By Daniel Harrison


Look at this; I cannot avoid looking at this, my melting centre. Some people say just move on with your life, it all happened a life time ago, but I have been living that lifetime, I have been dealing with this from the time that I was conceived, all my life had been an attempt to deal with what has happened. All my efforts to win love, everything that I have read, everything that I have said and done has been my attempt to come to terms with the wound that defined my life, the wound that I have built my life on.

What am I supposed to do? Deny that this is in fact the case. Lie about it? How else can I have done anything but build of this wound? My entire life has been a dialogue with the ghosts of my family with the loss of my mother. I look back and I see a little boy in the classroom separate from his peers playing with play dough in the corner feeling unloved and not knowing well, feeling alone and apart and not knowing why, feeling different to the others and not knowing why. I see a little boy watching his brother upside down in a rubbish- bin looking for food, his little legs sticking in the air under the summer sun; I do believe that he has found some fruitcake. And there he is again just before he is expelled at the age of five bailed up by the principal in the hall. And again there is my adopted mother along with the teacher chasing my brother around a table.

But this is not about my brother, although it seemed to always be about him. This is about a sad little boy who spent time on his watching in wonder the dragonflies fly over the lily pads, who spent time in the long grass marvelling at nature, who spent time hiding in attics, in dark places, in his room, in books, in his head, in the cemetery desperately trying to find ways to deal with his sadness, with his hurt. A hurt that was never spoken about except in anger when he hit his head against walls at school in mock frustration because he could not connect with himself, he was frozen inside by a society that never talked about his grief, frozen by an adopted father who spent all his time trying to terrorise and beat the sensitivity out of the boy with sad blue eyes. This is a boy who was frightened of monsters that lived across bridges, who did not understand why he was so frightened by the black robed robbers who stole children in the storybook at school, who was terrified by Hansel and Gretel. This was the boy who was told that he was adopted by his mother in an argument at the age of eight and it made no difference because he knew it already. A boy who loved the song Daniel and years later would find out that this was his birth name. This was the boy who wanted to be a missionary who grew up with his adopted parents who already had two daughters of their own, whose brother was placed in welfare whose adopted father spent most of his time getting rid of his problems onto the adopted son. This is a boy who felt paralysed, powerless and very frightened of this man’s anger who would do anything to please to win love. This is a boy who knew that that boy down the road did not belong because he was a different colour to the rest of his family. This was a boy who was obsessed with death, the death of a school friend a t the age of six, she rolled on a wasps nest, the death of family friends, sitting and talking with his father to a man who had cancer across the road from the cemetery. He sat in a darkened room at a round table waiting for his time.

Do you understand what I am saying! This is history, my history, my denied history, they stole my history, they took it, they lied about, they disassociated me from my feelings about it, they disempowered me, they placed me behind glass, they would not allow me to feel, they cryogenically froze who I was, they killed who I was then denied the crime. Every time I have cried and spoken out they have told me that I need help, that there is something wrong with me, that I should not feel, that I should not feel sad, that I should not feel because what I feel is frightening. How can I be me, how can I be true to myself when my HISTORY has been denied, when my History was stolen and my reaction to my History was falsified through lies that said that I belonged to a family that I did not belong to, that said that if I act out emotionally that there was nothing wrong with the system, there was something wrong with me and they proved it by shipping my brother off to welfare when he stared acting out. Not one Welfare Officer bothered to check up on how I was going you see because adoption was not causing any problems, my brothers personality was. If you cannot feel, if you are not allowed to grieve the biggest most overwhelming loss in your life and you live in a society that smashes you, bashes you down every time you express anything real then what will you do? Lie, lie, lie, act, disassociate and that is what I did, I took off from my body, from the pain of societies denial, I avoided the pain, I avoided myself, I have avoided life, I have become hyper vigilant in order to ward of pain. I have drowned my pain in denial, I have spent my entire life building a wall around my emotions, and how can one deal with any loss in life when ones major loss is denied. It has made me feel crazy, a fraud, am I really feeling this, who the hell am I, and very, very angry and powerless, so every time I speak up people told me that adoption is not a problem, that you are just unlucky you had a bad adoption, Oh, you have lost your legs, your arms, you have lost everything, just get up and keep walking you actor.

Well I am one hell of a cracked actor, I am totally cracked, I have spent my life building defences, walls to wall out how I really felt, is it any wonder that I have little or no self confidence. How can one feel proud, how can one feel confident, how can one stand up, truly stand up and be counted when ones inner world, inner emotional life and wounds are totally denied by society. Well I don’t give a damn what people say anymore, I will melt under the sun, for too long I have been paralysed by my Hidden History by my Hidden Voice, the Hidden Cost of this Play that I have been forced to act in for the benefit of others. I have been treated as a perpetual child, told that adoption does not hurt, forced to fight for scraps of recognition like a dog after a bone, forced into lengthy dialogues with mothers with children about how adoption is not that bad, how about I take your children right now then and give you no contact. Would they do fine? Forced to declaim, to explain, to defend myself against a rotten system that is based upon a completely untested theory called closed adoption, the academics and social workers just invented it for their benefit and the benefit of adults. Yes, you can separate children from their mothers no problem, it won’t hurt them at all. If they act up we will just say that it is their fault and society will buy it because society hates woman who are pregnant mothers but it also loves couples who are desperate to have children. I have spent my lifetime dealing with the real consequences of an untested theory that benefitted others. Adoption is still debated about in abstract terms in academic textbooks and the whole of society has bought into it, time and time again a person like me who is living it is forced to justify my existence, how I feel to society.

