My Adoption Story Part 10: I Am Not White!

Born in Colombia, adopted to Sweden.

Born Latina, raised Caucasian.

Growing up, I felt that I blended right in. I never looked at my friends as white and myself as not.

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Looking back recently, I realized that I didn’t reflect over my friends’ whiteness, and while I am not sure if I considered myself white, I just never thought of it. I would not have worded it that way, but I did at the very least, feel I was no different. I never clashed with other people growing up. I was too cautious not to fall out of line, to clash with anyone. Growing up, it was fine. I didn’t feel different, and no one ever made me feel different.

Although, as I am writing this, little instances come to mind. Memories of moments I felt that I was actually not like my friends. In the summertime, there would be comments about my skin tone. They were usually well-meaning comments along the lines of “With your beautiful/already darker skin color, you won’t ever have to worry about suntanning”. I didn’t take offense when said, but I do realize looking back how that did point to a difference in me, as compared to most of my friends.

I remember looking at myself and my friends realizing that I developed earlier. I did not have the same body type as them. I was never skinny or petite like many of my friends. Our gene pools were just not the same and growing up I had no one who mirrored my body, my complexion, my hair color, my heritage, and background. I think this is where the difference also is in terms of being an adoptee and being a child with an immigrant background. While possibly feeling somewhat displaced, a child with an immigrant background, does have his or her family, his or her cultural, racial and social background present, and accessible, where the adoptee is standing alone in their experience and their loss of reflection around them.

I also do remember one instance when a comment was said to me that made me feel a bit surprised as it pointed to my difference. Someone commented on my lips being very full and made a small comment/joke (with no ill intent), that I would be spending a lot of money on lipstick, seeing how my lips were very full. It has not bothered me, it has not offended me, but I still see how that is a comment that could very well have caused damage, as it pointed to a feature of mine that was clearly standing out as not Swedish, not white. I have always been very proud of my lips and consider them one of the features I like best about myself in terms of physical aspects, so no harm done. BUT, what is more important is how that sort of comment does point to the inescapable fact that when an adoptee is transracial, there IS a difference and the difference IS noted, by others and many times more so by the adoptee themselves.

Pretending to be blind to that, ignoring that or actively rejecting that fact, does not make the difference go away, but makes the elephant in the room grow even bigger, even more powerful AND it adds shame to the situation. The adoptee is the one who ends up carrying that shame, and we do it, in the name of sparing our adoptive parents’ feelings.

Seems a bit backwards doesn’t it?

As for myself, I WAS different. I did not have any racial mirroring growing up. The fact that I was not able to, willing to, or ready to realize and accept that I was not white, not European, not Caucasian, growing up, does not mean that it didn’t make its way into my life. I think race and culture mix for me and so the biggest reason I was able to blend in socially and by extension felt comfortable racially, was because my cultural experience, my social experience, was only Swedish and only white. Except for my brother, I don’t remember being around any children with immigrant background growing up. Not until high school would I encounter them, and even then, I was so “comfortable” in my Swedish identity outwards, that I felt no need to identify with them.
That said, I remember saying from a very young age (maybe 5 or so) that I would not live in Sweden my whole life. I knew in my heart that I would get out of Sweden, to live somewhere else, and maybe or maybe not return one day. While I identified as Swedish, I did not ever feel a bond to Sweden, as if it was my homeland. It was just where I had ended up and so I grew up Swedish but knew I would spend much of my life elsewhere growing up.

My first chance came when I was 16 and got to move to Spain as a guest student. For the first time, I was able to be more, to be more me. Spain, while European and Caucasian, is worlds away from Sweden. People are louder, more out-going, more…just more. I was allowed to exit, welcomed even out of my shell. I easily adapted to the Spanish ways, learning the language of my origin in the process (albeit with a very different accent). There was no culture shock for me moving to Spain, but coming back to Sweden after, things changed. I had changed. And there was an internal shock as I was not willing to conform back into Swedish ways.

