Javier, born in the United States, adopted in the United States.
INTRO: Fellow adoptee Javier, shares a few words from his story with us. He speaks of learning of his mother’s mental illness, the reason he went looking for answers, and the mixed emotions connected to it all. The one sentence that truly stood out to me when reading Javier’s words was “ I didn’t merely question the answers, I questioned the questions, and what I found is things are never as simplistic as the defining and confining words people are labeled with.”
“On Finding Her Myself
The pain in her dark chocolate brown eyes was enough to fill two lives. There were no descriptive words to explain what she felt mainly because there was no one to tell. She was alone. She lived alone and died alone. If I could have one conversation with my biological mother today, I would tell her everything is going to be OK.
In typed black letters, the white paper read she was Schizophrenic, but from the moment I read this, I didn’t believe it. So began my lifelong pursuit to explore the circumstantial and environmental variables that factor into one’s mental illness. I didn’t merely question the answers, I questioned the questions, and what I found is things are never as simplistic as the defining and confining words people are labeled with. There are layers upon layers to the complexities of insurmountable stress and trauma that many times could only be found in the unseen microscopic cells of the nervous system. I know she suffered because I suffered alongside her, except, I suffered without her.
Whatever it was that brought me on the journey to find her, I’m not convinced it was rooted in this deep desire to know her, as much as my need to collect and reconcile the fragmented pieces of myself as an adoptee. Better understanding my story and trauma opened my eyes to my life experience. I was finally able to see and feel the inner and outer landscape of my life. As I awoke from 47 years of slumber, I took a deep breath and looked around unknowing whether I should be happy, sad, or angry.
Happy my journey has helped me to discover my truest self. Happy I could tell my daughters their family history exists far beyond me. Happy I can rewrite a script that was written for me.
Or sad. Sad I was never able to hold a conversation with Carmela. Sad I was never able to love her and take care of her the way she needed. Sad she was never given a chance.
Or angry. Angry because the wounds of absence and separation run far beyond a concept, feeling, or sensation. Angry how much circumstance so decidedly dictates outcome. Angry not everyone gets the same opportunities at life or living.
So my rage will manifest in the words I write. Her tears will remain hidden behind my mask of composure. And her smile will rejoin mine.”