Category Archives: Adoptee Family

Adoptees

The Pretender

Regarding my previous post on “grafting” because obviously there is some misunderstanding-

I get that Paul is trying to make his children feel a part of something bigger than themselves, part of the family in a deeper, more meaningful way. I’m not questioning his motives here. What I am saying is that what he proposes (regardless of intention) doesn’t work. You can say something flowery and pretty it up all you want to but that doesn’t make it reality. Regardless of how much you WANT it to be true.

Take my adoptive grandmother for instance. She died before I was adopted. I never had the opportunity to meet her and thus do not have any emotional connection to her other than the fact that she is my amom’s mother. From what I’ve been told she was a pretty amazing woman. I honor and respect her memory but the fact remains that I have no blood connection to her what so ever. No matter how much I may “want to” I can’t own that blood connection.

I am not suggesting here that an adoptee can’t be made to feel that they are a part of their adoptive family unit. My brother is my brother, my dad my dad etc… What I AM saying is that the buck stops at pretending we share DNA because we don’t. I am NOT part of their family tree and never will be. The FACT IS my true heritage is and always will be growing on the branch of another tree. The same is true for my children and their children and so on.

Look, all we want, all we have ever wanted, is for society to allow us to stop pretending and simply tell it like it IS. This grafting business is a prime example of the lengths adoptees are expected to go to to fit in. We are tired of being shape shifters and fixers, of burying our feelings for the sake of others. We are tired of trying to be something we’re not. Mostly we are tired of being ignored by the bulk of society when we continually tell you how damaging and absolutely exhausting it is having to live in the land of make believe.

Maybe you can try and understand why so many of us are less than cordial when we talk about it. This uphill climb we are forced to make to simply be who we are would make anybody testy.

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Leave My Family Tree Alone

You can find value in Theresa’s posts on ANY given day, she gives a real world, no nonsense POV that smacks you but good. I will admit that that stories she Diggs are usually highly triggering but I read them because it really does no good at all to bury ones head in the sand.

A while back Theresa did a Digg (or is that dugg) on something printed in the Humboldt Beacon entitled Grafting on to the Family Tree. It was written by Paul Rodrigues in response to a straight forward plea for open records written by Mara Rigge entitled Adoptees Discriminated Against. I can’t seem to get Rodgrigues’ response out of my mind. As a matter of fact the more I thought about it the more angry I became.

Rodrigues comments; “Both of them had questions about their roots as it pertained to their adoptive family, and I explained to them that they were grafted onto the family tree, and like a branch that is grafted onto a living tree, it is just as much a part of the tree as one that had grown naturally.

On the surface it’s easy to see why Rodrigues’ response would be triggering but I had to dig (no pun) deeper than the surface to figure out why it bothered me SO much. Then it came to me. This superimposed work of fiction by Mr. Rodrigues epitomizes EVERYTHING that ends up imparting irreparable damage on adoptees . To suggest that an adoptee is simply grafted onto the adoptive family tree is both completely dismissive and entirely disrespectful not only to his children but to each and every adoptee out there.

I wish it worked this way Mr. Rodrigues, I really do. But the fact of the matter is you simply cannot create fact out of fiction. The only way you can effectively assist in working through the unique issues your children WILL face by being adopted is by acknowledging truth and fully supporting them in that very personal journey of self discovery. You do them NO favors by forcing them into a designer pair of rose colored glasses in place of real, honest, roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty….work.

I know as parents we want to protect our children from ever feeling sadness or pain. Unfortunately adoption NATURALLY comes with some measure of both. It’s OK, really. Far better to acknowledge it than force your children to pretend everything about being adopted is perfect. Speaking from experience I can tell you that pretending things are as they are not puts FAR more pressure on your kids than allowing them to acknowledge reality and work through the resulting emotions.

I know PLENTY of adoptive parents who work tirelessly to understand the many nuances of raising an adopted child (just take a look at but a few over to the right listed in my AP links). They try, they fail and then they TRY AGAIN. Just as so many of us adoptees do as we work our way through the labyrinth of the unknown that IS our historical identity. And what our place is in it. You ask too much of us when you suggest we live in a land of make-believe where ones true biological history can be grafted elsewhere. Closet dwelling biological families would do well to grasp this too.

I remember my visit to Ellis Island which I blogged about way back in o6′. This is a place where the blood of our ancestors seeps from the walls constructed in their honor. I ask you Mr. Rodrigues; what honor is there in a lie? The truth may not be a pretty or comfortable place to visit but that is exactly where you will find your children’s dignity.

