The Colorblind Game Failed

Whenever you are sad, who do you talk to? When you are depressed, who do you confide in? When you are confused, who do you speak out loud to? When you are lost, who do you go find?

During my moments of feeling sad, depressed, confused, and lost I had no one to run to. Yes, my family was there, but what I had to say was not going to be something that they wanted to hear. Growing up, my family played the colorblind game with me and acted as though I was no different and just one of the family members. They are not to blame, considering the education around transracial adoption was very limited thirty years ago. I blame the adoption agencies that were only out to make money and close files.

My adoption, my loss, my mental health or that of my sister’s was never a topic of conversation. Without the dialogue, I grew up confused and learned to repress my feelings as if they were not important or valid. How can I speak up about my loss and confusion surrounding my adoption if it was never acknowledged? As a child, how could it be left up to me to yell out? As a child, I didn’t want to draw any more attention to how I was different than what was already apparent physically.

As a young adult, I have tried reaching out to my parents. I remember giving them both the book, 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew with  highlighted sections that spoke to me specifically. Neither one of them reached out to continue the conversation. I talked to my dad not long ago about how hard it can be sometimes to be adopted and he replied that he had no idea about it all and was silent. He has yet to bring it up again. When I speak to my mother, she takes a lot of it personal as if I am telling her what a horrible job she did as a parent. I can understand that. A the same time, what I need from my parents is for them to listen and validate me. I need them to bring up the conversation first, I need them to ask me questions, I need them to take care of me. As much as I push away, I need to them to keep coming after me because I keep drifting farther and farther away.

Now that I am an adult in my thirties, I think I must look to others for support because what I need is not going to come from my parents at this point. It has been very tough to accept this.

The feelings that I have about my adoption are not great feelings. At this point in my healing process, I am not really a fan of adoption and the joys that it brings to everybody else’s lives. Even till this day, I still catch myself suppressing feelings of loss and sadness. I didn’t want to continue this unhealthy cycle, so I started this blog to release the tension and break down my barriers. I haven’t told my parents about it, nor do I think I will. I’m hoping this outlet will lead to acceptance and the belief that my life is suppose to happen the way that it is set up now. I’m not there yet, but maybe.  As much as I want to talk to my parents, I don’t think what I have to say is what they want to hear. I think at this point, it is better that I now play their colorblind game and take my sorrows to therapy and my blog. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “The Colorblind Game Failed

  1. At 55, I’m still working out issues relative to the A-pares’ colorblind racism. He-who-raised-me, at 95, was open enough to acknowledge that race “was an additional burden” for me. I guess it’s never too late to heal…

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    • I agree, its never to late to begin the healing process. I am now 31 and I have began the process just a few months ago. I have been also meeting other young adult adoptees that were in the same place I was 5 years ago. I was also once told by an older adoptee that there will never be complete closure because life challenges and special moments are always going to bring up questions and concerns, but its how we face them that makes it easier or difficult. I’m sure I will still be working out some issues when I am 55. Thanks for reading and for your comments!

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  2. Nisha,I am so sorry that your parents have been unable to be open to your feelings and experiences around adoption.You deserve better than that.I hope that some day,they will be able to give you what you need and will walk this journey with you. I am the adoptive parent of a 20 year old from China. She is an adoptee activist and a prolific blogger on the subject.I’ll be the first to admit that I had a hard time in the beginning understanding the complexity of her emotions and not being defensive when she asked me simple questions about some of the choices we had made when she was growing up.It was hard for me to admit that I, even though unintentional, had made mistakes and even harder to accept that my love could not heal some of the losses that she’s experienced.Slowly, it dawned on me. This was not about me but about her story.I can’t fix it for her, but I can do my best to understand her and support her.I hope that you won’t give up on your parents, but if they can’t be there for you, please know that there will be others you meet on your path who can and will be.

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    • Thank you Carol for your response! I think my parents were unaware of my feelings because I was unaware of my feelings. I mean, I had hate (towards my circumstances), grief, and embarrassment, but I didn’t know how to label them as such and I didn’t have the language to express myself. At 31, I am beginning to get my feelings organized (writing helps a lot) in order to express myself in a mature and loving way. Its hard because I don’t want to come across as criticizing their parenting, but I do want to tell them that they could have done better. There is a fine line and I haven’t quiet figured out a way to express myself without making them get defensive. It has happened before and the conversations blow up into an argument. I love my parents to death, but now that I am an adult, I think we all can do better. Thank you again for sharing your process as a parent. I hope that my path with my parents is similar. You have given me hope. 🙂

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    • Right!?! The colorblind game always reminds me of an old Oprah Winfrey episode where she was speaking on foster care and/or adoption and she mantioned that the only thing that kids want and need is love. I got so offended. Love is simply not enough and I think that mentality and habitual way of thinking is the root of the colorblind game. Thank you for reading!

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  3. Also a-mom to a young woman from China, just about to turn 18, and I am so sorry your parents have yet to respond to your gentle and tactful requests for more dialigue and acknowledgment of your feelings around adoption and loss. Starting the blog was a great idea for the sake of your own mental health, I think. I hope you receive the kind of support and validation that you need at this stage, and that the gap between yourselves and your parents can eventually be closed.

    Agreeing with Carol that it’s rough at first to think about the fact that your child may be grieving the loss of people you will never know and figured (naively) were out of the picture–agreeing even more that when APs realize it’s not about them but about the intensely personal feelings of the adoptee, it can be an open door. I hope that door opens for you at some point. In some ways, it seems as though your parents exist in an adoption bubble based on whatever they were told decades ago. Maybe with time, they can be coaxed out of it. The very best of luck, Nisha.

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