Running from Silence

For years I tried to mask the negative thoughts that I have been left with after my past and my adoption. Rationally, I know that my feelings are justified and are valid and I shouldn’t feel guilty or wrong for having them. I feel guilty because adoption is such a fantastic thing, as I have been given a second chance at a life with a family that genuinely loves and cares for me. I have an amazing family that has been able to provide me with everything I needed and more, my family are my rock. One of the negative thoughts or feelings that I experience is the fear of losing those around me.

My youngest memories of this, are the dreams that I used to have. I would have terrible dreams over and over that people would come through my front door, in a convertible, and try and steal my parents. I can remember the dream as if it were a film I’ve watched a hundred times. I hated it, and the dreams would always terrify me.
Growing up I lived in a small rural village, so if there were any cars, you would always hear the sound of the car driving past. I would have a recurring nightmare, which began with that sound. It probably sounds ridiculous to anyone else reading, but I would hear that noise in my dream and be so scared to turn around. Once I found the courage to look around, I would see ‘aliens’ on my sister’s bed, and they would taunt me about taking her away. This dream, in particular, was awful, and I had it repeatedly for years. When I grew older, the dreams would get progressively darker.

I remember always having the feeling of someone being outside my house or my room when I went to bed. I would panic that there were people there when sensibly, I knew that was not true at all. I remember asking my dad if he was outside walking in the garden because I thought I’d heard a noise. It’s complicated to talk about without sounding completely crazy. When I’m going about my daily life, and I’m busy, or when I was younger, when I was at school or with friends, these thoughts are not present at all. During the day, for the most part, my girls keep me so busy that I don’t have the opportunity to have time to myself which has been somewhat of a blessing.

The mind seems to have a funny way of dealing with trauma and emotions that we try to hide. No matter how much I would attempt to portray the image of coping, every night when I go to bed and silence kicks in I am unable to escape my thoughts and dreams. I used to feel like I was going mad sometimes because my mind just refused to switch off. Even now, I hate silence; I always have to have music, or Youtube in the background because I can’t stand allowing the silence to come and my thoughts to take over. The best way to describe the feeling would be if you had a browser open with multiple tabs and having them all running at once and the moment life around me stops they all take over. Part of the reason for starting my blog was to be able to write about my feelings and thoughts when these moments occur as a way to help process them.

It can feel very overwhelming and sometimes quite scary to appear unable to control the negative thoughts that come into your head. It makes me angry that 20 years after being adopted I am still finding difficulty in processing my emotions about it. Then again, what else is to be expected, its the same as any traumatic event that takes part in a child’s life. It will no doubt leave wounds, leaving scars that will never fade. I will not ever be able to know what happened in the first two years of my life (I have a blog post ‘The Unknown’ which talks a bit more in-depth about this) but unfortunately I will never be able to escape what it leaves behind when the silence takes over.

 

The Unknown of Adoption

Many psychologists agree that the first three years of a child’s life are vital for various aspects of development, so when two out of the three years is entirely unknown, it always feels as if something is missing. Not knowing anything other than the names of my biological parents and that I had siblings was something that I struggled with. Although now, after research and help from people I have found out some more information (I would like to do a separate dedicated post on my search so far) I have still been left with so many more questions. People reading this would probably think that my biggest problem or the biggest question would be why was I put up for adoption. I believe that this is true for when I was younger, but as I grew up, my feelings changed. I no longer care about why I was put up for adoption because to me it doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing could be said to take away the fact that I was put up for adoption, and I now have a family that love me and care for me more than anyone else ever has.

I have always had an active imagination, and when I was young I would imagine different scenarios and what would happen if I met my biological family, but the reality was that I knew nothing at all. I didn’t know if they were alive, or where they lived or even if the information that I had was accurate. I always have been very open about the fact that I was adopted and am proud of my background and where I come from although I don’t know the specific details.

When I was younger, I would always feel awkward when other children would talk about when they were babies, or what their first words were. Not because I felt embarrassed about my past but because I simply didn’t know how to answer and I didn’t know myself. I would often get questions about why I looked different when I was in primary school since I am a bit more tanned and have dark hair and eyes, living in a small Scottish rural town this wasn’t very common. I much prefer when people ask me questions if they have any instead of just making assumptions. Other kids would often talk about the similarities that they shared with their parents, such as if they were sporty like their dad, or artistic like their mum. I didn’t have anything to reference to which I’m sure that you can imagine, often would leave me feeling incomplete.

I have never been someone that likes to share how I feel so I would try and deal with the complex emotions which come with adoption by myself. At the time I thought I was dealing things by just keeping them in my head and not sharing anything with anyone but now I know I was suppressing my feelings. Throughout high school, I struggled with my sense of self, and it was when my mental health issues became apparent although I did my best to try and hide them yet again. A lot of my close friends new that I was adopted and would always offer to be there as support if I wanted it but instead I would often push them away because I knew that they would never actually understand.

When I fell pregnant with Gabriella and with Ava, the unknown of my past was highlighted again. I had no information on my family history. I was unsure if there were any hereditary issues that I should have been aware of, or if twins ran in my family or even any information about my own birth. I found it quite worrying not having any information but thankfully the majority of the nurses and midwives were very understanding bar one. I was born with Sprengel shoulder, and my spine and top few ribs are not quite right, so I was worried that it could have been passed down genetically as I had read that in some rare cases it could be genetic and girls are at higher risk of developing Sprengel shoulder. Thankfully both girls were checked over thoroughly when they were born, and there have been no signs of any issues.

I look at Gabriella (3) and Ava (2), and I can already see so much of their personalities developing, but I know nothing of that time of my life. I was brought to the UK from Romania when I was 20 months old. By that age, both of my daughters were walking and talking, and I was able to have conversations with them. I knew their likes and dislikes. I knew what made them scared and how to comfort them and what made them happy. I feel like when I am with the girls; I can almost see the people that they are becoming and I genuinely believe that the first years are so important in defining who you become as you grow up. Not knowing anything about that time, other than a few notes on my development is something that I know I will never get answers.

I think the best way for me to describe the feeling to someone else would be to hand them a book and tell them only to read the second half. You get an understanding of what happens, but not why. Part of me thinks that I will never feel closure because I will never get answers to the questions that I have been asking my entire life. There are many aspects of my personality and mental health that will remain unanswered and unknown and that, for me, is the hardest part of adoption. The unknown.