Where I had previously had mostly all Swedish friends, I started to gravitate towards friends with an immigrant background, feeling I was able to continue rejecting my “Swedishness”, the way I had started to while living in Spain. I was still not seeing it as a racial thing, did not reflect on my darker skin or Latina appearance. But I rejected the quiet, the held-back, reserved and square ways of the Swedes. I rebelled by being extra loud, laughing extra loud, talking extra loud, taking up more space than what was the social norm at the time. Growing up I had kept in check, now I provoked the side glances. And I had a group of friends around me who not only accepted that, but acted much the same way, if not more. And while I felt I related more to them, I still not fit in fully. They had their origins around them. I did not.

I was still balancing between being Swedish and not, being at home and not, trying to find the place where I could feel at peace and like there was room for me.

I found it in the US. The first time I was in New York City was the first time I felt at home. The first time I walked up the stairs from the subway in Manhattan and heard Spanish spoken all around me, the life, the noise, the chaos, I felt at peace. I knew in that instant that New York was the place I had been wanting to go to my entire life, without even considering it an option. In New York, I was allowed to be a private person, but never alone. I was able to be me, whatever version of me I wanted to be, and I would find my group of people. I was constantly surrounded by life but was not obligated to share my time with anyone. It worked for me. I could have a small close circle of friends, who I had selected, and the rest of the city and the people were surrounding, assuring me I was never alone. Automatically, I had friends from varying backgrounds. People were fascinated by my story. I was able to act Latina and I was able to draw benefits from my European experience. But there were times when I felt out of place, especially when actually approached as Latina. I could never just say I was Colombian. I always had to offer a disclaimer of sorts. The standard conversation would go something like this:

Them: Where are you from?

Me: I was born in Colombia but raised in Sweden.

Them: Oh really? Sweden?

Me: Yes, I was adopted to Sweden, so I grew up Swedish.

 

To most that was enough. They were intrigued and I had truthfully let them know that my experience in life was not Latina, barring any later misunderstandings. It explained why I didn’t speak Spanish with a Colombian accent. It explained why I may look puzzled at the mentioning at even the most basic classics mentioned in music, food, and other cultural features. It would explain that being Colombian didn’t mean I actually knew Colombia, had ever been there to remember it, or acted typically Colombian. I had learned the hard way to throw in that disclaimer, not to be assumed to know about typical Colombian things. It was all still a social disconnect to me though, no racial aspect to it all. Coming out of the fog would eventually change that. It started with me feeling a deeper pride in being Colombian, seeing fellow adoptees from Colombian truly embrace their “Colombianess” and claiming Colombia as theirs, even though they had never lived there or spoke the language.

After more than ten years in the US, married with two children, my husband and I decided to return to Sweden for some time. I no longer had the Swedish last name of my adoptive parents, but instead the Latino last name of my husband. I know that my name now will be read as the name of a person with an immigrant background, not a woman who has grown up with exclusively Swedish culture, food, and experience. With Swedish parents. Both of them. Growing up, I felt that I could pass for white. I almost feel embarrassed admitting to that now, understanding the term white-washed in a personal way. I look at my daughters in a sea of Swedish kids, and they stand out. In the way they look and in the way they act. Several times, I have found myself in a sea of majority if not only Swedish people, and I stand out. Recently, I was looking through pictures from when I was little, and it dawned on me, I was the only non-white person among all my friends, and I stood out. The disconnect was always there, the difference is that now it makes sense. It never did growing up. I also recently watched John Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons” and it brought me an aha-moment. He talks about how Latin American history has been pushed aside and how growing up, he lacked historical heroes of Latin American descent, of his own people. I realized that my entire life, I had bought into the idea that I wasn’t truly a person with an immigrant background, that I was more Swedish than Colombian, more white than Latina, more European than Latin American, and I felt fooled. I felt denied my own origin, my own history, and my own background. All over again. I felt I had been brought along in the denial and not understanding the situation, not being able to put words to my feelings of disconnect, and it not being socially acceptable to talk about race where I grew up, I adopted the Swedish, white identity that I was expected to do as an adoptee child to fully Swedish, white parents. To this day, I don’t feel completely comfortable with this topic, but I know how important it is, and what a large part it is of who I am, so I push my discomfort aside and for the first time in my life, I am able to look at myself truthfully and say:

I am not white!

And as a transnational, transracial adoptee, that matters…

 

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!

 

Go to My Adoption Story, to read my whole story from the beginning.

