A Piece of My Writing: A Letter To the People Involved in My Adoption…

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.

Brace yourselves!

Kind regards,

Amanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY – Where to find us!

In addition to My Adoption StoryFellow Adoptees Stories and Writings, and My Writings here comes a new feature I call COMMUNITY – Where to find us!

My dream is a network that spans across the globe, of adoptees coming together and finding individual strength and validation in the wider community of fellow adoptees.

With that in mind, I am compiling a list of adoptee centered resources. Here you will find websites, blogs, vlogs, books, articles, movies, projects, social media accounts and more, with the common feature of raising awareness around the experience of adoption – from the adoptee perspective.

There will be 5 new additions every week, making it easy for you to check each of them out! Please, feel free to connect with me if you want to be featured, or if you have suggestions that you think belong on the list!

Here are five great resources for this week:

 

This is the book by put together by Elena S. Hall, which is a collection of memoirs of 50 adoptees. Elena is a passionate adoption advocate, an adoptee herself, sharing her own and fellow adoptees stories through this book.

 

Meag Hudson is the adoptee behind the blog This Adoptee Journey. You can find her via this link and read her story on the blog and follow her on Instagram.

 

Isabella Ojeda is a transracial adoptee and the force behind this blog. She is a strong voice, raising awareness around adoption.

 

My cousin, Leticia Mendez is a transnational adoptee, born in Colombia, adopted to and raised in the US. Her blog has a focus on the reunion part of an adoptees life, and the “after reunion” that can prove another emotional and mental mine-field for the adoptee.

 

Adoption Reunion Search & Support is a group of volunteers coming together, offering their knowledge and support,  assistance with searching, and raising the adoptee’s voice to advocate for change. They started the hashtag #adopteerightsmatter.

 

Please, check the full list here: COMMUNITY – Where to find us!

COMMUNITY – Where to find us!

In addition to My Adoption Story, Fellow Adoptees Stories and Writings, and My Writings here comes a new feature I call COMMUNITY – Where to find us!

My dream is a network that spans across the globe, of adoptees coming together and finding individual strength and validation in the wider community of fellow adoptees.

With that in mind, I am compiling a list of adoptee centered resources. Here you will find websites, blogs, vlogs, books, articles, movies, projects, social media accounts and more, with the common feature of raising awareness around the experience of adoption – from the adoptee perspective.

There will be 5 new additions every week, making it easy for you to check each of them out! Please, feel free to connect with me if you want to be featured, or if you have suggestions that you think belong on the list!

To kick it off, here are five great resources:

 

Francie Frisbie, an adoptee herself, hosts this podcast where adoption is the topic. She invites adoptees, but also others who are connected to adoption.

 

Julien, an adoptee herself, writes about adoption and has released a memoir where she shares her own story. She has even shared part of her story here on this blog.

 

Astric Castro, an adoptee herself, offers adoption education, support resources, and works to build bridges within the adoption constellation community.

 

This is a project being put together by an adult adoptee, and will result in a book where adoptee voices are heard, and with the aim to call for adoption reform while debunking adoption mythology.

 

This is an Instagram profile designed to amplify adoptee voices through reposts and original content. Our reposts include tags so you can find and follow the source.

 

Please, check back as this list will grow longer every week!

ADOPTION STORIES: Doriana Gabrielle Diaz, born in Puerto Rico, adopted to the United States

FELLOW ADOPTEE DORIANA SHARES HER ADOPTION STORY WITH YOU, IN HER OWN WORDS. A SELF-PUBLISHED WRITER, POET, AND ARTIST, SHE USES POETRY TO SHINE A LIGHT ON THE EXPERIENCE, THE QUESTIONS,  THE FEELINGS, AND THE REALITY OF HER OWN ADOPTION STORY, ONE THAT MANY OF US FELLOW ADOPTEES SHARE WITH HER… THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM HER BOOK (LINK AT THE BOTTOM) THAT IS A COLLECTION OF POEMS SHE WROTE DURING HER RETURN TO PUERTO RICO TO MEET HER FIRST MOTHER…

Doriana Image Blog

“My name is Doriana Gabrielle Diaz,

When I was born, my birth mother gave me a name: Gabriella Diaz. The women who adopted me chose a new name for me when I was placed in their arms: Doriana Markovitz. The change of a child’s name is common in adoptions. In the last year, I legally changed my name to Doriana Gabrielle Diaz, to reclaim the name my birth mother chose for me, to reclaim my heritage, and to reclaim Puerto Rico as my place of origin. Knowing your own name is power. It is being able to look at a map and point to the place on earth your people originated from. I have identified myself by newly connecting my name to the woman who birthed me. In this process, I have begun to redefine myself and my place in the world as an adopted person.

