Tag Archive | heritage

Mirror image

We all know that the heritage we get from our Mum and Dad is 50/50, half from each of them. But as an adoptee, I don’t know whom this and that comes from, every little thing that makes me who I am.

Whenever I cook or do housework, I like to listen to soft music, like ballads, or Irish songs by Enya, Maire Brennan or Clannad. When I go for walks I prefer to walk through the forest, or by the sea. Whenever I admire a sunset or a rainbow, or listen to raindrops, which genes are shouting loudest? Did they both enjoy all those things, or did just one of them? I like my food hot and spicy, I got a really raw gallows humour, love watching science-fiction movies as well as action, drama or pirate stories, and I wonder which of them would have liked the same things that I do. How much of my personality comes from Mum, and how much from Dad?

There are things that make me smile on good days, and then there are things that really piss me off on bad days. How I relate to the world around me, how I resonate with it, the way I do things, what I think is beautiful or ugly, the fact that I love animals, flowers, nature, music and baking, how do these things stand up as a mirror image of one parent or the other? Did my mother love to cook and bake? What interests did she have, or hobbies if any? Did my father love to go fishing, as I do? Or work with wood? Why are my interests what they are? They are a part of me, have always been there, more or less.

I’ve been looking into the mirror for more than forty years, and it has always frustrated me that I do not know my story, even the littlest things in life, and I really miss knowing them. Like, do I have my mother’s nose, or my father’s? Whose were the cheeks, eyes, dimples or ears  that I inherited?  Or who do I blame for my straight hair, when I always wished I had curls? I inherited everything from them, but I’ve never managed to find out what from whom. And it would have been nice to know those things, little as they may be, though everyone else take them for granted. Most people grow up hearing how they got their mother’s eyes, or their father’s height. I can only guess and try to piece together little bits of a big puzzle with no clue, and then decide for myself whether I believe them to be true.

How can I figure out what is heritage, and what I’ve managed to teach myself out of free will? Was either my mother or my father interested in growing herbs? Because that’s one of the things I have planned for my future garden. I would like to think that what I’ve learned is my own doing, but we all carry the genes of our parents. They decide almost everything about our personality, our abilities, the way we think and feel. They decide whether we become one of the brighter bulbs in the box, how well we solve problems and face challenges like stress and all kinds of little everyday problems.

I think about these things once in a while, and they will always remain a mystery to me. Whether I got my father’s temper or my mothers patience, or was it the other way around? I am a very sensitive person. I feel for people and animals who struggle, one way or the other. Did I get that from my parents? I like to think so. I can be stubborn as hell, and I can laugh so hard I lie on the floor until I cant breathe anymore. I can be angry and slam the doors so hard that the house shakes, or so sad that I just sit in the sofa and feel completely paralyzed. So am I a mirror image of both of my parents? Then their personalities would be kaleidoscopes of variation too. If I only knew.



Plain, Honest Facts

Now and then I have to take a break from my adoption issues. I need to feel that I’m alive, happy and content, even though my life is like a roller-coaster ride.

There are days when I have lots of energy, I’ll be baking and doing the house work like a tornado. Then I can do what I love the most, to go fishing, find myself a nice place to relax, watch the waves, feel the warm sun and listen to to the ocean and the seagulls. Those are moment that I treasure, that I feel like I am one with nature, and feel really alive. To be there by myself, enjoy my tea and sandwich, maybe listen to music on my mobile. Sometimes others come to try their luck with the fishing, and we’ll have a chat about the weather or whatever springs to mind. But mostly it’s me and my thoughts, and I will think of my dreams for the future.

I really wish for a new place with a garden, where I can work with flowers of all kinds, from roses, marigold and daisies to Japanese lanterns, grow strawberries, rhubarb and herb plants, and have fruit trees with apples, pears, plums and cherries. And in one corner I want a big magnolia. I plan to have a bunny who can graze on dandelions and clovers, a little dog to follow me everywhere with its tail wagging, and my cat will be climbing the trees.

Other days I just have no energy to do anything at all. I just want to sleep and forget about my past. Those days are like dark tunnels, and I can’t see any light at the end. Even something as simple as taking a shower seems almost impossible, let alone doing housework, or facing other people.

I’m diagnosed with severe depression, as well as post traumatic stress disorder due both to being adopted and to having a difficult childhood. I’m prone to mood turns, and can go from cheerful to deep dark with little or no warning. I have this sore and unbearable empty feeling in my heart, which makes me restless and temperamental. If I was alone I would slam my fists on the walls and scream and howl with despair. I am so sad that my heart could break into thousand pieces over the painful past that keeps coming back to haunt me over and over. It’s more than 40 years since I came to Norway, and I still struggle with being adopted.

What did I inherit from my biological parents? My looks and personality, my sense of humour, compassion for others, some of the ways in which I see and do things. And what did my adoptive parents give me? Anger, hate, despair and depression.

It’s said that we are shaped by the environment in which we grow up. I’ve had to grow protective shields against the verbal and physical abuse during my childhood, shields that now lock me in and make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to relate to people around me. I hope to peel this protective layer off again, like an orange, to allow the real me to emerge and take control of my own life; to be a person with lots of energy, spend time with friends and family, have barbecue evenings, cook and bake, talk with like-minded people about the big questions in life, from stars, planets and the Universe, to closer matters like adoption; to be myself, and know that I am good enough and appreciated for the person that I am.

It’s time for my inner child to come through, to shine and feel that she has accomplished what it takes to be free. Then she would be brave enough to say that “I can do anything, and I am good enough!”  Then her handcuffs would at last come off, and the smile on her face would shine like a million stars.

In Norway, foreign adoption is still seen as the old cliché, that it is a beautiful, generous and noble act, and that adoptees should be grateful for having been saved and given a good life here. Even in 2012, Norway is old-fashioned when it comes to adoption issues. We need raise consciousness about this, and learn from people like Nancy Verrier, Paul Sunderland, Joe Soll and others who know what kinds of issues foreign adoptees struggle with every day of their lives.

~ Khara