So as for this whole grafting idea? You are definitely barking up the wrong tree.

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The City of Brotherly Love…

….is calling YOUR name!

Philadelphia Adoptee Rights Demonstration

July 21, 2009

We propose a one day ADOPTEE RIGHTS DEMONSTRATION at the National Conference of State Legislature’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, on Tuesday July 21st, 2009.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is the largest group of its kind, the national organization of STATE LAWMAKERS, the people who DECIDE whether you may access your original birth certificates… OR NOT.

We propose a gathering of adoptees and all supporters of the rights of adoptees to unrestricted access to their own records of birth, representing all fifty states, a one-day rally that will be an opportunity for adoptees to demonstrate their commitment to adoptee rights and to meet their state delegation.

Please join us!

http://AdopteeRightsPhilly.blogspot.com

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Myth Busting

Myth~ Adoptees who have great parents should have no desire to search.

“Myth is not a story told for its own sake. It shows us how we should behave.”

Everyone understands the natural order of things regarding procreation; it takes both female and male participation. It is a simple and indisputable fact. Just because we think we have outsmarted natural creation due to our desire (or need depending on who you’re talking to) to do things unconventionally doesn’t mean we can pretend natural order doesn’t exist. If you are alive then there is a female and a male out there who are responsible. Period. So why support the myth that implies the level of nurturing we receive growing up has anything at all to do with whether or not we have a desire to know the nature of our existence? Isn’t the distinction clear enough? It’s apples and oranges. A person could have the worlds best upbringing and still desire to know something about those responsible for their creation. It’s not that complicated.

Myth~ If we use words like “donor” and “birthparent” it diminishes their importance.

Myth is about the unknown; it is about that for which initially we have no words. Myth therefore looks into the heart of a great silence.”

Usually the only time you hear an adoptee refer to their adoptive parent in any capacity other than “mother or “father” is when we have to make a verbal distinction between our biological mother or father and our nurturer(s). Society came up with words like donor and birthparent to fill the silence left by the uncomfortable void that was created when it separated nature and nurture. The titles are a myth. Titles may fill the void for society but calling them by a new name doesn’t mask reality for us. They are who they are. By denying us the ability to know our origins you force our identity to remain stuck in that dark void. The titles diminish nothing. Without nature there would be nothing to nurture. You may call them whatever you choose but those responsible for our existence are crucial to our identity. As they should be. Duh.

Myth~ Sealed adoption records have little or no effect on a well adjusted adoptee.

“A myth {therefore} is true because it is effective, not because it gives us factual information. If, however, it does not give us new insight into the deeper meaning of life, it has failed. If it works, that is, if it forces us to change our minds and hearts, gives us new hope, and compels us to live more fully, it is a valid myth.”

We absolutely can be effectively nurtured/mothered/fathered by a surrogate. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. But for whatever reason society has created the myth that once adopted our creators can be completely eradicated from our lives with little or no repercussion. Not replaced mind you, but actually eradicated from existence. Poof, gone, kaput. As if our actual creation is of little consequence! If you think this does not have an effect on ALL adoptees then I dare you to find one among us that has never once had issues surrounding their birthday. After all why would we want to celebrate a moment in time that we are repeatedly told by society is so damn inconsequential? Shameful? Secretive? Disgraceful? Vault of Shame bad? Sure, lets throw a party.

To deny us the natural ability to acknowledge our creators is to somehow ask us to believe we do not exist. And if you think not knowing WHO you are is damaging, you should try not knowing IF you are on for size. I’m sure this will be instant brain freeze for most non-adopted people, it’s a very challenging thing to try to put into words, but I honestly believe that’s why you hear so many adoptees say they finally feel grounded, tethered to the earth, real, once they are given even one single piece of information about their origins. It’s actual proof that they do in fact exist, that they came from somewhere, that they have a beginning and did not just materialize out of thin air. It matters. If you’re not adopted you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

Myth~ The adoptees I know have no desire to search, are just fine, are perfectly content, don’t care etc….”

“Like poetry and music, mythology should awaken us to rapture, even in the face of death and the despair we may feel at the prospect of annihilation. If a myth ceases to do that, it has died and outlived its usefulness.”

All of us come to the party wearing the same hat, telling the same stories, perpetuating the same myths, because that is what we have all been taught. When it comes to adoption, society continues to perpetuate myths that have completely outlived their usefulness. Not only have the myths become useless, they have become downright damaging.

