Yesterday there was a link to a blog written by an adoptive mother being circulated around Facebook and Twitter. In this blog the mother was sharing her internationally adopted daughter’s story shamelessly. Sharing details about her daughter’s life she had no right sharing. Details which she used to demonstrate how damaged she believed her daughter to be. She was criticizing people telling her her daughter was “lucky” to have been adopted.
I cannot imagine having my history shared by someone else in such a public way. My history is incredibly painful for me. I can trace the pathology of my childhood to my actions and reactions to things as recent as the loss of my granddaughter. I have lived and breathed the “your not good enough” mantra for most of my life. It is something I have only recently been able to confront and deal with as not dealing may risk even more loss in my life. To have it shoved on me publicly at such an early age would have been detrimental in many ways. Everyone would have known I wasn’t good enough. At least, that is how my child mind would have thought.
My parents divorced when I was 5 years old. My mother remarried very quickly after her divorce from my father was final. This newly formed family was a tough fit for my brother and me. It included a new step-brother, and a new half-sister who arrived about a year later.
The relationship between my mom and my step-dad required a lot of compromises. From my point-of-view, the compromises were made primarily by my mom, my brother, and me. I will never know for sure what life was like for my mom after they married, but I can say it was very different from the life we had with my father.
When I was around 6, my cousin, me and my step-brother were climbing a tree in my grandparent’s yard. I think there was some sort of competition going on between me and my step-brother. It was “let’s see who can climb the highest”. The tree was probably 40 to 50 feet tall. The 6 year old me remembers we were climbing very high. The adult me believes it may not have been as high as I remember.
I was determined to surpass my step-brother. He was a total brat, and I couldn’t stand him. Anytime there was an argument between the two of us, I was always over-ruled and made to give in. There were no parents around. I was not going to give in that time.
He had other ideas. When I went to climb past him and further up the tree, he insisted on putting his hands where mine were. I yelled at him to stop because my hands were slipping. He forced my hands to move, and I lost my grip and fell out of the tree. My head hit two branches on the way down. When I woke up I was on my grandmother’s couch. I began crying and my mother hissed at me trying to keep her voice down while saying, “Shut-up, you are not that hurt!” I understand now she was trying to keep my step-dad from hearing me and getting angry.
I was pushed out of chairs and had toys taken by adults to accommodate children from my step-family. My brother and I were left home alone or with grandparents so my mother, step-father and little sister could go on family vacations or to dine out. There are other stories from my childhood which involve the ways my brother and I were neglected or forgotten by both my parents, but I think I’ve shared enough.
So, why am I sharing such personal information? To illustrate how wrong it is for someone other than me to share this information publicly. How I was treated by my parents when I was a child is my story to share or not share as I see fit. I get to feel about my parents the way I want. I can love them and grieve their loss regardless of the mistakes they made when I was growing up. I can choose to forgive because it is my right to do so without public judgement, interference or knowledge.
I’ve tried to make sure I share very little of Olivia’s personal experiences. I’ve tried to limit my story to only things which involved me. It is very sad so many adoptive parents cannot refrain from making themselves out to be a “savior” to the “broken” children they often describe in their articles and blogs because really that is why they are posting and writing those stories in such horrifying detail. It’s for their own glory, and it’s disgusting.