The message Being Adopted Means “It takes a lot of courage to grow up and become who you really are" - e.e. cummings was inspired by Suzan Pleva because she believes it reaches so many adoptees, who have never had the chance to be who they really are. They’ve had to stay strong, and fight through all the wrongs done to them, to be still standing, and fighting through to be who they really are.
SUZAN’S ADOPTION STORY AND JOURNEY
My adoptive parents were extremely abusive, and my adoptive 'mother' was narcissistic. It was a frightening childhood riddled with extreme racism, violence, sexual abuse, lying, blame and confusion. I was always sick; my immune system was always down. While all these horrible things were going on inside the household, it was my purpose to put on a 'happy face' to the outside world and just 'suck-it-up' and 'stop overreacting' and 'being too sensitive'. I learned from infancy only one thing. I was placed in this household to make this family look good to society, and I should be 'thankful' that I, as a person of ethnicity was to be thankful that I was able to be adopted into a white family of privilege. The adoptive mother and father were upstanding members of society, charity driven, had perfect credit, etc.
Dinner was on the table at 6:00 on the dot every evening, we had boats, I grew up on a very affluent private-all sports lake, I was taken on frequent vacations and more. Due to the constant conditioning of thinking I just needed to 'accept it' and 'let it go', even though it continually was happening, I protected myself by completely blocking it out and playing 'happy'.
I was conditioned to be something I am not, and something I never was- and that was this family's garbage can.
2 years ago, I had a massively traumatic series of events happen. My best friend died with no real cause or explanation, I was sexually assaulted. Because I stepped up, stayed strong and spoke in a courtroom and faced the man who did it, he is now in prison for 21 years. After the sexual assault, I went into therapy to work through what happened. That triggered ALL the memories of what had happened to me, and the constant abuse I suffered my whole life at the hands of the people that adopted me.
When I finally realized how toxic it was, it made me start to work towards bettering myself, and dealing with the trauma I was then faced with. Due to being adopted and raised by a narcissist, I have always unknowingly surrounded myself with extremely unhealthy and abusive people. I then, fell prey to yet another abusive person just months into therapy. We immediately moved in together, and at age 32, for the first time in my life, I became pregnant with my Son. This person who I had moved in with was extremely narcissistic, terrorizing, and scary. I planned to escape that situation with no notice, leaving my belongings ensuring my unborn child's safety. It was a completely trauma and stress filled terrorized nightmare I was living.
But as I was trained and conditioned to do my whole life, I was 'happy Suzie' on the outside. I was trained to never ask for help. My attempts at trying to ask for help my whole life have always been unsuccessful and used against me. Trusting people was not an option for me at this time. While I was suffering this terror, I was busy playing 'happy Suzie' on the outside, still successfully running my business, and being a proper member of society. I was busy feeding the homeless two days a week, all while I, myself was homeless in the dead middle of winter. I slept on my office floor while pregnant with my Son in the middle of winter for 3 months. The office building would shut the heat off at 7 pm. I would cover myself with coats because I didn't have a blanket. I still have no idea how I endured this. But no one knew, because I was too afraid of the repercussions if I said anything.
All while this was happening, I was being terrorized (in silence) by my adoptive 'parents' because I said NO MORE to them. They wouldn't take no for an answer. I had finally gotten myself back up on my feet and got an apartment, where I ensured there was proper security. My adoptive parents started showing up at my office building causing problems, (I lived and worked an hour and a half drive away from them)- surpassing security at my apartment building pounding on my door- it was a complete nightmare. I had no extended family to help. When I would try to call them to help me, I would end up on an hour phone call explaining myself and being told that I was 'overreacting again', and 'Suzie you know how you get, your just too sensitive’ All I cared about was my Son. All I care about is my Son's safety, wellbeing and future. No one cared, nor did they acknowledge my need for my unborn child's welfare.
