Updated: Jun 18
You can almost hear the "Duh, duh, duuuuhhhhh.....", right? Well, it wasn't that dramatic. At first.
When I was born, I had some physical challenges. I had a deformed left arm, that never set right. I had Amblyopia (aka lazy eye). My jaws weren't aligned. You know... nothing like Frankenstein; but, still I was not "perfect". And, my adopted mother had no problem letting me know it. I was reminded repeatedly growing up. But, I will share more about this later.
My arm never got medical attention, as I was told that it was something that didn't seem to bother me too much. It only bothers me when I try to rotate it to grab something far to my left, or even slightly behind me on the left side. But, because I wasn't screaming in pain, and just learned to adapt... it wasn't a concern of hers I guess.
My lazy eye though... that apparently was an embarrassment. Enough for them to take me to a doctor for it. Again, this was in early 1970s - so I don't know if it was just that there wasn't enough education about Amblyopia, or if my adopted family was so severally stuck on believing what that adoption agency had told them about my birth parents (more about this later) being troubled teens, and drug addicts' (which they weren't).
According to sightcentertoledo.org, "This condition appears in childhood, and can lead to reduced vision and lack of depth perception, that is not correctable by lenses. Some risk factors for amblyopia include premature birth, family history of amblyopia, cataracts in early childhood or developmental disabilities." So, because there was not much family medical history that my adopted parents received because of the closed adoption and the adoption agency sealing the files, they had me get surgery to attempt to correct it. This is primarily because my adopted parents where told that if it wasn't corrected, I have a chance of having "potential for permanent central vision loss".
Unfortunately, the surgery didn't correct it - and in fact... made it worse. The optic chiasm is the place in the brain where the two optic nerves meet. In my surgery, they were supposed to pull one of the optic nerves tighter and reconnect it to the optic chiasm so that the eye can be pulled back into line with the other eye. However, this surgery was not successful. And instead of doing that - my optic chiasm is now split. So, that I can only see out of one eye at a time, and never have my eyes looking in the same direction at the same time. I found that out, as an adult. Because, I had a doctor that was convinced that with physical therapy, that they could recondition my optic nerves to be able to work together and re-align. Only to find, that this is not the case, and never will be. So unfortunately, the eye surgery that I had when I was about 2 years old, ended up not accomplishing fixing that embarrassment. And in fact, as the story goes - was the first time that they almost lost me. (I ended up almost passing on more than 3 times growing up.) As, I ended up going into an anaphylactic shock because of being extremely allergic to the combination of anesthesia that they used on me during that surgery. Fortunately, they no longer use these type of anesthesia gases any longer.
Now as I previously told you, my jaws also weren't aligned. And this would mean many painful years of appliances, braces, brackets... and in truth - dental torture, all during the most awkward and painful years of my life - puberty and high school. My adopted parents did spend a lot of money on all of these - in hopes that at least my teeth would look pretty. Only for them to give in right before I graduated from high school, and allowed for me to get them removed. I then abruptly lost my retainer, and all of my teeth moved back to even a weirder alignment than they were originally, and I have lost most of my molars because of the many years of having brackets, and bands on them - that they were decayed and unrepairable. (This has recently been horrible nightmarish stories that I have shared with my teenagers - who both currently are in braces themselves - in hopes to scare them to brushing their teeth religiously so that my investment into their teeth doesn't go into the trash.)
So, what is it that I am saying? Why do I share all of this with you today??
Partially because I wanted to show you that I didn't purposely "steal" the attention away from my older brother. But also to show you - that I too wasn't exactly being treasured by my adoptive parents. This is some small amount of examples.... and trust me - there are more.
It was also to lead you into understanding how both my older brother and I were kind of... well, not ignored, but - more over looked. And this was because - 8 months after I was born, a "miracle" happened. Or at least - that is what we have been told from this point on.
See, my adopted mother had decided to go ahead with getting her tubes tied now that she had both a boy and a girl. She decided that God had given her children - and that she could learn to be happy that He had answered her prayers. However, little did she know that when she had surgery to get her tubes tied... she was already pregnant.
So, when I was 16 months old - she gave birth to a son. And, he became known as the "Golden Child". He was everything to her. He got the majority of her attention, and the majority of her nurturing and love.
Because we were so close in age, and close in physical size - she would get upset when strangers on the street would ask about her "twins". She would constantly be correcting them, and pointing out that I had brown eyes, where he had pure blue eyes. So, "obviously they aren't twins". She would then tell the story on how I was adopted from troubled teen parents, and how God called her to rescue me and take me in. More to make it seem that she should be granted sainthood. But, she would say this all while cooing and loving on my younger brother, and physically keeping my older brother and I at arm's length. All while also sharing that God had blessed her with the ability to give birth to my younger brother after having her tubes tied, how he was her miracle baby, and how she took that as a sign that she was a good Mom by taking both my older brother and I into her family.
It is normal for siblings that close in age to be the best of friends. And, my younger brother and I were when we were young. Regardless of my adopted mother's many attempts to squash this from happening. Eventually, she won out. As she repeatedly would play out the scene that I explained above... it became obvious to everyone who the favored one was. By the time that I was 10 years old, the three of us where pretty much strangers all living in the same house.
I did tend to attempt to hang out with my older brother. And - when he would let me... that would just end up creating more issues for me. By the time that I was 14 years old, I had been exposed to a lot more of the world than I should have been. All because my older brother and I were attempting to escape our home. Just in our own ways. His way was getting into trouble and eventually signing up for the military. Mine was the attempt to find my Knight-in-shining armor.
I never did get my fairytale ending of riding off into the sunset on a white horse. There have been a lot of hardships, challenges, and things to overcome... instead of the fairytale.
Let's continue to unpack the story of the beginning so that we can get onto our journey. shall we?