Every now and then we would like to make an introduction and today is one of those days. We’re excited to share we have a new Volunteer Writer/Editor/Publisher on board, Lee Rolandi. You might see her name around the Adoptees Connect, Inc. platform so we wanted to share a little about Lee, and even allow her the space to share a piece of her own story!
Lee is currently an Operations Manager for a company called AdvantEdge Workspaces out of Washington, DC. She’s a strong writer, an avid poet and she enjoys crafts and baking new treats for people in her office.
Here’s a piece of her own story in her own words…
Hey everyone! My name is Lee and I’m a fellow adoptee as well as a recovering alcoholic with 18 months sober. I am truly grateful to be joining Adoptees Connect and can’t wait to get to know you all and see exactly how I can get involved in a meaningful way.
I was born on December 6th, 1989 in a small town in Louisiana and adopted by my loving parents two short weeks later in a closed adoption agreement. In spite of the fact that I truly resemble my adoptive family, particularly my father, they were honest and loving enough to always let me know that I was “born of their heart”. I’m grateful to have had this knowledge because even without it, regardless of our physical similarities, I always had this peculiar feeling that I was somehow fundamentally different, maybe even special. Growing up, it really called into question the whole “nature v. nurture” argument when I felt that regardless of my affluent Maryland upbringing, I somehow didn’t belong to that ilk. Most of my peers grew up with silver spoons in their mouths, loving every second of it and painfully entitled, but for me, that privilege never felt right. While a part of me just flat out didn’t think I deserved any of it (an element of “survivor’s guilt” in a way), it was more of a straightforward feeling of simply knowing this wasn’t the world I was born into or meant to be in.
Like most adopted kids, I fantasized about birthmother. Small daydreams about where she was, what she looked like, if she ever thought of me or if she instead put me out of her mind in order to move on with her young life. None of this daydreaming was ever meant to belittle my adoptive mother or her undeniably fierce love for me, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty whenever the thoughts crossed my mind. Either way, my innate curiosity was never strong enough to take any investigative action, especially with all the horror stories out there of family reunions gone terribly wrong. Plus, it was a closed adoption.
In the Fall of 2008, I was 18 and in my first semester of college when a Facebook message popped up- “Sarah M”. Lo and behold, it was a goth looking woman claiming to be my birthmother. Apparently some portions of the closed adoption paperwork had not been blacked out correctly so for the entirety of my life, she knew my not-terribly-common last name. And with the advent of social media, and my turning a legal 18, she simply couldn’t help herself. I can’t confidently say I blame her. Over the next few years, we talked on and off mostly in casual Facebook message exchanges. My adoptive parents were supportive and let me choose my own path but were understandably skeptical/worried for me.
In 2012, I had graduated college and was feeling a little lost, drinking and partying too much, looking for any distraction possible and decided to finally meet my birthmom, who lives in a small town in Missouri. We drank the entire time, from the moment she picked me up from the airport and informed me of the lax open container laws. She was obviously a seasoned alcoholic and I was an alcoholic-in-the-making, but too young and blind to acknowledge it. She showed me off to her friends, constantly remarked on our physical similarities, and took drunken ownership of what I had previously believed was my own unique personality. Our trip ended with a drunken 10AM fight and I returned to Maryland bitter, resentful and determined to cut my birthmother out of my life for good.
I spent most of my twenties deepening my relationship with alcohol and engaging in self-harm whilst passively maintaining a career, a handful of friendships, and an abusive relationship with a fellow alcoholic. As the years passed by, I grew angrier and angrier at my birthmom for selfishly disrupting the life of an on-track 18-year old. And before I knew it, I was drinking whiskey all day every day out of the bottom drawer of my desk and I had truly become sick- mentally, physically, and spiritually.
In the rooms of AA, they call it a “moment of clarity” and that’s honestly the best way to describe my experience with getting sober. Quite simply, I woke up on February 25th, 2018 and decided I was too sick to keep going on like this, I physically could not consume another drop of alcohol. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and just wanted/needed it to end before fate made the decision for me. I detoxed at home (10/10 do not recommend), found some online AA resources, and eventually worked up the courage to step into the AA rooms and haven’t looked back since.
In the past 18 months of my sobriety, I managed to rekindle my relationship not just with my birthmom but with her sister as well. My birthmother is now sober and admitted that in addition to alcohol, she had also been addicted to opioids at the time of our meeting (she eventually ODed and her “moment of clarity”). My biological aunt has been sober since she was 18 years old and has become a huge resource in my recovery. My bitterness has dissolved in these past 18 months and what I’ve realized is that this is really a story of women- three women, at different stages of their lives, with addiction running through their veins, just trying to make it through.
The word I most commonly use to describe my journey as an adoptee is: “tumultuous”. But at the end of the day, I am grateful for the tumult as it has helped shaped who I am both as a person in recovery and more generally, as a young woman trying to find her way. While I identify as an adoptee and an addict, those titles no longer consume me in a destructive way. Rather, they energize and invigorate me to connect with more people who identify in similar ways. It is my hope, dream, and purpose in life to be able to share my story with as many people as possible and to use my writing as a means to do so. Everyone here has a unique story to tell and we all share a common bond as adoptees in a world with very limited resources available to us.
With that being said, this bond is why I’m really excited to volunteer with Adoptees Connect and lend my writing, editing, and publishing skills to the group. Writing has always been my strength but above that, it’s served me well as a therapy tool both in and outside my recovery. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in recovery, it’s that connecting with others opens up a whole new world of healing that I’d failed to previously realize. At the end of the day, I’m passionate in my belief that we adoptees don’t have to put our feelings in a box and set them aside. Our feelings are worth speaking on, writing about, and sharing with the world and I hope to be able to help facilitate just that by volunteering here.
Adoptees Connect, Inc.
We’re so excited and honored to welcome her to our community! Please take a moment to welcome her, and say “Hello”