I am officially one month away from the launch of my debut memoir, and if I am honest, I am as excited as I am terrified.
My story touches on ideas of family, love, identity, and separation. Putting all of those things together has the potential to make some people uncomfortable. So I am bracing myself, and my family for negativity (that I hope never appears).
When I first set my story to the page, I had one goal; to create a place in the world where my siblings and I could be together. Continue reading
the struggle is real, you guys.
For the first day of November, a.k.a “National Adoption Month”, here’s a bit of advice:
When you get together with your long lost siblings, try to take some group photos without all the significant others.
Nearly a decade since my siblings set has been complete, we still do not have a single photo of all seven us alone/together.
By National Adoption Month 2015, it is my mission to rectify this issue.
my sister before I knew her
The first time I saw the man was in my mother’s living room.
[And here is where the qualifiers begin.]
The first time I saw the man was in my birth-mother’s living room, not the living room where I spent hundreds of Saturday mornings watching cartoons, or where I practiced piano for one hour every day. This was a living room that was only vaguely more familiar to me than it was to him in the autumn of 2005, when we met. I was twenty-two years old. If he hadn’t been so uncomfortable that day, I don’t think he would have left an impression on me at all.
But it was clear from the way he adjusted his glasses. How he remained standing when everyone else sat. His laugh so tight that it could have been a cough. He was uncomfortable. And his discomfort became graver when his daughter who was also my sister smiled into the pages of an old photo album, seeing for the first time her features displayed on the faces of her ancestors. Something her adoptive father could never give her. Where once he had gained a daughter when I lost a sister, the poles of that event were now reversed. At twenty-two years old I lacked the capacity to appreciate the similarities of our situations. I couldn’t believe that an adult might be just as confused as I was by the way adoption can spin your emotional compass.
You’d never think that we didn’t even grow up together…..We. Are. Ridiculous.
My sisters Becca and Rebekah, on Facebook….
“After a conversation about making a film noir narrative about the mundane things in life with Rebekah, here is my piece about shaving legs. A bit of hilarity to make up for this mornings epically emo status. Enjoy.: “Sitting in warm, soapy water was always my favorite way to unwind. I slid into the tub like a hand sliding into a warm glove. After taking a moment to let the steam and bubbles seep into my skin, I delicately lifted my razor and slid it up my calf. The razor swiftly dispatched every unwanted hair quickly and efficiently, like a mobster with a tommy gun mowing down a crowd.”
me, with my birth mother, adoptive father, and five of my six biological siblings
While everyone is focused on preparations for Halloween & Dia de Los Muertos, let us not forget that November is National Adoption Month.
According to the latest census, there are 6 million adoptees in the United States. That number is constantly growing as 125,000 families are actively trying to adopt, annually. One in three Americans is impacted by adoption, as a member of a birth family, an adoptive family, or as an adoptee.
So chances are that you know more than one person whose life has been shaped by adoption. Hallmark doesn’t exactly make a card for it…. so here are some ways to participate this November:
- If you are a member of the adoption triad (birth family, adoptee, or adoptive family) join an adoption support group and share your stories
- If you know a family that has recently grown through adoption, make a point to help welcome the new child, just as you would a newborn.
- A wish of ‘good luck’ and support for a friend that may be trying to locate their biological family is always welcome.
- Or, if you are just a supporter you can sign a petition to support access to open adoption records.
Throughout life, we all ‘adopt’ family of various forms– those people who are ‘like’ sisters, mothers, fathers, or brothers to us– so you could also take a moment to thank your own adopted family (in whatever form they take) for putting up with your random array of craziness.
I know I will : )