January 24, 2022

What Adoption Has Taught Me

I Love Who I Was, Who I Am, and Who I Am Becoming

As I enter the waiting room of my therapist’s office, I realize how much lighter my chest feels, how much more confident I have become, and how thankful I am for all the events and opportunities this life has brought me thus far. My therapist opens the door with a big smile on her face. “Anna, come on in” she says as she waves her arm, signaling for me to enter her office. She looks at me and asks, “So, how have the last few months been now that we have started the process of healing your inner child?” I look at her and can feel the instant release of tears welling up in my eyes. She knows of all the challenges and trauma I faced as a child and still sits in the hurt and pain with me. I tell her how much happier I am and how much more willing I am to open up to my friends and family about the internal struggles I used to feel ashamed of. I tell her of the demons I have been dealing with and how I have taken the time to get to know my inner child. My therapist and I decided to call my inner child “Little Anna.” Little Anna was angry, hurt, and pushed people away because all she knew as a kid was that eventually everyone would leave her behind. Her parents left her behind, so why would anyone else want her in their life? That little girl was eventually nurtured and loved by her older self. It took patience, self-love, positive affirmations, an amazing therapist, and a healthy support system to get that little girl out of her shell and to allow people in emotionally. Little Anna used to drive the car on the freeway that is my life, but now she sits in the passenger seat and trusts me to navigate where the road may lead us. That little girl just needed some love and a place where she could let her guard down and open up without the fear of imminent rejection or abandonment. As Little Anna began to heal, I decided I wanted to set her free. I wanted her to be able to still play and feel free, so I mentally placed her atop the cliffs of Moher, in Ireland. As a little girl, I loved to run and frolic through fields of tall grass as my ashy brown hair danced with the wind. So, she resides there and every once in a while I go check up on her. She is happy and thankful to be in a place where she can trust me to love her, nurture her, and reassure her that everything will be alright. If I am being honest, it hurts when people tell me how amazing it must be to have been adopted and how cool it is that I was placed with parents that love and care about me. They assume that I am unappreciative. Yes, I am thankful I was placed with such nurturing parents, but people do not realize how hard the adjustment is for a young child to move to a new country, having to learn a new language and adjust to a new culture, while also wondering where her birth parents are. It was not until I turned twenty-four that I was able to heal and move forward from the pain that my adoption left me with. Because my parents were not around when I was an infant, I developed an unhealthy attachment style and an aversion to physical touch. But, with the help of therapy, I was able to overcome these challenges. Though all these things may seem negative, I will tell you how they made me who I am today. Today, I repay my gratitude for my situation by helping children feel secure, loved, appreciated, and wanted. Today, I evolved my struggles as a young child into energy as a loving and caring young woman, who wants to work with children with special needs. Every child deserves a chance in this world that can often be so cruel. I have been accepted into a program to teach English abroad next year and I know that this opportunity was meant for me. My adoption did not harden my heart. Instead, my adoption allowed me to become an empathetic woman who sees each child as a beautiful and unique individual with great potential to grow into a kind and loving human being. Adoption is a scary process for both the parent and the child, but something beautiful can bloom from it if you allow yourself to sit and acknowledge the hurt and the pain without shame and learn to use your experiences to help others around you. I was created to help children who are much like me: scared and living in fight or flight mode for far too long. With that being said, I have so much gratitude, appreciation, and love for my parents and all the struggles and hurt they had to deal with while raising a child that just did not know how to properly love quite yet. I appreciate the fact that they never gave up on me, and because of their never ending love and support for me, I cannot wait for the day I get to adopt a child, love them for exactly who they are, and remind them that they are not alone. One day I will pay it forward.
--Anna B.

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