Search for Acceptance
Restless. That would describe my life as a young adult. I was just busy going around, sharing my life story to friends.
Surprisingly, I found this note one day from a room mate and close friend: “Listen to yourself… Listen to yourself talking…” Her unsolicited piece of advice was prompted by my lack of sensitivity. She couldn't sleep the other night due to a noise in the next-door apartment. I just happened to be the noisemaker, giggling at the fact of getting another captivated audience.
My friend's writing that next day came as a much-needed rebuke. As I tried to listen to myself, it upset me to hear a 23 year-old speaking like a teenager. And so, I wondered why I did not seem to grow up emotionally. Why did I become so preoccupied with getting other people’s attention and approval?
I thought that was I-- my sanguine side that made me a people person. Nothing seemed to be wrong except that I was not meeting the expectations of my elder adoptive sister, who was an achiever. Instead of striving hard as a student, I lost the motivation to excel in school, getting by as an average student with no failing grades when I knew I could have done better.
I grew up like a “family mascot” being the youngest and the source of joy with my bubbly personality. But why and how did I transform into a “lost child”?
Facing the Hurts
I guess the unwanted revelation of my being an adopted child simply brought a deep hurt. How in the world would a 6-year-old be ready to comprehend and accept that her adoptive father was an uncle of her biological mom? That her elderly parents were actually her grannies? That they adopted her at only one-month-old, due to her family's poverty and mother's nervous breakdown after giving birth?
The adoption was not legal, which made things more complicated. I wouldn’t forget the most embarrassing question thrown on me as a 12-year-old. I was still carrying the surname of my biological parents, which was different from my adoptive family’s. But when I had to fill up bio-data forms in school, I would write my adoptive parents' names. One day, my teacher addressed me in front of all my classmates, “Nimfa, how did it happen that you are Nimfa Placido, but your parents are Mr. & Mrs. Dominador Balagtas?”
I felt a big lump on my throat. I wanted to cry, but I just couldn’t. After trying to regain my composure, I replied, “Sir, because what I’ve written there are the names of my guardians. They’re not my real parents—they adopted me when I was one-month old…”
All my teacher said was that he appreciated my audacity. He expected indeed that I would cry, but I did not. I managed to come on strong. But as I went home alone by myself, I wept and asked God why I had to go through that shaming incident.