 

The following is a poem from my book (page 43) Day 4 July 10th, 2018

 

Mami calls me Gabriella

She sucks her teeth sweet,

And folds her tongue into

her throat like a quilt.

She smiles into my eyes.

She says it likes she’s never

known me as anything else.

 

Not many people discuss adoption. Adoptees rarely do in public, adopted parents keep it to themselves, and birth mothers and fathers often times suppress their stories and pretend it didn’t happen. I was in that silent place, I am not any longer. That is why I am here to tell you how I made it out of the fog and began to process my adoption story. It is important to note that this process looks and feels different for every adopted person. I am speaking only from the “I” perspective. My adoption story is mine and no one else’s. I am not here to speak for all adoptees, or to speak for all transracial adoptees. I am here only to speak my own truth.

In this story, I will outline my process, reflections and self-discovery starting from childhood to my recent reunion with my birth mother and birth family in Puerto Rico. Throughout this story, I will also be reading poems from my book to further my explanations.

I was raised by many mothers, many women have poured themselves into me. I am the product of the multi-dimensionality of womanhood. I have only ever known the struggle and hardship, while also the joy and power that women can offer to one another and their children. But I am also motherless because there is a woman out there who I did not know, but whose body was my first home. I knew this from the time I could understand that the women who adopted me did not look like me. Their skin does not look like mine, their hair does not feel like mine, and their bodies are not shaped like mine. Even though I knew this, I felt safe inside that truth.

When I was a child, my parents tried to explain my adoption to me. When they tried the first time, I didn’t get it. I was maybe four or five. When they explained it again, I didn’t want to understand. I might have been nine or ten. The more they tried to tell me, the less I wanted to know.

Now I understand there is not a moment when I’m not an adoptee. When I buy groceries, I am an adoptee. When I go to the doctor, I am an adoptee. I hug my sisters as an adoptee, I brush my teeth as an adoptee. I cannot choose not to be an adoptee. There is no end to it, just like there is no end to being someone’s child.

My birth mother was my first love and my first heartbreak. I was born and then I was surrendered and throughout my life, I have been in pain. When I met her I thought my story would change. I thought the loss I carry would disappear. My trip to Puerto Rico did not change that. But it did teach me that the hole that was left inside me from the separation is where my power resides, and that power is strong and unwavering. It cannot be broken and it cannot be tamed.

I am a miracle child.

 

(pg 38), Day 4, July 10th, 2018

 

I got out of the shower. Mama dried me off, as she wiped my back and zipped my dress she said, “this is where you didn’t grow up”

I don’t know these mountains.

I don’t know the ways they bend and fold into the sun.

I don’t know the language they speak here.

I don’t know how to curl my tongue to make the smooth melodies.

I don’t know how to eat a guava, every time I try, the seeds end up in the crevices between my teeth.

I don’t know the sound of the tropical breeze, the whistling is unfamiliar to me.

I don’t know hours of skipping barefoot in acres of lush vegetation.

I don’ t know passionfruit or morning glory.

I don’t know about the breaks in Leo’s fence and the shortcuts through the woods that lead to the next barrio.

I don’t know the sound of light falling between my legs.

I don’t know Javier, his shirt always stained yellow with sweat, who lives next-door with three dogs and no wife or children.

I know nothing of this place, and yet, I am still here pretending to know.

 

I got on the plane back to the states unaware of how to exist as the woman I was when I landed on the island a week prior. I know now that I am my birth mother’s daughter. As an adoptee, I know about what it means to mourn more than most do. I mourn the girl I could have been, I mourn my missing mother, and I mourn the life I’ll never live. There’s no way to become who I would have been if I hadn’t been adopted. Puerto Rico does not belong to me in the ways that it could or in the ways I wish it did, but it offered me transformative experiences that I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life.

 

(page 62) Day 7, July 13th, 2018

 

I saw a mama carrying a brown baby on her back,

playing hopscotch

in the waves.

 

there was a black family,

big,

with lots of skin,

laying in the sand.

 

a man on the beach was sharpening his machete,

breaking open pounds of coconuts with

one well-placed cut.

there were flamboyant trees with

orange flowers covering the sky.

 

the last thing I saw was

bright specks of light dancing

in semicircles.

