Growing up in my immediate family, adoption was the most normal thing. After all, both of my parents were adopted and they were “normal” or were they ? Until recently, I didn’t know that being adopted could leave traumatic wounds at such a deep and pre-verbal level the person isn’t even conscious those feelings are there.
Now, my mom was a Georgia Tann baby and when she was a schoolgirl in the early 1950s, the scandal in Memphis broke into national news. Her adoptive mother admitted she had been adopted there but that she was not one of the stolen babies. Life went on and she got pregnant and married in time for me to be legitimate.
Fast-forward to the early 1990s and the Georgia Tann scandal hit national attention again with stories on 60 Minutes and Oprah among others. My mom learned that she had not been born in Memphis but had actually been born in Virginia. She could not reconcile the disparity of this in her own mind and learning about some of the most extreme atrocities perpetrated by Miss Tann, my mom knew at a very deep level that she never should have been adopted and that her adoption was somehow inappropriate – that last word was one she used when she tried to get her adoption file from the state of Tennessee but was rejected.
What is normal, anyway ? Normal is what you know. We knew adoption was real and we knew that our parents were being raised by people who did not give them birth. We knew that ALL of the relatives we knew as such, were not related to us. It is a bit odd to re-think that now but at the time it was what we knew as a reality.
“What makes us normal is knowing that we’re not normal.”
~ Haruki Murakami
Now, I do know that my parents being adopted was not a normal situation. And I even know that I have been a victim of adoption fog. Even as I was discovering who the people were that actually gave birth to my two parents.