Why? Why do we even care? Why care about others? Who cares if they die? They are just strangers. Was probably an asshole that nobody liked. They were jerks. They were mean. They didn’t believe the things that I do. They are not one of us.
These are all things that I would say. These were “justifiers” that allowed me to be an asshole. It works because, whether I am speaking to myself or in an echo chamber, I will never be called out on it. The world goes on and so did I until a couple of weeks ago I would be face to face with something that has changed me all the way to my core. I watched a man die and I was completely helpless.
I work in retail and have for twenty plus years. Trust me when I tell you that the things a retail worker sees, will leave them quite jaded and cynical about the human race. It was a normal day and I was resetting shelves of paint. I had about one hour left of my shift and all was great. An older gentleman and his wife were shopping right behind me when I heard a loud moan. As I turned around, time slowed to a crawl and the man collapsed face first to the floor. I rushed over and knelt down and put my face near his, he was unresponsive. Then I heard it, his last breath. I will never forget it, I hear it now. I knew it was hopeless at this point. The last exhale leaving this man’s body as his wife stood there horrified and screaming.
I was able to turn him over with the help of a manager as we waited for the EMTs to arrive. What I saw will haunt me forever. His lifeless eyes staring at nothing. I see his face daily and I still cannot work in that area of the store without having a panic attack.
Gone in a second. That’s it, one minute you are shopping for paint and then the next you are dead. Lives changed just like that. This guy may have been a wonderful person or he may have been a jerk. None of that matters because my heart breaks the same. I couldn’t save him and his wife went home a widow that day.
Do I still hate people? Why yes, I do. I do believe that when given the opportunity to rise to the occasion, people still only continue to think of themselves. They will wander through life oblivious to the fact that it could all be over in a second. We are all in this together and the world could be a paradise if we would just take a second to be kind to one another. I know it sounds sappy but can you imagine what it would be like?
None of us are getting out of here alive, don’t be remembered as an asshole. We have enough of those already.
My biological mother and my adoptive parents entered into a legal agreement in 1970. An agreement that would forever change all of our lives. An agreement that didn't include my input. An agreement that I could not legally enter into or honor as a newborn. My biological mother would give my adoptive parents her child (me) and my adoptive parents would have a new son. The state of Illinois would then change my birth certificate to show that I was actually born to my adoptive parents. This would in all of their eyes, erase the truth and we could all pretend to be one big happy family. Except, a relationship built on lies and deceit will fail every damn time. My parents didn't hide my adoption from me. I don't even remember being told. I do remember being proud that I was "chosen", I was a "gift". That is until I could no longer ignore the need to know the truth.
We could always talk about what my adoption meant to them. They were so happy, my feelings were not to be entertained. My curiosity and any deviation from the "happy adoptee" script was met with tears and sometimes yelling. The message was clear, "shut up and be grateful", so I did just that. I wouldn't talk to them about it for many years.
When I was 38, I found my mother on an online message board. I was excited! here she was! I would finally be "right" all of my emotional issues would be washed away, and I would finally be "fixed". Ha! did I mention that I can be a bit naive? Yeah, not only did she not "fix" me, my adoptive mother lost her shit and was scared that I was going to replace her? What the actual fuck? How does that even make any sense? At first I played the good adoptee and tried to calm everyone down and set my feelings aside. That didn't last. I had enough and decided that I was going to live my life and they could either support me or get out of the way.
My reunion fell apart with my biological mother when she refused to acknowledge my feelings and told me that I was just going through a phase. I ended it. My adoptive parents were happy and I am convinced that they take some sick pleasure in my loss.
Ten years later at age 48, I took a DNA test just to find out the other half of my ancestry. I found it and with the help of a kind soul, I met through another adoptee, I found my father. Shit! here we go again. This time I was ready for my parents to not be happy. They weren't. This time my adoptive father was upset. I attempted to talk to them and be an adult and it became clear that was not to be. They are so afraid and fragile that no discussion can be had. For my health I have stopped all talk about my adoption with them.
I am still in reunion with my Biological father. He had no idea about me and my biological mother wouldn't give me his name. I have been welcomed into a large and accepting family and I look forward to what the future will bring.
I know people right now who are waiting for their adoptive parents to die, before they start searching. The fear of upsetting your parents is implanted in us at such an early age that we become down right paralyzed at the though of making them angry. I don't know what happened with me, but I just said "fuck it" and leapt off of the cliff. The only regrets that I have is that I didn't start sooner.
Live your life for you. Not for your parents. If they really cared about you, they would talk about your feelings and help you find your answers. It's time the lies stopped and we start living.
