The life of Von is a 72 year journey so far, an adventure and an adopted life that continues to surprise, reveal yet another layer of complexity in its demands to be lived, as it always has been, to the full. There is no going back, few regrets, but plenty of new learning, new challenges and inspirations.
It seems the work of the adoptee is never done. Just when you think you’ve nailed it, there’s a fresh insight, yet another depth of feeling, hurt or experience to investigate, uncovered by the last and needing attention, careful thought, understanding and healing. Reading the work of other adoptees or the writings about adoption always produces more material for thought, more to process and deal with. Being open to possibility requires attention, persistence, flexibility of time and a degree of dogged determination.
In addition, there has to be time for the other parts of living, the ‘normal’ things others do and achieve, family life, being part of a community, activities which feed the soul and the mind, new learning and challenges and for this adoptee some contribution to the progress of adoptees as we make our way out of the closet into a world which has many misconceptions about adoption and adoptees. The myths are alive and well and so are the myth makers, the legislators and lobbyists, the propagandists, the misguided and misled, the money makers and the unethical.
During the course of this emergence from the closet I have witnessed many things from adoptees and non-adoptees. Amongst them courage, dogged determination, absolute certainty as to the rightness of the call for rights, disbelief, bewilderment, fear, anger, unshakeable faith, trust, deep caring and empathy, compassion and understanding that only a fellow sufferer can experience. I have seen and been on the receiving end of bullying, abuse, ridicule, aggression, fear, bewilderment, sickening realisation, threats, patronization, scorn, anger, cruelty, denial, removal of my right to free speech, the attention of hackers and the deep mistrust and self-absorption of the badly damaged. It hasn’t always been a picnic!
For adoptees, the right to know, the belief in the fundamental human right of knowing who we are, where we came from and who our people are, keeps many of us moving forward, steadily, sometimes haltingly, sometimes fearfully and in trepidation and sometimes with confidence and always with the knowledge that we are right to want the truth, to clear away the lies and to hold liars and abusers accountable. Adult adoptees won’t be going away any time soon, nor will they be keeping quiet or allowing gains to be lost. We have everything to gain – we already lost everything when we lost our mothers,our identity, our history and our names.