Identity. It’s a concept of knowing one’s being, the inner workings of personality, soul and worth. Identity forms throughout our childhood into adulthood, constantly changing and molding based on our surroundings and experiences.
However, adoption breaks this process and 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 and a routine I knew well. But shortly into the adoption process, this all began to disappear. I was thrown into a foreign world. A world of strangers. I had no relationship with these people that I was to call mom and dad. I had no friends or familiar faces surrounding me. Everything I had known was thrown out without warning.
I felt like a stranger to myself. A different person.
A different identity.
I learned how to become a chameleon because of adoption. 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.
I never gained the ability to know myself and my true identity. Instead, I had grown up knowing the exact things to say, do and think. I believed if I acted in within those expectations I would experience love and belonging. As a result, I became a stranger to myself with little confidence, no direction and no certainty.
My adulthood has been a process of finding the true me. My true identity. It has not been easy, the journey has been filled with moments of wanting to hide back beneath the chameleon facade because vulnerability seems too painful to expose. But, as I continue to move forward, I will 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.