Month: November 2015

On Adoption: Parenting as an Adoptee

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There was never a doubt in my mind that someday I wanted to be a mom. I have always loved children and spent many years babysitting and working with children at church and summer camp. At 21, I married my husband and a few years later we knew we were ready to begin our family. It was when I was pregnant with my first daughter that I fully realized the gravity of what my mother experienced through her pregnancy and relinquishment of me. When I held my newborn daughter, it was the first time I had ever seen a person who was related to me by blood. People-especially in the adoption community-emphasize the importance of love over blood in creating a family. While certainly love is important, blood matters too and this moment was significant to me. As she grew she began to look like me, and I could see so much of myself in her little personality.

Now I have two children and another one on the way. I love my children with every part of my being. But it wasn’t until after I reunited with my mother that I realized I was missing an important piece-an understanding of the bond of mother and child. My children are very much bonded and attached to me…to the point where it often felt needy and overwhelming. I could not grasp it all-I had never felt this way about my adopted mother and so I didn’t understand the need my children had………until I met my birth mother. Suddenly, I understood this powerful bond, this need to communicate and be near her- much like my children acted towards me. I realized that I must not take this for granted in my children. So I snuggle them a little longer, listen carefully to the things they want to tell me, answer all their questions because I finally get it. And I don’t want to miss a thing. I know how quickly they will be grown and gone and I will never retrieve those moments again. Just like I can never retrieve the moments I missed with my mother.

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On Adoption: My Narrow and Limited Fate

38ce1c058a1c8e67e3499c12533f61abAs an adoptee the world has generally left me with two fates: abortion or adoption. Dead or “unwanted.”

My self-worth does not benefit from either of these choices.

Turns out they weren’t the only choices. Because they are not opposites. They are not either or.

My other fate: being raised by my mother. Not too many want to give me that option.

Not too many want to give young single women or women in poverty that option.

Not too many want to understand the pain and loss in adoption.

I just want the world to see there are more choices.

I just want the world to stop thinking separating mother and child has no consequences.

I just want the world to stop telling adoptees be glad you aren’t dead.

I just want the world to know that abortion was never my fate. ever. so stop asking me to be grateful I’m alive.

I already am-but not because I was adopted instead of aborted.

I’m grateful because-shouldn’t we all be?

abortion_and_adoption_by_plzpraymore

anyone who thinks adoption is “easy” clearly has no experience

On Adoption: The Lies They Told Me 


Since reuniting with my birthmom I’ve discovered several things about my story that were lies. Things the adoption agency got wrong. A few things like the time of my birth and the wrong ethnicities were put down on paper. They may seem like minor mistakes, but they matter.

Then there were two pretty substantial lies that altered me and my journey in significant ways. One damaged me to my core- the other led me straight to my mother.

The first lie was not in any official document but was told to me and written down in notes my adopted mother took when they received the call about me. She was told that my birth mom never held me nor wanted to see me. This was a very painful piece of my story. It seemed to fit with the unwanted child narrative adoptees become used to- but it still hurt. And even though my papers said my birth mom would like  contact when I became of age- I believe this lie made me quite frightened of being rejected- again. When I found my mother and she spoke of holding me, that she had a picture of us…..I couldn’t stop crying. What a relief it was to know that it was a lie- and how angry I became to know that others purposely made this part of my story.

The second lie I am actually grateful for because it made a huge difference in the search for my mother. Growing up I had one sheet of paper front and back that stated some basic information about my birth parents. Height, weight, eye color, ethnicity, hobbies etc. according to these papers- my only connection to them- it stated my birthmother was pursuing a career in the veterinary field and that she was involved in an animal science club at her college. When I began my search this was one of the better clues we pursued and I was able to acquire a picture with first and last names of all the people who were in that club the year I was born from the college of the town I was born in. With the combination of some other clues I quickly found out which women in the picture was my birthmother. Only she wasn’t. We soon discovered she was my aunt. My mother was never ever in that club- but because her sister was-it led me to her. Without that false information, that lie, my search would’ve taken much longer.