Live your life, Do it! -- Scott
I have now starred in more than ten feature films. I am not good enough.
I have been contracted as a screenwriter for an upcoming movie. I am not good enough.
I have been married to my wonderful wife for more than 28 years. I am not good enough.
I can play multiple musical instruments. I am not good enough.
I can paint and draw. I am not good enough.
I have ran large retail stores. I am not good enough.
This list goes on and on and yet, I am still not good enough.
Why? Why would someone think this way? It's not right and it's not healthy. I believe it is because the first message I received in my life was that I was not wanted by my own mother. Before you feel the need to chime in and tell me some bullshit about how she wanted a better life for me and loved me so much she gave me away; I know the story, and that’s not what happened.
Rejected before birth, she had no plans of raising me or even letting my father have a chance.
I tell myself that I am not good enough in everything that I do. Even when presented with solid proof otherwise, I refuse to believe it. The reason? If I was good enough, my mother would've kept me. Remember a newborn doesn't give two shits about good intentions. A newborn can only react. The reaction? I am alone and the my mom is gone.
My adoptive parents didn't do much to convince me otherwise either. All they cared about was what would other people say? I couldn't be the perfect child and I eventually gave up. By the time High School rolled around I was already getting high and drinking every weekend. Hell, I think I set a record for amount of skipped school.
No matter what I would do, I couldn't get them to react. I was left to deal with my pain alone. During a therapy session while I was in rehab I tried to explain where my pain came from and my mother made it all about her. I shut down. Fuck it.
To this day they still don't care. I don't make movies they like. I am not famous. They claim that nothing would make them happier than to see my name on the TV. ( It already has been). But whatever.
In spite of all of this I still try and please them and I don't want to hurt them. I am slowly changing though. This past year I met my father. He and his family welcomed me in with open arms. I have never felt more accepted my entire life. They truly want me to be a part of the family. We are trying and I love them for it. I feel as if now at almost 50 years old, I have been born again. This time it is on my terms and I finally get a chance to be myself. The hell with what anyone else thinks.
Onward to the future --- Scott
Why are you searching, won’t your parents be upset? I know adoptees that are happy and
never have had the desire to search? Your mom loved you so much she gave you away so you would have a better life.
This is just a small sampling of the many thing that have been said to me over the years.
"Why are you searching, won’t your parents be upset?"
Well let me list a few of the reasons:
No medical history,
No idea of my ancestry.
Not looking like anyone in my family.
Wonder if I have brothers or sisters.
I feel like a stranger in my own “family”
No medical history:
This one can literally save your life. Up until last year my answer at the doctors office was always, unknown. This leaves medical professionals without crucial info that can help them diagnose. There is nothing like being reminded every time you fill out a medical form that you were unwanted. I also do not have children. One of the reasons why was because I had no idea how tainted my genes were. Was I a product of rape? Incest? The child of a serial killer? It simply wasn’t worth the risk to me. This year I was able to provide a lot of medical history and it was also one of the happiest days of my life.
This is a big one. Who am I? Who do I look like? Where am I from? Growing up I was told that just pick a place, you can be from wherever you want since you were adopted. What the...? That’s not how this works mom. I can’t make up shit just because you are too uncomfortable to talk to your son about real feelings. My grandmother was all about genealogy and I was fascinated by it. She was proud of the family and would share all these stories about “my ancestors”. She meant well, she treated me as if I was blood but in doing so dismissed my feelings. I would look through the pictures and wonder what my real ancestors looked like.
Finding my ancestry and tracing it back several hundred years has been an eye opening journey and has really given me a sense of belonging. So there! I don’t have to make that part up anymore. Finding out who I am was way more important than my parents feelings. After all, it’s my life, isn’t it?
"I know adoptees that are happy and never have had the desire to search."
Let me start this one by saying, No you don’t. You only think you do and you are only saying this in hopes that I will shut up as you paint me as being crazy for wanting answers. This line of bullshit seems to only be said to adoptees. If I would have lost my whole family in a house fire while I was still a baby, you would show some empathy and understanding. But since I lost my whole family due to other people’s decisions, you feel it’s ok to gaslight me and tell me I’m being unreasonable. Who’s the asshole now? Those adoptees that say they don’t want to search, they are not lying. They just may not be ready to tackle the emotions involved with such discovery. They may not feel comfortable or safe expressing their true feelings. We have spent many years being conditioned to not upset our parents. Some are actually waiting for their adoptive parents to die before they search. Stop and think about that for a second. To be so afraid of offending your parents that you wait until they are dead first. I was terrified when I started my search but I was not going to waste anymore time wondering who I was.
"Your mom loved you so much she gave you away so you would have a better life."