An Amazing Opportunity for My Fellow Adoptees!

I am so excited to share with you all,

this wonderful opportunity that was shared with me recently!

Michael Allen Potter, one of the authors, editors, and contributors to “Adoptionland: from Orphans to Activists”, reached out to me via the blog, after having read an adoptee’s story on here.

Now, the team behind the anthology “Adoptionland” is putting together a new book, with the goal to flip the script on the adoption and the donor-conceived industries.

For this new project “Manufactured Identities” they are looking for first-person accounts written by adults who were adopted as children or donor conceived.

I am so honored to be able to share this call for submission here on This Adoptee Life.

Please, follow the link for details and the deadline to submit your story as an adoptee, or click the image above.

Submission information for “Manufactured Identities”

Thank you, Michael, for reaching out, for connecting with me, and for sharing this opportunity with me and all our fellow adoptee writers, authors and artists.

I hope many of you submit your story. Our voices matter and we need to be heard. This is our time!

Xo

Amanda

PS. We are all in this together!

A Piece of My Writing: I am not her…anymore

I have mentioned before how I felt I lost myself as a result of coming out of the fog. I am slowly coming to terms with that and I am slowly finding a way to combine the person I was before and the person I am today, trying to harness the strengths in each. I wrote this piece recently as a reflection of the different parts of my life…

 

I am not her…

The person I was born into being.

I am not her.

The baby that was born in Colombia.

I am not her.

She stopped existing when her mother disappeared.

 

I am not her.

The girl my parents were matched with by the adoption agency and the authorities.

I am not her.

The girl in the photo that they sent to my parents.

I am not her.

She is left in Colombia.

My parents did not bring that girl with them.

The girl that was in a foster home.

The girl who went from hand to hand in her first 2 years of life.

The girl whose life I know nothing about today.

I am not her.

 

I am not her.

The adoptee daughter my parents thought I was, growing up.

The strong, independent and reliable daughter that they saw.

The girl who did not need their attention. who needed no one, who was enough in herself.

I am not her.

The girl who grew up and did everything to become who she wanted.

The girl who grew up knowing she would move far away, abroad, somewhere else.

I am not her.

I am not her.

The young adult who did move half way across the world.

Who followed her heart and intuition.

I am not her.

The woman who said that being happy is more important than anything.

The woman who considered herself unaffected.

The adoptee who was deep in the fog, and whose entire life had been drowned in denial.

I am not her.

I am not her.

The person I was before separation.

The person I was before adoption.

The person I was before coming out of the fog.

 

I am not her anymore.

 

I am me,

 

but from having lived an entire life in denial,

thinking I was unaffected by anything,

thinking I was stronger than that,

thinking I suffered no consequences,

to having come out of the fog and having had to realize and accept that the opposite is very much true,

having to let the emotions come to surface that I had pushed down before,

having to process and gain new insights,

feeling like the person I had become was breaking under the pressure of past denials making their way to

the surface…

 

I am still me,

 

I am just not sure who that is anymore…

 

Written by

Amanda Medina

April 27, 2019

 

PS. We are all in this together!

 

ADOPTION STORIES: SUZAN PLEVA, born in the United States, adopted in the United States

Fellow adoptee Suzan Pleva tells you her adoption story, in her own words. Suzan has become a strong voice in the adoptee community, advocating for change and fighting for adoptee rights. You will understand why when you read her story…

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“My name is Suzan. I was originally named Susan. I am an adult Biracial Adoptee. I was born on August 6th, 1983 into an all-white affluent large Catholic family- where I was the only ethnic person. To this day, I am still trying to figure out where I was actually born. I have two separate documents, stating that I was born on the exact same date & time, at two different hospitals. Both of these hospitals are about an hour away from each other and are in the metro-Detroit, Michigan area- located just under an hour from Downtown Detroit, Michigan.

There are still a lot of issues and mysteries around ‘why’ I was adopted. I can definitely say this, I absolutely have my own theories. I’ve been told several different lies, stories throughout my life from, the people that adopted me. The main thing that I do know, is the female who adopted me is infertile and psychologically unhealthy- and an extremely abusive person. This couple who adopted me could not bear children of their own, and I’ve been told several times that they ‘decided to create a family through adoption’. This couple fostered several different children over the years and adopted three of us.

