Many adopted adults I have spoken to speak of a VOID. Not being adopted I can't even imagine what that might mean, but it seems important. Can anyone share any ideas?
Void....this word was one in which I used to describe how I felt about not having my birthmother or birthfather's informtion.....but after searching and finding at least my birthmother....I do not feel any type of void...all I feel is sorrow for this person...I used to feel the VOID that I didn't know my birthfamily....I wanted so much to feel validated growing up...I wanted soooo much to look like the Italian family that was raising me....I wanted so badly to be accepted by my peers.....and after finally finding my birthmother....I no longer had such a longing to want to be validated....because for once in my life I realized that God brought me into this wonderful world for a reason.....God wanted me to be on this earth for a reason.....and no matter how my birthmother felt about me or her past....I am here....and no matter what, I truly thank her for giving me the word VOID is gone from my vocabulary....Cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, and live today!! Brenda
same for me!! once I found my birth family I was able to connect all the dots and the void was gone! I also feel sorrow for the what if's and what might have beens but I understand all the players in this drama so much better and can appreciate so much more.
this is why I feel that everyone should have the option to this information. So they too can focus not on the void but on the truth and all that it implies.
I'm reading through this thread and many others and finding this feeling welling up inside of me. "Thank God I'm not the only one who..."
This is my very first post here. I guess it says something that it would be in response to a thread about the void.
That void has haunted me for years. It only seems to get worse the older I get. I'm almost 35 years old now. Yet my 'issues' around being adopted seem to grow.
I'm not quite ready to begin searching yet. The idea of finding my birth family stirs up a whole lot of fear. But I think I will try to find them soon.
I have another friend who is adopted who keeps trying to convince me that just because he doesn't feel a void, I shouldn't either. Of course, he has also met part of his birth family. He claims his lack of void has nothing to do with that but I have my doubts. It doesn't really matter what he feels, what matters is that I feel a void and I'm the one who has to deal with it.
My husband tries to understand. I think he comes as close as a non-adoptee possibly can. I've tried explaining to him what it's like to not have a single person you can look at and say, "Hey, that's where I got my (eyes, nose, mouth, chin,) from!"
How do you explain to someone that you have this 'disconnect' from whatever cultural influence you were raised under? It's all well and good to have recipes and such handed down from grandparents, but there just isn't that sense of "this is who I am" associated with it. My mother-in-law is very into geneology. I can't quite figure out how to explain to her that the geneology of my adoptive parents is NOT what I want in our family tree. I feel more connected to my husband's family than my own, maybe because I chose to emmesh myself in their familial identity. I did not choose to be plopped down in the middle of my adoptive familial identity.
I don't even speak to my adoptive family any more. Too many bridges burned over the years and a sense of apathy on my part about ever fixing it. I don't even know why they bothered to adopt me or any of my adopted siblings (not blood related to me). My adoptive father never missed a chance to remind us that he only adopted us because my adoptive mother wanted to so badly. Yet she chose him over us as well, letting him be as abusive as he wanted.
What a mess.
One of these days maybe I'll start to share more about my own story, but for now, I think I'll just chime in when I see something I need to say "Me Too!" to.
So about the void? Yes, me too.
Hi there!
I am so glad that you posted!
I have to say(after having met my bfamilies) that I do not think that your friend is correct. I believe that just finding out who they are, regardless of if you meet them makes a huge difference in the void! I know that the second i opened the envelope and read the name of the man who fathered me filled me with a sense of the world lifted off my shoulders that i hadn't even sensed was there.
I was prepared for the worst, hoped for the best and got something in between:)
I know exactly how you feel about not wanting to claim your adopted parents ancestors. I love my aparents and am proud of their ancestors but cannot, no matter how hard I try, connect with them or feel that I have a claim to them. Everytime I open my mouth to say "my great grandfather" I end up saying "my mothers grandfather".
Its not that I don't want to claim them, its that I feel like a fraud for doing it.
On the other hand, I have a legitimate right to claim my husbands family for my children and it is easier.
I am so sorry that your aparents were so unkind. I know that it has never been top priority to screen the potential aparents.
I am glad that your husband is supportive. That makes it easier i'm sure.
good luck!