I am going to stop you right there. For one thing you don't know her. I do and this is pure bullshit. She had no intention of ever raising me. She continued to drink, and do drugs. It was and still is all about her. People need to stop trying to tell others about things they know nothing about. You don't make me feel better, you are just another person who thinks they know me and my life. I will never know if I had a better life. One thing for sure is that I had a different life.
I do have people in my life that listen and don't center the conversation on them. Those are the people I cherish. None of my adoptive family listen, to them I am ungrateful and angry. My father who I just found, along with several cousins, accept me and treat me in a way I never knew possible. My wonderful wife has been there for me, even when I didn't deserve her. I also count the numerous adoptees that I have found online. We have each other and when we surround ourselves with those that truly love and support us, we thrive.
"Chasing a dream as I go higher
Playing it mean, my heart's on fire
Living my life, ain't no pretender
Ready to fight with no surrender" -- No Surrender -- Judas Priest
You are not alone -- Scott
Forgiveness? What is that? something magical? I have heard it said many times that giving forgiveness is for yourself and for you to be able to move on. Really? So let's see, all I have to do is call up my biological mother and tell her, "I forgive you for abandoning me when I needed you the most"? Yeah, that's a hard pass. I had no say in what she did. Her intentions do not mean a damn thing to a newborn. I still suffer the scars of her decisions to this very day. I could mumble the magic words of forgiveness and guess what? I am still an adoptee, I am still living as someone else, I still have a fake ass birth certificate. Forgiveness changes absolutely nothing. Not a day goes by that I am not mad at her.
I bring all this up because yesterday I started writing a blog post about being bullied and I was incredibly triggered. I just love it when I trigger myself. Well there goes the day. I was bullied relentlessly all through school. Physically and emotionally. I don't know how I survived.
One of the most traumatic events was when my best friend and I had a falling out that turned so ugly. I have been upset about it for thirty plus years. My friend did apologize to me for everything that happened and I didn't give it much thought. We reconnected on social media many years ago and I was constantly reminded about those events. He had apologized and I never accepted it. I stopped writing yesterday and reached out to him to apologize for my role in the falling out. You know what happened? I could breath, I am better and I really believe that I can move past this. He and I are good and will continue to rebuild our relationship.
I do think the only reason this is possible is because he and I had a pre-trauma relationship. I do not have a pre-trauma relationship with my mom. All we have is trauma. There is nothing to rebuild, no foundation to work with. She abandoned me and I had to find her thirty-eight years later. No matter how much I want the weight of the pain she caused me lifted off of my shoulders, It will never happen. We have no where to go. She is a stranger that caused me great pain and I can not forgive her. I accept that .
You are not alone -- Scott
Magic, thats what she was supposed to be, something that would take all of my pain away. The one thing that would "fix" me. I believed I was broken and needed to be fixed. If only I could find her.
As a young child, I fantasized so much about her. She was someone famous, someone rich, someone that was going to put me first, someone who was going to take away all of my fears. I would stare out of my bedroom window, waiting for her to and get me. I actually expected to see her walking down the street towards my house. This stung so much more when I found out she knew who my adoptive parents were and knew how to find me. I had nothing but a name that she no longer went by. Most of all she was going to hug me and hold me tight. I would feel the thing that was never given to me, A mother's embrace. I would never feel what I was denied, what was taken from me.
It took me many years before I would realize that I would never know what that feels like. I was robbed and will live my life, forever knowing that, at my most vulnerable I wasn't wanted. I came into this world unwanted by the only person I had known for nine months. The next day I was given to total strangers for them to raise as their own.
So no magic bullet or pill would fix me. I was broken at birth and would have to find a way to heal and come to terms with what happened. Ten years after finding her, I met my father (he didn't know about me at all ) and was welcomed "home" with open arms. For the first time I felt "right". While I am incredibly angry that it took 48 years for me to actually start to heal, I look forward to my journey with the family I never knew.
You are not alone. -- Scott
Yes, I am angry. I am an angry adoptee. Contrary to popular belief not all adoptees are happy. I would also guess that the percentage of angry adoptees is much higher than is acknowledged. Not all of us feel safe enough to share our true feelings and we will gladly play the part of "happy adoptee" just to avoid conflict.
Was I always angry? No, this is very recent and really reared its head once I had found my biological father and mother. I learned that I was adopted at a very early age. It didn't really phase me. I was happy, I had been chosen, and I was grateful to be raised by a family that provided for me. As I got into my teenage years, adoption was taboo. There was no discussion to be had and all was good, as long as I assumed the role of the good son. We never got to talk about me and my feelings, it was always how they felt, my adoption was more about them than about me.
