Adoption Endorphins

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” – Jim Morrison

On top of the silver dented garbage can rested a large mound, a bag of garbage presumably. The freshly fallen snow resting peacefully on top of the bag gave the can and its contents the appearances of an ice cream cone.

I knew it was there of course. I had been using it as a makeshift fort to hide behind. Cheri hurled her latest snowball at me and I ducked for cover behind the large snow cone. I began to pack my own missile in my hands. I pulled a rock from a pile of snow next to me and smooshed it into the center of the snow ball. Probably not nice, but she deserved it. She hit me quite hard with her last throw.

I emerged quickly from behind my ice cream cone garbage can fort and hurled it at Cherie. While my brother constantly chided me for “throwing like a girl”, this time I threw better than Bucky Dent for sure. My Yankees fan father would have been proud of that throw.

As the ball of death hurled across Colony Street towards Cherie, I back up slowly towards my snow cone fort.  I inched back slowly as I wanted to see her face at the moment of impact.

BLAM! It hit. I darted back quickly.

And something pinched my leg.

I looked down and saw a stick protruding from my own fort. I had backed into it and it was now deeply embedded in my quilted green snow pants.  I pulled away, noted the hole the stick had left and quickly retreated to my fort to inspect the damage to my snow pants while I hid from Cherie’s next attack.

My mother was going to holler at me. She had just purchased these snow pants and now I have made a hole in them. Maybe I don’t have to tell her? It isn’t that big.  If she sees I will say I had no idea how it happened.

Cherie and I continued playing in the snow for hours. When her mother Judy called her for dinner, I waved goodbye, cut through the neighbors yard and ran to the back of my parents home.

As I undressed in the back hallway, I struggled with my snow pants. The right pant leg was stuck to my leg. I pulled harder and it wouldn’t come down. I looked down and saw freeze dried blood trails from my upper thigh down to my calf.

Frightened of getting yelled at by my mother for the hole in pants, but even more afraid of the blood on my leg, I approached my mother in the kitchen.

“Mom, I cannot get my snow pants off”, I said.

Mom looks down at me from her spot by the kitchen sink.  Startled, she kneels down and sees a hole in my leg, the size of a quarter, furiously pumping blood out. I am not crying. I am not hurt yet I have clearly been bleeding for hours.

Mother scoops me up and lays me out on my father’s black leather recliner chair. She’s worried and I am a bit perplexed. I am not hurt. Just bleeding. What is the big deal? Why is she so upset?

My mother calls Carol, a neighbor from up our street. Carol trudges down in the snow. She is a nurse and she is going to inspect the damage I have done to my leg. Minutes after Carole arrives, it is decided my parents must take me to the emergency room. It is quite serious.

This happened when I was about five years old. I was indeed taken to emergency where the doctor made another hold in my leg, inserted a probe to check for wood particles and eventually stitched me up. I watched the entire activity.

The resulting scar on my leg, still there today, is about 6 inches long.

Many have questioned how a child that age could have experienced such a painful wound and not felt it.  Following the stitching, which was done without any local anesthetic, the doctor informed my parents that I had a dangerously high pain tolerance.  I needed to be watched. I was one of those kids that might break a bone and never feel the pain.

I thought of this today while pondering the pain of adoption and how it is experienced by those that are traumatized by being separated from their mothers or their children.

Who hurts more?

Is adoption more painful to the child? Or is the mother?

If you aren’t an adoptee, how can you know what an adoptee feels? If you never lost a child to adoption, how can you know and how can you stand in judgment?

Does one adoptee suffer more than another adoptee? What about those adoptees that claim they are fine with their adoption? Are they? Or are they in denial?

Do mothers in closed adoptions experience more pain than those in open? Or, do those in open, who see the face of their child regularly re-experience their loss and pain repeatedly where as those that have had closed adoptions don’t?

Based on the hole in my leg experience, I learned everyone feels pain differently. We have different thresholds and different coping mechanisms.  What hurts me, may not hurt you. What hurts you and you survive from it, may cause me to commit suicide.

Can we ever really know? 

Unless you get in my head, walk in my shoes, I don’t believe you are in any position to tell me you hurt more and less than I do. 

You simply cannot know. 

1 Thought.

  1. Hey, there, long time no read. I am so sorry, life here is nuts.
    This is so well said, and your analogy – now that the goosebumps and the hair on the back of my neck down – is right on. What one person may be able to copy with may be overwhelming for another.
    The constant measuring leads to measuring, comparing, and ultimately labeling. Those who don’t feel enough pain get one label, those who feel too much another.
    But at the end of the day, pain is pain. If someone hurts, they hurt.
    I hope you and yours are having a good summer!

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