This is why I question the truthfulness of adoptees who continue to perpetuate these myths. I can almost hear what’s coming so let me answer it now. Yes, who knows, maybe it’s MY version of what ails the adoptee clan that is a myth. Maybe it’s the “perfectly happy and content to know nothing” adoptees that have it all figured out. I don’t know. What I DO know is that out of all the adoptees I have come into contact with over the years (and there have been so damn many I lost count….hundreds though) ALLLLLLL of them, as in 100%, have taken OFF that hat when they got even remotely close to knowledge of their origins. They dropped the myths because they no longer applied. That’s all I’m saying. Myths are stories and stories tend to change as truth is revealed.

*Quotes taken from; A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong


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Crittenton Registry

Please Note: I am amending my previous comment. I do NOT recommend using the NCF registry!!! First off there is no place to plug in search criteria, not even a gender! That may be OK now when there are only 3 pages to look through, but it will be completely impractical and downright maddening when there are a hundred pages of listings. Second, and most important they list your name, email, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER for all the world to see. This is NOT a good idea! Not good at all. If you have any question as to WHY this isn’t a good idea email me and I will explain.

If you want to see a properly run registry check this one out. It’s for Colorado only but you will get the idea. Extremely dedicated women spend hours ensuring this registry runs smoothly. For free I might add. They take the time to do the work themselves to ensure the safety and accuracy of every possible match. Because they care.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I received the email below from a woman at The National Crittenton Foundation while I was out of town which is why I am just getting around to posting it. Upon opening the email their logo sucker punched me straight away.

The Crittenton Foundation logo states:

Empowering girls, young women and their families since 1883

Oh. My. GOD.

Initially I wanted to throw something, spit nails. I scared the crap out of my dogs by letting out a gut wrenching scream. The irony just kills me. I mean where do these institutions get off? I would have rather gone swimming in an alligator infested pond than give Catholic Charities one dime but they alone held hold my history captive and so I paid for what little of MY information they chose to divulge. When I think of FCH I do NOT get the warm fuzzies. More like the vomitrocious creeps. But until we achieve open records we are at the mercy of the very institutions that facilitated our familial demise (often with extremely manipulative tactics), institutions that continue to support the imprisonment of our history. Sucks, but there you have it.

This appears to be a free registry (golly gee thanks) and although I know registries are largely unsuccessful I guess a persons gotta’ do what a persons gotta’ do. This probably isn’t the post they would have liked to see but this is the post they are getting. Good luck to all FCH searchers. Roll the dice….what have you got to loose? Wait, don’t answer that.

Nuff’ said. Here ya’ go;

Hello Mia—I thought you and/or your readers would be interested in this service.

Leslie

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Leslie Carlson, (503) 805-5560, Leslie@TheNationalCrittentonFoundation.org

Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, (503) 297-2217, Jeannette@TheNationalCrittentonFoundation.org

FOUNDATION LAUNCHES NEW SERVICE AIMED AT CONNECTING ADULT ADOPTEES AND BIRTH FAMILIES

(Portland, Oregon)— The National Crittenton Foundation—the first charitable organization in the U.S. to be established by Congressional charter—announced the launch of Crittenton Connections today, a web-based service to help connect people looking for birth parents, adult adoptees or other family members. The service can be accessed via The Foundation’s website at http://www.TheNationalCrittentonFoundation.org under the “Crittenton Legacy” page.

Crittenton Connections was created in response to the calls and emails received by the Crittenton family of agencies and The National Crittenton Foundation from people looking for a family member. The service enables individuals who were involved at any point with a Crittenton agency (parents, children and family members) to post their contact information and to search for individuals who have also input information into the database.

“Most people who recognize the Crittenton name think of the hidden maternity homes of the past, and yet today Crittenton agencies across the country provide a wide array of services to a diverse population of vulnerable girls, young women and their families,” said Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, President of The National Crittenton Foundation. “While many things have changed we understand that there are many family members who continue to search for each other. Through Crittenton Connections we hope to provide a resource for those who were connected to the Crittenton family of agencies.”

While unveiling Crittenton Connections, The National Crittenton Foundation has also launched a blog at http://www.TheNationalCrittentonFoundation.org/blog. The first blog posting focuses on the movie Juno and adoption. In the future, the blog will feature topics related to the empowerment of girls, young women and their families living in at risk situations.

The National Crittenton Foundation currently supports the work of over 24 Crittenton agencies throughout the country. These agencies have provided over 2,226 years of continuous service, assisted over 5 million girls and have been serving their communities an average of 109 years. The Foundation works to support the empowerment and self-sufficiency of at-risk and system-involved girls, young women and their families. For more information, visit http://www.TheNationalCrittentonFoundation.org.

