Change is Hard for Many Adoptees

In the Rocky 4 movie, Rocky has a memorable quote after he has finally beaten the Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Rocky is bloody, sweaty and exhausted, then he says to the Russian audience, “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change….”


This quote is important. Not just because it comes from a Rocky movie, but because it represents what is so hard in the adoptee’s life – Change.

I am not a person who makes changes easily.

I like things to be predictable. I like things in the same place and to know where things are when I need them. If you want to really mess me up, come into my house and move my things. Whoa boy…. that gives me a nervous feeling just writing it out…. And, I am a person who loves adventure, travel, new ideas, new people – just don’t change things while I am away. It is an oxymoron in my life, and I am OK with this fact.

Adoptees were forced to change from the get go. Many of us who were adopted at birth changed our mother from the moment we entered the world. We have had our names changed. Our birth certificates have been changed. Our family names. Our heritage. Our medical history. Our whole lives are upside down, and sometimes, over and over again. It is a lot to ask of a person.

This weekend, I am back in Solvang, CA at The West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. The advanced training I am attending is, in part, about the Gestalt Theory of (are you ready) THE NATURE OF CHANGE.

One of the teachings that stood out for me today is this, “If you want to change, you must be more of who you are.”

As I sat in the training today, all I could think about was this quote. I thought about how this past year and a half, I became more of my ‘Adopted” and embraced my “Adoptedness.” I am becoming more of who I am.

This past year, I have blogged 54 times about my adoption experience from a clinical perspective. I have shared deep feelings and thoughts about adoption. I have been vulnerable on this blog and in ‘real life’ with ‘real live adoptees.’ I attended a retreat and was super open with others. I made dear friends with many adoptees. I started an Adoptee Connect support group in my home town of Las Vegas, and I love the brave people who show up each month. I have spoken to my church’s women’s group about my adoption and history. I have talked to friends and co-workers about adoption. I did.two podcast interviews on Adoptees On with Haley Radke. I have attended training and spoken up and out about the adoptee experience; sometimes even correcting the trainer when they have gotten the adoptee info wrong. I have educated others about adoption. I have changed my mind over and over again about my own adoption; vacillating between I am comfortable with all of it to “what the hell?”

In short, I have become, even more adopted. There is a culture in adoption, and apparently, as I reflect back, I sure have embraced being an adoptee. No shame, at all.

So, why is it so hard to think about changing big areas in my life? Career? New house? Bangs or no bangs? I get super anxious about things in my life that are too big to consider changing. I am sure there is something in there for me to learn about myself, but I am nervous to delve to deep.

Polarity theory talks about going with an emotion (negative, such as anger) and eventually, you will come around to the opposite emotion (calmness). This is also true about the emotion of fear. I am afraid of big changes. But, if I stay with the fear, eventually, I will come around and find more courage.

This is he same for everyone. We do not have to make something happen, we just have to believe that eventually, something WILL happen. And, we just have to not push it away, and we do not have to embrace fear. We just have to let life naturally evolve.

All real living has meaning. All change is not bad or hard or terrifying.

Maybe, embracing all the adoptedness of my life is the key to settle down my nerves about allowing change, big change, enter my life and the realm of possibilities.

So, if Rocky can change, I can change.

I just need to be patient with myself and let the changes in my life happen. I know that I can allow myself to let go of some control, seek for safety and trust and then, change will be not so overwhelming.

I hope that Rocky is right.

One thought on “Change is Hard for Many Adoptees

Add yours

  1. Hi Janet this is Kimiora. Thank you so much for your writing. There is so much to digest in here it’s making me cry in the middle of a crowded coffee shop. I am so grateful for things Iike this that make me feel connected even though I am so far away now.

    Liked by 1 person

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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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