Celebrating Through Adoption Loss and Trauma

     “No matter how talented or bright I was it did not seem to matter because every game I played I felt like I lost. No matter how many people I struck out or how many races I won, I felt like a failure because my mom, my blood, did not want me.” 

    As many of you know, I live in Japan. I am in the process of filing for my Visa which requires I give them an original copy of my college diploma. I had to contact my university to ask them if they were still holding onto my degree in their office since it had been years since I graduated. When the woman on the other end of the line asked me my last graduation date, I said, “2010”. She said, “pardon.” I repeated, “2010”. She paused wondering why I hadn’t picked up my diplomas, the document every college graduate cannot wait to have in their hands and put on their wall or office to represent all the headaches, tears, tipsy nights, and aggravation college caused to prove it was all worth it.

    But not me.

    I could have cared less about a diploma that I earned. In my eyes, it was just a piece of paper. I was forced to go to graduation by my mentor and coach.
    I did not need to celebrate or cared to.

    Luckily, they still had my diplomas in the office cabinet and did not have to reprint them.Thank God.

    For the next couple of days, it hit me that I could not tell you where my high school diploma is nor any certificate I have ever earned. All my life I played sports, from track and field to basketball, cheerleading to softball. I have nothing to represent that I ever played. And yes, I was good and earned many accolades. As soon as I got a trophy, I kept it for a few days and then threw it away. It was JUNK in my eyes and took up space. Now that I think about it, when I was the first chair in the woodwinds section in the band and promoted to the honors band, I threw away all of my pins and trophies I earned, too! I have absolutely nothing to show I ever received perfect attendance, honor roll, 1st place, or MVP.
    Noticing all of this challenged me the next couple of days to take my mind to what was happening in my life at the time that caused me not to care and throw away anything that symbolized that I was a winner or good at something. I had to brace myself because I knew that going back in time meant going back to deep waters that were infested with traumatic experiences dealing with my adoption.

    I remembered a time sitting on the bleachers before my softball game. It was my first game I would be pitching in. It was an exciting time for me. Or should have been.  I would think about my birth mom. I thought if I was so good at this game, why was I not good enough for her to be here watching and supporting me? And then again at my track meet. If I was such a great sprinter why wasn’t she at the finish line waiting for me? And again at my high school and college graduations. What good was it that I won over $160,000 in scholarships for college if my own mom that gave birth to me did not care about me?Success meant nothing to me.

    No matter how talented or bright I was, it did not seem to matter because every game I played I felt like I lost. No matter how many people I struck out or how many races I won, I felt like a failure because my mom, my blood, did not want me.
    That was how I viewed life for over 20 years.
    Not – good – enough.
    I came to a realization one day when talking to God that I cannot allow what my birth mom did to me to stop me from celebrating my victories. I deserve to be proud of myself. I deserve to stand there and receive my pin and trophy that I work oh so hard for. I deserve to look in the mirror and smile and tell myself, “girl, you did that!” I deserve to love myself and celebrate every victory. Those that celebrated my victories are my family. Those that cheered me on at the finish line are my family. Those that told me, “girl, you got this!” are my family.
    I cannot dwell on who is absent to keep me from celebrating my life.
    We cannot control who walks out of our life or who doesn’t cheer for our victories, but we can control the person that looks back us in the mirror. That person is a winner. That person is victorious. That person I speak of is YOU.
    Never let anyone steal your special moments, victories, or milestones. You stand up on that podium and rock out like the rock star you are. You were born a winner, and you deserve to stand there and shine! Take it all in.
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    Jessenia Parmer
    Jessenia Parmer
    I'm Jessenia. I am an adult adoptee with 10 years of experience advocating and fostering relationships with adoptees, and over five years of experience teaching adoptive parents how to have a successful and genuine relationship with their adopted child.


    1. Stacy Frett says:

      Omg this is what I needed! I have shown work in a major museum, graduated college and yet felt like I a loser, I know what you mean! Thanks for your posts!

      • Hi Stacy, thank you for your transparency. You are not alone, and I find comfort knowing that I am not alone. Keep standing up to your fears and setbacks. You have so much power inside of you! ((Hugs))

    2. Angela says:

      I resonate with this too. I have had successes then quickly dropped the ball. It’s like ‘what’s the point anyway’ kind of mentality. I am working to get past this but struggle hugely to believe I can. I have a good career and love most of the work I do but know I hold back and walk away from opportunities too often and that troubles me. Needing to ‘say yes’ more and push through my fears of not being good/capable enough – often seeing myself as the one on the sidelines, not as part of the team.

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