I have met and spoken with quite a few adoptees who, like me, have the same view on belonging and abandonment which, for various obvious reasons, these views creep into their views on relationships, whether it be romantic, colleagues, friends or family members.
No matter how it’s dressed up, being adopted, being chosen to be adopted into another family has a rather heart-warming feeling. Being personally chosen by an adult to be their daughter and share the love the family, which under normal circumstances would result in that family having a gap. For my situation, my adoptive parents had a son but it had been very difficult. Conception was a long arduous task and to save the family from more turmoil in order to have a second child; together with the fact that my adoptive father was working in Vietnam and with the War and children needing homes, the decision to adopt was born.
I am very grateful for the wonderful start in life I have had. I believe that my life in the Western World is far richer than it could have possibly been in my homeland. However, on the one hand, being adopted, nurtured, and loved as one of their own, on the other hand there are also a great many questions that have been raised by my own curiosity for having been abandoned by my natural parents.
I was told that my natural father had been killed in the Vietnam War and my mother had too many children to cope with. Until recently, this is what I have believed and I never questioned this. However, during investigating the orphanage that I was in before I was adopted, I have learned that this was a Buddhist Temple, not an orphanage, it was made into a make-shift orphanage as so many babies were being abandoned outside this establishment. Although not confirmed to me, and not likely to be so, I have now come to the conclusion that I was an abandoned baby.
I am very in touch with my spiritual side. I believe that there is a subconscious part of me that knows exactly what happened but I can’t remember and because I was so young I didn’t understand. But I do believe that what happened back then has a very real and pertinent reflection on how I live my life today. This has crept into every relationship I have had.
I have a very black and white view on relationships and how I conduct them. I have extremely high principles and code of conduct. If other people don’t hold these principles to the same degree, I don’t trust them. If people break my confidence, my safety or my commitments then I will cut them off. There are no second chances. I don’t suffer fools gladly. I’m not a particularly good judge of character but if I don’t trust someone fully, I usually feel it quite strongly. I will always be guarded against these individuals. I will later – whether it be a month, a year or much longer – this initial feeling has usually paid off. If I do trust people, I will give them my all, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m honest to my own detriment, usually sharing too much, opening myself up to being hurt.
I have many acquaintances. I have a very small circle of friends who I see regularly and will give them my last penny, my last second of time and would give them my last breath. My important acquaintances who I don’t speak to or see on a regular basis, I will help and interact with, but on a slightly different level. I guess this is the same with anybody.
I have fallen victim to most of my relationships. I have dropped my guard and ended up the loser. In this regard I have simply cut my losses, turned my back on them and never given them another thought. They’re just not worth it.
Most of the adoptees I have spoken to have had the same problems. When they feel let down by friends, relations, lovers, they feel that their initial abandonment is the root of their lack of completeness, in that their relationships have suffered. We feel that we have not had the level of commitment needed in order to satisfy our belonging needs. We feel scared that the next person is going to abandon them too as easily as our parents did when we were defenceless, unsuspecting and dependant babies. If it’s so easy to do to a small infant, it’s easier still to do to a person who is able to lead their life competently.
In 1998, my father died. I loved my dad but wasn’t very emotionally close. My dad was always there when I needed him, he gave me everything I wanted, but that wasn’t everything I needed. It’s easy to ask your dad for money because you want a new pair of shoes, but it takes a great deal of self awareness and breaking barriers to ask for hug because you need comfort.
My dad had all the answers with regard to my adoption. I never asked enough questions when he was alive because at the time it wasn’t something I was particularly interested in. I believed that my dad was always going to be there when the time was right and I needed to know. I never believed that he was going to die quite so soon. Now it’s too late and he’s taken those answers with him. However, I do feel as I’m being guided by him in the way in which I’m conducting my search.
I do take personal relationship failures personally. I feel as though I’m being abandoned all over again. When I don’t get that level of commitment and feel that the other person doesn’t see that our relationship is special enough or important enough.