but I know I have a lot to say.
So much has happened in a single weekend/week that I feel my brain will legitimately EXPLODE.
But sometimes explosions can be a good thing. It helps us feel better.
Just think about it.
Think about the myriads of explosions people have on a daily basis.
It may help the one exploding feel better, but it can hurt many others.
But I grew up in an environment where I felt that I had to keep everything in. I was not allowed to be angry, I was not allowed to be sad.
If I was angry, I scared my family and the people around me.
If I was sad, then I was making them feel bad about their “efforts.”
So a happy smiling face communicated to them that I was not “moody.”
I especially was not allowed to feel upset about my adoption. Me, knowing that I was trafficked at a young age, taken from a place that was familiar to me.
The smells, the sights, the tastes.
Not all good.
But definitely all familiar.
I knew, from the day my adoptive mother “chose” me, that my biological mother was looking for me.
See, my story keeps changing, not because I am a liar….but because….adoption.
No one ever knows the real truth about their adoption.
My mother is dead, and she is the only one who knows the REAL truth about what happened.
Domestic adoptees are barred from having their original birth certificates.
Names are changed and there is a legal document saying “your bios are no longer your family.”
Can you believe that? An essential part of your essence, you are not allowed to have….because you are supposed to continue to fulfill the fantasy of some infertile couple who believe they are owed a child, someway, somehow.
I have a friend who can’t get citizenship because her adoptive family brown-marketed her adoption and brought her to the US even though she was born up North. They pretended she was their biological child….which opens her up to so many other risks.
Adoption is a pretend game. Remember as children, we were playing dolls, or dress up….or “Family.”
I played family, and at 12, pretended I was the husband (I don’t know why I always got the male roles) and my friend who was playing the wife laid down on the bed and we proceeded to do what we thought we were supposed to do as a “family.” We even had a doll.
Except it was all pretend. And when my adoptive family came to pick me up from her house, things became real for me, but the pretend game continued for….my adoptive family.
My friend was hurt during our “play”time and to this day, she has not spoken to me. I hurt her…but I didn’t know. She hurt me, and I don’t think she knows. It has become a blur…..like when I take off my glasses to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I see figures, but I fail to see details.
My adoptive family moved out of Haiti due to a Coup D’Etat. They moved into a country that was safer for THEM…..not necessarily safer for me.
And I expressed this frustration and fear and I suffered intense racism from people who were supposed to be my racial mirrors. Eventually, I stopped trying to explain the pain.
I cried at night. Loathing my skin color. My eyes, my hair.
I was fed this lie from day one; adoption is good. You have a white American family. But my adoption didn’t make me white….nor did it make me American….nor was it….good.
It kept me black as night, and still very much Haitian.
By 10 years old, I had already been molested at least once. By 10.5 I was assaulted by a Dominican man with a half-eaten orange he used as a projectile. My adoptive father did nothing about it. I remember this clearly, I was holding his hand.
As I got older, I feared riding in the car with my white adoptive family. Whenever we would drive by a group of people (Dominicans and even other Haitians), I found myself ducking each time. I remember hiding under the bench-like seats we had in our amazing Toyota land cruiser.
I was filled with anxiety, but my life was a blur since my adoptive parents couldn’t see the details. Their fantasy, their saviorism, their idea of a “family” seemed to cloud their view, forcing them to miss the details that their black girl….the one they saved from an orphanage, was moved to a dangerous country and suffering immense hurt and pain.
And still nothing changed. They continued to do nothing.
I grew to hate myself, hate the people around me. I scratched my skin to try and take off the black.
I had no actual role-models who mirrored me (looked like me). I had Dominican men and women who thought my white adoptive father had purchased me for sex, and somehow that was MY fault.
He had purchased me. But not for sex. 50,000 dollars is what was written in my adoption papers. That was what they were offering the private lawyer.
“We’ll give you that much….for the girl’s body…”
But yet they have paid NOT ONE therapy bill….and my soul continues to be empty, wondering if my real mom would have filled it any better.
