The Therapist and The Writer Walk Into a Bar
A year and a half ago, I wrote my first blog post. It felt like walking out of the sea naked, and I was both bold and hesitant. I did what I have noticed many adopted people do when they are freshly out of the fog and they talk about adoption: I talked about how much I loved my mom, how lucky I was to be adopted.
Both of those things are true.
Both of those things also nearly cost me my sense of self.
In my first blog pos, I wrote about mother love because that was the love I thought defined who I was, the love of and for my mother. Learning to separate from her, even after she had died, was not easy for me. Connection and separation are hot topics for adoptees, and I could have used a class or two in these subjects early in my life, but I learned what not to do by doing many of the wrong things and seeing they didn’t play out well. So now I’m trying other things, healthier choices, choices born out of love instead of fear. Choices born from intention instead of survival.
What I’ve learned in the past year and a half is that the mother raises us, and when we are strong enough, we walk from her arms into the arms of the world we have created for ourselves. The world of us. The world of you and I.
I’m a scrapper, just as so many of the adopted people that I’ve met are, and, luckily, (because it isn’t true for everyone, not everyone is stronger than the trauma of relinquishment and adoption) I’ve come out the other side. The side of, I’ve got this. The side of, I understand why I feel the way I do. The side of, so what do I want to do with this one life that I have? This life that is mine.
What has changed in the year and a half since I wrote the blog post is that I started teaching Write or Die, classes that come from the core of who I am, classes that access the very best tools I have accumulated as a writer, a teacher, an adoptee and as a person.
The other thing is that I have gained so many connections I can’t begin to list them. I mean, I know so many more people than I knew a year and a half ago. Many of them are because of Facebook. I have met people all over the world because of that crazy website.
Just this morning someone in England finished reading my book, messaged me on Facebook, hired me to do some work, and hours later I was reading his manuscript. This is an efficient, productive community!
I don’t want to start listing the remarkable people who are in my life now because of Facebook, because I’ll leave so many important ones out, and then I’ll wake up in the middle of the night for weeks with names I didn’t mention.
What happened was that I wrote a book about adoption; I wrote memes about adoption, and because birds of a feather flock together, this tribe of people who were interested in the same things I was accumulated on my Facebook page(s) and the heartbeat of I hear you, I get you, tell me more, was audible, and it made a world of difference. People cared what I had to say. I cared about what they had to say. I sometimes take it for granted now, but this community is a miracle.
When you are adopted, you often have thoughts that you believe make you different, make you separate, make you strange, and when you find out that actually many, many, many people have the same thoughts and habits, the relief is life-changing. Breath enters the body in a new way. More fully. Life is more fun. In my book I said at one point I’d rather have chewed off my arm to go to a camp for adopted kids, but I went and created a Facebook group just for adoptees and it is one of my favorite places to visit. It’s so safe.
When I can’t sleep, I catalogue the names of people who are in my life. It’s an amazing thing to care deeply about people you have never met in person, but that is the world now, and it works for me. These names are like a weighted blanket that hold me down to the earth in the very best way, in an everything is going to be all right way, in a we are here way in a you are loved way.
I met Pam Cordano because of Haley Radke’s marvelous podcast Adoptees On. I heard Pam speak as a guest therapist, and I thought, I want to know this person. (I’d felt that way about Haley for a year, and then I met her at the Indiana Adoption Conference and my status as number one fan was cemented--in my mind--by the loveliness of our time together.) I connected with Pam on Facebook; she did a Write or Die class with me over the phone, and then we met. Our connection was so strong and purposeful, I just knew we were supposed to do something together.
We decided to lead adoptee retreats because we have both done the work of our own healing, and we have powerful tools to offer other adoptees. We met in community and it is in community we believe we can help others come to a more joyous understanding of their place in the world.
Being adopted is not for sissies, and most adoptees grow up with little or no guidance of any substantial use. Pam and I have spent our adult lives preparing to help others heal. It is what we do. It is what we love because it is so not one-sided. The healing is about community and relationship. It's about being there for each other. It's about showing up. It's about choosing life.
I am so glad you are here.
Our next retreat:
Beyond Adoption: YOU.
You’re here. You’ve survived adoption and the trauma of uprootedness. Now you have the opportunity to become the Master Gardener of your life.
Come join us for a transformative 4-day retreat in the beautiful Berkeley Hills February 15-18, 2018.
• Identify and look with new eyes at places where you are stuck.
• Learn how to build and support your own resilience to triggering events and thoughts.
• Tap into your deepest desires to plant seeds in the garden of your future.
• Experience the power of healing in a community of adoptees.
The (Adopted) Therapist and The (Adopted) Writer
At the heart of Pamela Cordano and Anne Heffron’s careers is the joy of helping others connect with their undiscovered inner resources of strength, wisdom and vitality.
To register or for more details email anneheffron@gmail or email@example.com.