I am the youngest of three siblings. We were all adopted from different families. My adoptive sister and brother are only 6 months apart in age, and I am 4 years younger than them. Out of the three us, I was what I call, ‘the targeted child’. It was a very rough burden to constantly take on, especially because I had no idea why the abuse was happening to me, and I was constantly being reprimanded for questioning it. I suffered, psychological, mental, physical, sexual, financial, and racial abuse on a regular basis, all while being isolated from seeking help to get safety and away from it.

The people that adopted me are ‘upstanding’ citizens, very sociable people, seem to have things together, are active members of their church, socialize with the affluent and elite’s of society. On the outside, all looked well. I grew up on a private all-sports lake, in a nice home, dinner was on the table every night at 6:00 pm when the male adopter got home from work where there was a family dinner that the adopter female made. To give you an example of the actuality and reality of the situation is….. the bank owns these peoples house. It was definitely a life of living inside of the impaired duality of two different worlds. From the outside looking in, all looked well. In all actuality, it was a living ‘smoke and mirrors’ nightmare. As a child, trying to figure out what the hell was happening was very scary and confusing, because there was no explanation for the fact that my gut told me that something just ‘wasn’t right’.

I’ve never blamed my adoptive brother and sister for the mistreatment and abuse I faced, much of it came from them. I honestly think that they never knew better, and probably never will know better, because they were raised and conditioned to think that the way I was treated was ‘normal’, and that I was ‘overreacting’, and/or ‘being too sensitive’. Now, in my adult years, looking back on things, feeling terrorized from being chased around the house by a person with a pair of scissors in a stabbing motion screaming at me ‘you dumb fuck*** nigg** you’d better not close your eyes to sleep at night’, and then being physically attacked when I couldn’t run away any longer is NOT ‘over-reacting’, or ‘being too sensitive’. That’s just blatantly being abused, and being terrorized. But it was forced on me to mask it all to the outside world, and pretend that I was ‘so grateful’ for these ‘wonderful’ people that adopted me and ‘gave me a better life’.

Just only two years ago, when I was 33 years old, I came to learn that the people that adopted me didn’t actually adopt me until I was 3 years old. Before this, I was their foster child for three years, since infancy. Before that, I had only one other home that I was in up until the age of one-month-old. The more I come to learn what happened with my real family, and how I came to be in the people’s home that adopted me, the more I understand why I never felt connected to the people that adopted me. It all just felt so forced and fabricated. I can distinctly remember having the gut thought and feeling at age 11 about the female adopter, “you are not my Mother, this is not my real family”. But I knew that I had to continue to put on the barrage and play the part for survival purposes.

In December of 2017, I came to learn that my real Mother went ‘mysteriously missing’ in the year 1986, just 3 years after she gave birth to me. Right around the time that this had happened, I came to learn that the people that adopted me had petitioned to officially adopt me so that I would no longer be a ‘foster child’ of theirs, but legally adopted. I also came to learn, that my real family, my birth uncle and Aunt (My real Mother’s brother and sister) weren’t aware of my existence until they were informed by the state of the petition of my adoption in 1986. At this time when they were informed of my existence in 1986, my real family went to court to try to fight to get me back. They lost to the courts. The court’s apparent reasoning for why I could not be with my real family, was because they claimed that I had formed a ‘bond’ with the people that petitioned to adopt me due to being in their home for 3 years. I’ll tell you right now, I have never formed a bond with the people that adopted me.

Coming to learn this in my adult years, especially dealing with the trauma that I have faced due to the constant and ongoing abuse I endured at the hands of the people that adopted me, learning this information has been very traumatic knowing that this could have been prevented but wasn’t. Knowing and learning that I could’ve been with my real family, but was denied this right, has been a very sad thing to think about.

The lady that adopted me is definitely an extremely abusive person, and I was the target of her abuse. You wouldn’t know it by looking at and talking to this person.

