Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Discovering Personal Identity

While reading the book, Pieces of Me, I noticed that I struggle with a lot of the same issues that the other adoptees have - especially related to my personal identity.

I found my biological father about two years ago - and, while this gave me the sense of family I previously felt that I lacked, it affected my adoptive family in ways I hadn't anticipated.

In 2009, I decided to spend Christmas last year with my biological father. It was our first Christmas together - and it never occurred to me that my adoptive family might feel left out. While they did not voice this directly, I got the feeling that there was some hostility towards my father who had just re-entered my life.

It's important to me to get to know my father, to learn about the parts of me I never understood, and to get through some of my negative emotions from my past. But, it is just as important to not forget the family that has been there for me, the family I grew up with.

My realization for 2010 is this: I need to balance my time between my adoptive family and my biological father. Even as I move forward in my relationship with my biological father, I cannot forget the adoptive family who has been so much a part of my past. I cannot forget the people who helped shape me into the person I am today.

As I seek to discover both who I am, and who I want to be, I cannot help but realize that putting these pieces together is a process that takes time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finding Yourself as a Teenager

Being a teenager is not an easy task.

Adding in the burden of being an adopted teenager amplifies that stress by a million.

Every little thing that a teenager has to deal with can sometimes feel like a crisis, and you don't always know how to react: Your hair isn't "right" or your eyes aren't blue enough or you don't know why your nose slopes a certain way...

It's like one huge identity crisis!

Being a teenager is supposed to be about finding yourself, but sometimes it's hard to just get your footing stable enough when you don't even know where to start.

Pieces of Me: Who do I Want to Be? is the perfect book for adopted teens. I like it because, although I'm almost twenty now, I still relate to many of the things that I've read in the book. It's one of those books that, while reading, has made me say, "Wow, I wish I had this book when I was 15!" many times.

I still know that pang of guilt that I feel when I do something wrong - "Will this be the time that they finally leave me?" - or the confusion that sometimes finds its way into my eyebrows when I stare into the mirror for too long, trying to decide exactly whose nose I have. Because, even with an open adoption, things can be complicated.

This book is a reminder that, as teen adoptees, we are not alone. There are other people in this world who cope with the same confusion, face the same obstacles, hear the same comments, and learn the same lessons. 

Pieces of Me helped remind me of that. Sometimes it's just a nice confidence booster to remind yourself that: You're here, you're not alone, and you'll be fine. I think that's my favorite thing about this book.

Gathering the Pieces

As a former foster child, I have distinct memories of moving from one place to another.

Every time I moved, I felt that I was leaving a part of myself behind. Sometimes it was something physical and tangiable that I hadn't had the chance to pack. Other times, it was entering a new school, and having to "prove" myself all over again.

That's why I agreed to be one of the writing contributors of Pieces of Me. As I look back on my teenage years, and young adulthood, much of it was spent parceling through prior pieces of my life and building a cohesive -- if somewhat messy -- whole.

I would have loved to own a copy of this book during that time; it would have been like the voices of friends, accompanying me along the way.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome to Our Online Book Discussion

Pieces of Me, Who do I Want to Be? is a collection of stories, poems, art, music, quotes, activities, and provocative questions for an adopted teen or young adult who wants to put the pieces of their adoption story together - but doesn’t know where to begin.

It is a book of voices, from ages 11 to 63, speaking honestly and authentically about what it means to be adopted. Most are adoptees from around the world – some are transracial, some are international, some are from foster care, some are young, some are old.

The book is separated into five sections:
  • Gathering the Pieces
  • Stolen Pieces
  • Fitting the Pieces
  • Sharing the Pieces
  • Where do These Pieces Go?
Each chapter offers hope, encouragement, empowerment, and a sense of not being alone.