That really sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? The adoption fog is a strange, strange beast. Though, I suppose it’s not so strange when you consider why it emerges. It’s a protective coping mechanism and probably comes about at least in part because of society’s disregard of anything bad being said or felt about adoption. I was never totally in the adoption fog, but I’ve definitely felt it as I’ve come out of it.

When I was younger, even as recently as last year, if I told someone I’m adopted and they asked what I thought about it, I’d just say, “It’s fine. I’m fine,” or some other close relative of those words. Just a shrug and a nonchalant fine.

Let me tell you, I never felt fine about it, but I didn’t have the words to express it, didn’t know my feelings meant I wasn’t “fine”, and had never thought that it was possible to be anything other than “fine” when it came to adoption. I thought it was just me, and I was just bad and abnormal for feeling this way.

Finally, when I was seventeen, I was browsing in the bookstore when I happened upon Nancy Verrier’s The Primal Wound (cliché, I know). I didn’t buy it, and I didn’t read the entire thing, but I did stand in the middle of the aisle with my jaw dropped and my eyes wide as I read most of it. I never knew my feelings were normal and perhaps expected. I never knew it wasn’t just me. I never knew I wasn’t bad for thinking and feeling these things. As revelationary as that book was, I still didn’t connect the dots. I suppose I forgive myself, I was only a dumb seventeen year old, and I had other, more pressing, concerns in my life at that time. I was still in survival mode.

2008 was a really rough year for me. It was my last semester of university, I was still working full-time, I moved out of my abusive nDad’s house and into my own apartment, and my adoptive Mom died. I spent a month after graduation in Texas as my aMom died. Obviously I did some grieving then, but then I came back to North Carolina and was once again subjected to nDad’s harassment. Still in survival mode.

Then in the latter part of 2009, I moved to England, and I think that’s when I really started to move out of survival mode. I was now with someone who understood me and made me feel safe, who I could share more with than anyone else. In early 2010, the grief and reality of my aMom’s death started hitting me more than it had at the actual time, I finally started to emerge from the fog.

I don’t even remember what it was that made me start looking at adoption again. I guess maybe it was because my nDad had gotten in touch with my Mom in 2008 and given her my contact info. She’d called me back then and said she was there for me if I needed her (yeah, right, but…), and I didn’t take her up on it because she’d rejected me at least twice by that point. But I’d never gotten over the curiosity or feelings from childhood, I still had the same questions. Why was I given away? Why didn’t you keep me when you kept the others? (Though I later found out she didn’t really keep my half-brother – he was raised by his Dad by the time he was 2.) Even though I know it’ll never happen, I still want the fantasy reunion, and I think my aMom dying and her contact helped spur me to look into adoption.

I stumbled upon the best group of people ever and promptly became immersed in adoption politics. I suddenly realised that adoption is way, way bigger than just me, it’s a whole damn industry that needs to be stopped. It’s systematic discrimination, it’s coercion, it’s racism and ethnocentrism, it’s misogyny, it’s child trafficking, it’s all these horrible things wrapped in “oh, that’s so wonderful! Aren’t you grateful?” Adoption, now that the fog has lifted, is no longer just about me. It’s about this gigantic industry that relies on the relinquishment of healthy infants to continue to stay in business.

Yes, leaving the fog magnified the negative feelings I’ve always had about adoption and in fact introduced several new ones. Of course, I’m not sure I ever had any positive feelings about adoption, I just didn’t admit to anything other than “fine”. Maybe feeling badly became the norm, so I thought I was fine, until I realised I actually wasn’t. Despite how much harder it is to live adopted and not be in the fog, I wouldn’t change it. I wish I had left the fog a lot sooner. I wish I had never been in the fog to begin with, then maybe I could’ve started to process these feelings a long time ago.

It’s hard, and there are days I wish I could go back, because it was easier then. I was ignorant. Ignorance is bliss, as they say, even if your blissful ignorance means the continuation of pain for others. The fog whispers to me on occasion, beckoning me to go back. And I could, if I really wanted, I could ignore it all, stuff it deep down again, but I just can’t ignore so much injustice and heartbreak, no matter how much I might wish I could.

I think these lyrics sum up the fog and coming out of the fog pretty nicely:

Pay no mind what other voices say
They don’t care about you, like I do, like I do
Safe from pain and truth and choice and other poison devils,
See, they don’t give a fuck about you, like I do.

Just stay with me, safe and ignorant,
Go back to sleep

I’ll be the one to protect you from
Your enemies and all your demons

I’ll be the one to protect you from
A will to survive and a voice of reason

I’ll be the one to protect you from
Your enemies and your choices son
They’re one and the same
I must isolate you
Isolate and save you from yourself

Song is Pet by A Perfect Circle