Friday, July 3, 2009

You can trim a tree, but you can't hide it's roots

You can trim a tree, but you can't hide it's roots

I always knew there was something different about me. I always knew that I didn't belong where I was. I didn't feel ANY kind of connection with my adoption family whatsoever. I knew that I didn't belong in the rich town I was in. I felt, deep within myself that all of this was a sham, something that was foreign to me. Even at the age of 13 years old I knew something was wrong.

I couldn't have been more right. My adoptive father, bless his soul always had the greatest hope of me being a successful C.E.O of some giant company, a nice car, a house and a family. I was groomed to be another aristocratic, Catholic and above all upstanding citizen. Somehow, no matter how hard he tried to mold me into something much like himself, it failed. Every attempt to teach me, every attempt to steer towards a path of financial security and success failed with utter misery, which I am sure he took not only personally, but emotionally as well. I was very out of my element, little did I know, this entire manufactured existence would eventually crumble and the truth of my existence would reveal itself whether I liked it or not.

In school, I was quite literally tortured. Because my Reactive Attachment was so rampant at an early age my peers saw me as a defect. I was beaten, spit on and ridiculed day and night for years. I knew all of these spoiled rotten rich children weren't of my sort either. I was totally alone in a sea of people. It got to the point where I no longer cared about school, waking up, bathing or anything else that would require me to be seen in public. My own self loathing and the reinforcement of that image through my peers simply held me down tighter as I reached out to understand something, anything.

I did, however excel in writing and reading. I was alone so often as a child the only thing I did was play with computers and read books about WWII fighters (Which I still do to this day). While other's played and went out on dates I stayed in my dark room, reading or playing a computer game. Those were my two outlets when I wasn't getting drunk, starting fires, killing animals, stealing, huffing paint thinner or sleeping with a teacher. My adoptive parents teachings failed me almost completely and I now know why.

My roots are the complete OPPOSITE of the ones planted for me by the foster care and adoption system. When I learned that my entire family came from the hills of Tennessee and bondage in Georgia the light finally came on. The anger ceased. The need to see the world burn stopped. The want to hurt and kill other's stopped. Everything stopped. All that was left was a huge hole of ashes that was my former life. I quite literally had nothing left, no where to go and no idea what to do. I was a tired, drunken worn out person that lived 28 years in the dark.

What I have come to learn is that I understand now why I love the outdoors. I realize now why I like target shooting and hiking. I realize now why I enjoy so much being in the mountains. When I am in nature I feel as though this is MY place. I realize that the sufferings of my birthfamily cannot be broken by a manufactured existence. I now realize now why money means absolutely NOTHING to me. My entire family has lived their entire lives without it.

Basically, the polars of the true Earnest Stringfield (My real name) and the manufactured Michael clashed. Most of my family has battled addiction and mental illness, all of which carried over to me. My love of solitude, the sound of a running creek make much more sense to me. No matter how hard it was beaten into me to be a big shot running a company or "making something of myself" it always clashed with the true Earnest Stringfield. I always enjoyed being a bit ornery and foul mouthed. I loved working on cars, getting dirty building things and being outdoors, all of those things were considered poor man's job's in the eyes of my family.

This is how PROFOUND my story is to me. Everything I was taught wasn't the REAL me. Everything that was taught to me was material and of little consequence to me. This is no fault of my adoptive parents, they did the best they could for me. I turned out a terrible person and a train wreck of an adult at my own hands and devices. They had NO idea what they were in in for. I feel for them seeing the son they really wanted and the one I actually turned out to be. I still see the hurt in my adoptive parents eyes. My transformation from manufactured Michael into true Michael is still extremely scary and confusing for my adoptive parents. "Why exactly would you want to associate yourself with people like that" they ask. They are MY people.

