Our Journey Toward Identity

Note: this essay can be read in full on the Cosmophilia website. In it, Alison Beth Levy chronicles her search for her birth parents and a sense of identity, with astrology and other healing modalities as her guides. — Amanda P.

by Alison Beth Levy

Ten years ago, at age 26, I initiated a search for my birth parents — a process many adoptees undertake to clarify their identity. Maybe it was a diffusing Neptune transit that set a timer off for me to reclaim myself, or perhaps I was induced by earth-shaking Pluto to make deeper inner discoveries, but it was definitely Uranus that pulled the rug out from under me in a bone-rattling awakening.

Photo by Eric Francis

Photo by Eric Francis

During this time, I began to understand the mind-body-spirit connection, rekindle my previous teenage love of astrology, and discover much about the effects of my early life on my challenging emotions — and take responsibility for them. Ten years later, I can look back with gratitude on many adventures I had in my pursuit of finding my place in this world as an adoptee.

The first thing I discovered, via my Michigan adoption agency’s records, was that no one was expecting my birth — not even my mother. At the time of her pregnancy, my birth mother, a 26-year-old professional musician and Orthodox Jew, was being medicated for schizophrenia.

I was born one night at home, brought to the hospital and then to the Jewish adoption agency. Due to my mother’s state, her mother made the decision for my adoption.

Because my birth mother had signed my adoption papers I was able to get her name and family info after I applied for and received the written report from the agency. Many adoptees can’t lawfully receive actual contact information, and it causes them much grief not to have a way to find their blood family. Fortunately, there is a social rights movement in the United States to overturn the withholding of “identifying information.”

Upon requesting my birth mother’s contact info, I was told that she had already passed. Thankfully, however, I was put in touch with one of her brothers. Speaking to my uncle for the first time and learning about my birth mother was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Most people take knowledge of their blood relatives for granted. For this reason, it is hard to understand an adoptee’s struggle with disconnection and separation. Many adoptees report painful emotions resulting from not knowing where they come from. They might feel that they lack a sense of self, or that they are not accepted by or fit in with their adopted family. There is an unconscious wound of separation from the birth parents. Actor, playwright and poet Rock Wilk reveals how adoptees navigate the question of blood-relations in his solo theatrical play, Broke Wide Open.

Continue reading here.

2 thoughts on “Our Journey Toward Identity

  1. Cowboyiam

    Thanks for sharing your story Alison.

    I have a friend who I have known since adolescence and she had old parents who where rather odd people; she seemed too balanced to belong to them. Learned she was adopted later on and that made sense of things.
    She searched out her real mother after her adopted parents died. She says she always knew she had a sister somewhere and as it turns out she has both mother and sister who look like her, and I think a brother who are all a big part of her life now.

    I was amazed at how much it affected her self esteem just finding her real family. Your expression seems to explain my friend. Thanks

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