"Honesty" is not so easy, is it?
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RealKris asked in almost human's grief-related thread:
I always worry how I can be honest withouth portraying these harsher aspects of their firstfamilies? How can I encourage them to be open to express their grief or even resentment towards us or their situations? I would love for any ideas, if you could go back to your childhood, what do you wish your parents did or said, or not said? http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/20702#comment-4936
Out of respect, given the raw nature of AH's original theme in her thread, I'd like to answer these sort of questions in a separate section.
Honesty is a funny little term that really gets over-used within the adoption language. Considering the decades of mass corruption behind the adoption industry, and the sordid history of child placement, I think the term "honest" has it's limitations.
That being said, I always wanted to have my AP's take me to St John's, Newfoundland, where I was born. I was led to believe my mother lived there, so it was only natural for me to wonder what my living conditions would have been like, had she kept me. [The option of being adopted by another couple never occurred to me until I was much older.] After all, I was "chosen" by the only people who wanted me.
I needed to see if I would have fit-in or felt comfortable with those who shared my same origins. This was as much about my first mother as it was about my mother-land -- complete with it's food, environment, and people. In my secret dreams, I would have had the chance to meet and speak with my Real Mother, all alone. She would tell me who I looked like, and she'd tell me why I was sent away. We'd part knowing she thought of me, and I thought of her, and we'd separate knowing there could finally be a sense of peace, even within the broken pieces.
My fantasy-trip would consist of a special tour where I'd be taken to the place where she lived when she was pregnant with me, the place where I was born, and the place she lived afterwards. My fantasy-trip would enable me to have a sense of reality of the situation, maybe explaining to me why it was better for me to go live in another country.
Even when I was very little, I needed to see the geography behind the stories in my mind. "Would I have liked living where my family is - or am I better-off here, far away from that small world that got left-behind?"
This is where adoption's lies can be so cruel. I was told Newfoundland is a VERY poor region, a place where unwanted children were sent to workhouses and live terrible lives. [For that I was to be grateful, because (according to my amother), had I not been adopted, I would have grown to be mentally retarded, and forced to live in an institution where I would have been neglected and abused.]
In my case, my first mother never "lived" in Newfoundland... she only used that location as a birthing-site because she didn't want to bring shame to her family. How long was she there? Long enough to find a job, finish a pregnancy and then leave. St John's was never "her home"... but it was home to an area that shipped lots of white children to America. (See: "Adoption in Canada - in whose best interest?" ) Words cannot decribe the grief I felt when I learned an adoption agency did all it could do to make sure I had no "family" or "home-life" to find and go back to.
My amother told me my first mother was a drunk who was married but had an affair. Rather than having an abortion, she [thanks to her Catholic religion] chose to have me, but give me away so no one would get hurt from the scandal.
My afather never wanted to speak about "them". As far as he was concerned, "they" did not exist and the only family that mattered was the one he and his wife provided.
My agrandmothers told me completely different stories about my origins, so at a young age I knew something wasn't right, and someone was lying. Secrets... I knew there were lots of secrets. Those secrets haunted and ate at me at night.
I eventually learned both my first parents were not married, not Newfies, not drunks, not losers with nothing better to do. Instead, my biologic parents were long-term sweethearts, in their twenties; both well educated, both had good jobs and both lived on family farms in Alberta. Both had large families.
What I learned from this is, there is no closure when lies are told. Whether the lies were told TO my Amother, or by her, that's academic. The bottom line is this: lies, secrets, and deception kill the dreams a person wants to keep inside.
I can't imagine ANY adoptee NOT asking the question, "How did it all begin? (How did I get here?)" If there are lies and hidden secrets in the story that gets told... there's no telling or knowing where the mind of that child is going to go.