An Adoption Story

19 Feb

I don’t own this story and I’m not sure it’s one for me to tell. But it is one that I extrapolate from circumstances and by extension that I feel sadness, empathy and sympathy for this person. This adoptee that was denied all those things while he lived. This adoptee that played and plagued into my relationship with this boyfriend I speak of. Because this person was my boyfriend’s brother.

In a way I feel like I should tell this story, not because this person was a good person, but that if no one cries for him, feels sympathy for him, and doesn’t learn from his experience, then tons was lost and nothing was gained. By the very nature that he was so angry and upset at the world, I feel that by doing this I am celebrating his life, but in no way possessing his life, making it up for him, or excusing his actions. I do not like telling other people’s stories of adoption. I do not like owning them, but I feel that I was in the best position to understand his pain just a little bit. And it was an important pain that he could not vocalize to the world. It is told through a double filter. So please excuse the gaps, the extraction and the unconscious bending of facts.

This adoptee was adopted as I was–out of thoughts of infertility. His parents were White Middle Class living in the suburbs of a major city in about the 60′s. As such, they were told to have a well-adjusted adoptee, you must never tell him that he was adopted. They kept to this.

At the same time the parents never discussed with their parents about adoption–it’s still something that a lot of adoptive parents do today in the United States, though it would be unthinkable in extended families. The father’s family–the paternal grandparents took adoption as a pawn to play with and spoke the words that can destroy an adoptive child’s mind as this adoptee was a baby. “If you don’t behave we’ll send you back to the orphanage.”

Of course, this was done out of the sight of the parents. This is an unimaginable thing to say.

Meanwhile the parents of this adoptee found out, Hey! They can have kids after all. They got pregnant. But from the report I have, they never talked to him about it–because he was to be considered as not adopted at all. That anger he felt accumulated from his grandparents and launched at his parents, would build and manifest because he knew he was adopted, his parents knew he was adopted, his grandparents knew he was adopted, but no one told what the other knew. So what could lie beneath the surface? But anger. Now there was a new child on the block. Their child. This child, he felt deep inside was replacing him. This child was the “real” child. So what did he say to this child when he first saw him? “Die.”

But there was no release for this anger he had inside. He’d been robbed of his birth parents, his birth family, his birth history, replaced by a child of his parents’ own in his eyes and told if he didn’t behave he’d be taken back to the orphanage. Perhaps he hoped by lashing out and hoping that this younger child–not brother–did die that he would get a chance to go back. Maybe go back to a place where a birth mother would love him and not replace him.

So he tortured this younger brother as much as possible in the hopes that this younger brother might go away. He might die off, but then it got worse. The parents had a second child, which they discussed among themselves, but not their current children. The anger mounted. What is an ideal family? Four members and a dog. They got a dog. So he felt he didn’t belong. He was, in fact, the fifth wheel.

More anger mounted. He lashed out at the world. He got in constant trouble, turned to drugs, violence and his parents didn’t tell him he was adopted, but he already knew.
They finally told him that he was adopted. But inside of him this unleashed the greatest anger, fear, and sorrow that he could not process. Years of it had built up in him and they were now all confirmed. But he didn’t know what to do with it. So he only became more and more angry because he couldn’t say what he wanted to say. It was the forbidden zone. Because his parents wouldn’t acknowledge his adoption, help him with his search for identity and self after this turmoil, his anger deepened into a lava pit. Always simmering.

So the handicapped space, he believed was right to park in. His brother’s toys, he had the right to break. Those black people, they’d robbed him of his jobs. His parents, had robbed him of true love. He was screaming inside with anger and pain because he felt robbed.

He could not take employment, but he could not take this as his fault. It was their fault.

He got married, had a kid, but he still could not find what he craved deep inside. He began to seek it elsewhere, ended up divorced, bounced from job to job.
He finally found his birth mother who was dying of cancer. He spent time with her. He found out that he had been born of this teenage mother in a diner. But she did not fill the void that he was looking to fill. No one could fill it just right. No one could get rid of that anger. It was a righteous sort of anger someone should understand.

No job lasted long until through his anger and his pain, his girlfriend and his wishes, he found himself homeless living with two dogs. Dogs knew affection and love–an unconditional sort of love. He didn’t need his wife, his child, his girlfriend. He wanted to know unconditional love. However, his dogs gave love to him, even if they were homeless with him. They stood by him. But they could not fill it–because he wanted it from those around him. His birth mother had died. His adoptive mother had given up on him. The father he was angry at had died. The grandparents he so admired–ironically the ones that had said those words had died. No one cared.

But he was hungry and tired. Living in a warehouse, half-starved, he found some nuts, which he knew he was allergic to. But hunger overcame his judgment and he ate them.

His ex-girlfriend rushed to his side, but they found him too late. He was in a coma for a month. His adoptive mother had washed her hands of him in frustration of his anger, unquelling. She did not, in fact, understand the depth of his anger. And would not come to see him. His ex-girlfriend would not let her. And so he died in a coma, knowing only the unconditional love of his dogs.

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