Late Discovery Adoptees have a whirl wind of emotions to navigate. In the beginning it is surreal and we each handle it differently. There comes a point where we all decide to move ahead. You simply cannot spend all your time in the past. Armed with a different sense of self, egg shells all around family members, hope and honor teeter and totter to start the motion.
Yup, that’s Hope on the left with Honor on the right. :)
It’s a place to begin and enjoy the fresh air and the movement. This leads to venturing out away from the past. In all seriousness, the day comes when all LDA’s would love nothing more than the experience to be over. A flip of a switch to the off position, to an end, yet it’s a choice we don’t have. It is never over.
Just when you think you’ve remembered every event, story, and feeling… new revelations can pop-up at any time. This happened to me just after Mother’s Day.
I didn’t “officially” learn I was adopted until my kids were grown, and I didn’t realize how I was manipulated by my mother until the truth came out. There were hints of maneuvering, yet I always aimed to please.
Mother’s Day 2013, while soaking up love and feeling great appreciation for my adult kids, I remembered events from many years ago in which we celebrated my mother. I had forgotten the way I required my kids to be overly pleasing to their grandmother. (Very overly pleasing, to put it mild.) How could I have done that?
I adored my kids beyond explanation yet I let her speak cruelly to them when they were small. Why did I insist they care so much for “Gram’s” feelings? It continued as they got older with cards/gifts and I insisted they treat her like a queen. I guess what she thought of me, of my kids, etc. meant more to me than I care to admit. I’m actually embarrassed as I recall events. Her approval, her way of love, was some sort of addiction-like behavior for me, possibly. But why? And did my mother create the cycle? And why did she never care to know what was real?
Thank God it’s over and the cycle is broken. My kids live and love honestly, authentically, and the manipulation has ended with that relationship. I have no clue how it happened but I can see the time and space it sucked out of our lives, and for what, to please one person? Events like that ruin any chances of living in the moment or truly loving one another. Rather, Stage A and Act V is over. Much of each individuals’ personality went unseen in favor of the act.
As more and more folks learn of their beginnings and adoption status it becomes clear that Late Discovery Adoptees continue the rest of their lives discovering, sometimes re-discovering events. Some dismiss our childhood experiences as “normal.” However, in the LDA community we have learned that children are parented differently when such an enormous secret and lie are at the core.
A group of us (yes, there are many) recently agreed that we often endured the process of, “Gaslighting.”
Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
Adoptive parents, their families and friends all need to be aware that keeping ones identity from them is wrong. Children need to be told about their beginning and adoption status at an early age. Period. If you think you may be adopted or you're a LDA not connected with a group, join us! Late Discovery Adoptees & Family on facebook.
More from parenting