The Washingtons (ep.4)

Adopted. Some people ignorantly attach a stigma to that word. Unity doesn’t though.

She was born at an early age to her natural mom and mom’s boyfriend at the time. One Screenshot (39)August day when she was around 5 years old, her mom dropped her off in the morning at the Playworld to be picked up by her dad (boyfriend – no paternity test ever done). The problem is that when dad came, late, with his new girlfriend, they decided not to pick her up because they wanted to see a concert that night. They left Unity there, in favor of their own freedom. She never saw her dad and his girlfriend that day, and that’s where Unity reckoned out that she was no one’s priority. Ok, a five year may not use those words, but she showed her trauma and her understanding by being nonverbal for the next three months.

That was the beginning of a pattern for her. The local Child Protective Service picked her up and placed her in foster care, but in foster care she was moved often, every time other children needed to stay together in a home, and a couple of times when her foster parents had personal or marital problems. Up until she was placed with the Washingtons, it seems people always chose convenience over Unity.

Through this process and due to the absence of a stable nuclear family, she sought and found companionship and commonality in others that “didn’t fit in” and sometimes even Screenshot (4)complete strangers more than those usually around her. Over the next few years she  grew to embody her own name, but in a larger sense than most ever do. When fellow students feel oneness at school, she feels oneness with students everywhere. When people speak of helping fellow Americans to the exclusion of foreigners, she thinks of fellow humans without excluding Americans. Unity has compassion for not just the family that adopted her but the family she adopts: the bullied, the refugees, the hurricane survivors. Unity feels a common bond with every religion, even while being taught the differences and suspicion toward the others.

But Unity also feels very misunderstood. Because she is. Friends see her inclusive attitude as a rejection of those closest, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes Rosy and Reagan saw her interest in people of other families as a lack of loyalty to them, and this has caused slight friction at times, but they can usually overlook it. Probably the best example of this was the time at one of the birthday parties when she refused to sing “Happy Birthday” with the rest of the family because she felt like Reagan (adoptive dad) wasn’t being fair to the neighborhood kids. Dad never did understand Screenshot (243)that, even though Mom thought it was thoughtful, and they finally just stopped talking about it.

The one person that Unity always felt understood her, really “got” her, was Liberty, her adoptive sister. It was like they spoke the same language, that no one else understood, even though they both knew that Liberty was the favorite. Oddly, none of them understood the extent to which Liberty was favored over Unity.

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