THE LARGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE- PLACING MY SON FOR ADOPTION
I made the largest mistake of my life, by not coming out of the 'fog', before I fell into the abusive cycle of adoption AGAIN and placed my one and only Son for adoption. My main intent was to keep him safe, and away from the abusive people that adopted me and would not leave me alone, continued to terrorize me when I made the decision to not allow them in my life for the safety and welfare of my unborn child. I was terrified and thought I had no options. My career was fine, I've always had my own place, it wasn't a monetary problem, and it was never an issue of whether I would be a good mother to my Son or not.
I had fallen into the abusive cycle and influence of the adoption industry again and was surrounded with people convincing me that placing my Son for adoption was the only way to keep him safe from my abusers. My Son, (Who I named August, his name is now Miles August) is now 8 months old- and I am busy preparing myself to do everything in my power to be ready for him- as I was immediately cut out of his life, after being promised an extremely open adoption-. The adoptive 'parents' of my Son sent me a cease and desist letter stating that I was formally 'cut-off' and not allowed anywhere near my Son.
I was promised my Sons safety and welfare if I made this decision, etc. My Son is now in the exact same situation that I was in. Once my Son (private infant domestic infant adoption) was placed into these adopter’s hands, they became very sour with me. The adoptive mother began calling me names like 'asshole', referring to me as 'merely a birthing mechanism', etc. If you knew the things these people have said to me, you would fall off your chair. I am horrified by how I have been treated, and I am oh so very worried about my Sons future welfare, due to these adopters inappropriate and unnecessary behaviors towards me. Because of this, I have never been able to properly grieve my Son. I carried him with me for 9 months, and he is now 8 months old.
WAKING UP TO REALITY | FINDING MY OWN REAL MOTHER
This has made me begin researching the adoption industry, and this has made me open my eyes to what happens. I was trained to not care about my real mother. I was trained to never even have a thought about her, because that was 'ungrateful and selfish of me'- I was told my whole life that "you already have a mother". I now realize, that scary narcissistic abuser who adopted me was never my mother. This is a woman that should've never adopted children in the first place. My REAL mother's name is Jacqueline.
No one cared about my real mother, until now. Because I care about her, and I love her. I am her daughter, and rightfully so. I began to research and tried to ask my birth family (Jacqueline's brother and sister) 'Where is my Mother', and why has she been 'mysteriously missing' since she gave birth to me? I was then shut-out by my birth family as well. They wanted nothing to do with it. One of them hung the phone up on me when I asked. I wasn't being on my 'best behavior' as my role of the adoptee, and yet again, I was rejected because I wasn't fulfilling the role that they wanted me to fulfill. Being rejected for being who you really are by the people that are supposed to love you stings.
I then knew that something needed to be done. I needed to preserve my real family. I needed to find my Mother, and I needed to ensure that my Son will know that I had found his real grandmother. Jacqueline (Heileman) McCombs was admitted into a mental institution in 1959 at age 15, and was given shock treatments, and suffered extreme abuse. At age 39, on August 6th, 1983, (me) her daughter Susan Marie was born. That very same year, my Mother, after all the abuse she had suffered at the hands of the state and psychiatric ward, had somehow become missing without a trace, and no one cared where she went.
Fast track to December 18th, 2017 (her birthday)- Sargent Detective Sarah Krebs, head of the State of Michigan State Missing and Unidentified persons unit called me to officially inform me that they were taking on my Mother, Jacqueline's missing persons case. And they found her 2 weeks later- SHE IS ALIVE. Due to the abuse she has endured her whole life, she has a care giver, and is in what I was told, a 'very fragile mental state', however she is in good physical health. Jacqueline, my Mother turned 74 years old on December 18th, 2017-
Little does she know that the birthday present she received from her daughter, (me) was that her Daughter found her, and she will be seeing her soon. For privacy, and legal reasons, Sargent Detective Krebs was unable to give me my Mothers specified where-abouts. Only that she is in the same state of Michigan, and that she is in an adult foster care home. I am a classically trained piano instructor, and my students and I will go to senior homes to play the piano for the residents. I know that in meeting my Mother for the first time, I will have to be delicate. I will have to tread lightly, and it will take a lot of work. I am prepared.
