When adoptees make the brave decision to share their stories, they expose themselves to a barrage of comments, questions and remarks. Often times these are said in ignorance, but the effect these have on adoptees can steer them back into silence.
One of the comments I’ve heard countless times is that I should be grateful. I wrote this poem in response to those remarks. Something different than the usual tone of this blog, but nonetheless, the message is worth sharing.
Be grateful, they said, you could have been aborted.
Aborted, as though it was the only other option for my existence.
The assumption that I was unwanted by my birth family.
My life only worthy of living through adoption.
Be grateful, they sneered, at least you weren’t with her.
Her, being the one who gave birth to me.
A person whom my soul ached and longed for.
The unsaid judgement, her fate predestined to fail.
Be grateful, they chanted, you received a better life.
A better life where my adoptive parents rejected me.
Belonging, a concept I struggle to understand.
Fear of abandonment woven into my being.
Be grateful, they whispered, this was God’s plan.
God’s plan, one ridden with pain and anxiety.
An answer to prayer, the commodity a human life.
Beliefs being justified through questionable actions.
Be grateful, I said, but not for what you’ve implied.
Implied that an opinion is greater than lived experience.
Instead I speak against the silence expected of adoptees.
Shifting a narrative, advocating for truth.
Be grateful, I replied, for I have broken free.
Free to unfold my own identity, my own roots.
Healing wounds and growing into wholesome.
That apart from adoption, I’ve finally become myself.