I still remember childhood. The good times and the bad. When I was 5 years old. I went with my adopted parents around Christmas time to see The Christmas Tree. It was a memorable evening. I still remember the smells. I was in foster care so a night like this was to be cherished.

My now mother was wearing a sweet subtle almost lavenderish perfume. I know my sister was there but I dont remember it vividly enough. I know I was scared and nervous. As if to put on a show to somehow earn their love so they would adopt. It was difficult being five. I felt like I was a teenager already. I was emotionally damaged goods but I tried my best to hold it together.

At this moment I believed love was something you earned. Much of my life would be grasping at straws trying to earn love. Adoption at this stage is difficult for a child because their is a sense of acquisition and earning love. And at 5 you are always going to fail.

My memories of my childhood are strange I remember my birthday parties before adoption and I remember social services. These seemed like milestone events. Milestone moments I can look back on and appreciate. They give me moments to look back on and remember. Some good times and some bad.

For the first time in my life I’m grieving the whole adoption process. It hurt me. And its time I admitted it. As a child I failed my new parents, and in my teenage years as well. But more importantly I failed myself. I allowed myself to believe that adoption was special, in reality adoption is awkward, painful, and the hardest event I’ve faced outside of prison in a foreign country.

If I could go back in time I would give him a big hug, and tell him not to worry. That as an adult he would love himself, and others would love him to. Those years of dark pain were nearly unbearable. Some ask me if it was more painful after the adoption and I think it was. I was separated from my sister and that was probably the hardest moments in my life.

As a result I treated my adopted sister horribly later on, pushing her away. Events cause a chain reaction and sometimes they hurt us more than the original event. Things we can’t go back and fix.

Looking back I would have just loved me for who I was. Something I’ve learned after 20 plus years of pain and love. I wouldnt change anything. I would just attempt to calm myself down, and treat myself a bit better.

I wish as a child I had understood that love is not something you earn, its something you are. We are loved, because we love.

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