Out of the Dark

Hello,

This is a reintroduction of me, my name is Thea Elaine Robinson. I am adopted but I also have depression and anxiety, until recently I couldn’t admit it to myself let alone put it on my blog. For the past several weeks it has been hard for me to keep up with this blog just because of several events going on that had triggered a lot of emotion (it is easier to have a list so here we go):

  1. My grandmother on my dad’s side lost her battle to Alzheimer’s.
  2. The anniversary of a father figure’s death came and went.
  3. I graduated college.
  4. Moving back home and realizing that I am not doing everything I wanted to.

Let’s break this list down a little further.

1. My grandmother dying was hard to process and I am still very much processing. I am not sure how to feel, people kept asking me if I was okay and of course my first response was ” yes! why wouldn’t I be?” Alzheimer’s had taken my grandmother away from me in middle school, for years I watched her deterioration and I knew she was gone by the time I went to college. When reflecting back on my time with her, other people had more to say about my relationship with her rather then me having something for myself. I felt robbed with time, I had never felt like I didn’t experience something, this was the first time I truly felt my age and how young it was. I was prepared from day one (of college) to get a call saying she had passed, I was very close to the finish when that actually happened. I was hoping that her death wouldn’t take over my graduation, which I know sounds terribly selfish but if you know her you would know she was a big champion for education and I know she was upset that I had to miss some of my finals. I was also upset by the fact that she was so close to seeing me as a college graduate a dream of hers that she had ever since I was a baby. My Grammy was born to be a grandmother from signing me up for every activity under the sun to babysitting without hesitation. From her pictures and her house, she was the southern hostess some TV personalities could only dream of being.  Her death meant the end of a lot which is hard to process and move on from.

2. I have played soccer since I was five but I have been around the sport since I was just months old. I have had every coach and trainer imaginable, but for my last travel team, we had one trainer who was the meanest person and didn’t care about feelings. After every practice, game or whatever, we would have a huddle and that was where he would tear us to shreds, most of the time ending in one or multiple of the girls on the team crying. Usually, I am one of the most sensitive people in the room taking every piece of criticism very personally, but there was something different. When he would tell me something I did wrong I never felt attacked but rather I would ask him what I could do better. This was just the beginning of my relationship with him, I had to leave the team I earlier that year because my mom had to deal with health issues, Tung ( the trainer) knew about it and when I returned to the team gave me the confidence to never give up and stay strong. My dad and I at this time did not get along whatsoever so Tung became like a father to me when I returned, making sure that I had done everything I needed to before allowing me to play. I had never felt like I was the best player in soccer but talking to Tung made that not even pop into my mind. Tung always reminded me that tomorrows aren’t a given and I needed to be a leader in my life on and off the field. It was never a secret that Tung was struggling in his health himself, but the way he motivated people and did what he wanted was truly inspiring. My senior year of high school I had come home and my mom was already there, and she sat me down to tell me the news but I didn’t process it and went numb. A few days later I finally cried and didn’t stop for a few weeks. The last thing I heard from him was that I was going to make it, he said not just in soccer but in life, I had something he hadn’t seen since himself and that was determination and ambition like no other. He also said I was like the daughter he never had.

3. Graduating college was one of my biggest accomplishments up to date. Radford has given me so many opportunities and I can’t imagine where (or who) I would be without it. I am not going to write too much on this because I will write a separate post on graduation.

4. Again I will not write a whole lot right now regarding moving back home because it will be included in another post about graduation. What I will say is that being the girl who had a plan for everything and entering a new phase and not having a plan has turned out to be my downfall.

I am not going to end this post by saying that I am fine now and everything is great but rather that I am glad I can finally talk about what’s going on and I will hopefully be getting better every day.

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Family Affairs

Who is your family? Family to most people means people who are related by blood, but for me (and a lot of others), that’s not so easy. If I went by that I would not have considered the people who raised me, my family. My definition of family is people who will love you unconditionally and who like you most of the time. My family doesn’t just stop at blood-related family, I was adopted in I have family members who are just friends of my parents, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

I have always had an easy time to call someone family because they showed me, love. I have called my current best friend(check the picture below) family from the first month I’ve met her. I know calling people family when they aren’t is common practice with mom and dad’s close friend or a best friend but these usually it takes months or years to really form that type of bond, for me it is a matter of weeks.

Having a special kind of attachment to people really makes relationships hard for me when they fail. If others experience continuous disappointment from people, they call family they seem to slowly cut them off. When I have the same disappointment, I don’t cut people off at all, I usually try to get closer to that person, which ends up hurting some part of me. Even with romantic relationships I always get too close way too fast and that ends up hurting me because I consider that person a family member.

