By Daniel Harrison

Floating through the wreckage, the debris of my life, looking back, always looking back trying to make sense of what has happened as I float downstream towards the ocean, what has been built has had to be destroyed, or at least that is the story that I keep telling myself, that is the story I cannot quite believe.
History in my life has been a cruel mistress. I was born with history and I was robbed of history and of herstory. When I awoke I found myself adrift like Moses, stripped of my name, of my ancestry, of where I had come from. My past had become a shameful secret; the pain that I felt in my chest, throughout my body was never to be spoken of.
I had come from a land of winter; I had lived in a land called hospital, a white land, full of white uniforms, of woman’s voices, none of whom were my mothers. I lived in a land of disinfectant, of nurses arms but never the right arms, never the right smell or breast; I lived in a land of helplessness. I had no voice, I had no speech, and I was powerless. Tears were in my eyes, in my cries, in my chest, in the balls of my fists, in my scratching, in my screaming all the time. It was then that I fell silent. My twin was nowhere to be seen. And in my lonesome silence the shadow of darkness, a dark, dark curtain feel across the light that was me, like the wings of a bird of prey, silent, creeping, letting me know that it was time to give up, that things were not going to change.

I was stared at and selected by strangers like a piece of meat on display, removed from the many hands of the hospital, from the smell of disinfectant and the cries of other babies to a different place, a strange place where two children lived already. I was taken to a dark house, a house o f horrors, a house that was not my own.
I remember struggling with my grief, my new mother would play with coloured wooden objects in a bid to make me communicate; make me come out of my shell. I could not see well, I could not see at all, too many tears, I was holding onto so much inside and I loved the attention of the hospital eye doctor, I loved being in the hospital. She changed, they both did, they became meaner and meaner, I do not know what changed them. I always wondered if I had done something wrong. But I did try; I hid myself so carefully while my brother started acting out, started going crazy.

I am wrapped in a bubble of amnesia, in cotton wool, everything is so trapped inside. My history, was removed from me like a slave, my name taken, my family was taken, my ancestry was stolen, I was expected to never speak of this loss, I was expected to be grateful, like the slaves it was for my own good, I had been raised up, separated and rescued from bad blood and placed in the good. Like Moses in the bulrushes but I had no Egyptian Princess to save me or God to hand me the Ten Commandants.
No what, I was given was an endless winter of shame, I felt ashamed of myself, of what had happened, of being adopted, I felt ashamed of her leaving, I felt ashamed that I had been taken, ashamed that I had not been good enough to stay, I felt ashamed of my tears, of my grief, of my life, of who I was. My history had been taken and like a good boy I felt ashamed of my history.
I have spent my life trying to reinvent myself, running as fast as I can from my body, my soul, my thoughts, building a foundation that was based on the love of others. Hollowing out my needs, putting them to one side, trying to do anything and everything to win the love of others, academic achievement, doing what I thought others wanted me to do. Putting my needs to one side, sacrificing everything in a bid to become accepted by society, not believing that my needs could be met in any other way, becoming bitter at how much life I had not lived so that I could build a foundation that would hide my shameful secret, I am adopted. At University I never spoke of where I came from, I was leaving that behind. When I did at last speak out the truth in a University lecture questioning the Head of Departments stance on an issue through my experience as an adopted he looked aghast.

The deluge coming, I had taken the first step towards destroying everything that I had built in a bid to hide the fact that I was adopted, that my very own mother had give me up for adoption.
They built closed adoption on the premise of destroying my ancestral history, is it any wonder that I have spent my life building foundations in a bid to hide who I really am? My entire life has been a dialogue with my past, before I was told that I was adopted I simply hid in corners and did not speak because I felt unlovable, when I was told that I was adopted, which I knew already, I spent my time plotting my return to my family where I would get my mother to love me thus undoing the hurt. When I finally found her I changed my name to my original name and then my surname as well. But history cruel, history cannot be undone. And I know this; I have spent my life trying to undo history. I have spent my life trying to undo my adoption; I have spent my life trying to undo my terrible shame over it.

My life has been a peculiar dialogue with history, because I was not allowed to deal with this immense loss growing up, indeed it was denied, I started to spend a lot of time on my own, in a dream world, in attics, in fields, underneath houses, pondering the darkness, out of body, out of mind, stunned, not knowing what had happened. My way of dealing with history became that of denial, denial of less, denial of emotional pain, sweeping away everything that made me look imperfect. For I was convinced that the only way to be loved was to be perfect and my adoption illustrated the fact that I was far from perfect, the collapse of the perfect A student persona which I had built in order to hide my shame over my adoption ripped me wide open. I could no longer deal with this loss through perfection but I had never been given the tools to deal with the original loss in the first place and as such how the hell could I deal with it now. I dealt with it at first through denial, through wanting to burn the University down, it was a bourgeois institution, viva revolution but those left wing bastards could never give me the love I craved.