I was just entering the 4th grade when my aparents told me I'd been adopted as an infant. Actually, the way it went was, "Mama, what was it like for you when I was born?" "I don't know" "What do you mean you don't know?" "I wasn't there." "What do you mean you weren't there?" "You were adopted, didn't you know that?" Nice huh? And it was rarely brought up again. Even as an adult, "we just don't talk about it." Everything I ever knew completely changed. I felt like a fraud, a fake. My beloved grandpa wasn't really mine - it was all "pretend". I still slept in the same bed at night, I still played with the same friends. But everything was different. Everything. I felt so alone in the world and so different from everyone else. There was nothing I could relate to a single person I knew.
Definitions of void:
[*]Containing no matter; empty.
[*]Not occupied; unfilled.
[/list]Empty of a heritage, empty of a name, empty of an identity. An unfilled hole in my entire identity.
[*]Completely lacking; devoid: void of understanding.
[/list]Void of understanding who I was, how I came to be. Completely lacking of an identity. Something everyone else I knew had.
[*]Having no legal force or validity; null
[/list]My identity was erased LEGALLY. I was not a valid human being.
[*]An open space or a break in continuity; a gap.
[/list]I was a shell resembling a human being on the outside. On the inside was this great open space, a gigantic gap between me and the rest of the world.
[*]A feeling or state of emptiness, loneliness, or loss.
[/list]Emptiness, loneliness, or loss. That sums it up pretty well. I had very unemotional aparents and they had NO information to give me on my birthfamily. They provided the bare, bare basics throughout my life (minus love and acceptance) and I always felt I was a burden to them. This created emptiness and loneliness. The lost feeling came from just KNOWING there was something wrong with me and that's why my bmom didn't want me. I always pictured her excited about my birth, and then the doctor telling her there was something wrong with me and her screaming at them to take me away and that she didn't want me.
Other definitions:
v. voided, void׷ing, voids
v. tr.
[*]To take out (the contents of something); empty.
[*]To excrete (body wastes).
[*]To leave; vacate.
[*]To make void or of no validity; invalidate: issued
[/list]This is a painful topic.
More and more I keep hearing adoptees that were told at 4 or older - and not told from day one. Would someone please explain to me why that is considered okay? I just don't get it.
Don't adoptive parents understand - especially if they have told the rest of the family - that you may find out accidentally - and that it is way worse if it happens that way?
I have always known I was adopted. My aparents told me right from the beginning. But the above post reminds me of the way that my amom told me other just one day, when I was a kid we'd be talking and she'd just pop in the conversation something like "your mother used to leave you alone in the apartment while she went out and you(in a crib) would cry and the neighbors would have to break in to get you."
I would then ask questions but she would snap "I don't know anymore!" making it obvious that it wasn't o.k. to ask or wonder. And then a year or so later she'd drop some other tidbit of info. I soaked it up like a sponge, dying to get the next piece of information on this baby, that was me but I didn't have a right to ask questions about.
I always felt as though this was a ****ty way to learn about myself.
The above story by the way turned out to be false. The social worker basically told a big ol lie of a story to my aparents making us wonder now how much of any of the stories they were told about me or my adopted siblings was true.
I truly believe that the social workers in the 60's at least were not concerned with the truth but more with making up these "poor" baby stories that made the adopted parents feel more like they were saving the child and keeping the past hidden from the child was in their best interests because the bparents were horrible and neglectful when the truth was way less dramatic.
Annelizly, do you have any idea why your mother told you what she did? Even if it had been true, why on earth would it be good for you to be told that at a young age?
In the 60's, the pattern often seemed to be to either make the birth parents sound like hopeless druggies or worse, or to make them sound like wholesome college students. I don't think that they felt it mattered too much as they never expected anyone to discover their deceptions. They were not anticipating children and birth parents getting together and comparing stories. I know a birth mom whose child was told she was addicted to drugs and homeless - she was neither. They had some "stock" phrases that they used for reasons for relinquishments too.
As for your assessment of SW's in the 60's unfortunately I tend to agree with you. Maybe SWs are more educated about adoption now, but, I am skeptical. I have heard of so many mistruths that SWs told birth and adoptive parents alike - even in more recent times. For instance, I know an adoptive mom who was warned that her daughter shouldn't search because he didn't think the birth mom would welcome reunion. Fortunately, they ignored him and the birth mom was eager for contact.
