I was adopted 20 years ago.
I was adopted as a closed adoption case. I think with everyone’s journey in life there is a dissatisfaction with the unknown. For me my unknown was my past life. I really do believe I can define it as a past life. Smudged representations of people in my life who I can’t quite remember but I know who they are. Scenarios I recall but not completely…
A Closed Adoption is an adoption process that severe the ties between the adoptive family and the biological family. In my case, the closed adoption was necessary to keep my brothers and I safe. For that reason any information about my life before being adopted and my biological history has been made legally unavailable to me.
I gained so much from being adopted. I gained my loving parents, my amazing family, my health being rebuilt, my life with my brothers, and a safe happy environment I was able to grow up in.
One thing I didn’t have was parts of my history. I always felt bad for being curious about that aspect of my life because of how fortunate I was. But I always wanted some type of closure that I felt I did not have.
As I grew older my curiosity grew. I remember my mom asking if she should ever hire a private detective to find them ,my biologicals, but the thought of seeing them made me sick to my stomach for various reasons.
For the past two years I have been researching and making art about adoption. During those two years my curiosity reached its peak. I couldn’t help it.
So I started researching. I started with a name search I remembered from the back of an old picture of myself before my name changed. Through Ancestory.com ( which did little to help) and background checks it took me a year to find my biological “mother”. I cried. I was angry, sad, and in grief. I finally had a face to match the name, and I didn’t know how to feel. It would be another year before I found the name to my biological “father”. I wasn’t interested in meeting them. I don’t believe I ever will be. But with this new found knowledge I was almost consumed to know more. Every bit of information after has been contradictory.
For this series, I traveled to two of the locations that I have found that matched the time-frame that I had been present in their lives. This information I was able to find through their own individual background checks. I have felt conflicted about everything that I have found. Driving to theses addresses I felt shocked because I thought I would have been traveling further than I thought. Stepping onto the pavement to photograph the locations was like stepping onto a crime scene. I wanted to recreate this conflict and confusion through the process of ripping apart and putting back together these locations.
Through this series, I have felt that I have accomplished the type of closure I needed. It was almost necessary for me to put myself through this. Healing isn’t a quick recovery. Healing is different for everyone and every situation. I know that there are plenty of people with as different and difficult pasts than myself and I hope that they know they shouldn’t feel ashamed to do what they can to heal so they can also move forward.
“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.