My Daughter Turns 20

It takes a lot of focus to chase your dreams. I find my brain is so comfortable in telling me things that keep me inside. My brain loves to tell me how easily everything could fall apart. My brain loves to terrify me, but I’m waging a counterattack. This next year it’s going to be me against that big scoop of oatmeal that occupies my skull. This year I’m going to show it who’s boss.

The Value of Flying

I had dinner with some friends of friends one of the nights I was here, and after a couple of drinks, the man said to me, “You have to let go of your past.” I knew what he was talking about. It’s adoption, adoption, adoption with me. And that’s fine, but I also don’t want to be an adopted child anymore. I want to be Anne. I told him that if I knew how to let it go, I would. But all I knew was how to be the way I was used to being.

Holding Adoptees and Episode 15 of This is Us

I turned off episode 15 of This is Us near the start when Randall reassures his daughter who is anxious about her grandmother’s health. “Everything is going to be fine,” Randall says, and his face looks like he is about to crack. Your job as an adoptee is to tell the world and yourself you are fine, while inside, the pressure of all you have lost and all you have been unable to say builds up inside of you.

Empathy, Interrogation, and Writing

I don’t want to have a conversation with you and feel that we’re skating. I want to swim and go deep, touch the bottom if I can. If I wanted to stay on the surface, I could sit at home and watch TV, but instead I’m investing my attention in you, and I want real.

EMDR and Freedom

Something magical happened this last time I did EMDR with Lesli Johnson. I walked away from my mother with a light heart. Granted, my mother is dead and so the scene happened only in my imagination, but it felt real, and I am not the same person who went into the session. I am more myself. I feel free. Like a kid who is going out to play.

An Adoptee Gets a New Window

This will seem like it’s coming out of nowhere, but here’s my point: I hate it when people call my parents my “adoptive” parents. Yes. That is what they are. But why can’t I have “parents” like almost everyone else I know does? Why do my parents have to have an adjective?

This is Us

And this is why I haven’t gone back to watch more of This is Us. I want a happy ending for Randall. I want him to be free in his skin. I just don’t know how the show’s writers, who keep nailing what it means to be adopted, can stay true to experience and still keep the viewers on the couch. At what point do we decide Randall has suffered too much and turn off the TV so we can eat pizza and forget?

Bloom

It wasn’t until last year when I started reading and writing about adoption that I realized my inability to attach and my delayed style of blooming probably had to do with being adopted. I’m not a boy, so I don’t know the full physical impact of being kicked in the nuts, but I imagine being relinquished is physically and psychically like a serious kick in the balls.

The Stories of Adoption Can Kill Us or Make Us Whole

The other night I realized how radically I had changed when I was sitting in the living room of a friend’s house, and I thought: I could live in a place like this. I could live here in peace and not have to move to get away from myself. By telling my story, I had calmed my Mantosh. I realized I carried peace in my head. I sat very quietly on the couch and looked around as if the world were so fragile it might break if I blinked.

I Love You and I'll Never Leave

My friend told me that she’d sent my book to her sister, and that her sister had called her after reading it and had said to my friend, “I love you and I will never leave you.” My friend teared up when she told me this story. “I’m not adopted,” she said. “But clearly that was something I needed to hear.”