Larry knew the information they needed.  He helped the person as soon as they reached out so they could connect the dots as well as get connected personally. I was never so excited in my life!! And, thank God, I can stay married now. Or at least in my bed and not have to move to the couch or make him do it.

In the past month I have encountered two people in my search who were not helpful. That's okay, they will both receive a victorious "I did it!" postcard in the mail from me when the search is complete.    

I have the type of job where I don’t have the option of isolating myself from the public at large. And I don’t want to. However there is a difference between the public at large, those who are in your inner circle. Plenty of people  exist who deny human being’s basic human desire to know the truth of who they are and where they come from. Thankfully they are much fewer in my experience than those who have a desire to help – and to live truthfully. All I’m saying is that I don’t need this kind of negativity in my life up close and personal.  I am friends with many people who don't share my religious or political views. But this is an issue I just can't build a bridge on. 

Thank God Larry helped this person. We can proceed on to year 32 of our marriage!