Secrets and Lies….An Adoptees Nightmare

I’ve always wondered why I’ve been such a stickler when it comes to secrets and lies.  I just can’t tolerate even a little white lie told for my benefit.  Honesty is paramount in my world.  I don’t care if it hurts me I’d rather know the truth.  My insistence has caused many rifts in my growing years and been the cause of many relationships going down the tubes.  Most people take secrets and lies in stride, as a normal part of life.

 I don’t.  I can’t.  I won’t.

ImageI’m around three in this picture and already caught in the world of secrets and lies of adoption.  Stuck in the twilight zone and suffering PTSD at three is something no one would understand back then in the early 50’s.  I look at her and my eyes fill with tears.  I only have a few pictures and they all have the same blank look, the clenched fist and at that time I refused to wear socks for some reason.  My adoptive mother being the perfectionist she was, was always so angry at me.  Pictures that had must be perfect….were anything but. on smile.

 Over and over but never the perfect picture.  The truth always showed and she didn’t want anyone to know the “perfect family” was sick.  Sick with secrets and lies.

“A family is only as sick as the secrets it keeps”

John Bradshaw

Secrecy erects barriers to forming a healthy identity.  Sealed records  and false birth certificates implicitly ask for an extreme form of denial.  Nowhere in the history of psychology will you see that denial is a positive strategy for forming a sense of self and dealing with reality.  It wasn’t until I threatened with a lawyer when my daughter was around 6 that I finally got “my last name”.  Once you have your own child, the importance of finding out genetic information becomes priority and the search intensifies.  I had no information or medical history until I was 50 and by then, so much damage was done, but for my daughter, she now has something I never had.  Information, history, heritage, existence.

Nancy Verrier believes that the nine months spent in utero  establishes a connection with energetic transmission of either positive or negative emotions.  Then, with the severing of the connection, the primal wound is created.  This affects the adoptees sense of Self and most often manifests in a sense of loss, basic mistrust, anxiety and depression.  You lived nine months in utero trauma and were born only to experience the worst trauma of all.  You can’t tell me, if you really look at that little girl above that none of those things exist.

Within secrets and lies you find shame.  What a person withholds from another becomes a hidden truth when if fact, it’s reality might be questioned were it allowed to reach the light of day.  That’s why it’s so very important for everyone to tell their story, to share the traumas and secrets and set yourself free.  Even in everyday life, communication in an honest way clears up many illusions turned secret.

Brene Brown has many videos on her research about shame.  It’s epidemic and it’s fostered with all the secrets and lies we live.  No wonder we have such a physically and emotionally sick society.  Once you can bare your truest self to select people, it makes space for a new kind of connection in your lives.

As an adoptee you grow up pretending you are someone else’s child and of course, the topic is seldom discussed at least in my era.  You were trained , act as if genetically you belonged.  That only works so long until you begin to discover genetic traits that “your family” can’t accept.  Adoption isn’t talked about,  The church family don’t know you aren’t really who you say you are.  The people across the street, the kids you go to school with and sometimes, you don’t know yourself until a later age.

In some twisted way, when I look at the would she understand that her mother didn’t want her or couldn’t keep her.  How could an already traumatized child grasp that.  I can’t even get into the words used such as “chosen”.  Yet, the truth is what we need and want.

 A new direction in adoption needs to be followed where the truth is faced head on.  No matter what age.  A child can sense a parents discomfort and blame themselves.  These indirect messages such as relatives commenting on how much so and so looks like their mother affect adopted children greatly.  Blood related people don’t realize the frequency of these biological references but Adoptees do.

It’s no wonder then, that myself and many adoptees can sense a secret or lie hidden behind a false smile or statement and refuse to tolerate anything but open and honest relationships.

 It takes an instant to break the trust and a lifetime to repair the damage, if ever.

I’ve lived as most adoptees, a life of dualities..the person you show the world and the person you have no identity for.  Now that I’ve been able to fit some of the genetic puzzle pieces in the blank spaces and write my story I am lighter, free of the fear and shame of being discovered.

 I now exist.

Being an Open Book


ImageI must have read this brilliant and reassuring saying hundreds of times during the past  seven years of writing these two memoirs.  At my most vulnerable times it kept me going, it kept me honest and open with my words.

I have several books that have been with my during this journey of self discovery.  One of them is The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.  My daughter gave it to me way before I felt I could tell or write even a sentence or two.  Just the title alone brings reassurance that yes….you have a right to tell your story.  

For so many people that have experienced trauma of any kind it so painful to bring it to light, never mind sharing it with others who may not understand.  It is however the most important thing you will ever do.

Knowing there are others who share in your journey is the very healing you need.  Writing it on paper takes it out of your body and allows you freedom to just “be”.


Blocked Emotions

The truth about childhood is stored up in our bodies and lives in the depths of our souls.  Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings can be numbed and manipulated, our perceptions shamed and confused, our bodies tricked with medication, but our soul never forgets.  And because we are one, one whole soul in one body, someday our body will present its bill.  The wounded and lost child is only in hiding:  the soul is still whole in spirit.  Ultimately, our deepest self will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting or contaminating us until we stop  evading the truth.”Alice Miller

Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets have been for me, the catalyst for self healing.  By being an open book, by being vulnerable and examining the stages of my life as an adoptee searching for a place in this world through writing, has led me to a place of peace and wholeness of self despite the trauma’s and abuse endured.

There were times in writing and in living I was curled up in fetal position with howls coming from a place I didn’t know existed.  A deep guttural place of a wounded animal screaming in pain.  The years before reunion I was that little girl above.  You would never guess it on the outside, although my daughter tells me I always looked sad and an old friend wrote a song about my sad eyes.  Yes, that typical adoptee aura that people can’t quite put their finger on was with me always.

I’m nervous that once the books are out and read, I will be judged and yet a stronger part of me feels it’s important to be free, be an open book, with hopes that someone will know they too, can survive.  That over rules any fear of judgement.  Those who judge won’t be in my life anyway and usually when judgment occurs it’s because of one’s own fears and doubts and it certainly doesn’t come from a place of love and understanding.

Julia Cameron says it’s human nature to write and that it claims our world making it specifically our own.  She also says we should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of mediation and prayer and it connects us to our insights and the deeper level of inner soul guidance.  I believe that to be true.

Seven years ago I wouldn’t have called myself a writer or even a story teller.  Now I am both.  Don’t let fear get in the way of you telling your story.  Begin Now.