Monday, January 15, 2007

Adoptees as Nomads & Gypsys

Nomads & Gypsys & Soft Sculpture

There is an author out there now who has written an article mostly pointed at international adoptees, but I think some of her points are true for adoptees adopted domestically as well. Her name is Mary Watkins. She writes, "What matters is what we do with what has been done to us. Identity reflects the influences of both those who have tried to make the adoptee one of their own and those who have sought to exclude them." These influence our sense of self and our core working identity.

She writes about nomadic identities of adoptees and how we have multilayered selves and that we are a continual "self in process" or a continuous becoming that moves against the fixing of identity. In general experts have seen sameness as conducive to self esteem and as a protective factor for psychological resilience and protection from psychopathology. Difference has been seen as the opposite, bringing a lack of a total sense of one's self or identity. This idea of sameness being the best choice is changing.

Watkins calls adoptees pilgrims who are unconventional in their sense of self. Adoptees are the "ensembled self" that in our multiplicity resists cultural norms. This unfixed sense of self encourages the adoptee to pass beyond easy identification and thus allows us to cross bridges and gaps among different groups of people of all kinds. It allows us to see a deeper human being and a more unique life and that is not based on cultural norms, but moves beyond these into individuation that is on a different path from sameness.

Adoptees live on the boarders of family and often feel trapped in between and are denied the identification of either family, birth or adopted. Adoptees are nomads of the world and can claim their own unique citizenship while shifting and changing how they perceive their connections. The search for self is an odyssey in which the adoptee discovers and understands the multiple roots of their own identity and the process of repression and exclusion of themselves (Watkins).

I’d like to think of us as Gypsys. I connected this image as a result of the idea from another adoptee who shared it with me after she read my post on Chosen Babies about adoptees being nomads. Gypsys are nomads. I have always been drawn to them. I like the idea that I could be comfortable anywhere in the world. I would venture a guess that a lot of adoptees don’t feel pinned down to any one place and have a speckled and creative history of living situations and places. It would be a gas to do a study about where adoptees lived at certain ages and see if any patterns emerge. At any rate I have put my soft sculpture gypsy at the top of this post. I love her…she took 22 hours to make and is completely hand crafted from top to bottom. She has on pantaloons, a petticoat, and an over skirt, a hand made shawl, a blouson blouse, and an embroidered vest. She is one of a series for sale that I call Gypsy Mysteries. Corny, I know…but it’s great to have a little corn every now and again!

My life was gypsy like until I was 22 and married. We moved a lot in the early years of my marriage, but have lived where we are now for 18 years. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this month and as retirement approaches we are planning on making a move…a real life change. It’s time…for me it has been time for quite a while…I have itchy feet and am ready to see a different part of the world…meet new people…see new horizons and watch the sun set from a totally different perspective.


Blogger Mia said...

I have moved more times than I care to count. We have been here two years and I am finally feeling a sense of what it feels like to want to stay put for a while. Honestly though I think this has more to do with my kids than it does with me. I have become a pro at starting over. It's tiring but I'm good at it.
I also tend to rearrange the furniture often. I seem to be in constant need of change.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Mia said...

See I got long winded there and forgot to tell you how much I LOVE your soft sculpture!

2:08 PM  

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