The real Mike likes to vagabond and explore. The real Mike enjoys everything my adoptive family doesn't. For my birth mother being a drunken, angry, spite filled and sullen person I felt more comfortable when I met her than I did for 28 years talking with my own family. For my birth father who is a father to at least 13 other children and dared calling me "son" when I met him for the first time, I felt more comfortable with him in that same capacity. (However, I maintain almost no contact with either of them) To be honest, I detest the fact that somehow, I have to take responsibility for my own actions that in part they created in the first place with their drunken sexual act in a motel room described to me in gory detail by my birth father. They however escape that responsibility almost completely.

`` I write all of this to address two important adoption players: For R.A.D. parents if you have the opportunity, get as much background information about your RAD child's roots as you can. Absorb yourself into the back story of your child's family as you can. If my parents knew the things that I know about my family and my history, they may have been able to tailor their efforts towards the things that were inherently buried deep within my Psyche. Instead of fighting my nature, they may have been able to nurture it. If they also knew I was bi-racial, ALOT of things would have been different.

for R.A.D. sufferer's young and old. No matter how painful your past may be, you MUST research it. If your anything like me (eternally curious to the point of insanity) you can understand how important it is to learn. Find your roots, find your family and it's story. Close those wounds of the past and you may be surprised what you find. You may find closure, you will definitely find pain but in the end, your life will be yours again. The NEED to destroy yourself and everyone around you may cease because the life you were given in adoption will have been given a new perspective. That light of your true existence will emerge in your pasts darkest corners with the hope of a future that you deserve.

To everyone, I thank you so much for reading!!


Thandi said...

Do you know what the risk factors there are for RAD or any other similar issue? How do I get hold of your email add?

One Future At A Time said...

Contact me@


Tricia said...

I want for my kids to have that connection, I'm not saying a relationship because that would not happen. I do want for my kids to know where they came from. Regardless of the crappy things that happened to them...roots are important

Patti said...

Do you have a relationship with your adoptive parents now? We know quite a bit about our daughters past. Her older sister lived with us for a little bit and I pumped her for as much info as I could. Her mom liked to sing (she is a stripper). We sing to so it's not like we are in the rich society and trying to conform her to that, but I do want her to bond to us. I want her to let us love her. Most of all I want her to be happy and not miserable. She has been in rtc and she gets out in 2 weeks. What attachment we had I can see is gone. We didn't have a choice though putting her there because she was threatening to kill us and ran off. I know that she was fighting really hard to not attache to us. I asked about your relationship with your adotive parents because when she is grown I don't want her to walk out of our lives.

One Future At A Time said...

@Patti, sorry it's taken so long to get back to ya, it's very busy on my side of the boat today, so I haven't had much time afforded to me to talk.

My adoptive family now, it's like walking on eggshells. There is always this constant tension of unspoken uneasiness because we are SO different.

I detest the fact my parents don't understand and lack the skills to change their thinking. They, don't like the fact that I didn't turn out to be a socialite CEO.

There is much more to my adoptive story of course including abuse at my adoptive parent's hands and other issues that come into play.

So today, yes, it's theres that unspoken tension that has been there since I was a child.

As I spoke before, (And Im not a doctor) I say indulge your curiosity into your child's deeper historical background and try to introduce that background in a way that she may not be able to vocalize but emotionalize with.


*Peach* said...

Thanks for writing about finding the real you! From another adoptee who is on that same journey ~ Peach

Lisa said...

I totally agree that as adoptive parents we need to know as much as possible about our kids roots. They are extremely important.

Even though it's not safe for my daughters to talk or visit with their family of origin we still talk about them constantly. No topic is off limits. When it is safe for them to talk with their families I will be the first person to support them in the journey. J has pictures and she's allowed to look at them anytime she wants. I don't have pictures of SK's family but I am searching and will leave no stone unturned.

Thank you for reminding all of us that we need to be mindful. And above all....accepting.

Ericka said...

oh my gosh michael.
your story is so haunting and thankfully here.
i found your blog from a blog of a blog of a blog..........
our family will know tomorrow if we are matched with two little ones in foster care.
i need to spend more time with your blog......

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.