Category Archives: Natural Family

Biological

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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Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoptive Family, Natural Family

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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Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoption Schmoption, Adoptive Family, Natural Family

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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Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoption Politics, Adoptive Family, Media, Natural Family, Open Records

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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Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoption Schmoption, Adoptive Family, Natural Family, Open Records, Truthful Musings

Myth

A one sentence definition of mythology? “Mythology” is what we call someone else’s religion

~Joseph Campbell

There was a very destructive comment made on Private Practice last night that still has me rolling my eyes.

Dr. Cooper says; “I’m adopted but I’ve never searched for my birthparents because my parents were great.”

Where do you suppose this myth originated? And make no mistake it IS a myth. I can buy the idea that if you had parents who were absolutely awful you might be inclined to search sooner but what in the WORLD would make people think that a person who happens to have “great” parents would somehow escape the natural desire to know their origins?!!! Seriously, who in their right mind would believe such a thing? Sadly, this particular myth appears to be assimilated as truth by most adoptees at one point or another.

I would like to believe we could find the origin of this myth simply stems from a misinformed society. I would really rather NOT believe this myth was purposely created and perpetuated by those who swear before God and man to provide us (adoptees) with the best care, both physically and emotionally, that they possibly can. Because that would not be so great.

This myth of course is just one example of many that as adoptees we are spoon fed from birth REGARDLESS if you grew up with a silver spoon or a Taco Bell spork. Unless you live in a cave no adoptee is immune.

Because of the mythical shroud wrapped so tightly around adoption I truly believe most if not all adoptees end up spending YEARS trying to undo the mental hijacking that happens to us from day one. As adoptees we must all go through the dirty job of untangling OUR truths from society’s myths and not a single one of us will escape this fate until society starts telling more accurate stories.

Honestly I think deep down every adoptee intuitively knows that the character of our adoptive parents really has nothing at all to do with wanting to know our origins. I would like to believe that when I hear an adoptee retell this myth that it is simply a case of misinformation having been fed to them by an uneducated public their entire lives and that they will discover the real story some day.

I would like to believe that every adoptee will eventually come to the realization that stories can be retold and at some point find themselves telling a new one created from their very own indisputable truth.

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Intellectual Curiosity NOT for Adoptees

I was sent this article written by Rabbi Shmuley which is entitled “Developing a Desire to Know”. In this article Rabbi Shmuley states “instilling a sense of intellectual curiosity is crucial for helping your child grow and thrive well into adulthood”.

A few months back I was flipping through stations and stopped on XM Radio. This Rabbi Shmuley schmuck happened to be on and the subject matter (adoption) immediately caught my attention.

Rabbi Shmuley mentioned that a young adoptee (I think he said she was 14) had come to him troubled about how much she thought about her biological parents and wondered if this was normal. I became infuriated when I heard him advise this poor girl to QUIT thinking about it. His superior advice was your typical run of the mill “the parents who raised you are your REAL parents” speech and blatantly told her to “quit thinking about it“. End of discussion.

That’s rich Rabbi Shmuley. RICH!

I guess intellectual curiosity can be added to the long list of things that simply do not apply to adoptees.

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Filed under Adoption Schmoption, Adoptive Family, Natural Family

Crittenton President Responds

Thanks for running our press release with information about the Crittenton Connections registry. While there is indeed currently a search function for the database–based on your feedback, we understand that it is not doing the job, and will make changes to create a tool that is more useful to people searching for family members as the database gets bigger.

The registry is a response to the phone calls received by us and our family of agencies—instead of trying to deal with these calls arbitrarily, we’re working to develop a system that in some way can assist in connecting adult adoptees, birth parents and family members.

While for most of our 125 year history we placed a priority on keeping mothers and babies together–we are very aware that there was a period of time when this was not true and that not all young women who came through the doors of Crittenton agencies/homes had a positive experience. We are in no way attempting to minimize the damage, loss or pain–or to try to make amends. But rather, we want to provide support as we can–as such, we welcome your suggestions and those of others.

I do want you to know that we do respect your perspective and will not just write it off. Perhaps there is little solace in this, but Crittenton homes did learn from those years, and today the Crittenton agencies look very different as do the young women with which they work–but the cornerstone they share is the passionate belief that young women must make their own decisions for themselves and their children. Thank you for taking the time to making suggestions that will help us do a better job.

Jeannette Pai-Espinosa
President

In response to Ms. Pai-Espinosa;

It is of some comfort that you are taking the time to listen to our concerns. That is rare in our world. Thank you for your time.

I must say based on both the history of Crittenton and information I have received regarding current practices I would not necessarily agree that keeping mothers and babies together is (or has ever been) a “priority”, but in all fairness that is entirely speculative. I’m sure there are certain people within your organization that keep family preservation as their number one goal but I am extremely skeptical that this is/has ever been a priority of the whole. After all NCF is in the business of adoption.

While I certainly agree that women should ultimately have the right to make their own decisions regarding themselves and their children, I also understand that in order to make those choices effectively they must be presented with factual information regarding both current AND future consequences of each path being considered. It has been my experience that young women are rarely counselled properly on the lifelong effects of placing a child for adoption. It is NOT something they magically “get over” as is often claimed. As I’m sure you are aware placing your child for adoption imparts LIFELONG effects on both mother AND CHILD. I understand sometimes adoption may be the best choice but unbiased facts should be presented regardless.

Facilitating the future of our children is a powerful position indeed. It would be gross negligence to hold this position and not always have the child’s best interests as your first priority. Wouldn’t you agree? When the choice to place a child is made (if in fact adoption is presented as a choice) and we are truly honoring the lifelong effects of this decision, we would be remiss to ignore the fact that this child will in fact grow up. The one party with no say in the matter and obviously most affected by this choice IS the child. If one is taking their job as steward of another human being’s life seriously, if they are truly considering the best interest of the child, one must look at the WHOLE picture. It has been proven extremely damaging, irresponsible and completely dismissive to be of the mind that this tiny human being (for which care has been placed in your hands) should never be entitled to the knowledge of their origins.

If we are to believe Crittenton has truly learned from the mistakes of the past, after having seen first hand the damage past practices has created, if you are TRULY listening……….then I guess it would be safe to assume we can count on your support for open records?

I look forward to your response.

Mia S.

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Filed under Adoption Politics, Adoptive Family, Natural Family, Open Records