(1/2) My Adoptive Mother says I must have been the most kissed baby. Affection was rampant in my adoptive family. Hugs, kisses, wrestling, laying across each other on the coach, sticking our feet in each other’s faces and dolling out back rubs was the norm in our home. While some people’s brothers gave them shoulder hugs or pats on the back… mine would cover my cheek with a wet slobbery kiss as he left the house just to hear us teenage girls squeal and get grossed out.
My home is probably a level up. I don’t think we go a day where someone doesn’t get licked or bit or get a booger wiped on them. The boy’s limbs always resemble the draw of misc. electrical cords as they wrestle or play Legos. The girl’s are violent constantly slamming their bodies onto or into any unsuspecting passerby. And all my kid’s think it’s appropriate to grab my butt because Dad does. ( We are working on that one. Dad can do it more… kids can do it less.) Physical affection is a way of survival in my life. It’s a co-regulation skill that if done in a healthy manner respecting boundaries and privacy , can ground and regulate one’s body and brain in incredible ways.
But my Biological Mother barely touched me. In moments of intense emotion she would grab me and pull me in SO tight. Enough to push he air right out of me. As if only in those emotional moments she could work up the courage to touch the biology she abandoned. But besides those moments and hugs goodbye? She would never touch me.
And I am 37 years old and suddenly in the last few months, my body is producing this deep, passionate, feral need for her to touch me. There’s this spot deep down in my muscular system that affection from anyone else can’t fill. It’s a spot that was missed. It still feels alert and scared because when I replaced listening to the heartbeat of one mother it didn’t erase the somatic memory of the heartbeat of my first mother. And my heart has been beating out of sync ever since. And my skin feels the needs to be held.
And my nervous system feels the need to be regulated.
And at 37 years old I have this primal yearning to be rocked.
It’s too late now.
My biological Mother can’t rock me. She can’t pick me up and hold me to her heart. She can’t stroke my hair. She can’t rub or pat my back to sooth me. She can’t fix this even if she wanted to. Listen. My adoptive parents met this developmental need. They did it right.
But even though they did it right, it didn’t meet MY need. And it’s just another need thrown into the trash pile of things are taken from adopted children.
We have got to get it through our thick savioristic heads that science has proven that there is no replacement for the biological connection between a mother and child. No matter how well you meet needs for your adopted children… many of us will still be 37 walking around during the day feeling our skin tingle yearning for co-regulation we never got.
We MUST work towards adoption reform.
We MUST work towards better policies that support the humans in our country so that there is less reason or need for parents to place or get their children placed into the foster care system.
We MUST work towards better open adoption policies and relationships.
We MUST work towards educating ourselves both in our homes in our own adoptions as well as how the addition industry is field by our desires as well as from the failings of our government.
We MUST work towards family preservation.
Because children who stay with their families may not grow up with “all the wonderful things you could give them,” but at least their skin wouldn’t be tingling and their hearts would be beating to the correct beat.