The struggle for identity – An adoptee’s search

A post in the ‘Adopted from India’ facebook group inspired this post.  As a disclaimer, every person’s experience about adoption is totally different; please take this note as simply my thoughts on the subject. I will say though, if my clarity about adoption and identity can help just one person, I feel that my duty to give back to the world has been fulfilled for today. So, yes, enough stalling, here we go…

Being an adoptee, I spent many years struggling in a search for belonging.  It’s a subtle thing, this struggle for belonging, but it occurs deep within one’s day-to-day life and often does not attach itself to tangible ideas. For me the struggle was a deep desire for identity.  The problem was that I didn’t have to vocabulary to describe why I was so confused.  I guess the best example I can give is this: imagine if if you were grieving over the loss of a dear friend but couldn’t figure out why you were sad.  You might constantly feel that your emotions had no root cause.  Like all of a sudden you would start crying but couldn’t figure out why.  That’s kind of how it is.  It is my experience that if something is confusing, such as emotions without a cause, people often feel helpless, vulnerable and often, stupid.

During my 20s, through a number of experiences, I was able to realize that my feeling of foundation-less existence was not anyone’s fault, especially not my own.  Phew.  A friend named Hollee McGinnis shared with me an analogy that I think explains the position of adoptees in the world perfectly. I realized that as an adoptee, my position in this world is like being on the S curve of a yin/yang symbol.  If you view this symbol you see that the S curve divides the two different sides.  The two most comforting things for me, as an adoptee, are that a) there are thousands of others on that S curve with me and b) when you spin a yin/yang, it all becomes the same color.

I am resolved to share my continuing journey with those who are questioning who they are and how they fit in this world.

An adoptee’s quest for identity does not, in any way, have to cause pain in their life.  As adoptees we are uniquely positioned to give back to this world through our blended and non-conflicting backgrounds that ARE our identity.  Every person has their own set of skills they can offer the world.  Adoptees are no different.  🙂

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