I started researching my real family, and the truth when I was 26 years old. I tried to get support from the people who adopted me in the beginning for a couple of years, but they would constantly tell me I was ‘ungrateful for all they’ve done for me’, and I would immediately be re-routed to THEIR family history, in which there is none of my biology. I specifically remember bringing my laptop with my Ancestry DNA results into the kitchen where the male and female adopter was sitting at the kitchen table to show them. I was very excited. They both blatantly ignored what I was saying and showing them, and the male adopter took my laptop, closed out the tab of the DNA results, and immediately pulled up his family history and began lecturing me on how THIS was my family history and heritage. At that point, I knew, not to share anything else with these people about my search and my journey. There was another time, where I had finally found my biological Uncle. I brought this to the female adopters attention. She immediately pulled out her little personal phone book and said to me, “well why didn’t you just ask me for his phone number? I’ve got it right here”. I had asked these adopters many times over about my real family, and if they had any information. The adopters blatantly lied to me about this. It was gaslighting at it’s finest.

Along my journey of finding and learning about my real, biological family, and history- I was able to find bits and pieces, clues if you will, to my story along the way. The full-on truth didn’t actually come to light until I was age 33 when the facts and paperwork started being obtained. I had blocked out the memories of the abuse from the people that adopted me because I was subconsciously protecting myself from the trauma and damage it would cause. I honestly believe my body and mind became so tired of the forced denial I was in, that my instincts finally kicked in. I decided to speak out and tell the truth about the abuse, isolation, and constant poor treatment I dealt with at the hands of the female abuser adopter and her enabling, co-dependent husband, to the public. I knew it was time for me to say goodbye to that part of my life and leave those unhealthy people in the past, move on to bigger and better things.

What I didn’t realize at the time was, I had exposed an abuser to the public, and the abuser wasn’t just going to go away after being exposed. This is when the retaliation against me began.

The people that adopted me began stalking me and harassing me in a very aggressive manner, to the point that it was absolutely terrorizing. I’ve been dealing with this for two years. My career, reputation, relationships, personal information, have all been violated by the people that adopted me because I spoke out about the abuse I suffered at their hands. I knew full well, that narcissistic abuse and being isolated by it is extremely dangerous. One of the hardest things to get away from and escape from in abuse, in my opinion, is the isolation that the abuser forces you into. The abuser makes a concerted effort to strip you of your support system, and weaken the quality of your words, by making others believe that you are not telling the truth. That’s when I decided I needed to find a new and proper support system, as I learned that the people I thought were my support system, were not. They were only ‘supportive’, if I was playing the role of ‘Suzie Sunshine’, and didn’t tell the truth about what happened to me. They were only there if I kept the lies about what happened to me intact. I was finished with that lifestyle. I was now onto a lifestyle of honesty.

I moved, changed cities, changed my phone number. I had to break ties and communication with anyone and everyone I had ever known in my life, as I realized that the people that I was isolated by, and surrounded with were extremely unhealthy, as they were condoning the abuse, as I was being shamed for speaking the truth about what happened to me. I was constantly told that I was ‘overreacting’ or ‘lying’ when I would try to understand or talk about the abuse that was happening to me. I now realize, that abuse is abuse, and it is wrong to try to silence and villainize an overcoming victim of it.

This is when I began my journey of prevention of abuse in adoption. This is when I began learning the truth about the laws and facts of adoption. It’s when I began to really ponder how the societal norm sees adoption, and how the general public tends to view an Adoptee’s experience. It’s when I learned about how high the Adoptee suicide rate was. It’s also when I realized how important my role is in advocating for my community of Adoptee’s and Adoptee rights.

I now stand, after all of the nightmares that I endured after speaking out about what happened to me, very proud of my strength, knowing that I have a very bright future ahead of me. I am an Adoptee, and I always seek out ways to accomplish what I’m fighting for, and that’s the honest truth. I was finally able to legally protect myself from the people that adopted me who were stalking and harassing me for the past two years, because I gained the courage to realize that there is no shame in telling the truth and that when you are being stalked and harassed, it’s very important to have the courage to use the words stalking, harassment, as this is exactly what happened to me.

