Stigma and Scars

I had always known I was adopted. I really hadn't put much thought into the meaning/stigma attached to the word. I had just readily accepted the fact that I was different than my friends, I had multiple families. I took pride in having such a diverse Life until around the 5th grade, when I first learned how hateful kids and people could be.

As I said, I always had known that I was adopted, it was just a point and fact of my Life and existence. Even If I didn't know, I would definitely question why I looked like no one I was, supposedly, related to. What makes someone different, I had. I was taller than my adopted parents by the time I was 16yrs old (I was 6'1 by the time I got my drivers license. I'm 6'2 now, many years later). I have hazel eyes while my parents both have blue eyes. No, adopted, family member is creative what so ever. You get the idea. Well I was in the 5th grade and it was the first day of school. Our teacher asked us to name 3-5 facts about ourselves. I listed some cool facts about my Life and with the last fact I mentioned that I was adopted. Thus began several years of ruthless torment.

I would start hearing questions about my ethnicity (which I had no answer to until I was 19), comments about being a 'test tube baby', comments about my biological Mother being a woman of ill repute. Questions about why my physical appearance didn't fit the typical white child I grew up around. And, naturally, as I got older the comments grew to be worse and worse. From racial slurs to outright hatred about me being adopted. I heard it all. Then I remember a specific comment from one of my best friends, as they joined in with a racial taunting of me. Apparently it was fun to try and guess what my heritage was.  Would it have made a bit of difference if I had beaten those people into oblivion, as a kid?! Would I feel any better, today, because of it?!

Several years ago, I was dating this woman and things seemed to be going good. A couple months into the relationship, she said,"You know, I typically only date guys who are White". It was like going back in time to those dreaded days of hearing racial slurs & ridiculous hatred. I could not believe that she would say such a thing, like Race means anything. Needless to say, that relationship didn't work out.

A couple years ago, I was talking with someone I had known since my earliest days of Life. We were talking of the past. They made the comment,"You know we always wondered what your heritage was", to my chagrin. I actually answered them with a straight forward answer, I had found out part of my heritage by then. I don't think they were expect that, it seemed to take the energy out of the conversation. Is it so wrong for someone to grow up with a different story? Apparently it was.

The sad part, for those people, is that they have lost out on the amazing and dynamic individual I am today. Like everyone else, I carry the scars of living a Life. I don't hold it against anyone of my former tormentors, I feel sorry that your mind is so closed off. I feel bad you'll never see the true beauty of Life. Yet they must reap what they sew.

Do I still have the scars? Of course! But Life is a battle that people get hurt and get scars. It just shows I've lived a Life.

Do I still feel the stigma of being Adopted? I only feel it when individuals have to be negative and think they're high and mighty for some, unknown, reason.

The beauty of  Life is that we can grow to appreciate what makes us different. I'm glad I wouldn't get lost in a crowd. I'm glad I don't have a closed mind. I'm glad I can love people for being who they are. It makes the World a more beautiful place.

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Tags: Adoption, scars, stigma

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