I'm a gifted adult survivor of child abuse by my adopted parents, who left me with chronic depression, PTSD, and a touch of autism for good measure. Here I examine the fragments of my past. It's enlightening but not pleasant. You've been warned.

If you want to see my lighter sides, here's a list of my other blogs:

We Have Always Lived in a Homeschool my blog about homeschooling my three gifted children

Lioness' Fandom

My Pinterest Boards where I express myself without words

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Frankenfamily

I've been reading about other adoptees, trying to see how their childhood was like and not like my own.  In some ways mine was different, but there were all too many heartbreaking similarities.

Adoption Stereotype:  "One of these kids is not like the others." 

Many adoptees are brought into a family where everyone else is biologically related except them, so they stand out.  Not me. I didn't obviously stand out from my family because most of my family was adopted.  I, my sister, my father, and his sister were all adopted.  Adoptees made up 3/4s of my immediate family and 2/3s of the extended family I saw most often.  Aside from "white", there was no physical standard to adhere to or stand apart from.  Our ethnicities supposedly included English, French, Welsh, Irish, Scandinavian, and Native American.

Now you may think, "Great!  Adopted families have lots of love.  Your family must have had even more extra doses!"  Not exactly.  What we had were extra doses of dysfunction.  We were six random people with no ties at all between us other than living in close proximity.  My adoptive parents had married out of desperation, not love, so there wasn't even that to hold us together.

So it wasn't that I stood out from the norm, there was no norm, period.  Underneath my adoptive parents' overwhelming concern for social acceptance which led to both their marriage and our adoptions, anomie and disconnection were the norm.

I had no idea that families were even supposed to feel anything for each other, other than paying lip service to some idea of "love".  That revelation shocked me to the core when it came to me as an adult.

And there's the thought, "Well, at least you had other adoptees to talk to growing up."  Nope, not other than my sister.  My father and aunt were of a generation that did not talk about adoption AT ALL, denied knowing or wanting to know anything about their biological families, and discouraged us from bringing it up with them, each other, or anyone else.

In the privacy of my own skull I called us the Frankenfamily, a shambling monster created out of mutilated, unrelated bodies in a grotesque parody of normal life.

 I was reading about the Minnesota Twins Study when this passage really hit home:

MZT twins (identical twins reared together) have very similar—but not identical—personalities. People always assumed the similarities came from growing up in the same environment. But MZA (identical twins reared apart) twins also have very similar—but not identical—personalities, and there is no detectable difference in the degree of similarity between twins who grew up together and twins who grew up in different families—sometimes in different countries. The household, or the “shared environment,” has very little effect on personality, at least by the time people are adults.

Likewise, when biologically unrelated children are adopted and reared in the same home, they may resemble each other slightly when they are small, but as they grow up they become as different as complete strangers. It is well known that shared environment can have an early effect on IQ as well. “Virtual twins,” or unrelated children of the same age who grow up together, have a correlation of 0.3 for IQ at age five, which declines to 0.11 at age 11, and to essentially zero by adolescence.

This.  By the time we got to college my sister and I had nothing in common save for a shared unpleasant history.  We honestly had more in common with our room-mates, because at least we'd picked them out for ourselves.  Our whole family was just room-mates other people had picked at random for us.

There was an important way in which I stood out from the rest of the family, but it was subtle.  Most people didn't catch it at first, including me.  I'll talk about it later.

Part 2

No comments:

Post a Comment