Spring Cleaning- Adoptee style


It’s a dark and stormy afternoon here in central Illinois today, and after a few delicious days of beautiful spring weather, I am feeling antsy about being stuck inside. This would be a great time to turn my attentions to an important activity we all participate in (or at least need to).

Spring Cleaning!

After a yucky, cold winter, it’s time to dust off the cobwebs, go through the closets, make repairs, maybe have a garage sale, and bring in some fresh air! I love spring! It’s my favorite season! It’s a time of fresh new ideas, a time when anything is possible!

Weight Loss Journey

I have talked before about my weight loss journey (I have lost almost 120lbs!!). As you can imagine, I have lots of clothes that no longer fit. As I shrink, they have been going in bins that are shoved into y closet. My husband asked me what I plan on doing with those clothes- am I going to try to sell them, or am I going to donate them, or what? This idea put me in a bit of a panic. This isn’t the first time I have lost a significant amount of weight, and the last time, I failed to keep it off. I think of how saddening it was to gain the weight back last time, and how I was embarrassed to use the family’s money to buy new clothing in old sizes. I would sit in fitting rooms and cry every time I went back up a size. So, no! I don’t want to let go of the old clothes! I need to keep them “just in case”.


Shame And Letting Go

The shame attached to knowing that you are failing is unbelievably crushing! Yet, I just sat back and let it happen. I don’t know why I did this- perhaps it was a snowball of bad thought processes? One thing is for sure, I have a nasty habit of not letting go-mentally or physically. I don’t want to let go of my old clothes because what if I fail again? What if all of this work is for nothing? What if after everything I have done, I go back to being “fat me” again? Why am I so afraid? Why am I doing this if I know I will fail again? Now that I am fit, isn’t my life supposed to fabulous? Don’t “they” say skinny, beautiful people have the best lives? Then why am I still, anxious, depressed me?

Metaphor for an Adoptee’s Life

As you can guess, weight loss can be a metaphor for many things. For this adoptee, I also hang on to a lot of guilt and fear of rejection. This is a common theme throughout the adoptee community, whether your experience was a good one or not. The rejection runs so deep from one decision made a really long time ago, that I have built my life around it. Truthfully, I thought acceptance was for other people. I forgot to learn how to accept myself (no matter what I weigh or look like, or whoever I am). I have been so afraid of letting go of that rejection, that I rejected me in the process. I have looked to others for validation, and based my opinion on myself through what others see in me. I have tried to be a good person, be involved with the community, rescued animals, and gone on yo-yo diets. I have felt guilty for being the source of ruination in at least one other person’s life, and it has caused me to feel like I have something to prove.

“The rejection runs so deep from one decision made a really long time ago, that I have built my life around it.”

Emotional Hoarding

Have you ever seen those reality shows about hoarders? Their homes are dangerous and unsanitary, and ultimately unhealthy- some people will be evicted if things don’t change. When others try to help them remove the garbage, they have no idea that what they are hoarding is trash. They can’t let go of broken, dirty items, and think that everything can be repaired. Sometimes they sneak back out into the trash to retrieve an item they thought they could let go of earlier.

So what if we are sometimes emotional hoarders? How many thoughts have we held onto that were garbage, unsanitary, and ultimately unhealthy? What thoughts have we shoved into our “mental closets” to be dealt with or repaired later? How many times have we gotten rid of a bad belief, only to sneak back out into the garbage and bring it back in? Hoarders don’t heal until they “see” the damage and get a much needed reality check.

Mental Spring Cleaning

Perhaps, my closets aren’t the only thing I need to clean out this spring. Maybe I need a reality check, and I need to clean out the broken, hurtful thoughts. Maybe I need to accept myself enough to care enough to clean my “mental closets” out once and for all. This time, I can’t go back out to my emotional dumpster and bring that junk back in. I need to face the truth that weight loss doesn’t change who I am. And maybe those things I have done to make others approve of me- are actually who I am. Maybe, I can be the person I want to be- in my own eyes. Maybe, just maybe, I can let go of the pain I feel from the rejection of my biological mother. Maybe I can throw the expectation that I am going to ultimately fail in the trash where it BELONGS! Maybe I really can get rid of those fat clothes, and the feelings that are really weighing me down. After all, it’s spring… a time for new ideas. A time when anything is possible!


Written by
Betsy was born, adopted, and raised in central Illinois, and has lived there her entire life. She is married to a very fantastic, understanding man named Lucas, and is a mother to her dream children: Eli (10), and Cailyn (7). Her household includes two dogs, Cleo the papillon, and Jelly the pug, a bearded dragon named "The Doctor", a frog named Lazarus (who came back from the dead), and a fish. When she isn't managing her "family zoo", Betsy volunteers with her church, and with Boy Scouts, and is an adoption advocate.

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