Adoptees deserve the truth about who they are and who and where they come from. Unfortunately, my story isn’t unique. Many adoptees discover false information, even wrong birth dates. I can’t understand how this information can be taken so lightly. These details matter. These details were all I had of my past-I memorized them-and they weren’t all true. It’s heart breaking and wrong.

Sometimes the truth hurts and sometimes the truth sets you free. Either way it’s truth-and that is all I want.

On Adoption: The Elephant in the Room

Today’s prompt from Lost Daughters asks the question of speaking up about my adoption experience in a room (or online space) where what I have to say may not be welcome. 

Not too many years ago I had no problem adding my adoptee narrative to a conversation because I had the attitude most people want to see from from an adopted person. I was grateful to be alive, happy to have parents who love me, thankful to my birthmom for the life she gave me, and for the most part oblivious to how being adopted has effected me. These responses bring questions but no pushback-there are no guards put up.

The way I feel about my adoption has changed in the last two years because I’ve finally let myself feel. The above things still fit to a point but now I’ve embraced the pain and difficulties as well. I’ve found an adoptee community who have felt similar things and suddenly I’m not alone. Now I tend to be fairly bold on social media about my journey. I am still very cautious about where I speak up. I’m sure my family and friends were quite surprised by some of the things they learned but no one said much. There are still things I won’t say to many and I don’t bother (unless a huge line has been crossed) to approach people in an adoption friendly place where my voice will quickly get crushed and invalidated.

In person I have stopped bringing up my adoptee status. Now I’d rather pretend I’m not adopted. Unless someone directly asks my opinion I’m probably keeping my mouth shut because most people are not ready for what I have to say-  And I’m often not ready to hear what they may say. I hope to become braver in this area but it is all to fresh for me still.

 
The last moment I had where I opened up to strangers that I am adopted was so triggering it won’t be happening again anytime soon. With a small group of ladies discussing adoption and the wait and the cost I told them about myself. They went on to say as I stood there in shock, “I’m just so glad there are people out there who are willing to take in all those unwanted children.”  I stood there realizing that without knowing it they had reduced my value. They didn’t know my whole story and they didn’t mean to harm- but they did. In reality I have never been unwanted- but plenty of times it has felt that way. These are the comments that keep us quiet-that flow into our subconscious as we grow-that shape our self-worth. 

So for now I will let the adoption elephant stand in the corner of the room. I will pretend I have nothing to say. I will speak out when I am able. I will value myself. 

On Adoption: Why I #FliptheScript

Every month and every day seems to have some sort of meaning these days. Some to bring awareness and others just for fun. From National Ice Cream Day to Breast Cancer Awareness these days and months can become bothersome to us or provide a great opportunity for action. November happens to be National Adoption Awareness Month with an honorary statement by the President himself.  This month has historcially been filled with Adopted Parents and Agencies voices, so using the Lost Daughters Prompts for the month of November I hope to get some tweets and some writing in. I have been pretty silent lately, and as much as it scares me to dig in some more, I’m hoping I can find some more healing through it. 

So below are some of the reasons I #flipthescript:

I #flipthescript to connect with a community of fellow adoptees who get it.

I #flipthescript because saying out loud how  I feel about being adopted has its own healing effect.

I #flipthescript because for 31 years I was mostly silent about what was going inside and it deserves to be said.

I #flipthescript because I’ve been asked if the adoption community put negative thoughts about my adoption into my head. No, I have not been brainwashed, but I have been validated. 

I #flipthescript because a friend was able to let her adopted friend really share the hard stuff because of what she had learned from me. 

I #flipthescript because a professional counselor sent me a message asking for resources so she could better understand her adopted clients. 

I #flipthescript because when I speak out, others can gain courage to do the same. 

I #flipthescript because I want adoptive parents to understand that they must not be afraid of their child’s thoughts and feelings about their adoption. 

I #flipthescript because I want birth parents to understand that no matter the motives behind their decisons to not parent or their inability to make that choice, it hurts. 

I #flipthescript to help others understand the lack of rights adoptees face as they desire to know who they are. 

I #flipthescript to make change. 

I #flipthescript to make adoption better. 

I #flipthescript for me.