Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Searching for Legitimacy

Many of my adopted friends are searching for legitimacy.

To some of us, it is important to finally be acknowledged in public, and to be embraced. My search is slightly different. My adopted parents have already given me legitimacy and social standing. I am their child. However, I have grieved for my other set of parents because I have always wanted to know my origins. I wanted to know if I might feel organically as though I were linked to my bio-family. I want to know who I might be, if I had stayed within that family- had I not been thrust into the arms of social services and a succession of foster homes and orphanages. Without these profound life- experiences, would I be less empathetic? Less caring?

I don't know.

My adoptive grandfather is one of my closest relatives. It always amazes me that a man who seems so sensitive and caring grew up on a farm. It is hard for me to envision my grandfather slaughtering a chicken for dinner, or hunting a turtle for soup.

Fall is my favorite season because I enjoy the comforts of the supermarket. I love apple cider and pumpkin pie. I enjoy corn-mazes and haunted houses. I love camping next to a bonfire as winter approaches.

If I had grown up in my birth-family, perhaps I wouldn't love these things. I might be religious. I may have been forced to wear shoes during the summer months. I wouldn't know my grandfather. I doubt I would have the same passion for adoptee-rights, or compassion for the mentally ill.

My upbringing was beautiful. I spent a tremendous amount of time at conservatory with Helen Strine learning fine arts, in NYC seeing broadway shows, and at the Kennedy Center in DC. There was never any question that I too might achieve great things within the industry of performing arts. My parents took me to underground caverns in Bermuda, and they invested a great deal in me. Because my parents were important within the community, I was too. As a child, I didn't feel invisible or unimportant. It wasn't until adulthood that I began to feel a sense of otherness closing in.

My parents already gave me legitimacy and social standing.



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