I agree the way you learned what you did was a rotten way - and then to find out it wasn't true anyway - yucky!
I think the reason she told me the way she did is because she was at war with herself. On one hand she wanted me to know what she knew but on the other hand she didn't want to tell me more than I could handle at any particular age. I wanted to know the truth so even if the truth were ugly, I wanted to know. I also think that she wanted any "unrealistic dreams" that we may be harboring to be squashed right off the bat.
I think the worst thing that the social worker in my case did was to tell my mother just as she was getting us "that adopted children don't do as well academically as other children and not to expect much from us by way of how we would turn out and that we are about a generation behind in growth(socially)"
because my amom believed this lady she never expected us to do well in school, she would praise us for C's as though we couldn't do any better(and of course we didn't strive for better because we were praised for slacking!)
of course it was sort of a self fulfilling prophecy. I married at 17 (because I do have a brain and a near genius IQ I have done well for myself thank goodness-no thanks to the social worker)
but my siblings haven't. Every one is a slacker. No ambition. But none are stupid. I truly believe that they were stunted but not by adoption, but by spending their lives being thought of as "not as good as"
My void is an actual feeling in the pit of my aches when I think about the facts of my adoption. I feel like I've been made to pretend to be my adad's daughter. I do love him, but never connected with his family. Its also a sense of being part of you was erased never to be seen again. Because essentially that is what happened to most of us.
hope that helps :)
I had to respond to Analizely's thread. YES! it wasn't just the 60s either that bad things were said. My son (who was adopted) was born in the 70s and, his aparents got the "abandoned child" routine (his amom wrote me a letter in which she expressed surprise at receiving him together with a full wardrobe of clean clothes, toys, details of his daily routine and a clean, well-fed baby!). The adoption file is filled with lies: lies about me, lies sent to me about the aparents; lies about my son's original father.
I am sure it was done to make aparents feel less guilty and to make social workers seem like "rescuing angels" and I am glad that you at least understand that.
Believe me, as someone who was in the middle of a mental breakdown & totally traumatized at the time I (unwittingly & without full information about the facts) signed the forms that ended with my child being adopted, it is painful to read other adoptees saying how they WERE abandoned rather than how they FELT abandoned. It is refreshing to read a posting by someone who, even if they felt bad, at least understands that things were so different all those years ago and how, not only adoptees but, in many cases, their mothers also have felt that "void", albeit a different kind of one.
I've always been aware of some sort of vague pain deep in my being. Sort of like if you'd lost a part of your body (eg. a kidney) long ago. The wounds have been covered up, a substitute kidney has been transplanted, everything seems well and to all outside visible appearances, you cope effectively but on an ongoing basis something just doesn't quite feel right inside. Everytime that I had to mention that I was adopted, Eg. scribbling in, "don't know", when asked for one's medical history, a faint twinge of sadness and emptiness could be felt and I suspect that was the brief uncovering of feelings of 'the void'.
The feeling of the void for me has been rekindled via my sessions with a hypnotherapist/clinical psychologist. It is the most intensely painful feelings of yearning to reconnect with my lost birthmother. Visions of her arms outstretched trying to embrace me from a distance - and me, as an infant, desperately trying to touch her and to become one with her too. I feel a fleeting sense of relief in the illusion of an embrace yet I also feel deep despair in knowing that our attempts to rebond are just a fantasy. No matter what we both struggle to do, the emptiness between us is still there.
Many adopted adults I have spoken to speak of a VOID. Not being adopted I can't even imagine what that might mean, but it seems important. Can anyone share any ideas?
Ths is a copy of a letter I sent to the NJ Assembly in support of an opebn records bill. I tried to explain the missing piece in adoptee identity.