 

Puerto Rico taught me that I am not a victim. I was, something terrible happened to me, but I am no longer the victim of that circumstance. The detachment that I had spent so much of my life feeling can finally be explained…

I am native to nowhere, no place, and no person. I am only native to this skin that contains me, these bones that hold me up, these hands, these feet, and this mind that never rests. I am native to this heart.

 

On July 19th, 1998 I was born into a decision in which I had no choice. But today, and every day moving forward I have a choice.

I choose to love despite the fear.

I choose to own my life.

I chose to face my grief, to process it, and to learn how to live with all that I have lost.

I choose to be the answers to my own prayers.

I choose which places I can call home.

I choose to heal myself on my own terms and at my own pace.

I choose to claim those ancestors who chose not to claim me.

I choose how to love myself.

I choose to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not.

I choose the name I use.

I choose who to share myself with.

I choose to fight for children to know their mothers and fathers.

I choose truth.”

Written by:

Doriana Gabrielle Diaz

born in Puerto Rico

adopted to the United States

Doriana Gabrielle Diaz is a transracial adoptee, poet, self-published writer, and artist.

You can find her work via the following links:

Instagram: @dorianadiaz_ 
Direct link to her book: https://dorianadiaz.com/shop-books

My Adoption Story Part 9: I Talk Adoption on the Podcast “Adoption Advocacy Podcast” with Francie Frisbie, a fellow adoptee herself

Today I share my adoption story with you in an episode of the podcast “Adoption Advocacy Podcast” with host and fellow adoptee Francie Frisbie.

I found Francie and her podcast as she was getting ready to launch at the beginning of the year. In a post on Instagram, she invited people who have been touched by adoption, to be a guest on her show, and talk adoption with her.

I reached out and a few weeks ago we recorded our conversation around adoption, coming out of the fog and the contradiction it can be to live as an adoptee.

So far, her guests have included fellow adult adoptees, sharing their story and experience, a prospective adoptive parent who have realized the importance in fighting for family preservation and ethical practices in adoption, and her own sister, biological daughter to their parents.

And now me!

I was so very nervous before recording this podcast episode I almost canceled the whole thing. I am happy to say I did not, and today it is out for you all to listen to!

Please, have a listen and don’t hesitate to reach out to connect or let me know your thoughts or questions.

Link to the episode on the website:

http://www.adoptionadvocacypodcast.com/podcast/episode-9-amanda-medina/

And please, make sure to follow this podcast, as it is yet another great resource in the adoptee community.

Thank you for spending this time with me!

We all have a story to tell. We all have life experiences to share. There is always someone out there who can find inspiration, motivation or support in your story, so don’t be afraid to share it. Own your story, share your story and write (tell) your story…

All my love to all of you!

/Amanda

PS. We are all in this together!

 

My Adoption Story Part 8: Out of the Fog into Grieving and Depression, and onto Healing…

I WAS NOT PLANNING ON BEING AWAY FOR THIS LONG when I wrote my short post before the holidays saying I was going to focus on family and myself for a little while. Truth is, I have tried to get back, tried to write again but have not been able to. Every time I have sat down I have been triggered to the point of having to leave it alone.

As if the experience of being involved in the adoptee community, constantly talking about adoption, constantly thinking about adoption, constantly feeling the adoption was so overwhelming in itself that it became too much to handle for me. It started eating me from the inside. Emotions I had pushed aside my whole life made their way to the surface and most days there was nothing else to do but to cry.

I am starting to feel better again, and hope that in terms of coming out of the fog the last two months were the culmination. I had several breakdowns, a huge amount of anxiety and there were more tears than I can recall. I have never felt broken before, but during this time I did.

“It’s called “coming out of the fog” – the process by which adoptees who have considered themselves unaffected by adoption, start looking to their past, their background, their origin and as a result start shifting their view on adoption, their own and in general, as well as the effects it may have had on their life…

It is real, it is a hell of a ride, and going back in is not an option…”

This was a facebook post of mine on April 23, 2018. I was about halfway through the process and experience of coming out of the fog. My view on adoption had shifted, my own and in general. I was becoming more and more aware of the problems with adoption, the industry of adoption and the real effects of adoption on the people who it affected the most; the adoptees.

As I have mentioned before, once I started coming out of the fog I essentially went through the stages of grief. It took me a while to realize that I was going through grieving. Once I understood that my emotions and my state of mind were those of a person who is grieving the next question became, what was I grieving? Was I grieving the mother I knew nothing about? The life I didn’t get to have? The family I didn’t get to know? The person I didn’t become?

It was difficult to think of the things I had lost, although I had barely had them in the first place.