I find it extremely important to keep working to inform the society about the truths in all that is adoption. I work very hard to inform the general public about the importance of preventing unnecessary adoption. I stand strong on the fundamental reason of why adoption was created, which is to provide homes to children who are actually in need of them. Adoption was not created to provide children to people who want one. Humans are not commodities, humans are not objects to be owned. Humans have fundamental civil rights for a reason. Above all, throughout my journey, I’ve learned what healthy, caring, genuinely loving people are because I lived 3 decades being surrounded by what it is not, all while being told it was the real thing.

I’ve got a lot of life ahead of me, and I’m so happy to know that I no longer have to live my life under the bog of shame, and humiliation of adoption. As an Adult Adoptee, I finally have my community, and fellows who understand me, who know and have had the same experiences that I have. I am now finally surrounding myself with people who get me, and I am no longer isolated. It’s a journey that is unraveling, and happening ‘slowly but surely’, and I look forward to the next of what’s to come.

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve come to face and realize is when sharing my experiences, and opinions, there are always those who impose their words of stating, “Not All”, or being told that I am “bitter or angry”. When a person hears of another’s journey, and it is not a happy tale, it’s important that people keep the mindset of respect, and honor those who have suffered a lot. It gets daunting, as an Adoptee, to hear a person try to tell me what my position on adoption should be if they are not an adopted person.

I always state it like this- “A non-adopted person trying to tell an Adoptee about adoption and how they should think about it is like a person who’s never flown a plane before, walking into an airport filled with expert pilots, and trying to tell them how to fly planes”. I’d really like to get that out to the masses because if a person thinks in this mind frame, there would be a LOT of plane crashes. Just leave the informing up to the expert pilots. They are the ones flying planes on a regular basis and know the reality of what being a pilot is. Just like Adoptee’s, we are the ones that have lived every second of adoption hold the most powerful voice in adoption, yet society suppresses this fact and tends to silence our powerful voices. It’s time to change this narrative. The world would be a much better place if more people listened to the experts. The experts are the Adoptees.

My voice will continue to be heard, and I will continue to speak. I encourage any Adoptee to speak their mind, speak about their experiences. Even the smallest amount of sharing your experience can help someone that you may not know is learning from you.

This is my story, my take on things.”

Written by:

– Suzan, originally named Susan Marie –

Born in the United States

Adopted in the United States

To connect with Suzan and to see her work, please follow the links below. Suzan is a strong advocate and fighter for adoptee rights. She is also a first mother of loss, the other side of the adoption triad and adoption narrative that gets pushed to the side and silenced time and time again.

SUZAN’S WEBSITE: (featuring fellow adoptee’s stories also) www.proudofwhoiam.me

SUZAN’S TWITTER: www.twitter.com/soproudofwhoiam 

SUZAN’S FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/soproudofwhoiam

SUZAN’S INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/soproudofwhoiam

SUZAN’S GO FUND ME: www.gofundme.com/proudofwhoiam

 

COMMUNITY – Where to find us!

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.

Here are 5 more great resources for adoptees, and anyone who is in any way connected to an adoptee.

 

Cameron Lee Small is a Korean adoptee behind the blog Therapy Redeemed, He is a licensed professional clinical counselor for individuals and families on the adoption and permanency spectrum. Cam is focused on helping people adopted transracially flourish and be challenged in their own adoption stories as he develops conversations on psychology, theology, and pop-culture here at Therapy Redeemed.

 

An organization with local support groups meeting throughout the US. They focus on supporting adult adoptees y providing a network to feel refuge in, and to connect with where adoptees support and validate other adoptees. If a local group does not exist in your area, there is an option of contacting them to start one.

 

This is the project of Amalia, a Guatemalan adoptee who is a community and cultural organizer. Gaute Like Me works to build kindship among Guatemalan adoptees.

 

Adoptees have the floor and write letters addressed to Adoption itself on this platform. I have a letter featured on here myself. Dear Adoption aims to elevate the adoptees’ voices and raise awareness around the adoptee experience.

 

Based in Australia, this adoptee-centered website features blog posts by adoptees, resources for adoptees and a community for adoptees to connect with and be part of. In their own words, their mission is “A world where existing intercountry adoptees are not isolated or ignored, but supported by community, government, organizations, and family throughout their entire adoption journeyA world in the future, where inter-country adoption is rarely necessary.”

 

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

 

PS. We are all in this together!

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!