My American Christmas Adoptee Horror Story

Many adoptees online (and I assume off) dread the coming of Christmas. They talk of sadness, loneliness, dissatisfaction, stress, anger, and fear. Some emotions are vague and hard to pin down; others quite concrete. I believe absolutely every person who talks out their feelings and experiences. Even though I empathize, I feel like an insensitive outlier. Christmas, other holidays, and birthdays have no negative effect on me. I have no idea why. Being a fatalist and nihilist I just expect shit to happen. Maybe there is more to it. Perhaps I compartmentalize well, or I’m in the infamous fog, or I’m a sociopath, or I am over-traumatized, or I just don’t care. Since I don’t care about a lot of things everyone else does  (and visa versa) that may be the correct answer.

If I look at my original (birth) Christmas coupled with my fairly recent Christmas week history, however, I am truly baffled why I don’t Cancel Christmas.since this is my own American Christmas Horror Story minus Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, and Evan Peters, though they should feel free to open audition.

December 21xx (you fill in the blank).: Placed with my adoptive parents or as they liked to say, “the day you came to live with us.” I have written about Betsy Day here, which was celebrated on this date every year until my parents passed.

Time travel to 1996

In  February of that year, my bmother Mama Dot agreed to contact after her initial refusal years earlier. About 6 weeks later, however, she suffered a massive stroke. My boyfriend Charles and I drove to Jacksonville. Florida the next morning.where she was hospitalized. Our reunion was held in ICU where she lay unconscious for more than a week. It was pretty devastating. I talked to her a lot and tried to figure out what the big deal had been. She reminded me of somebody my amom would have played bridge or bowled with on Tuesday afternoons.I felt very cheated. Back then I knew hardly anyone who had had a bad reunion or had run head-on into a tombstone. Life wasn’t fair. It was about to get worse.

I worked at the Ohio State University Theatre Department for 15 years back then, and I had plenty of vacation and sick leave coming. The chair was out of town. She had side jobs and ghosted the office for weeks at a time so that was nothing special. I informed the chair’s administrative assistant I was heading out (she was one of my best friends at the time) and the professor I worked for directly and was assured everything was fine with the famous last words,  “take your time

I stayed about five days and had a sort-of meltdown on the way back so Charles and I spent a couple of days in a cheap motel outside of Valdosta, Georgia. where Charles sucked up Jim Beam while I watched Perry Mason re-runs.  I called my office and left a phone message along with my phone number at the motel. I would be gone a couple more days.  No one called me back. My failure to return  “on schedule,” when there was no real schedule. led to me being fired from OSU  on

December 20 1996:  The chair, aka “Bitch Kitty” was a notoriously awful person (when she was there) and hated by most of the faculty.  Upon my return, she popped her cork screaming about me taking off “unauthorized time” to go to Florida. Like I was beer bonging at J’ville Beach. She then informed me in no uncertain terms that Dottie was not my “real mother,”I had no “right” to leave, and that I needed “special permission “from her personally to take that time off. claiming that my time off was “illegal” because she hadn’t personally signed the vacation papers, a job her AA always did.

This was only the beginning. I went through 10 months of incredible harassment by the chair. The union was no help; nobody understood what was going on.  My job performance was constantly monitored, I was accused of all sorts of high crimes and misdemeanors.  She even complained that I was a doctoral student in the History Department which was “hard to deal with.”  (WTF???) Nearly the entire faculty along with many grad students and people from other departments and Big Ten Schools with whom I was friendly backed me up with letters of support My faculty boss, spent hours trying to help me. (He was actually the real target of her wrath and I was used as a go-around to get to him because he was tenured and practically untouchable.  She eventually drove him out of the department. Academic politics are the worse!) He was sure I would win my case. To make matters worse, due to Civil Service rules I couldn’t transfer to another department or, so I was told another state agency.   HR finally said I had done nothing wrong and that the problem was a “personality conflict” and threw up their hands. That same day the department decided that was a green light to fire me. and went HR’s head directly to the Dean. I was escorted out of the office   My HR rep quit the following week over my case. As if this wasn’t bad enough…

My 1998 Christmas gift:

December 21, 1998:  Mama  Dot died suddenly. I spent Christmas with her family and attended her funeral the following day. It was actually a nice time.

And another  gift:

December  28, 2000:  my birthfatherJack Reese died.

One of my Russian friends says the month you are born in is the month in which you will always experience problems because you are pissed off about being born.  I was born in October  Maybe for adoptees it’s the month we  are adopted

I’m writing this on December 21 and nothing bad has happened–yet.




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