“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are —and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning, there is the most disquieting — loneliness.”- Alex Haley – Roots
I share this quote today to encourage adoptees in search, and to remind everyone of the normalcy of the need to know. You are the product of past generations, and deserve to know everything that went into the making of you.
As I work on my book, I often reflect on the past with disappointment. My formative writing years and the idea of a writing career, started after I was reunited with my birth family. Before that reunion, my focus was clouded by a sense of incompleteness. I was a stranger to everyone, even myself, a blank slate, looking, clinging and begging for a genetic map to guide me.
There is a sense of mourning that comes with wondering who I might have been by now, how many books I might have published, if only I was whole enough to begin writing novels earlier in life.
Many adoptees feel as if their lives are stalled, in limbo, until they search. The search, even when unsuccessful is a vehicle to freedom. Finding is a miraculous rebirth, where two become one. Suddenly, the infant with one set of parents, is an identifiable part of the adoptee whose surroundings are a foreign landscape to which they have adapted.
Of course, much of the content in my book ‘Waving Backwards’ could not exist without the experience of searching seven years for my birthmother and another five for my birthfather. The need to know was overwhelming and all encompassing, and those feelings deserved to be explored and shared. So the very thing that held me back from finding my life’s passion, is also the thing that enables my first novel to exist.
Many adoptees are labeled angry or insensitive for demanding open records. If only we thought of their searches as essential to ignite the meaningful endeavors of their lives, perhaps we would not judge as harshly.