Coming to terms with my adoption has been like training for and running a marathon. WALK. JOG. RUN.
A little history…In the 1970s, I discovered running. I’d never been good at sports, but this was something I could do. Running was my escape, my self-medication, my therapy. As a member of the Santa Fe Striders, I participated in 6K runs, half marathons, fun runs, turkey trots, moonlight adventure runs and full marathons.
Truth be told, I was obsessed. Completing nine marathons in three years, I bettered my finishing time with each 26-mile race. This was before I came to terms with being adopted; perhaps it was a substitute for a face-to-face with my adoption and the self-examination that loomed ahead.
The parallels are as follows. First: WALKING. Exploring my past, I started out with baby steps. Second: JOGGING. I published my diaries in the form of a memoir, The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption. Finally, RUNNING. Thanks to the Internet, I engaged with the adoption community and decided to focus my writing on adoption-related topics.
My weekly blog posts will continue to spotlight adoption, adoptees, birth and adoptive parents. A novel ARUNDATI, available in installments on my website, is about an Indian orphan who is adopted by American parents. Coming to terms with my adoption is very much like being in a marathon, except that this 26.2-mile race will never end.
Life is a journey, especially when it comes to dealing with adoption. The experience of coming out with my diaries was training camp. At first I was afraid the contents would be so embarrassing that I would no longer have any friends. I thought that when people knew about what I’d grappled with all these years they would write me off as borderline strange.
The reaction has been the opposite. Even people who were not adopted or dealing with adoption have found The Goodbye Baby inspiring.
Because of a knee injury in 2006, my running days are over. I now walk and hike instead. Though running was a long and uphill endeavor, all the hours and miles of training paid off. The end of every race brought a rewarding rush of adrenaline. The endorphins that people like to call “runner’s high” seemed to carry over into empowering me in everyday life.
Like training for a marathon, using social media to communicate with others in the adoption community has been empowering. Each week, I’ve added miles. Each posting deadline is like another road race. As in running, I’m continue to compete with myself. In writing, as in running, I am still going for a “personal best.”
Below, a verse that inspired me to reach a running goal (3-hour 35-minute marathon in 1979). I believe the words apply to life itself.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:3