Growing up I gave as little information as I could about my family. I always felt this immense shame that I am adopted. That people will find out and will treat me inferiorly, because I am not meant to live in this lavish lifestyle. I needed to feel grateful no matter what.
Later on I realized part of my shame was that I believed I was less. I struggled with my inner contradictions; I had enormous ego and so little self worth. Part of me always believed there is an end game that it was bigger than this. The other part knew there was nothing special here. On a manic day I think I’ll have a reunion with my biological parents, they will be separated because they couldn’t live with eachother without me, until I come along and we all live happily ever after in a big mansion in a green land right by the river. My Cinderella story was never about a prince it was always about parents. However, in my days of depression I imagined a scenario where my mother is mentally unstable she probably lives until this day in a psych ward; my dad wants nothing to do with me.
I often ponder why all that search, why waste all these hours thinking, day dreaming of that day. I live a good life, I may have lost my parents but I have an aunt that trumps all of my family put together. I never had to work a day in my life to support myself; I never was hungry or cold. I got to live among a family, unlike orphans who lived in an orphanage or foster kids who moved from one family to another. What is wrong with me? Is it possible that I am the only ungrateful adoptee who feels this pain? After long nights reading about adoption I confidently can answer no. we all think we are ungrateful because that is just part of the adoptees DNA but we all crave deep down that reunion, we are all scared to confront our fear, our abandonment issues and our loneliness.
I live in Abu Dhabi; it’s the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Here we don’t really talk about it. Adoptees act like it never happened but and mostly because I am one I can identify the acts and behavior of my fellow adoptees which some are: people pleasing, not wanting to be different, we want so badly to be accepted, included. Some can swallow their pride to get a few laughs at their expense. We would embody the person you want us to be. I know I never wanted to be spotted out. I couldn’t help it, I was, I was that black duck following the yellow ducks.
Adoptees get discriminated against. I have noticed this common biasness over the years. Like the term ‘pure’ gets thrown around a lot. Being adopted right away throws you out of their pure Arab breed category. The other term ‘my flesh and blood’ that throws you more further away from your adoptive family. Growing up knowing the importance of these two aspects then realizing you don’t have them, alienates you internally and that feeling usually festers to anger and resentment.
Where you came from usually puts you in a category. People treat you prejudicially the further your origins get away from the gulf area. I find myself fortunate that I have that common face no one suspected me for being nothing else but Emirati growing up. But I am not from the GCC, I come from Morocco. Finding out this aspect of me recently convinced me that I needed to do this. Why hide that, why not proudly lay it all out?
Its 2015 and I will soon turn 29 according to my fake birth certificate. I wasn’t born on the 29th of july, can I ever talk about it without being crippled by anxiety. Are there any adoptees in my region who feel the way I do? Do they feel alone and different but feel like they can’t speak out? Is the stigma that follows adoption something adoptees have to hide or carry around all their lives?
You grow up not knowing who you look like, what behavioral pattern you got from your father. If you have siblings, if your parents had to give you away, if they are dead, if they are poor and need your help, if.. if.. if..
A life filled -too early- with unanswered questions and never-ending ifs.
Love and peace to all.