What have you been up to?
How do I explain how much adoption "stuff" has taken over my life for the last seven months?
"So, what have you been up to?"
Every time I've been asked this by a friend or acquaintance recently, I freeze. “This and that,” I answer vaguely. For those who know me well I am rarely vague; this can only mean I am hiding something. And I am: this blog. I’m currently leading a double life which only a few of my friends and family members know about.
The truth about what I’ve been up to over the last seven months is:
- Started an anonymous blog from the perspective of a UK adoptee from the closed adoption era now in reunion.
- Managed the blog and its associated twitter and Instagram accounts by posting regularly and interacting with others on a daily basis. Hi gang!
- Attended the Open Nest conference where I met so many amazing people (and the inimitable Lemn Sissay).
- Listened to an adoption podcast about once a week, such as AdopteesOn, Born In June, Raised In April or Adoption & Fostering as well as other podcasts which touch on trauma, addiction, etc such as Alanis Morissette and Russell Brand.
- Attended bi-monthly meetings of the adopted adults in North London.
- Sat on the steering committee for the above group and liaised with future speakers.
- Attended the On Being Adopted mini-retreat with 8 other adoptees.
- Read You Don’t Look Adopted by Anne Heffron and re-read Coming Home To Self by Nancy Newton-Verrier.
- Met with Body&Soul charity to talk about what adopted adults need in the way of support.
- Visited my wonderful family member who was adopted and whose parents found me on social media - couldn’t stop hugging her, we had so many hugs to make up for.
- Attended weekly therapy sessions with my adoption competent therapist.
- Discovered my sister on Facebook under her birth name, and promptly lost her again.
- Met with other adoptees for coffee and a chat on four occasions.
- Went with three other adoptees to watch YOU:the play.
- Supported my birth mother through a bereavement.
None of these things are strictly a secret as such, my blog is sensitive because I’d prefer to have tricky conversations with my parents and my birth parents face-to-face before they read about them online, and also I need to consider the confidentially around my sister and my family members who have been adopted or are in kinship care. These things do not concern my here-and-now friends and colleagues, and yet I find myself being cagey about it. Trauma and loss is not something you can throw around in a conversation willy nilly! That’s why I value the adoptee community - and the wonderful support I have found on Twitter.
However, the colleagues I have told about the blog have been really supportive and have even shared some of my posts, which makes me think maybe adoption isn’t such a niche topic after all. I always presumed it would not be of interest to anyone who wasn’t adopted or hadn’t adopted a child or lost a child to adoption. A number of people have revealed to me that adoption has touched them in some way, whether it’s a brother and his husband adopting young siblings or a “secret” cousin never mentioned but often thought about.
I think I needed to get all this written down, it goes some way to explaining why I’m behind with my work-that-pays-the-bills, I thought all this adoption stuff was just a hobby but perhaps it’s a full-time job!