TO THE PRESENT DAY | WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW
Out of all the pain I have endured, of losing my Son, my birth right, my real Mother- I am now finally doing my best with what I know to repair my real family. I literally dream about being able to touch my mother’s hands, and letting her feel my face, and showing her a picture of her Grandson Miles August. I literally fantasize all the time about telling her about how much I respect her endurance and strength for what she's been through in her lifetime. Because I have finally realized that I shouldn't be ashamed of who I really am, I have allowed myself to open up, and stop blocking out my love for my Mother. I have finally said ENOUGH, and not allowed anyone further to shame me for feeling love for my Mother, and for my Son. I have finally said ENOUGH to anyone who thinks it's okay to question my love for my real family. My Mother will know she is loved, she is cared about. No matter how this will happen, I will not stop until she knows this. Her daughter is here, and someone has been looking for her.
Out of all that I've endured, I now realize where I get my strength and courage, and that's from my real mother. The person that brought me into this world is the one who gave me the strength and courage to grow up and be who I REALLY am.
Like many others that I know are out there. Many adoptees suffer greatly in silence. We are expected by the whole of society to fit into whatever they think we are, instead of what our real, genuine core being is. Being treated like an object from birth- it's our time to be who we really are now. And it's time to bring awareness to what really happens, so that we can touch as many people as we can, in order to prevent things like this from happening to future generations, and lives.
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY- PROUD OF WHO I AM
Due to what has happened with in generations in my life-span, a documentary called, 'Proud of Who I Am' is currently being filmed. It's a documentary that will cover many topics, such as adoption, adoption abuse, hidden abuse, narcissism in the adoption industry, signs of hidden abuse, how to prevent helpless children from being adopted by persons that hid abuse, and more. We will cover several issues that include what happens to a helpless voiceless child, and what transpires from childhood trauma to adulthood by following my journey from birth. My crew and my focus is to spread awareness to not only other adoptees to speak up and speak out about their experiences, but to reach the public, and make them aware of all that is hidden, and not seen while adoptees suffer the consequences of it.
Below is the documentary information:
TITLE: 'Proud of Who I am', The Documentary
FILMING IN: Detroit, Michigan
FOCUS: Following the life of Suzan Pleva, adoptee, from birth, adoption, past, to present on her journey
FUNDING CAMPAIGN: www.gofundme.com/proudofwhoiam
Suzan Pleva was born on August 6th, 1983. She’s a bi-racial adoptee who was raised in an all-white family, in an all-white town. She’s a classically trained piano instructor. She loves what she does for a living and is so happy that she was able to make her life's passion into her career. She has been playing the piano since age 9 and has been instructing since the year of 2009. Suzan is very active in her community of Detroit, Michigan. She has always been a philanthropist through action by contributing her free time to volunteering and helping those in need and being active in participating in community service. Out of all the things that Suzan has had stripped from her, and her having to be something she isn't- the one thing she always held very close and dear, was her main passion of piano. This is not only Suzan's career, but it is her way of expression, and her avenue to who she really is. Suzan finds it important to bring awareness to the struggles that adoptees face regarding being who they really are, and the strength it takes to stand up, against all odds and really be yourself. As adoptee's, one of the hardships we face is being pushed into a box, and constantly having to 'fill the role' of what others want or perceive us to be. As we grow older and realize the truth about what really happened, we have two choices. Let this overcome us, or fight harder to live for US, and allow ourselves to be who we really are. It was a tough road for Suzan to get to this point. She has lost almost all her family due to making the decision of being who she really is. She has come to realize that if people do not accept her for who she really is, and if it makes people 'uncomfortable', they are not people that she needs to have in her life. She is now on the journey of building her own family and support system, and she is absolutely - Proud of who She really is!