I was adopted. I don’t exactly know why, I think the truth is just as hazy to my birth parents as it is to me but its something like “I wasn’t ready”. As a child I was told I was adopted, my blood relative, Aunt, adopted me and I knew who my birth Mother was my entire life. Now, I am going to tell you about my perspective on this and how it still impacts me today. Caution, this gets heavy.
I remember watching my birth mother raise 3 additional children in a near perfect home and adopting via marriage a 4th. She provided a stable, Christian space for her children with her loving husband and the father of those children. I remember thinking that I wanted that stability, that kind of parenting. I had never experienced a father, ever, I wanted that. I kept thinking to myself “What’s wrong with me? Why was I given up? Why didn’t my own Mother and Father want me?” It never occurred to me that those kinds of questions were unfair and their decisions had nothing to do with me, I was only a child.
But still, I thought about it every, single day. Every time my adoptive Mother (just Mom from here on out, I never call her “adoptive mom”) packed us up and moved I thought about my birth mom and her kids in the same house, in the same neighborhood of the same small town. Then there was my father, whom I still have not met. He lived within 20 minutes of me my entire life, always a 20 minute drive away no matter where we moved and despite this, he’s never seen me, full on rejection, for 38 years. What kind of person does this? What kind of family does this?
I spent my entire life thinking how broken I must be that my own parents threw me away. Am I that broken that the ones who created me didn’t find enough value in me to bother keeping me and one of them, my father, never even wanted to meet me, ever…still. I was just a baby. I mean, within 2 weeks I guess I was gone, discarded, given up, not good enough. I wasn’t good enough because I watched my birth Mom raise 4 more kids perfectly, in a stable home, with the perfect Christian value system and she once told me “My kids’s idea of a catastrophe is they don’t get ice cream for the night.” I’ll never forget those words because that previous weekend I was at my Aunt and Uncles house in the Iowa countryside watching them all smoke meth and shoot at cherry tree’s thinking they were federal agents while I tried to stay small and unnoticed in the “porn” room. I attempted suicide at that time of my life, I was around 12 or 13, twice.
At 2 weeks old no one knew I’d grow up thinking I was a girl in a boy’s body. Nobody new I was going to commit a crime or end up in prison, though statistically speaking I became a prime candidate the day my birth parents walked away from me (still, my decisions are my own). I was not good enough in a raw form, born that way, born not good enough to love. And both of my birth parents thought that. Neither of them wanted me.
As an adult, now 38, I am just now admitting I think this, just now in a head space where I can address this deep-seated trauma. It came up when I was trying to understand why I gravitate towards those who harshly criticize me and seek the affection of those who “dislike” me while resenting those who freely love me without my seeking it first. Well, go back to my childhood and now I am starting to see a connection. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know this, whenever I’m rejected I think “Why? Why am I not good enough? Maybe if I get them to tell me why I can fix that and be loveable, maybe then I can get my birth parents to love me.”
I know how it sounds, I am embarrassed even admitting it, let alone writing about it. I know I’m supposed to say some crap about “It had nothing to do with me, it was just them making a childish mistake”, but if I said that I wouldn’t be truthful. No. The truth is I want answers and I have been seeking them my entire life behind the masks of everyone who rejected me hoping that if they could tell me why – I can fix what’s wrong with me, the reason my parents gave me up, my birth defects. Maybe then I’ll meet someone who I can love and who loves me back. I don’t know.
I dislike it when someone says “Ruth you’re so beautiful and smart, you’re like, the whole package” yet, they won’t date me. How can you find someone “beautiful” and “smart” and “the whole package” and when they say they want to date you, they won’t? Because they’re lying. That’s why. If I was those things to those people I’d be their partner, now wouldn’t I? But I am not, instead, they rejected me. I am left thinking to myself “why?”.
I used to think it was because I was fat. Then it was because I wasn’t masculine enough. Or smart enough. Eventually rich enough. Then I was a bad parent, with a poor choice in partner (she is a good person, my ex-wife, but I never presented my authentic self to her, or anyone until after prison). So I lost my weight, 140 lbs so far. I am publishing academic papers and am “intelligent” according to many. I have serious strengths. I am resilient and well-liked, popular and highly driven. I am nice to people, genuine and authentic. I intake criticism and am careful with people’s emotions. Yet, I am still not good enough to be loved. I’m not dateable and my birth parents still want nothing to do with me. Beautiful and smart but not enough to be someone’s partner or child.
I know, I know. Thank God for therapy. I know…