Letting Go of Who You Thought You Were…

Who are you? Do you know? 

Who were you before?  Before what?  I would have to say, before many things.

Someone asked me the other day why I can’t just stop writing about the past.  My answer to that is that I never had a past before to talk about, well except for the one in FINDING HEART HORSE.  As adoptee’s we are void of history, void of a past and full of loss only.  Until….

Until we search.  Until we grab each piece of paper with bits of information on it and try and put it all together.  I’m sure all of us had a tin box in the closet like the one I had, or a shoebox that held tiny bits of information gleaned over the years.  If we are lucky and find our adoption papers or can apply for non identifying information we fill with anticipation in perhaps finding a bit more about who we are.

How can you let go of the person you used to be until you find out who that person is?

In writing FINDING HEART HORSE i went through layer upon layer of stories of who I thought I was only to discover after rewriting seven times….I was no longer my story.  The words between the covers now are the story, not me.  I was terrified for years that someone would find out who I really was and here it turns out…it wasn’t me at all.  It was just a story.

I wonder if I write another book on purely adoption if that would be the case  in the end.  Would I then not be my story.  The answer is no, nothing would change the reality of the primal wound and the damage done. 

If you don’t have the wound of a broken heart, how can you know you’re alive?

 If you have no broken heart, how do you know who you are?  Have been?  Ever have been?”  

  Edward Albee

We all have wounded hearts to some degree etched with at least a few of life’s scars.  If that is the case, how can we find peace”  How can we release our sorrow and move beyond negative memories and hurt?  How can we release our attachment  to the past?

One thing you never hear in adoptee groups is the prattle of well meaning friends who say things like “You need closure”,  “You need to move on”

Okay, I’ll get right on that.  Thank you!

I worked in Psychiatry for many years and I remember looking after a patient who had suffered great loss.  As we were discussing the stages of grief and closure,

I said.”Maybe it’s time to let go and move on.”  “Maybe it isn’t,” she replied..”Maybe i’m not done.”

I think of those words often especially in relationship to adoption loss.  Maybe in our case, we are never done.  All loss is painful but the loss of a mother in utero is one that goes beyond the normal realm of thinking.  It’s an energetic loss of self before we even enter this world.

When you suffer with PTSD… Adoption trauma , rape, abuse the grief is never “done”.  Mourning is part of the process as well as a deep and significant spiritual experience.  It drives us down into the core of our being, our authentic self.

There does come a time that we need to release the pain even tho’ certain losses remain with us forever such as in adoption.

 We need to regain balance by processing but the loss remains as part of our history.

That doesn’t mean we spend our lives grieving or living in our past.  We find ways to co-exist with our sadness.  We can embrace our pain and our losses and be greater and more authentically real for doing so.  We are never going to erase the deeply ingrained memory of our grief and loss and I don’t think it would be good if we did.  We would become unconscious beings

devoid of feelings and memories.

We do have to find peace and acceptance within the framework of our daily lives.  Finding a way to peacefully coexist with life’s losses takes courage, and inner strength and work.

It’s all Karma anyway.  Blowing in like the wind, in whatever direction it chooses.  We have no control over the blowing of the winds and the world around us but we are in charge of how we relate to those winds.

That’s what makes the difference.

If you want your life experience to be different, you have to do something different.

We all have choices.  We can change how we view the world.  Change is going to happen anyway so we might as well just embrace the idea and go with the flow of life.  Change allows for the constant regeneration and renewal of ourselves.  I’ve noticed its the times of crisis that have preceded the most growth and change for me.

Adoption has it’s own unique set of core beliefs, habits, protections, behaviours, attitudes, opinions and preconceptions.  Everyone has them.  Adoptee’s are just different, deeper perhaps and from a place that was hardwired pre-birth.

Once you begin to identify these and begin to let go, we begin to let go of who we used to be or who we thought we were.  With new vision and a new way of being we are open then to a new flow into that space now created by relinquishing those old beliefs.

Just imagine allowing all the positive energy that can now occupy a space once filled with such negative and painful beliefs.  You might even be able to say to yourself, that yes, I am loveable.  Yes, I’m worthy of good things and being happy.  Yes, I do belong.  I exist in this universe.  I may belong in a different way than I thought I would, but I belong…to myself.  Being at peace with …just being

‘There is no present or future-only the past….happening over and over again—now.


That’s how we get through grief.”

 Eugene O’Neill



5 thoughts on “Letting Go of Who You Thought You Were…

  1. Pingback: The World is what you see | inspire4better

  2. Well-written post, Claire. Adoption is a different experience, one that’s hard for non-adopted people to understand. It’s not like being born into a family and being raised by that family. Hidden adoptions are even more unusual since they are shrouded in secrecy, leaving adoptees with many questions. Once I found out I was adopted at the age of 38, I began to think more about the past. How can you not do that? Lynne

    • You can’t…when you are raised in lies and secrets it’s imperative to learn about your past. It doesn’t mean we live there, only that we need the knowledge “real children” already possess. There isn’t anything easy about adoption..

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