Adoptee Fear and Vulnerability

by Oleg Lougheed, adopted from Russia to the USA. Founder of Overcoming Odds.

I missed my birth family.

I wanted to see them again.

But, it wasn’t possible anymore.

Instead, I had to settle for what was.

The phone.

Me, hearing their voice as it traveled thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

A voice that was filled with elements of fear and love.

Them, hearing my voice.

Reassurance of me being alive and that things were going well.

The wait between the calls was tough to handle.

Each call brought up many emotions.

Emotions I wasn’t prepared to deal with.

I wasn’t taught how to be with my emotions while living in Russia.

Part of me wanted to try something new.

I turned to my adoptive parents.

Yet, every time I’d turn my shoulders and open my mouth, it would immediately close.

I felt that sharing those emotions with them would make them feel less than or as if they did something wrong.

So, I kept them to myself.

Hidden, depths below the surface.

Invisible.

It wasn’t until some time later, I was able to share what I was going through.

The narrative that I believed in, making my parents feel less than or as if they did something wrong, wasn’t serving me anymore.

I broke down while sitting in my bedroom with my adoptive mom by my side.

Looking back at it, she played a huge role in helping me understand how to feel and talk about what I felt.

Her choosing to listen to me made me feel safe.

Her words after I was done sharing provided the much needed comfort and reassurance that was okay to feel how I felt.

Her curiosity in me and about me became a stepping stone in helping me feel for years to come.

For more from Oleg, watch his TedX talk, Overcoming Odds
Follow him at Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn @overcomingodds

Confronting my greatest fear led to my best discovery!

by Sharinda Nathaliya, adopted from Sri Lanka to the Netherlands.

As a child

Last year has been a rollercoaster ride for me. Through it, I’ve come to learn to let go of unnecessary control by looking straight into the eyes of certain fears caused by trauma.

It was a burnout that brought me to a turning point of realization. I needed a different perspective to chance my life by looking at it from another different angle. A new chapter had started. I soon went to therapy that helped me break down the wall I built around myself which I didn’t know how to remove. It was an incredible journey to witness myself, first class at the front row. Finally, I am able to reach were I am heading!

I’d become enthusiastic by confronting whatever I fear. To be honest, I feared to search for my biological mother. She was searched for and found, 7 years ago by a man I didn’t trust. I went on with life in full effect. I felt scared on and off and years went by and I still didn’t reach out to her. I felt ashamed of myself. I felt and still feel guilty. I thought that maybe she would be angry at me, she would blame me that I searched but didn’t reached out. I doubted if she wanted to see me still, or the worst case scenario, that she would no longer be alive.

I had to step beyond my feelings and figure it out, whatever the outcome would be.

My mum and I on social media

On 27 April 2021 my Sri Lankan mother was found. We FaceTimed three times. I told her that I’m sorry I let her wait for so long and explained her what the reason was. She understood, she had a bad feeling about that man too. He treated her like she was less. The information he provided was false. She doesn’t have a mental illness. She’s not educated and that’s it. I don’t have an older half brother. I am the oldest and I have a younger brother by the same father. A father who’s ill and lives with my grandmother. I needed some time to get used to all this new information to switch it with the information from 7 years ago. My feeling was correct and my biological mother had the same feeling.

I recognized the feeling she gave me. She gave me the same feeling my beloved grandmother gave me. Before I saw her online, I dressed up. Did my hair and make up, carefully selecting which outfit to wear. My nerves went through the roof but she looked through it all and didn’t care about my looks. She saw me for being me, her daughter as human being. Something instantly changed in me. A weight felt off my shoulders, I felt at peace which I’ve never felt before. We just stared, laughed, waved hands and blew kisses to each other. Behind my laptop she is watching me on a phone screen. So surreal, so epic, so static!

Me today

If you’d told me 3 years ago that I would meet my biological mother on a digital screen, I would have laughed in your face. I never thought this would happen at all. That was the control, that was the blocked emotions, that was the fear. The pieces of the puzzle fell in place. I was shocked to see the similarities, the smile, the frown.

Days after the first meeting, I stared at myself in the mirror. It felt awkward but my self confidence began to rise. I no longer felt alone through finally seeing someone with the same features as mine.

I finally have the courage to go and meet her, to get to know her, with patience. To take time for these precious changes and chances in life. I want to make a documentary of my trip back to Sri Lanka. To meet her, take the time to know her, meet my father and grandmother. I also need to start the search for my younger brother who’s also adopted and can be anywhere on this world. I want to experience the island of Sri Lanka, the culture, nature, history and art — to do this together with my biological mother. In one year’s time, I want to figure out what Sri Lanka does for my identity and expand my own narrative of adoption.

I have many questions that I want to explore through my documentary. Am I able to connect with my biological family? What happens after? How do I develop a relationship when I have differences in language, culture, values?

For those who are open, I’ll provide all the information I gain during this journey to my fellow adoptees through my documentary. Why? Because it is the least I can do to help others who travel a similar path.

If you’re interested, you can read more about my documentary idea here.

Much Love
Sharinda Nathaliya

For more about Sharinda’s story, her recent Dutch article was published here and watch her self made video with english subtitles.

English
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