While talking to my birth father a while ago he brought up a good question “what do you see me as?” Well, that brings up an interesting answer… do I see him as a father? do I see him as a cousin? Or a friend? This question got a quick response from me, but did I really think about the question? No, I gave an answer that I thought would be simple. I had never really thought about it but once I said it, it was out there. I have no regrets about what I said but next time I need to think about what I am saying.

The pictures below are my best friend, a family picture from Thanksgiving a few years ago and New Years about five years ago with people I call family.

 

Here’s To The Future

 

Here’s to the future, I hope you have all the happiness in the world, I hope you love and are loved equally in return. Stress is something that is temporary, I know currently whatever is happening feels like it’s never going to end. You have to make some horrible decisions that will hurt someone without that ever being your intention.

Graduation is only around the corner, which means your stress has only just begun. Inviting people and making sure everyone can come or trying to plan to visit them. Feelings during this season will get hurt but you need to make the decisions and move on. You also need to protect your sanity, which will tick people off.

Start to tell people your feelings and other things straight up and they need to be straight up with you. No more asking people their opinions on things and getting answers like ‘it’s up to you’ or ‘ I don’t have an opinion on it’. Getting those answers won’t help you and left you more confused than when you don’t tell people how you really feel.

You need to start figuring out what you want to do, what kind of relationships you want to have and how you will maintain them. If not you will start to feel forced to keep talking to people who you don’t want to. Life is too short for you be fake happy.

Face your issues with adoption, you can’t just keep avoiding all of your issues. You also can’t pretend you don’t have any problems, you have found communities and other people who are going through the same thing. Let’s talk to other people in your actual life who are adopted and might not have any voice, give them a voice through this blog.

Look at the smile and genuine happiness in the picture below. THAT is you, you aren’t going to let one bad time define your whole life. Let stress pass and return to joy, you need to fight for that smile.

Here’s to the future of me.

me 2

7 Ways Adopted Children Love Differently

I am going to preface this with I only can speak for myself and the people around me who are children of adoption.

When we love it’s deep and unconditional

When we actually do love a person we love with all of our heart and rarely anything breaks that. We will move mountains and cross oceans for the person (or people) we love.

It takes us longer to love

We might be able to love harder, but it also takes us longer. We like to make sure that you do want us for us. We want to get to know you we want to be comfortable with you.

We get weary of people loving us

Not that everyone goes through the same things in life but people loving us sometimes feels like an impossible job with no reason. We start to question oh wait, you really like me? Or even if we get married sometimes we still don’t know how long someone could love us.

It’s hard to let people in

Letting people in means letting people know about the good the bad and the ugly. When we open up we are having an open invitation to talk about some feelings we do not have even thought about.

When we do let people in it they experience something special

Letting people get to know us more than surface level is something that takes a lot of time for anyone, but especially the adopted. When we open it because we feel at home the more we open the more we trust and love you.

We accept love even when it isn’t right

I’ve known adopted kids to accept love from people who aren’t right for them. These people show the basic emotions and feelings of love, but it is not love it is affection and attention.

We show love in a different way

When might not be obvious when we like you, our affection is private. We might do small things to show you affection, sometimes we don’t even know how to show it.

10 Things Not To Say To Adopted People

So who are your real parents?

My REAL parents… well, I have parents I don’t have real and fake parents. My birth parents gave birth to me and my adoptive family gave me care so I wouldn’t consider only one set my real parents.

Also, I don’t think you would like me to ask you who your real parents are if you had step parents.

 

 Which parents do you like better?

Well speaking for myself I have known my adoptive parents for twenty-something years and am just now meeting my birth family. So, I don’t have a favorite I have people that I am more comfortable with.

This is a disgusting question in the fact that why I would  (or anyone) want to answer a question where we are asked to pick a favorite. It is considered disrespectful to ask someone which parent who they like better.

 

How do you feel about being given up?

Some adoptees were not given up in the easiest of circumstances some were forced. This question is just easier to avoid. You don’t know the full circumstances of anyone’s specific adoption so asking how does it feel might be a very sensitive topic.

Oh, you’re adopted? I’m sorry.

Why are you sorry? Honestly, if I am not upset why should you be? Be adopted is a blessing and I got to live my life to the fullest potential.

You were adopted so young, how do you have issues?

I don’t know how I feel about a lot of things. If I have issues I am sure not going to talk about them with someone I don’t feel comfortable with.

Do you know why you were given up?

Yes, I do

No, I’m not talking about it

Is it weird with your family because your not their ‘own’?

Why am I not my mom’s own child did she not raise me? This question is essentially saying that because my parents didn’t conceive me that they aren’t my own.

So are you and your brother both adopted or is he your parents real kid?

We are both adopted

Again we are both my parents ‘own’ kids.

Do you think you’ll want kids of your own or will you just adopt to give back?

I am not discussing what I am going to do.

Give back why do I need to give back in that way can’t I do more in other ways. Why don’t you give back by adopting?

