I had plenty of friends and I guess it dawned on everyone but me: I was black and my parents were white.
Orchard Dale Elementary School, Whittier, California.
I can’t tell you the exact day or even the year. Just that it took place there and that I was young. I had plenty of friends and I guess it dawned on everyone but me: I was black and my parents were white. One by one they approached me.
Eric P: Why are you and your parents so different?
Regina G: Those aren’t your parents.
It lasted until the end of the day. My dad picked me up, and I held in the emotions until I got home. I was more of a mommy’s girl. When I told my parents what happened at school, they just looked at one another, then at me, then they sat me down and had the adoption talk.
Time stopped. My adoptive parents were quiet and still as they waited for my reaction. I was genuinely confused because I thought I was purple. All I could think was, I no longer feel comfortable in these people’s home. Then a heavier wave hit: I have other parents, but I wasn’t enough for them to love me. I wasn’t enough for them to take a chance on me and try. I wasn’t enough. I am not enough.
Two black kids with white parents and a white sibling was not a common sight in the 90’s. I felt like all eyes were on us as we walked around as a family, but I was the only one in the family who obsessed over it. I became an emotional wreck not long after finding out. Perhaps it’s what triggered my mental illness to make its appearance. Depression, thoughts of suicide. I wanted to harm the kids at school who turned my world upside down. They were to blame. I was fine before, and now I’m not fine.
I started crying myself to sleep every night. Now, at age 30, I still do. The thought of not being enough simply kills me inside. I’ve learned ways to deal with the pain and not let it fully consume me, but it’s something I still have to work at.
My parents were open and honest with me. Whatever questions I had, they tried to answer, but some answers only my birth mother knows. Talks with them were hard. Hard for me because I didn’t want them to feel as though I do not love them, and hard for them as they watched a child they specifically chose suffer the feeling of not being loved or wanted. As a mother myself, it would break my heart if I had to watch my child cry and ask why I didn’t love them enough to keep them. How do you even answer that?
It happened over 20 years ago, but I still remember it and feel the pain and confusion as though it were yesterday. A part of me is stuck in an unexplainable past while the rest of me is trying to progress and rise. An unexplainable past in that there are no exact answers to the what, where, or why of all of this. I only know that it happened, and it happened to me.
Who the hell am I anyway?