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Family Advocates

AmRis sent this to me and I really think it’s a concept worth exploring.
I am not so sure about the “non-profit” aspect (and of course my concerns
with infant adoptions period) but I really believe the concept is solid
toward the goal of eliminating coercion and misrepresentation.
I would love to hear what you all think, particularly from mothers who
have relinquished.

Family Advocates

I’ve been thinking about how we can change the adoption situation. I’ve long
had a sort of idea swimming around in the back of my mind about starting a
non-profit to help mothers and decrease the number of relinquishments.

I was struck with a slightly more concrete idea of what it might look like.

What is a family advocate? Well, when a child is arrested for any kind of
misbehavior, they get a children’s advocate. This person’s job is to ensure
that the child is treated fairly and that the law is followed in accordance
with the highest good of the child.

What if someone were to create a nonprofit that promoted the creation of
advocates that ensure that mothers considering relinquishment are not being
coerced or extorted. A lobby that brings forth the idea that any time a
woman considers relinquishment, and no matter the circumstances of the
adoption in the USA, the parent is to have an advocate.

This organization would oversee adoptions and agencies and ensure that such
practices as moving the mother across state lines to escape fathers no
longer is occurring. This agency would have the agenda of protecting
families from coercion, extortion, and from unnecessary separation. They
would oversee adoptions and ensure that the child in the equation has
representation at the adoption, that the mother has representation, and the
father has representation.

The primary goal would be “To ensure ethical treatment of, and to protect
the interests of, the originating family in cases of adoption
consideration.” It would research and offer counseling on adoption loss-for
all parties, firstmothers, adoptees, and firstfathers. The ultimate goal
would be to bring the USA’s adoption practices into line with those of
Australia (with perhaps a few subtle differences), and to promote the legal
removal of all profit from the BUSINESS of infant trafficking.

It’s of course, a preliminary idea, and needs some work… but I think it’s
a good jumping off point and a sound premise.

What do you think?

~ Amris

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Siblings of Circumstance

I met Theresa in Philly yesterday. It was wonderful and yet bittersweet and emotional. It was also very healing in some yet to be defined way.

The bond between fellow adoptees is difficult to express but we both agreed at one point that without one another it would not be so easy to take the journey of the adopted Self (to coin BJL) . There are some things that only someone who has walked the path can deeply understand. For instance; the intense feeling of connection and yet non-connection one can have simply by staring at an intimate stranger’s name on a wall of stone. Theresa felt it at the cemetery and I felt it during my trip to Ellis Island. I remember feeling very alone staring at the names of my ancestors on that wall. I struggled to invoke the presence of personal history and own it as so many others can do with ease. I walked out front and stood staring at the infinite ocean that had brought “my” people to those very shores, people I have no real claim to from either side of the genetic and environmental fence and I cried buckets of tears for what was lost to me. Only a fellow adoptee could understand that kind of emotion. I know at that moment the arms of an understanding soul wrapped around me would have been of great comfort. We all wish to be understood.

Sometimes your go-to-guy has to be someone who gets it. That may be difficult for the usual go-to-person in our lives to understand but when someone loves you properly they can put your needs above their own. I’m really lucky in that regard.

It was incredible to meet Theresa in person. Meeting fellow adoptees always ends up feeling somewhat similar to that perfect reunion we sometimes allow ourselves to fantasize about. Meeting fellow adoptees is like Antwone Fisher and pancakes. Something only another adoptee could really, truly, deeply understand.

The connection we feel with our natural mothers cannot be replicated regardless of how strong the connection is with our adoptive mothers. Contrary to popular belief it is not diminished by a rejection either. There is an unparalleled connection we feel and regardless of how uncomfortable that makes everyone it’s not going anywhere. That connection can’t be ignored, denied, hidden OR rejected. Even those who try within themselves to deny it… fail. It comes out in a million unhealthy and unrelated ways when ignored. No amount of fear can make it disappear. It is what it is and until we accept that this connection exists adoptees will continue to be forced into playing a very emotionally dangerous game of make believe.

Adoptees have an unparalleled connection like that with one another. It is one that cannot be replicated by those in our lives that are not adopted regardless of how hard they may try. Anyone who tries creates a whole new level of meaning to the phrase “you just wouldn’t understand”. Life can be a real challenge without the proper kind of go-to-guy.

So yea, meeting T was awesome. Yesterday I got to eat a great big fluffy stack of pancakes and it was food for my soul.

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