Many people are afraid to heal because their entire identity is wrapped around the trauma that they have experienced. They have no idea who they are outside of the trauma and that unknown can be terrifying. I was guilty of this myself for so many years but was never able to identify what it was until a few years ago. My whole life I never hid the fact that I was adopted, in fact I shared my story very openly. When I was 18 yrs old I started searching for my birth parents. At the time I did not fully understand the deeper issues as to why I wanted to find them, I just chalked it up to curiosity. I wanted some answers, a better understanding of who I was, where I came from and what had happened that led to them giving me up for adoption.
It wasn’t until a few years back when I started my wellness journey that I was honest enough with myself to identify the trauma that I had experienced as a child and how it was affecting my life. I began to realize that my fear of abandonment, low self -worth and lack of showing up for myself consistently all stemmed from my being adopted. I I had never really taken the time before to talk to my 3 year- old self. To give that little girl a hug or the extra love and tenderness she deserved. I simply powered through life in a bold way and swept under the rug the hurt and shame I had felt from being given away. Wasn’t I cute enough, smart enough, kind enough or worthy enough?
I searched for m birth parents on and off for years but always ended up being disappointed when I would hit a dead end. In 2017 I finally decided that I couldn’t do this on my own so I would need to hire the best research genealogist there was in a last- ditch effort to get to the bottom of it. I mean, if I could spend a stupid amount of money on a Gucci bag I could certainly spend that on some life altering information.
I knew then in my gut that I would find my birth parents and while I was excited at the possibility of finally finding closure, I was SO scared of what it would mean. I remember saying to my husband “When I find them who will I be?” You see my whole life I had made up numerous scenarios as to what possibly could have happened based off of the small bits of information that I had surrounding the circumstances of my adoption. My entire identity was wrapped up in this “story” of what happened. People would often ask me if I had searched for my birth parents which would lead to long conversations and pontifications as to what “the story” was. Once I found them that would be it. The truth would be found out…the search would be over, no more suppositions. The romance of who I could have been, or what had really happened would be nailed down to one simple truth.
In February of 2019 I finally found my birth mother, but unfortunately she passed away just a few years earlier. I did find a few siblings who were able to share photos and stories of who she was and help fill in the gaps so that I could find the closure I had been looking for all these years.
What I realized in the end of this journey is that I was still me. Finding her did not change who I was at the core. Actually, it has made me a stronger, more confident and empathetic version of myself. It has allowed me to begin the healing process of truly releasing the pain and have a better understanding and appreciation for the life that I have been given.
Healing is an ongoing and often painful process, but we cannot let the fear of who we are without our trauma dictate the way we move through life. We owe it to ourselves to find the courage to heal ourselves and move on to a happier healthier place.