My entire life has been spent pleasing people and then becoming annoyed that they did not reciprocate, I expected love, I expected attention. I was crucified by the thought that I was an unlovable failure and that meant that everybody else was perfect and I was not. This is a recipe for disaster, for being totally seized with self-doubt. I still struggle with articulation my own needs, with powerlessness, out of a fear of not being loved. All my attempts to be loved by selling myself down the river have come to nought. All my attempts to undo my past have failed.

The past is a difficult history for me, I have spent my life trying to undo my past, trying to undo what has happened because it has been far from perfect. But it does not matter what I the past will not go away, I cannot undo the fact that my mother gave me up for adoption. I have examined this past through every angle possible, I have been in reunion, I have read all the documents, pondered what happened long and hard and still I cannot seem to deal with this fact
All of my coping mechanisms have been destroyed. Everything has gone up in smoke and it had to. I do not wish to live a life that is designed solely to deal with this loss by running away from it through academic achievement, meeting the needs of others at the expense of my own, lying to myself about the depth of my pain, branding myself unlovable and being the all-round good guy. There are some who deny the pain of being given up by their mothers or say that it was good for them or say just get with on with it. Apparently there is a name for such people. During the years of slavery, they called such people Uncle Toms because these slaves had convinced themselves that slavery was a god thing, a God given thing that could not be challenged and on top of that they would help their Masters hunt down and destroy any person or persons who spoke out against it. Indeed slavery like closed adoption today was seen as God given and natural. Slavery and closed adoption still flourish in the world today.

I have spent many years taking on the history of shame, taking on the history of my so called masters who designed the closed adoption game. Taking on their chains, taking on the mantle of oppression, blaming myself for this State induced adoption slavery, whipping myself with self doubt, undoing my history, my past, always, because I believed that I had to be perfect, that love had to be earned, that I had done something wrong to deserve this. Blaming myself for the actions of my father, my mother, the state, and that of my adopted parents when I was innocent, an innocent child born helpless and powerless, dependent upon the actions of others.

At the end of the day it is this blame, this shame that chains me into a state of powerlessness, of deadness, that chains me to a room away from the world, to the back of the classroom, to the feeling that I do not deserve love and abundance in my life, to the feeling that the universe is out to get me, this seed that grew inside me when lying in my cot in the hospital. A seed that has led me to try to undo with all my might my history, my life as an adopted person, that has led me to try to cover my history, these events up through academic achievement, through pleasing others, through burying my needs, my emotions.
I have to swim with the deluge, I have to embrace the wreckage of my life, I have to swim for the truth, I have to be the truth, nothing I do will ever be perfect, nothing I do will ever undo my being adopted. Reunion could not undo it, changing my name could not undo it, pleasing people could not undo it, running away from my adopted family could not undo it, putting my needs to one side and being an Uncle Tom could not undo it. I am the cuckoo in the nest; I cannot be like all the rest. I belong neither here nor there. My foundation is all broken and cracked; there is no conventional family that I belong to. There are only fragments to which I cling. Nothing can be built on these ruins again, I can only swim with the tide and put myself at the mercy of the elements. Nothing can fix this, and nothing can heal this. It is what it is, broken, so what am I to do, how am I to live, how am I to accept the unacceptable, this is it, this is my history, this is who I am in the broken mirror, the broken man. I hear my adopted father mocking me, as he used to mock the little boy and his history like a spider with a fly, mocking my sensitivity, my life and attempts to deal with it. Nothing I can do about that or the fact that his wife aided and abetted a coward, I cannot change this but I can give him a mental kick in the balls by deciding to stand up and live.

But can I heal from this, can I rebuild in the deluge, can I sift through the wreckage and build a foundation that is based upon myself, that is based upon being who I am, not running away from myself and can I trust the universe to meet my needs now that all my attempts to meet my needs through lying, through being and Uncle Tom have failed. Yes I have failed, but in spite my protestations to the contrary myself has not failed me, believing that being myself would lead to my needs not being met, to my need for love not being met has. I have to find a way to embrace my brokenness, to embrace my wounds, to accept who I am once and for all, to live the truth, to believe that living as I am this life as an adopted person with a shattered family foundation is possible, that it is possible to be, to just be in the deluge.

Posted 10.12.2013 Within These Walls Facebook group