You look like your parents are you actually adopted? Maybe they are just messing with you.

Yes, I look like my parents but, that doesn’t mean I am biologically related to them. I’ve seen the papers, no it is not a joke.

Did I miss any? If so tell me in the comments.

A Balancing Act

Writing this blog has been one of the best experiences that I’ve had in a long time, I always try to be open and honest with what I say, forewarning with this post is extremely personal.

A balancing act is hard to maintain, especially when you are trying to start your own life. One of the many sides of adoption is not knowing what to say to who or asking how to do I ask a question that doesn’t offend one of my parents, or how do I not talk about my other family too much.

Both sides of my family, my adoptive and birth families are very supportive and are open with me, but that doesn’t help the fact that in my mind I feel as if I can’t mention a lot of things to my parents.

I have an unusually close relationship with my mother and I can tell her anything about my life (and I do share more often then she would like) but I feel like if I talk about my birth father too much she will feel like I resent her.

My relationship with my adoptive dad is very complicated we love each other but we have very different views of the world and are stubborn, I haven’t told him anything about contact with my birth family.  When my parents had the talk about kids my dad wasn’t onboard for an adoption and felt that it was unnatural, but when he held my brother and me for the first time he became such a proponent of adoption so much so that he was asked to speak at a conference for prospective adoptive parents. If I ever told my dad I think he would take it hard and feel like I don’t love him.

My birth father has been communicating a lot more recently and I wouldn’t want to talk about my adoptive parents and the wonderful life they gave me because I don’t know why I was put up for adoption and I don’t want to sound like I am rubbing it in his face about how I did so much better then I could have expected.

Someone who I forget to consider a lot is my brother, we have never come out and talked about our adoptions and I don’t think I would feel comfortable if we did. It has nothing to do with us being close, it is more like we are too close, and I wouldn’t want him to think that he isn’t my sibling anymore.

A lot of what I just wrote might sound trivial and minor but living it day to day makes it stand out more, you must be careful with what you say and who you are talking to. Most of the time my family and I aren’t talking about adoption, but I might have some news I want to share, or just letting people know about my blog post.

“Whether your children are through biology or adoption they are yours through love.” -anon (found on adoption.com)

Fear Factor

I’ve always had a fear of abandonment and I used to think it was because my parents worked a lot and I did not want to be alone in my house. Later I started to realize that it was most likely from my adoption, which is weird to me because I would like to think that I have no issues towards my adoption.

It used to start out with little things my parents telling me stories of how I would never want to be left alone for nap time to where I learned how to crawl out of my crib so I could be with other people. When I got older and my parents got divorced, every time I had to go to my dad’s house I would cry, scream and kick because I didn’t want to leave my mom. She eventually had to stop telling me when I was going to his house and my dad would pick me up from after-school care.

A fear of abandonment is normal in children so usually hearing those stories don’t ring alarms, but it wasn’t until middle school that I realized maybe this wasn’t normal because I was still terrified of being alone in my house.

I have just recently joined Facebook groups for adoptees and realizing that I am not alone with my thoughts, feelings, and fears. When joining the group, I saw some posts talking about abandonment. Some people were talking about how they thought as they got older or fell in love that the fear would go away but some part of them just couldn’t.

This is more ways than one is what scares me, knowing that my adoption could affect me throughout my life in ways I didn’t even think of. It could affect my future relationship and even how I go about doing certain things in life. I never wanted my adoption to shape my life as much as it has.

While writing this I have started to realize that in order to avoid later in life problems I need to sit down and face my fears from adoption. I must be open to everything.

“They say that abandonment is a wound that never heals. I say only that an abandoned child never forgets.”- Mario Balotelli
me me

From Me To Me

Dear Thea,

thea 8th grade

 

Right now you are probably in middle school trying to figure out life, you just moved to a new house and none of your friends from elementary school are in any of your classes or in your lunch period. You have also started to be left home alone, and knowing you, exploring is the only thing you want to do. Go ahead and explore, but when you do just realize there are some things that you just don’t and won’t understand for a while.

I am going to spoil something for you, #sorrynotsorry, but you will find your adoption papers. At first, you will think nothing of it, but as time passes and no one is home you will start to read the papers. Let me clarify somethings for you, first, you are loved, you were not abandoned and nothing about your adoption was because of you.

Everything happens for a reason, you ended up with parents who care about you and want you to do well. You will have a birth family who wants to get to know the real you and how you have turned out. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, the decision for someone to give a child up for adoption is not something they take lightly, while on paper it could seem so quick that is not the case.

Please tell mom exactly how this makes you feel, this is not something you should bottle up and never talk about. You need to get your feelings out now, mom is there to help as best as she can. Do not to hold a grudge against anyone, with both your adoptive parents or birth parents. It’s okay to be open with your adoptive family, you need to be open with them they have a lot of insight on who you are.

