I took one of those online quizzes the other day. This one was to determine my personality type, extrovert vs. introvert. I expected the same result I’ve gotten for decades - extrovert – and was frankly a little concerned that it told me I was a solid introvert. Although I normally don’t pay much attention to these games, this one got my attention, because I have been sensing a change in my personality over the last couple of years. I feel like I’ve been withdrawing into myself, and I don’t like it.
I’m pretty sure I know why, too.
Adoption has been my world for a long, long time. It entered my psyche in the 80s, when my husband and I first considered adopting, and took over, literally. I chose to live in an adoption-centric world. I worked hard to understand experiences that were not my own, and engaged wherever I could. As is always the case when human beings interact, relationships came and went, sometimes by my choice, sometimes by others’. But over the past couple of years, I have noticed that the losses take more wind out of my sails. I wonder, too, who I may have hurt along the way, and wish I could put those relationships right. Hurt, after all, is a two-way street.
It hit home a couple of weeks ago, when real-life friend waded into a FB discussion and generated some strong responses that ultimately drove him away. I tried to gently steer him to some reading material, without luck, and feel responsible. I believe we should be true to our principles, but is such a loss worth it? Maybe I cause more hurt than good being honest – and gosh knows it hurts me, too. Maybe it’s time to walk away and … well, what?
Well, nothing. Walking away is not an option for me, and here’s why.
No matter how much an adoptive parent may be hurt by a personal adoption experience, it’s nothing compared to the pain experienced by adoptees who are being denied identities and civil right, or by mothers who have lost their children to adoption. To me, walking away from adoption would be a denial of these experiences. I will not contribute to that.
I have to find a way to stay engaged without losing myself or hurting others. That feels just as important to me right now as righting adoption’s wrongs. I chose this world, and I'm here to stay.