Between the ages of 6 and 8, I learned the word pussy…..not vagina, (because my APs did not use the proper anatomical names for our body parts.). A man working by the side of the road yelled out “quiero mamar tu popola”.
I knew it could not be a “good” thing, but I had learned early in my adoption not to question too many things or to complain at all. I kept it inside. And since I had learned the Spanish language quickly, I understood the nouns and verbs. The word itself took a bit though. I knew what it could have been as he put his hand on his genitals, pointed in the direction of mine, and stuck out his tongue and made a sucking noise. This image is fresh in my mind….as if it was just Yesterday…and it was….and the day before, and the day before..
and the day before..
Because every day a young girl is verbally assaulted….just because.
That experience has stayed with me since forever, and I don’t believe it will ever go away. And it won’t. Not ever.
Safety from one place for some, does not necessarily mean safety for others. Moving from Haiti to the Dominican Republic was NOT a safe move for a black Haitian. I don’t understand why they didn’t do their research.
I have to preface my color because there are white people who are born in Haiti, hold a Haitian passport, and essentially, are Haitian…like my adoptive sisters. However, they also held a US passport. And wore white privilege like a coat in the winter.
It’s cold in the winter, a coat keeps you feeling warm….and when you feel warm, you often feel safe.
White privilege keeps white people safe, and also warm and fuzzy. Those with the privilege know they can pretty much get away with anything and it will go unnoticed.
Like my current boss…..he is not even aware of his workplace discrimination and how easy it is for him to remove me from having access to certain things and not remove a white colleague. My color stands out.
And growing up, my color always stood out. I went to an international school, you would think that going to this sort of educational center would mean mega diversity….but it really didn’t. The general population of the school had brown and white dominicans, and white kids running around everywhere. There were really no BLACK Haitians, making my years of being in education very difficult emotionally.
Anxiety became a huge part of my life but I never identified as being anxious or living with anxiety.
My APs never said “hey honey, you seem anxious, how can I help.”
However, their biological children were noticed more by them as having anxiety; knuckle cracking, hair pulling, and over all hyperventilation occurred often. This raised a red flag and forced them to focus on what they could literally see and what they could do to help them out.
But I wet the bed for years….well into my teens I was soaking up the sheets and damaging mattress with the liquid of my pain, anxiety, confusion, anger, sadness. I was creating a puddle of dissatisfaction and fear everywhere I went.
So, instead of sending me to a therapist, I was forbidden from sleeping over at any friends house because “the embarrassment”.
At around 15 years of age, I went to live with a (just guess), white family in the Southern part of the USA and there, I only wet the bed twice during the entire semester. I could not figure out why that occurred. Maybe I felt safer there.
Either way, I was ecstatic. Somehow, I had learned to control my body and I finally felt somewhat “normal”.
But the minute I returned home, back to the DR, it started up again.
Bottom line, I was not safe there and no one seemed to really care.
I’m in my early 40s and just last summer I was diagnosed with anxiety. I never thought I had that. I never thought I could be certifiably diagnosed with anything. I don’t feel my family every believed in any actual diagnosis for anything. My adoptive mother was very much into “pray to Jesus” Bullshit. And my adoptive father, being a Dr, didn’t seem to be in tune with anything not having to do with medical stuff.
Ever since I started taking my meds, I have felt a bit better. But the memories and the pain, and the frustration is like a pretend pocket in a set of shorts or pants. They are just there, as part of a “trend” or style.
My entire adoption was cargo shorts being worn by someone who couldn’t fit into them. All those real pockets to securely hide secrets and lies. All those surprise pockets that only the wearer knew about. And some of those pretend pockets…..those pockets that made onlookers think “Dang, those shorts are cool and so useful”….those pretend pockets are the fantasy.
Nothing can be put inside of them because….they are the lie.
I think it is time for me to rip out all the pockets and expose some truths.
Starting in Dec, I will try and do a blog a week…..exposing some truths and removing the pockets that held the lies.
Let’s dig into my adoption papers….1 page at a time.