My dad was perfect! When I was a little girl I was Daddy's little girl. I was so special and amazing in my Daddy's eyes. He was strong, good looking, stern but fair. He was fun. He had a great sense of humor. He was perfect.
In November 2005 my mother was in the hospital with chest pains. She was there for maybe one week, I really am not sure. We had Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital. She was having trouble breathing but still in good spirits. She smiled, laughed and complained about hospital food. She was her normal self outside of difficulty breathing. She told me that she did not have long to live...
“Five severed fingers do not make a hand”. Daniel Quinn If a family is a hand this has fact has haunted me my entire life. As an adopted person I lived in a constant state of denial wanting to forget the fact that I was torn away from my biological family and added to my adopted to family because we looked like a family is supposed to look. We had all the right components of a family; a mom, a dad, kids, even a dog at one point. We looked right on paper and in photos. I did everything I could do to be the perfect daughter for my parents, the perfect sister for my siblings. A small price to pay to hold onto being able to feel like I had a real family, that this is my family. I really believed it. I really believed that being adopted made no difference. Sure there were times I questioned my parents and their choices and if they would have done this thing or that thing differently if I was their biological daughter. They were honest that they did not know for sure but liked to believe that they would not have done anything differently because they loved me as though I was their biological daughter. But considering they had no biological children it was all speculation and aspiration. I wanted a real family and they wanted a real daughter. We agreed collude in the delusions, ignoring anything that may shatter our world by pointing out where the fingers were not connected and the stitching was showing. It worked beautifully for years, nearly thirty years. I like to believe it never fell apart for them. My adopted parents were so committed to the allusion that I was not really able to get to know any family members outside of them. The picture began to fade for me in 2005 and really became hard to see in 2008. After my adopted parents died I realized the people that came to the home going celebrations were strangers. I did not know them and they did not know me. Not really. I heard whisperings of “foster daughter” here and there and my heart was crushed. I did not know how to ask for help with making final arrangements and did not know who I could ask for help. I was all alone within this huge family that was supposed to me mine. I told myself it was my responsibility. They were my parents. I did not have contact growing up with my biological family. I decided to try to reach out to my biological family and experienced much of the same thing. They are strangers and almost all attempts to connect are difficult, odd, strange, and painful. On paper and in pictures I have 2 families. One biological and one adopted. But in reality I have no family at all. I have attempted to create my own family with friends and the families of romantic partners but the truth of the matter is when a relationship ends so does the new delusion of family and friends have their own family. I have grieved this fact for years. I am done grieving. Acceptance and gratitude for the connections I do have is where I focus. I am my family and that is enough. I am enough.