Imagine having to justify how you feel day after day by society, a society that celebrates adoption and demeans my experience whenever I raise it by saying that that was just because I have had a difficult adoption. When is adoption good? When is it good to just rip a person from their entire family tree and lie about where they come from, please tell me? For those who want to heal me, go take a jump, I am reclaiming my History, I am reclaiming my voice, I am for the first time in my life telling it like it is. I will no longer be silenced even if my anger and sadness frightens you. I wake up in bed with a shark swimming in my head, with a shark in the room, that shark is my wound, for years on end I have tried to deal with this shark through denial, though avoidance, through academic achievement, through sleep, through wanting death, wanting out, nothing has worked. The despair is in my bones, it is in my soul, it is in my heart, this despair covered me in the womb, it coloured my conception, I carry the despair, the aches, the pains of my ancestors bones, I carry them with me even though I was separated from my ancestral tree. I have to recognise who I am, the truth that I have built on. When I wake up in the mornings I want to go straight back to sleep because I feel the pain, the anxiety, the terror and now that all my defences have crumbled I do not know how to deal with it, with this but I must because that wound never left. Yes society said that it never existed, my adopted parents just robbed salt in it and for most of my life I felt ashamed of this wound, of what society dare not talk about. Now I am talking, because the internet has at last enabled me to break out of my silence, out of my cot, out of my disempowered shell, it has enable me to reach out to others. When I was growing up I had, as I said earlier the feeling that the boy down the road was adopted, but outside of that how did one pick out the other adopted people. I was alone in a world that was hostile to me, denying the existence of what they knew was real, lying and whispering about my adoption behind my back. It is like having to believe in Santa Claus even when you know Santa is not real. Not being allowed to grown, welcome to Never Never Land, the world of constantly denied emotions, the world of the perennial adopted child. Yes, there I am like a naughty child waiting for information to be handed to me, what they will allow, at Child Youth and Family by a social worker. No you cannot have this, that or this because that might make us liable, but you can have these sheets, you feel oppressed, like a child, never! As if you have been stripped of your rights, you feel powerless; no one else is treated like this but you? But how do you know that your mother is lying about your father, shut up now Social Worker, I want to throw you out the window.

The ice is melting, under my skin, the sun is shining, new growth is coming in, a bit like climate change really, but this change is positive, green shoots are growing out of my heart, like an onion gone to see. My wife said to me, before our cat had returned, it is like we are locked in a room of grief and it is necessary for us to stare at that infinite white wall until it heals and new shoots arise. That got me thinking about my writing, as I write, the ice melts, new shoots come, and new shoots arise. I am frightened by the dark rooms, I am frightened of finally giving voice to how I have always felt, yes finding my voice. I am frightened by how people will react to my truth and it is my truth, I cannot lie, this is how I feel, this is how I have always felt, but the more I express my truth the more friends I find and the closer I feel to myself .
But I still do not know how to deal with my feelings of powerlessness, disassociation, avoidance and hyper vigilance. Somebody used the term avoidance the other day and it really set me off, yes that is what I do, in order to cope with my bottomless grief, my fear of rejection, I wall out life, I just give up, the emotions just monster me. I don’t need a therapist though, what I need is me, yes me. Therapists come at it from the third person looking in, and I don’t want to do that anymore, I have spent my life disassociated from myself, peering in from a distance, now I want to take back who I am. My tears, my flaws, yes I have spent a lifetime living in fear of not being perfect. In fact I am a ruthless critic, a dictator. I scream at myself, do this, do that with imperious commands, you have to do that, I use the voice of my adopted father. But this voice no longer works me; instead I still lie there bleeding, broken, and unable to get up with my emotions rolling over me like a wave.
For years I have searched for validation of how I feel, for a way to make society sit up and notice how I really feel inside about my experience of adoption, about my grief over the loss of my family. But society has not listened, instead I feel overlooked just like I was growing up with my brother getting all the attention over his behaviour. My History has been denied by society and with it access to myself, now I see that the only way that I can reclaim my history is by speaking about how feel in spite of societies denial of who I am, of the fact that the state stole my mother. In spite of all these lies I cannot deny that my flesh, my bone, my emotions, my energy is still connected to my ancestors, to those who came before me, that I am connected to these stories through my mother’s umbilical cord. To deny my wound, would be to cooperate with the enemy with the ideology of closed adoption which not only did it’s best to deny me my history, it also did its best to silence the impact of this theft upon me. I will no longer cooperate.

As to how to get up, as to how to deal with my aching bones, heart, soul and mind, as to how to no longer be broken, well I only see one way forward, truth and honesty will be my guide out of the darkness as that great river of ice begins to melt. I will feel, I will express, I will not deny this frozen river of grief that I have walked along and dialogued with since my conception. I will embrace my emotions which are the doorway to my heart, to my soul. I will melt, I will melt to my core.


Posted 6.12.2013 Within These Walls facebook group.