I was born and raised in the South. Charleston, SC to be precise and why wouldn't I be precise, Southern people are very clear about their identity. Who are you? Who are your people? Where did you come from? How did you get here?
This is how we connect with each other. Two Southerners can not meet without trying to figure out if they are related.
I often wonder if it's because we Southerners were agricultural folks from the start. Living way out on your farm (plantations) with no neighbor for miles. When the times came to congregate it was important to know everyone who was there, how you were related... if a long shadow of a man came riding up the oak lined road to your land would you be able to identity him right away? Take him in for supper? Hear the latest town news... Be safe.
This is how I was raised. This was my identity. What made ME feel safe.
Until, I was 15 and I discovered I was adopted. My identity cracked like the ancient china in my mothers glass cabinet and "oh my we mustn't use it it's delicate". So was I. In my mind I was no longer the second child of John and Katherine Butler I was the "Oh" baby.
Stranger: What beautiful blue eyes, who did you get them from?
Me: I don't know, I'm adopted.
Lately I've spent a good deal of time talking and thinking about my "identity". What really makes up a person. What you are told or what you experience? Nature? Nurture? Self Preservation?
November is National Adoption Month, what, you didn't know that? of course you didn't... it's OK, it's doesn't come with the color scheme or the flourish that others have. It gets lost in the Month of Gratitude... but isn't it the same thing? We should be grateful... and I am.. and I was... and yet I still nurse that crack in my identity and watch it splinter and spread with time as the information was slowly or maybe never, doled out to me about this secret... because as much as we acknowledge it and celebrate it, there are still secrets and the pain of loss that someone is suffering... birth mothers, the children... there is pain in these stories. Was I really saved from a life of neglect in foster homes? Was I simply a heartbreaking decision that a young woman felt she had to make? Does any of that matter once all the dust has settled.
It does though. It really does, and we all have to find the ways to live with all the choices WE DIDN'T MAKE... that were made ABOUT and FOR us.
So today I stand with all those people and I appreciate their struggle and I am forever grateful for my Identity.
Join me and RG Adoption Consulting for a facebook LIVE discussion about this and many other topics on November 21 at 2pm EST... go find them on facebook and Insta !!
And grab a copy of my memoir about my search for my identity !!!