After 30 years I recently connected with a lot of my close friends from grade school. As we all zipped messages back and forth via facebook at the speed of light times two, we all quizzed each other on what has taken place in everyone’s life over the past 3 decades.
“Are you married?
“How many kids do you have?”
“Where are you working?”
“Have you talked to Mark?
“Has anyone heard from Derek?”
My eyes greedily gobbled up the answers and I anxiously awaited more friends to chime in and update me on their lives.
I explained, in a break from reading responses, that I was writing a book about growing up as a transracial adoptee. Shortly after I sent my response down the electronic highway I got a response I never expected.
“You were adopted?” Was the response I got from Rita, the girl I remembered as the smart, quiet one.
She went on to say she didn’t remember me being adopted, or that my parents where white and I was ecstatic.
In December of last year we all came back together after this 30 year hiatus and immediately I thanked Rita. This was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me.
One amazing hidden blessing in writing this book has been through this process I have gotten to meet this kid named Kevin, and I have been able to walk through his life with him and better understand who he was and is now. I had the awesome luxury of opening up several points on my living timeline and parking there.
In the period on grade school I got to ponder and understand the importance of Rita and the 25 or so other classmates that helped shaped me. We were a small but close class and all but one or two of us was black. This was my laboratory where I would try different combinations of me; with my main goal being finding the right recipe to just fit in with others like me. I learned a culture I was not exposed to at home from this group of kids and I learned how to paddle my way through to a place where I found comfort. I would go home to a white neighborhood each night and I just wanted a place where I could relax and exhale.
When Rita told me she didn’t remember I was adopted it confirmed my efforts had worked. She confirmed that I wasn’t just the adopted kid. She confirmed that I was just Kevin and not adopted Kevin or Kevin with the white parents.
I don’t have issues with being adopted and actually liked and still like my unusual story. My issues were always being the different one which for me came with being adopted. It is interesting that what I liked and disliked the most were both products of being adopted. I couldn’t have one without the other. Grade school was my wading pool to find out how to balance what I liked and disliked. It was a safe place where I could just be one of the group.
That night in December of 2009 was special but incomplete. The great thing was that I got to see these wonderful people that taught me so much about myself while growing up and even more when I reflected back on that time. It was incomplete because I never got to tell them all, “Thank you.” I wanted to thank them for pouring so much in to me. I wanted them to understand their patience and acceptance of me was life changing.
I walk taller and more confident because of the positive experiences I had with this special group of people.