an identity.

Identity: a concept of knowing one’s being, the inner workings of personality, soul and worth. We grow into our identity throughout our childhood and into adulthood, with experience and psyche shaping how we navigate the world.

Adoption strips this system, leaving behind only a trail of broken fragments and loose ends.

I had an identity before I was adopted; relatives I trusted, childhood friends I played with, a routine I was familiar with. But shortly into the adoption process, that all began to disappear. I was thrown into a foreign world. I had no relationship with these people that I was to call mom, dad, aunt, and uncle. I had no friends or familiar faces surrounding me and everything I was used to was thrown out.

I felt like a stranger. A different person. A different identity.

Growing up, I quickly learned how to become a chameleon, a trait that many adoptees share. I had the ability to change aspects of my identity to blend into my surroundings; to be the person who I was presumed to be by those around me. It became the only way I knew how to navigate through the chaos.

In that process, I lost my true self, never really getting the chance to know who she was in the first place. I was told, I was expected, it was assumed, I would be a certain way and I did everything in my power to meet those expectations. This guaranteed then, that I would experience love and belonging.

I became a person who was alone, not knowing who I was. I had very little confidence, no direction or certainty.

My adulthood has been a process of finding the true me, my true identity. It has not been easy, the journey filled with moments of wanting to hide back beneath the chameleon facade, vulnerability seeming too painful to expose. But, as I continue to move forward, I walk with no regrets.

I’m becoming me. Not the me my adoptive family hopes I am, not the me my birth family thinks I am. Just me.

And, I have to say, I’m really beginning to like who this girl is.

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