Do you ever wonder where you would be right now if you had made different choices?
“Where would I be if I married that other person?”
“Where would I be if I had made a different career move?”
“Where would I be if I had/hadn’t gone to college?”
Or, in my case, “Where would I be if I hadn’t made the decision to seek my biological family?”
I said that I was “done” with the adoption thing. I also said obliquely that I would be weaning myself away from the whole issue by ruminating.
Well, I’m ruminating.
I have to admit that I cannot imagine a life without my biological family. There’s been so much good and so much bad.
I wonder what type of man I’d be had I not been emotionally and verbally abused viciously by my biological father. Would I be stronger? Would I be weaker? Would I be less cynical? Would I have less skin on my nose?
I wonder how I would view the world if I hadn’t been exposed to the international flavor of my biological family. Would I have never traveled overseas? Would I have never moved to Italy, where I currently live? Would I be less assertive?
I wonder what type of life I would have had if I hadn’t been thrust into an environment where I was challenged by my own blood to think outside the box? Would I have remained in Salem, Oregon, working in a cubicle in some nondescript office in a dead-end job? Would I have settled for less than what I have now?
I wonder what type of psyche I would have had I not had a brother who challenged me, who I sometimes hated, yet always adored. Who I envied and even worshiped. And who I now hold dear?
What would life be like without him–a biological brother who swims in the same gene pool? The only two people on earth with the same parents.
I wonder what life would be like without my extended family in Italy and the rich cultural heritage that I celebrate and embrace?
What would life be like? Would I be in Salem, Oregon, alone without the parents who raised me? Would I still be single? Childless? Would I be lonely? Would I be happier? Better adjusted? Would life have been safer? Would my decisions have been more cautious?
I never realized that this path I chose would have such life-altering consequences. I never considered that my attitudes and beliefs would be challenged and that my perspective would be impacted in ways unthinkable.
I never knew I could be so unimaginably hurt and that I could be so obsessed with garnering acceptance. And I never knew I was the type of person who would whore myself and deny my psyche for a crumb of that acceptance.
I also never realized that I could shake with such rage against someone who meant so much to me.
And, more importantly, I never imagined that I could forgive and feel liberation from that rage.
Sometimes prison can be a good thing. Otherwise, how can you savor the fresh air of freedom? Of course, the prison must be escaped.
I think that, by finding my family, I found freedom, despite some of the prisons. I discovered the elation of possibility.
And I’ve discovered that I received from my adoptive family the emotional and spiritual strength that allowed me to weather the hurricanes along my journey.
I have to admit that I don’t often think about “what might have been(s)”. Lately, I’ve found myself thankful for what I have–and for surviving.