[font=Times New Roman] [/font]
[font=Times New Roman] There is a question we all ask often during our lives. It is at the core of everything we think feel and do. It manifests itself in our most mundane tasks as well as our extraordinary ones. It defines our center, the place from which we view everything including ourselves. That question is simply; who am I? We all struggle to answer this question, sometimes in vain. The self is our foundation. We cannot describe our self simply and objectively, as we can a snowflake, a rainbow, or a sunset. Our self is unique, invisible in structure, but permanent. It is also private, held within. We can give an organ to another but we cannot exchange our self with another. I can learn and understand by contact with others and increase my own body of knowledge but I can never enter that others self, or can they enter mine. Yet we yearn for closeness, love, and belonging from others. We are incredible beings both in nature and in actuality. Beautiful and complex, and in the midst of all of this we can become lost within ourselves. We, the adopted, feel alone in the presence of others. We have meaning in our lives and yet we feel we are without direction. Wandering, looking, and searching, for our self. Members of the adoption family are more sensitive to this question because the birth and growth of our self has been disrupted and damaged by a process that does not recognize what it has done. [/font]
[font=Times New Roman] We regard the nine month period of gestation as a process whose integrity must be maintained. We support it with intensive medical supervision and psychosocial support. If there is a disruption in this process we label it premature and take extraordinary measures to maintain its integrity. We want to insure that nature takes its course without interruption. The result is the physical birth of a baby. [/font]
[font=Times New Roman] The psychological birth, of the infantҒs identity also follows a natural process. It is rooted in those first days and months of mother and child interaction (Pine 2000). The mother and child are at times virtually one being with the child developing increasing periods of self awareness. The bond that is present between mother and child, at this time, is a fundamental part of the of the childs emerging identity (Mahler, Pine, Bergman, 1975). This is a process as natural and vital as gestation. When the process of physical gestation is interrupted we strive to maintain its integrity. However, we donҒt think twice about disrupting the process that nurtures the infants identity. [/font]
[font=Times New Roman] Try and imagine how an adopted adult feels about who he is. Look into a mirror and see your reflection gazing back at you. Now smash the mirror into small pieces and put it back together so it casts your reflection once again. You see your image through the many cracks and distortions caused by breaking the mirrorҒs integrity. This is what I, as an adopted adult see when I gaze at myself. To survive I create an incomplete self that resembles me but isnt completely me. In order to restore my mirror I need to know my name at birth, my motherҒs name, to know her image and her likeness. I need to remember that which was taken from me as an infant because I just cant forget it. [/font]
[font=Times New Roman] As an adult, as a citizen, I own a property, in my own person. Please give me the deed to my person, my name, just like everyone else has. [/font]
This is my first post here (although I have lurked for a while), Im 38 & have recently found my bmum, we have corresponded but not met.
I just want say that I know what the void feels like too but Im not sure how well I can describe it. The lack of ancestry that some others have said is what it really resonates with me. Someone mentioned how they talked about relatives. I love my amum & loved my adad (now deceased) as much as anyone could love parents but the rest of their families have always been 'dads' brother' or 'mums gran', we have never been a close family & their relatives have never felt like family to me.
I always describe my adoptive 'brother' as 'the boy they adopted' (hes' another story).
I still find it difficult, actually more difficult with time to be around families, it fills me with a tremendous feeling of loss. I have never felt I belonged anywhere.
I was adopted at just a few months old, a fact that some of people think that means because I don't remember my bmum that I shouln't 'miss her'.
I often wonder though if subconsiously we do remember being babies, I was looked after by my bmum for a few weeks, then a foster mum for a couple of weeks before I was adopted so whos' to say that crucial bonding time being disrupted does not have an effect on a childs personality & life?
...I was adopted at just a few months old, a fact that some of people think that means because I don't remember my bmum that I shouln't 'miss her'.
I often wonder though if subconsiously we do remember being babies, I was looked after by my bmum for a few weeks, then a foster mum for a couple of weeks before I was adopted so whos' to say that crucial bonding time being disrupted does not have an effect on a childs personality & life?
Hi, JDY,
I find it interesting how the experts suggest singing, talking, reading, and playing music for our unborn babies. Yet, when a baby is adopted, "their womb experiences" suddenly have NO effect??? It just doesn't wash with me and sounds like you are thinking along the same lines. Our birthmother's voices are our first experiences with the outside world. How can it not have an effect on us, when our home (the womb) and the comforting voice we've heard since our hearing developed, are suddenly taken away from us?
I do believe that the extent of that effect can be a deep wound for some and for others, just a mild curiosity. I think a great deal of it is based upon how loving and nuturing our aparents are/were.