I found my mother a little over ten years ago and it was a whirlwind of emotions. I was so torn, I was happy I found her, in fact too happy. I was blind to who she really was and it took me awhile to realize that she only cared about herself. Again, my adoption was not about me. I was angry with her for abandoning me. She blew it off as a phase and told me I would get over it. For the record, I haven't.
She claimed she had no idea who my father was and it would be a few months after meeting that she called and told me she found my father. She gave me a name and phone number. I called and yes, this guy was with my mother at the right time. After requesting that he take two separate DNA tests, it was determined that he was not the father. She insisted that he and the DNA tests were wrong. I for the life of me couldn't figure out why she insisted it was him and refused to tell me about the other people she was with at the time. Again, something important to me was being ignored because it made them uncomfortable. I was pissed at her constant deflection and ignoring of my feelings. I cut off all contact. I have not spoken with her in over ten years.
Just last year I submitted to Ancestry for a DNA test and through a lot of detective work and the help of a wonderful researcher I met through a friend at work, we found my father. He never knew, and like me he was pissed off at my mom for not saying anything.
My father and his family welcomed me into their family as if I had always been there (this did not happen with my mom's family). I was overcome with joy and sadness at the same time. This warm welcome and finally seeing people that look and act like me is what finally set the fuse on my anger.
Here I was, 48 years old and for the first time in my life feeling like I belonged. I was wanted and I was loved for who I am. I did not have to pretend to be anybody else. It was liberating.
I am angry that years were wasted not knowing my family. I am angry that at no point in my adoption was it ever about me. It was always what is best for my mother and as long as my adoptive parents were happy then nothing else mattered. Too much time was lost on the fragile egos of three people and my mother had proved once again who came first in her life.
Damn right I am pissed and I will not conform or change just to keep the peace. I am done being afraid.
You are not alone and I hear you -- Scott
Gift? That’s what I have been called on countless occasions. What’s a gift? Most people get things like clothes, jewelry, pets, cars, and other things. So that’s it? I’ve been equivocated to a puppy or a new pair of underwear. Great! I should be grateful. Well, that’s what you want to say to me right? Be grateful that someone took you in as their own. I guess I should be grateful that I wasn’t just tossed in a dumpster. It wouldn’t have changed anything had I survived. I would have still been rejected by my mother. The one person that I counted on had given me to total strangers that paid her hospital bill.
So no, I had been purchased and brought home to be raised a Warner. My heritage and ancestry erased and birth records falsified to state that my adoptive mother gave birth to me. I was now theirs and to forever be erased from my blood relatives. Or so they thought.
My mother and adoptive mother maintained contact for awhile after the transaction. My mother knew where to find me, my entire life. The fact that neither one ever felt that I should know is telling. I have been fed a bunch of bullshit my whole life and wasn’t even worthy of the truth. Keeping secrets feels safer but the truth will always find a way.
So no! I am not grateful and the more I have discovered, the madder I get.
You are not alone and I hear you. -- Scott
Tabula rasa (/ˈtæbjələ ˈrɑːsə, -zə, ˈreɪ-/ "blank slate") is the theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception.
Blank slate? When I was adopted in 1970, this was the common wisdom. Your baby will be a blank slate to shape as your own. Unfortunately this is complete bullshit. There are things about us that are innate and coded into our dna. Don't believe me? Then explain how when I met my father for the first time, we share mannerisms, body movements and even personality traits. I am like my biological mother in some ways that is just down right freaky. Shouldn't I be just like the people that raised me if I was indeed a blank slate?
God, I was so different from them. I always felt "off" like I didn't quite fit. Every attempt to set myself apart from them was met with them being upset in one way or the other. My mom was so distraught when she saw that I checked witchcraft books out from the library. She screamed through tears that I didn't believe in God. My dad would dress me in ways that early on would ensure that I got an ass beating at school.
I have so many stories to tell about my upbringing but one that really sticks out to me is the time I got my ear pierced. He screamed and yelled a lot and then told me that "I have a son, not a daughter!" and I am sitting there thinking that you don't even have that, I am not your child. To this day I am still struggling to find myself.
Guess what I am trying to say is that no matter how hard they tried to mold me into one of them, I resisted. I resisted hard. Drugs, alcohol, theft and what ever trouble I could get into. Anything to help me feel like I was my own person. As soon as I graduated high school I went into the military and was sent to Okinawa for two years. I was happy to be so far away.
They tried hard to make me one of them and it didn't work, I am not a "blank slate". I am slowly emerging as my own person and breaking the chains of conformity, one day at a time.
You are not alone and I hear you. -- Scott