“Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been adopted.”
“You gained such blessings by being adopted, though.”
“True. I won’t argue against that; I do have a lot of blessings here. But what you fail to consider is that I might have had other blessings in my birth country.”
“But what about all those people in your life right now? Don’t they matter to you? Would you throw that all away? If you hadn’t been adopted, you wouldn’t have known them.”
Whenever I think about the “what if” scenario, I immediately get that train of thought. I’ve asked myself, “But I have it so good here, people I enjoy spending time with, things I love doing in my comfort zone, etc.”
The question “Would you throw that all away?” is merely the reverse of the equation: Having unintentionally “thrown” away my birth name, birth culture and blood family.
Or rather, my birth culture having “thrown” me away.
I can’t answer the question when it’s asked directly to me.
What about all those people in your life right now? Don’t they matter to you?
Of course they do.
It’s why I always end up asking myself that every time I find myself grieving for the family I lost through adoption.
I can’t say if I care more about one side or the other because I am not psychic and therefore do not have knowledge of that other life. I don’t know what it would have been like. I can’t say I indefinitely feel indebted to my adoptive life, because I have no knowledge of my would-have-been life to compare it to. And I can’t say I indefinitely feel anything towards Taiwan because I wasn’t raised there.
Actually I can understand the logic behind the question and even agree with the point conveyed to some extent.
People ask me, “Well, you were adopted. Of course I’m going to ask: don’t you?”
But what hurts me is when it is conveyed in a way that implies I should care “more” about one side of the equation than the other, namely the adoptive side. There is an evident bias in favour of the adoptive side, which is to be expected, because well, the adult was adopted.
Frankly, I can’t compare such a scenario, because I haven’t lived two lives.
I know I have a lot of blessings through adoption. I did not ask to be adopted, to end up in the scenario in which I needed to be adopted, but I was. And I know I have gained a lot through it.
I do believe I would have had equal blessings in Taiwan. I do believe I would have been able to find happiness in Taiwan, through family, through friends, through games and fun times, and the relationships I could have built over there. Oh yes, I do believe all of that. To a Westerner not personally associated with adoption, I can easily predict their confusion, saying that the blessings in Canada (through adoption) are of greater value than the ones I would have had in Taiwan.
And honestly, I don’t know that’s true. Neither does the Westerner.
You can’t weigh the values/gains in adoption to something you’ve never lived, because not all blessings come in the same shape or form.
And when I think about living in Taiwan, or the idea of having had an alternate life in Taiwan, my very first thought is:
“But what about my family here? I wouldn’t have known them. The people I have built relationships here and the friends I have had, I would have never met them.”
This knowledge tears me apart for many reasons.
You see, if I had stayed in Taiwan, I would have been raised by my blood family, in my natural culture with my proper mother tongue. But it’s likely I would have had a harder life, less play time, and a harsher (earlier?) work start. There are the blessings, and there is the lesser value.
In Canada I have been raised by my adoptive family, in a different First World culture with greater education and the English language. I have had a social death in my birth country due to this. There are the blessings, and there is the lesser value.
I don’t want to invalidate the blessings I have through adoption. Because they are very real.
But it grieves me just as deeply to invalidate the blessings I have lost through adoption. They have always existed, out of sight, out of reach.
Because it is one or the other. I don’t get to have both; nobody can live two lives. And no matter how you put it, my birth culture/family/language will always be in distant fragments, weighed against the blessings of my adoptive life.
I wish I could have had both blessings.