October Baby. Have you seen it?
My best friend and I were so looking forward to seeing the movie! We heard it was coming within driving distance and we made plans to go. That night passed. So, we made plans to go another evening. That night passed too.
Subconsciously avoiding the movie . . . avoiding dragging ourselves through the emotions we both know all too well surrounding adoption? Maybe.
However, at some point, I put October Baby in the “pro-life” box, and detached myself from the surrounding adoption issues we might view on the screen. We purposed to go, again, and this time it was playing right in our home town! No excuses . . . just a 5 minute drive.
Another dear friend of mine, Ruth, is a mom of two through adoption. The three of us went to the pro-life movie . . . on the last day it played in our town. Subconsciously procrastinating again?
“Please bring Kleenex,” Ruth texted to me. I did.
I braced myself a little. At a much different time during my search/reunion/lack of reunion experience for my birthmom and birthdad, I “accidentally” sat down with my husband for a “date nite movie.” Juno was our choice. I don’t watch commercials. I didn’t know anything about the movie, and neither did he. I think he thought it was a “chick flick.” I was not prepared for this movie at all, and tears started flowing from my eyes . . . uncontrollable sobs within the first ten minutes. Hubby asked if I wanted to leave. No. I wanted to stay, to imagine, to wonder what things might have been like for my birthparents. I wanted to stay and cry. I loveJuno; I have the DVD, and I have the soundtrack on my ipod. Go figure.
So, expecting to get pummeled with raw adoption language from an uneducated (in adoptee stuff) film maker mixed with a solid pro-life message, I sat braced.
As an adoptee watching . . . here is what I Gained from this movie>>>
Validation. At the very beginning of the movie, the adoptee experiences debilitating anxiety on stage. Her body was frightened by its circumstances, and her brain drew upon past experiences that were frightening–her birth/attempted abortion. From what I understand, parts of the brain override logical thinking when we start to panic. So, even though the situation (being on stage) was not life-threatening, her brain interpreted the input of her experience as life-threatening. I had my first panic attack in a Sam’s Club. ?? Even though an adoptee cannot retell with words the experience of being separated (or in this character’s case–aborted) from his/her birthmom, the body remembers. Validation of my own experiences as I watched hers.
Throughout the movie, I was validated by her anger. She was sometimes alone and angry–not comfortable in her own skin. Other times, she was angry towards people she loved. Her quirky and insecure ways of responding to even mild occasions of rejection from a best friend rang true to me as an adoptee. Many adoptees are just that–angry at times, sensitive to even the appearance of being turned down/rejected/ignored, and insecure in relationships.
I giggled when she tried to share a hotel room with a “normal” and beautiful girl; the girl was rude, blunt, and judgmental. And my little adoptee in the movie sat there listening to her hurtful comments, surrounded by her meds. Yep. Three or so little bottles of pills around her while she was being told by the “normal” girl how weird she was, how difficult she was, . . . what a pain she was to have around. I recognized myself in her–having my little bottles of meds around me. She looked cute, and I understood. Validation.
Validation came to me as she packed her stuff and took off on her own. “No one,” at times, seems to get it. Some of the journey is ours alone. In fact, most of it is, I would say. I have been blessed with a dear friend who is not an adoptee but can finish most of my sentences when I’m talking through my “stuff.” She does get it, and I do not feel alone. But she has painstakingly listened to me for Years, and she has never shut me off or out. That is a rare friend, wouldn’t you agree?
I was wanted. I was always told that my birthparents loved me soooo much, . . . and then when I went back to find them, be reunited with them, my experience spoke a much different message to me. I was their secret. They had buried me.
At the end of October Baby, the adoptee turns back to her father and says, “Thank you.” He seems bewildered, and asks her, “for what?” First, let me stop for a minutes to mention, his bewilderment at being “thanked” was touching. As a parent now, I read all over his face that he did not understand being thanked for doing what he felt was his job/his responsibility/his calling in life. As a daughter now, I saw my parents’ faces in his. How can I explain this? Well, sometimes people try to make an adoptee feel “grateful” for their parents–even more so than children who are biologically related to their parents. I shake my head. I already am thankful for my parents, just as any child would be/will be eventually aside from being raised in abusive surroundings. Likewise, my parents aren’t necessarily “more grateful” for me than parents who have biological kids. Do you understand? We are family. My parents are my parents, and I am their daughter. It’s awkward to thank each other for being family, . . . like somehow one of us did the other a favor . . .
Anyway, my favorite part of the movie happened now: She says, “Thank you.” He asks, “For what?” She says, “for wanting me.”
Kleenex, please. It hit me. I was wanted . . . by my parents. THEY wanted me. They WANTED me. They wanted ME. !! And they still do. They take my calls, they call me, they talk to me, they lavish me and our family in the ways they best know how, they support me, they visit us, they have loved me unconditionally my whole life. Who knew? 🙂
That was a layer of healing for me. Being unwanted the second time around by my birth parents, six half-siblings, and a couple more devastated me. I couldn’t see past it for a long time. It still hurts. I still hope they will come around some day.
But, this little October Baby girl reminded me that actually I was/am wanted. 🙂 And not only by my parents, but I have a whole list of people who have wanted me. I want to name them, and I’m afraid I’ll leave some out . . . but let me try.
My Grandpa and Grandma Stirrett, My Grandpa and Grandma Inyart, Uncle Dick and Aunt Donna, cousin Lori and her husband and kids, Uncle Charlie, Aunt Carolyn, Elizabeth England, Uncle Tom and Aunt Betty and their kids and their kids’s kids, Uncle Charlie and his kids and his kids’ kids, Uncle Roger and Aunt Yvonne and their kids and their kids’s kids, Uncle Roy and Aunt Marlene and their kids and their kids’ kids, Uncle Richard and Aunt Rosemary and their kids and their kids’ kids, . . .
And then on my birthfamily side. . . Uncle Vic and Aunt Eleanor, Diane (still to meet) Aunt Frances :), Uncle Jim and his kids–Vicky, Chris, Judy, Aunt Martha and her kids–Paula and Phil, . . .
My husband, my kids, . . .
and my Mom and Dad. 🙂 Thank you ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^for wanting me. 🙂