Posted by: Linda Hoye | March 27, 2010

The Invisible Woman

We are starting one of those teaming activities at work and we are all being represented by a bobble-headed figure.  Everyone voted on the bobble-head most representative of the other team members and I ended up with a classy looking representation of The Invisible Woman.

Those folks don’t know how accurate their representation of me really is; I had to smile when I unpacked my bobble-head and placed her in a prominent place on my desk.

Many years ago I read Betty Jean Lifton’s classic book on adoption Lost and FoundIt was the first book I read regarding adoption from the adoptee’s perspective and it changed the way I viewed my experience. For the first time I felt validated in what I felt.  It was okay, and I was “normal”. Other good sources of reading about the adoptees journey are Lifton’s Journey of the Adopted Self and Twice Born: Memoir of an Adopted Daughter.

I was in my twenties when I first read Lifton describe the adoptee as feeling invisible and it struck a strong chord with me.  In a recent interview with the University of Michigan Press Lifton restated the concept by saying “as long as records are sealed, there is a stigma to being adopted, of being illegitimate, of being a bastard.  Of being, as I say, invisible, because no one can see what it feels like to have been abandoned by one set of parents , even if one was chosen by another set of loving ones.”

I pulled out some of Lifton’s books this morning and pored though the well-marked pages re-reading passages that speak to my own feelings and found this one.  “Why do adopted people feel so alienated? Why do they feel so unreal, invisible to themselves and others?”  Further on I found this description about adoptees in general: “They feel a fundamental disconnection from themselves and those around them, which they describe as feeling as if they are in a fog, weightless, floating above the earth.”  Or, to paraphrase, invisible.

The truth is I could give example after example about my own experiences of feeling truly invisible.  So, I have to smile when I look at the bobble-head in my cubicle.  She’s more like me than anyone realized.

(Thanks to The Official Marvel Shop for the image of The Invisible Woman)

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