Family Ties Part II

Adoption – Families Created

I am adopted. Growing up my parents tried hard to create the ideal family. The

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undercurrent of loathing that permeated our home couldn’t be missed except by the most oblivious observer. Observers like those that placed two infants into this highly dysfunctional home.

My father, my Daddy, my Hero, my true heart. He passed November 2009 I miss him every day. He was not without faults and we did not always have a close relationship, in fact it wasn’t until I was an adult I appreciated who he was as a person, by then he had mellowed significantly from the man who raised me.

My mother, my nemesis yet still the woman who significantly influenced me, is still alive and kicking at 91 years. I will never understand her though I have insight into some of what made her tick.

I have one younger brother also adopted, through our lifetime we have had our battles and even  periods where we barely communicated yet he remains my adored baby brother.

My parents divorced nearly 40 years ago, despite they both wanted it, I heard it was extremely acrimonious . They had stayed together far too long “for the sake of the children”. At the time my brother was still living at home, I was a runaway, they had no idea if they would ever see me again.

Imagination

Growing up I dreamed my ‘real’ parents would rescue me. Some days they were gypsies and would whisk me off in their wagons for adventures. Other days my father would arrive

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in his limousine and explain it was all a terrible mistake that he had been searching for me ever since the Wicked Witch had stolen me from the hospital. I had a vivid imagination as a child.

My mother had a rich imagination as well, hers was crueler and entailed taunts, ‘You are just like your mother’. This was a favorite and I often wondered what she knew that she wasn’t telling me. Some days I would probe for answers, I wanted to know where I came from. It became a game with me begging for answers and her taunting she knew more than she did, more than she was telling.

Different Realities

My brother and I have very different versions of our childhood. There are days I wonder if we grew up with the same parents in the same household. I grew up hurt, angry and always the outsider. He grew up knowing he was adored, by all of us and always the insider. The only person that he was ever really angry at was me, I often wondered if he was angry that I left or angry that I returned; I don’t think he really knows the answer.

Forgive and forget, he believes it is my duty that she is my mother. He even says she told him she was sorry she hurt me. My only response to this is one of stunned silence, really? In all the years of our stand-off, all the years where I have stood silently waiting for her to acknowledge the harm she did in her wrath and jealous rages not once has she said “I am sorry” so why now should I allow that it is fine because she told her beloved son what I waited thirty-five years to hear.

Consequences, there always are some for any act. I know her history and I am sorry for the hurt she suffered at the hands of her own parents and even at the hands of my father. She brought her broken heart and psychosis to a marriage and then to child rearing, it was an unfortunate combination she and I.

Family Ties II

Families can be created through the great gift of adoption. My experience as an adopted child is not the norm. My mother and I were a toxic combination that no one could have

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predicted though looking more closely at my parents’ marriage might have prevented their being candidates for adoption at all. Hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t know the state of their marriage at the time of my or my brothers’ adoption, only after the fact and only the history from speaking to those who knew them then.

I am not sorry I was adopted, not even sorry that I was adopted by this couple. Might my life have been different under different circumstances with different parents? Certainly, but I would be who I am and I would have the family I have, good – bad – indifferent they are nonetheless my family.

Family Ties, Part III – Nature versus Nurture

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