Friends – Why is that difficult for me as an adoptee?

Oct 17, 2022

Hi, there I am Fiona I’m an adoptee. I was adopted at 8 months old after being in two different foster placements and 2 hospital stays. I have my great-niece from the family I was adopted out of on a Special Guardianship Order. Unusual I know but it’s working well.

Keeping friendships – Trusting friendships

Where do I start then? From what I can remember from being told how I was as a toddler, I was sociable and made friends easily. My own memories of starting school are fairly sketchy, It was over 50 years ago! My earliest memory is of wetting myself in class because I was too scared to ask to go to the toilet. We moved away to another area, so a change of school was on the cards. I enjoyed primary school. I have fond memories of the teachers apart from one who seemed to take an instant dislike to me. Lots of rulers over the knuckles and locked in the stationary cupboard to calm down for me in that year. It was around primary 5 or 6. I don’t remember being the lonely kid in the playground with no friends. I always seemed to be with somebody. No memory of any specific bestie at primary school.

Heading off up to High School was a whole different ball game. Going from a fairly small primary school to a great big High School was quite scary. My hormones had kicked in at primary school, I was fully aware of being adopted and starting to rebel against it on the inside. I had people that I hung out with but no one consistently until I met Anne. We became friends and are still friends to this day. We just clicked and got on with it. My parents thought she was a bad influence on me and her parents thought I was a bad influence on her. We were a right pair.

During my time at school, I managed to make plenty of enemies. I had such a short fuse, I would lash out at the least little thing so detention became the norm, and the belt became expected. Academically it was turning into a right disaster. I was not stupid but just found it impossible to settle and learn properly. Leaving school with my head hung in shame at not one O level.

Always last in school and first out, sometimes as early as before lunchtime! Friendships without Anne didn’t blossom. I then became quite withdrawn at school being tagged as the bad girl who was bad but it was more emotional disturbance because of my feelings around being adopted. I often wonder if someone had picked up on that fact and if I had been treated differently at school …………..

I am so happy that these days slowly but surely adoption is being seen as something to be looked at when a child is having difficulty at school.

Leaving school and heading off into the big bad world completely unprepared was unreal. Life was hard, people were horrible, and I was horrible. I was in a place where I really didn’t trust anyone. I would hook up with people and soon the cracks in any relationship would appear. I would take off disappearing into the night. I had no concept of how to manage a stable relationship. I knew people liked me because they said so. Unfortunately, I struggled to maintain the connections always in that place of fear where I would be dropped like a hot potato. Off I bounced from one disaster to another. Two failed marriages and multiple failed relationships.

Becoming a Christian at 29 I thought everything would be great. Wrong concept of Christianity. I still struggled in relationships but had some new tools like prayer and people who would persevere with me. Trust was still an issue. Not being able to fully trust someone in a relationship of any kind was so hard.

It became a habit for me to shrink back and just happily work away in the background of everything. I was great at admin and accounts with no training whatsoever. I was excellent at meeting the new people coming into the church and matching them up with other people with the same interests. Never really fully connecting with anyone myself. I had Nora who was my mentor and about 7 years later I had Marcia who connected with me in London. These two women have always been there for me. They don’t want anything from me, I’m not useful to them. They just love me unconditionally.

I realise that I do struggle to maintain connections. I have to make a concentrated effort to message people and stay in touch. Whereas I could very easily just not do it. Groups are a complete nightmare, I realise that I was shrinking back in groups too. These days I make a real effort to overcome my insecurities in these areas and step out and be heard.

The trust issue still rears its ugly head from time to time. Always this nagging doubt that I am worthy, that I am wanted. Will those ever go away? Who knows? But for me, I stopped allowing the thoughts and fears from controlling me. I stepped out into a new path it has been tough getting beyond those fears and the urge to retract is massive.

As I prepare to start a service to build up adoptees in the areas that in general are a struggle. I have become so much more proactive in turning my whisper into a shout. I’m told I am confident and people want to be like me but I still feel constantly that I will do something wrong and my world will come crashing to the ground.Fiona's friends

Recently I joined a group of wonderful older women for a weekend. Stepped right out of my comfort zone. I loved it. Each person is so wonderfully unique and lovely to get to know.

My default would have been to not go on the planned activities. To hang back and not communicate for fear of saying the wrong thing. But no that’s not me anymore. I was just myself and made a point of not always hanging back. I learned so much from each woman. I can’t wait for the next one.

Thank you for reading my blogging journey so far. See you next time.

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