To the People Involved in My Adoption,
Maybe my papers are true. Maybe I was an unknown baby, found in the street, handed over to the police by an unknown woman, my photo placed in a local newspaper, unclaimed, placed with a foster mother, put up for adoption, matched with a couple and then adopted.
That could be true.
And it could be a fabricated lie.
And I may never know which one.
Here is what I want YOU to know, the people who were in any way, shape or form involved in my adoption.
I want you to know that I grew up fine anyway. On the surface, I did well my whole life. I called myself the success story of adoption, and you almost got away with it. With neglecting to include information that could have been helpful if the day ever came that I would want to search for my first mother and family. You almost got away with not informing my adoptive parents of the potential problems their adoptee child might face one day, as a result of the separation trauma and transnational, transracial adoption.
You almost got away with it all.
However, I want you to know that I have lived in survival mode my entire life. I have not been able to trust anyone to let them all the way in. I mean to the point of being able to open up and be vulnerable. I put up a wall of protection around me when I was a baby, and added reinforcement to it when I was about 9 years old when I no longer felt emotionally safe. It grew with me and has never come down. It keeps people out and I remain alone inside of it.
I want you to know that when I look in the mirror I am confused because I have nothing else than my own reflection to reference who I am. I can stare at myself, stare deep in my eyes and feel disconnected from my own reflection. At times I have even felt disconnected from my body, acting in ways that make no sense and that seem fueled by an irrational unconscious drive to destruct and taint situations that seem to be going too well.
I want you to know that I always felt disconnected from my family and that I have lived with guilt my entire life because of that. I felt I should be able to say I loved my family, even though those words were never ever spoken to me. I felt guilty for distancing myself. I felt guilty for not wanting to be around them. I felt guilty for hating who I became in their company. I felt guilty for being triggered constantly by them. I felt guilty for not being able to be a good daughter and need my parents.
I want you to know that in my teenage years I made unhealthy decisions because of my hunger to be seen, loved and needed. I gave my heart away too easily in a way that completely contradicted the wall I had put up towards family and friends. But then again, I was able to disconnect from myself and be in a situation and later barely remember it. Like life was happening around me and I was a character in a play. People and things were not constant.
I want you to know that I have wrecked friendships in my belief that I can’t let people in. In my fear of rejection and in my underlying belief that nothing is supposed to last. Any relationship has an end. My relationship with my mother was over one day, all of a sudden. How can any relationship after that be supposed to last? My relationship with my parents was forever tainted by the separation trauma I had been through before it. Instead of letting them comfort me, I attached the rejection to them as the only tangible thing I had connected to my past and my pain. They didn’t stand much of a chance at being the parents I needed.
I want you to know that I grew up feeling that I was always too much. My personality did not fit the culture I was growing up in. I felt out of place. I was good at not showing it, but over and over again, I was too loud, too hot-tempered, too much. I always held back. I could not afford to not be accepted so I held back. I could not afford to be criticized, it would hurt too much, so I held back. Constantly. Not showing my true self to anyone, not even to myself. Denying anything that would hint at not being happy and in full control.
I want you to know that I suffer separation anxiety when alone. I cannot be isolated. I feel beyond alone if I am by myself for too long with no social interaction. I need people around me. Otherwise, I feel invisible, non-existent and forgotten. I need to be seen and recognized to know that I matter and that I am not being abandoned all over again.
I want you to know that I struggle with taking responsibility for my mistakes. If I have to say I’m sorry it means I did something wrong. If I did something wrong I might be less loveable and if I admit to it I have to feel it. Worthless, unloveable, wrong.
I want you to know that you did nothing to prepare my parents for being adoptive parents. You set them up to fail when you approved them and gave them a baby with a traumatic past but said nothing of this but let them go on their way thinking this baby was theirs and would grow up theirs and everything would be fine. They were never given a chance. So they mistook my entire being. They thought I was strong, independent and reliable when in fact I was in survival mode all the time and would not let them in and they gave up too easily.
I want you to know I grew up not wanting to know anything about my adoption. You almost got away with it. I grew up denying myself my own past. I did not claim Colombia as mine. I told people I didn’t want to search. I said I was born in Colombia, but that Sweden was my home. I said I felt as Swedish as anyone else. I called myself the success story of adoption. I knew nothing of separation trauma and its effects. You almost got away with it all.
To everyone involved in my adoption, I have lived with the consequences of your actions my entire life. I have lived in denial because of your actions. I have lived in the fog my entire life because of your actions. I have lied to myself my entire life because of your actions. My entire life I believed I have no way to search for my own history because of your actions.
Then I found other adoptees. Fellow adoptees from Colombia. And I found out the truth.
The lies, the kidnappings, the corruption, the greed, the money and the false narrative of adoption being a win-win for both the adoptee child and the adoptive parents.
I came out of the fog.
And today I want you to know that you did not get away with it. Your actions created a person who was quiet until now. Who denied herself. Who denied her own truth. Who denied her own story. Who denied her own history. Who denied her first family.
You almost got away with it.
But today I want you to know that you did not. I found strength. I am reclaiming my own voice. I am no longer denying myself, my own truth, my own story, my own history or my first family. I am growing stronger, my voice is growing louder, and I will use it to give my fellow adoptees strength, validation, and power in sharing their stories. I will build communities, networks and I will not be quiet anymore.
You almost got away with it. I almost became the “success story” of adoption.
But you didn’t because I didn’t.
I didn’t become the success story of adoption.
Instead, I have become the advocate for family preservation that will now do everything in my power to help fellow adoptees, current and future, to raise their voices and share their stories so that people can see the full truth about adoption and its consequences from the perspective of adoptees.
And I want you to know that I will no longer keep your lies, your corruption, your greed, your selfishness, your narrative, and the havoc they wreak a safe secret.
We are many, we are connecting, and we are in this together.