This discovery is something that should not stop you from loving as much as hard as you do. If anything, this should give you more reason to love with every once of you. You love everyone as soon as you meet them, don’t give that up love in ways you that everyone should be loved. Love harder, love longer honestly just love.

Lastly, I want you to be honest with yourself, you are going to need time to think about this so take it. You need to know that talking about adoption is okay, people aren’t going to get annoyed by it, people do care.

Love,

An Older Youme

Gotcha Day

Not a birthday, not a holiday but a special day. Gotcha day is the day that a child was brought home to their adoptive parents. Some families choose not to celebrate this for their own reasons, but others do. When I was a kid, my family celebrated it every year, we would go out to dinner at any restaurant that I wanted to and celebrate.

Gotcha day was explained to me as a day that only some families celebrate. This was the day that my parents came and got me from the adoption agency and brought me home. My brother and I do not celebrate gotcha day together, we have our own days, that way we both feel our own connection to our parents and family. Each gotcha day was special to us, my brother wanted to be left alone with a new video game while I, being a foodie would try out a new restaurant.

Explaining gotcha day to anyone who isn’t adopted is hard, not the concept but the reason why I celebrate it. People seem to get the fact that it is a day that is different but don’t understand why you cant celebrate your birthday and gotcha day at the same time. Well because they aren’t the same thing, my birthday was the day I was brought into this world gotcha day is when my family was made whole.

I didn’t always feel this way, when I was a teenager I didn’t really want to celebrate it anymore I felt that it really made me different and since I wanted to feel a part of something I asked my mom to stop celebrating it, instead I asked her if we could just cook something special at home. It took me until my senior year of high to realize that ‘umm my mom isn’t going to be here forever and maybe I should like to be a part of something different.’

To me, gotcha day is something that you celebrate as more of a family event it is when my family became whole. Gotcha day is a way to see how your child is feeling about their adoption because one year you can accept adoption but the next year you can’t understand why you were given up.

Gotcha day to me is something special a day just to connect with my family one on one. It made me feel special and I felt a part of my family. I felt like I could go to anyone in my family and talk to them about anything that was bothering me. Gotcha day has also made me realize the importance of showing that my adoption was something to be proud of and family is important, and they don’t have to be blood to count as family.

On a side note funny, my aunt is very involved with my life and she has decided to write a children’s book on gotcha day, which I will be a co-author and inspiration. So if you have any suggestions on what to put as the title of the book let me know.

“The adoption took time the love was instant.” -Anonymous

 

Tell It Like It Is

Today’s topic is talking about telling your child they are adopted. Now there are different ways to tell your child they are adopted and many possible outcomes. Today I am going to focus on the ways that I was told and the ways other people around me were told or not told.

My parents told me a story like a bedtime story about a man and a woman (using their names) who really wanted a baby, so they prayed, and they prayed to God in hopes that they would give them a baby. One day an angel called my parents and told them that there was a baby waiting for them, so they drove and drove and finally got to where the baby was, and it turned out that baby was me. My mom also liked to emphasize that I was grown from her heart and not her stomach. My parents also have recently shown me some books that they were going to use as backups if I had not comprehended the story they made up. Those books were sesame street about a couple named Susan and Gordon who had adopted a baby and the characters on the street wanted to know how they had a baby without Susan being pregnant. The other book was Tell Me About The Night I was Born, this book really talked about the celebration of adoption, how special it is and how a loving and caring family is all you need.

This summer I had the pleasure to meet one of my mom’s friend’s friend who happened to have adopted a little girl at birth and when I met her the girl was 9 years old. What made so her special was the fact that her parents had not told her yet that she was adopted, which was getting harder because a couple of her boy cousins had already mentioned to her that she was adopted, but her parents covered up their tracks quickly, so she had no idea. I had the chance to sit down and talk to her about it and she said that she was waiting for one of two things to happen first her daughter would flat out ask her if she was adopted or two the girl turns 13 and her mom would sit her down and tell her. To me personally being a teen is hard, you aren’t sure of yourself or what you want in the world and adding something that takes years for some to comprehend would just be an overload.

When writing this post, I talked to my mom a lot and she wanted me to say something that she learned in adoptive parenting classes was that the longer you wait the more it seems like adoption is wrong or something to be embarrassed about. The adoptive parents class also talked about how telling kids early helps with shaping the motto that families come in many different forms and this was just the way ours was formed. My mom also told me it is easier to tell children when they are younger before they start school that way so there is no way cousins or classmates could ruin the news or my moms fear of getting a biology class and doing a genetics assignment and realizing I have nothing in common with my parents.

I know I haven’t covered all the different ways to tell a child they are adopted, but I would love to hear from everyone. In the comments section feel free to talk about adoption how you were told, how you told or even if you just liked this post. I want to hear from you.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.   – Richard Bach