Adoption itself is the family secret, the scandal which goes unspoken. While in my case, there are reasons to suspect that my adoption was not entirely legal, even in adoption cases conducted through official channels may have incredibly destructive effects on the sense of identity of the adoptee. I write about myself, and my adoption, because it is what I know. I write about my despair, my decayed identity, the inability I have of feeling integrated in family life and social interaction, because it is what I have known. I do not have a political agenda, nor am I propped up financially by an adoptee rights group, though I am aware that a number of these groups exist. And while my particular situation, my particular adoption case is one arranged privately through unusual channels, and while I’ve spent a fair number of years poking at my own recollections, studying books on adoptee psychology, and researching the larger issues of adoption in this country, I am also uniquely situated in that my sister was also adopted, albeit through the proper channels through the state of Idaho and I have been able to watch her struggle with the same consequences of adoption on her psyche.
My life has led me to places I’d never have suspected I’d visit. I’ve met people all over this country who have become close friends, and I am happily involved with someone I’m now deeply in love with, and it is because of the strength of this relationship that I have the ability to confront the issues of adoption that still fester in my heart, to confront the elements latent in my psyche that prompt the unintentional sob while watching an episode of Heroes, for example, or in seeing the subtext behind a movie like The Forgotten. I say this to explain why I am digging into this issue (for you, dear reader, who wonders idly if I am ungrateful, that I wish my life was other than it was.. I don’t). I say this also because I know as I write this I will find myself in emotionally charged states, that I will lash out at a hegemony inherent in the pervading adoption perception which is well-funded by the public relations of a billion-dollar industry. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, the moment we start talking about money, we’re talking about politics. Adoption is about the politics of identity, and in many cases it is also about the imposition of the moral norms of society upon innocents still untainted by language. For me to see it as anything less is an impossibility, and this perception I acknowledge is entirely a subjective one.