But what became even harder was what came after. Coming out of the fog didn’t only mean shifting my view on my adoption, on my life. All the insights that came with the process, with reading and informing myself, and realizing how so much of my own behavior, my own decisions, and even how my life had played out was all through the lens of adoption and separation were heartbreaking to deal with.

But the most difficult part of coming out of the fog, of the grieving that followed, was not the insights, not even the loss of the things I’ve mentioned so far, but the feeling of having lost MYSELF. I was no longer the person I had been before coming out of the fog, the person I had built myself up to be, the person I had shaped myself into being, the person I felt really proud of being and who I had learned to love.

Coming out of the fog I lost her. I was not prepared to grieve the loss of myself.

I felt like a shell, like an empty body, and I had no idea how to handle that.

I was thrown into something like a depression. People around me would not have known. They could maybe sense something was up, something was off. But that I was angry about everything, felt no desire to do anything and cried for nothing… Not many would have known because talking about it would have meant risking breaking down in front of someone…

One of the things I am more afraid of than anything is the risk of giving in to breaking down. I don’t know if there is any coming back from that if there is a way to put myself back together if I do that. So I don’t cry in front of people. It’s a way for me to still keep my emotions in check.

I can talk about it all after. That is progress because a couple of years ago I was holding ALL the emotions in, and would not admit to having them to myself or to others. Here I am talking and writing and sharing about it. One step at the time…

The following is a piece I wrote about a month ago:

“I have a hard outer shell.
I’m tough, can even be intimidating.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that.
People who meet me for the first time tell me, some right away, some later.
I can crack a joke and laugh loudest in the room in any given social setting.
And I do.
I easily put myself in the center of attention.
She’s such a happy person.
She’s such a confident person.
She’s got such insight.
She’s so strong.
I only cry behind locked doors, by myself.
I let the tears stream down my cheeks,
dragging the makeup down along with them.
I hold my hand over my chest to counterbalance the pressure and pain of crying quietly, of wanting to scream but not being able to, and of wanting to kick and hit the wall, the door, anything to release the feelings and let them go, but not being able to.
I break down quietly.
By myself.
Behind locked doors.
Then I stand in front of the mirror.
I look deep in my red puffy eyes.
I wipe my cheeks.
Look long and hard at myself.
Pull back my shoulders.
Lift my head straight.
Tell myself I got this.
I break down sometimes.
But I’m not broken yet.
Turn around and walk out,
hoping I waited long enough after the last tear fell, to be able to meet peoples’ eyes without them knowing I had even a single tear fall.
And I put that smile back on my face.
If I didn’t tell you, you would never know…”

More than an actual depiction of a situation or event, it is also a representation of a life-long fear of crying in front of people, holding all the emotions in and never ever wanting to show any weakness to the world around me, that I have lived with for as long as I can remember. My role in the family was that of a compliant adoptee. Not because I was told, not because I was made to take that part, but because of how my first year and a half of life had affected me. All the understanding and insight that has come with being able to look back through a new lens and realize that so much of my seemingly illogical behavior and decisions at times, had the most logical explanation of all, in the trauma of separation and subsequent adoption, and life as a transnational transracial adoptee gives me hope.

I know I am not alone in this. I know from talking with fellow adoptees that my experience is shared by others. I am hoping that I have finally reached a point where healing can begin…

I hope you stay with me in the new year, as I embark on new projects and ways to be involved in the adoptee community, helping to raise the voices of adult adoptees, in order to bring awareness to the reality of the adoption experience. I’ll be sharing it all with you…

 

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for spending this time with me, reading my story.

If you would like to share your story, I would love to connect with you and help you share it here alongside mine.

 

Own your story, share your story, write your story.

All my love to all of you.

– Amanda Medina

 

PS. We are all in this together!

 

 

 

 

Time for Self-care, Focus on My Family and Getting Ready for a Cross-Atlantic Move…

But, I’ll be back in the new year and

I wish you all the very best for the rest of this year,

and the new one to come!!!

Already, I have some new exciting stuff lined up for this blog, for my involvement and plans within the adoptee community and for myself and my family at the start of the new year!!!

I cannot THANK YOU enough, each and everyone who has read, liked, shared, tagged, or in way spent time with me these past few months since I launched this blog. 

As the holidays are approaching and this year is coming to an end, I will be focusing on my DAUGHTERS, my FAMILY, and MYSELF.

The next few months will bring big changes for us and I’ll be back in 2019,

STRONGER THAN EVER!

But, please don’t hesitate to REACH OUT and CONNECT WITH ME

if you want to chat or share your story,

I’m never far away!

PS. We are all in this together!!!!