Assembling Self

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Stranger In The Dark - Living in the Closed Records Adoption System

Sometimes it seems so close and yet I stand so far away.
I seek the signs along the road to help me find my way.
Long distances I have traveled yet so many miles to go.
Against all odds I search around these obstacles that grow.
Traversing unknown territory I pray someday I'll find,
solutions to enigmas that will ease my burdened mind.
Like Alice through the looking glass I strive to understand.
How to unravel mysteries in this strange unfamiliar land.
Clues are few, no indications pointing to an end.
Lost track of all the hours and the time that I have spent,
revealing truths in this journey upon which I embarked.
To unearth secrets that keep me a stranger in the dark.

I spent alot of time these past few days trying to get people to understand the strange, unhealthy, dysfunctional world of closed records adoptions.  I have been told I am very intelligent, and so I'd like to believe.  I am complimented constantly for my ability to take a subject matter, research it, and turn it into understandable terms for others.


I have good, sound, credibility with almost everyone I know.  People I work with, are friends with, and even employers seek me out for advice, guidance, and input.  I am known for my honest, forthright nature, and ability to communicate.  Then why oh why do I continually fall short in getting some people, alot more than I care to count, to even fathom the information and facts I give them about the closed record system of adoption?  Not even my personal story which many seem to believe, or want to believe, has to be an anomaly within the adoption system.  So, I must be exaggerating, overreacting, and or God forbid they think I am lieing?  And why would I?  But, the facts and figures are out there, the evidence is in, and the results are overwhelmingly evident the closed records system of adoption does not work!

The social experiment of the past decades in taking a child and cutting it off from its roots and grafting it into a family without recourse to have access to biological family information is unhealthy, unnatural, and unnecessary.  It hasn't worked, it is not working now, and it won't work in the future.  In the words of my teenage son "EPIC FAIL"!

I have quoted stories, statistics, facts, figures, books, legislation, and history and still it just seems to fall on deaf ears.  Is it too shocking that we come face to face with the fact that this hearts and flowers and teddy bears system of adoption is not the pretty picture the industry creates?  That the truth is that adoption is full of faults, and secrets, based on lies and deceit, and ridden with fraud and falsifications?  That adoptees and their children are dieing trying to get decent medical and family history from agencies and courts that deny their petitions, make them pay outrageous amounts of money, or wait unacceptable amounts of time to even try to obtain vital life changing information?  That first mothers are living with the unending gut wrenching pain wondering where their children are, if they are dead or alive, or if they will ever see them again?  Or, how about all of the above?

This blog post hinges on my denial from the adoption court my chance to petition my birth father for any medical information (he denied me in 2003).  I was told I would have to wait another 6 plus months since I had petitioned two and a half years ago and can only petition every 3 years.  I only requested the search for updated medical be done for my birthmother not my birthfather in 2007.  The confidential intermediary told me I was only allowed one every 3 years.  I told her I did not request a search from my birth father but I certainly WOULD have if I had of known I had to wait!  No one has told me in the 12 years that I have been searching this fact.  What they do know is that I have been in the hospital three times over the last three years with further health issues, serious ones.  And, that now in the last 6 months I am having heart issues with chest pains and atrial fibrillation.  The CI even seemed confused about the information that was in my file.  Big surprise, she is the fourth CI I've had the "pleasure" to work with.

I guess I should consider myself "lucky" compared to other adoptees I know who have to pay hundreds of dollars into the court or agency first to even have an attempt at updated information or contact with their birth parents.  Somehow, this does not make me feel any better.  It makes me feel worse that the whole system of adoption revolves around ownership of children and future adults.  We are held hostage by a system and expected to feel grateful and happy we were "chosen".  I do not feel grateful or chosen.  I feel like a commodity bought and sold.  I feel ROBBED.  Robbed of a life that could have been so much better and so much different.  I feel so many things so many people don't want to hear.  But, I refuse to apologize.  So, I will do what I always do.  Suck it up and put my energy into adoption reform and education with the people I admire and value and learn from everyday.  One day we can hopefully retire from this work knowing that we have turned our pain into triumphs for others.  And when I do retire holding my original birth certificate while lieing on a beach would be the "piece de resistance".


  1. I so hope you get there and I agree with everything you say here.I know the story, I believe the story as only one who lives it can.
    I have the good fortune to live in a country with open records but even here there are difficulties.My records 'disappeared' in a fire, I was recently asked to prove paternity in my search for my neice also adopted out..not even a Catch22.My original birth certificate although precious says very many 'not knowns'
    This is a great post, I hope you don't mind me posting a link to my blog, it deserves to be read by all.
    What else can we do but keep shouting? I just see adoption getting worse and worse never better for adoptees, but still have to remain optimistic th tone day it will change.

  2. We can keep shouting and educating Von! I have to say in the 12 years I have seen positive change and with the advent of the internet we have we can do so much. So, don't give up because from our defeats can and WILL come triumphs for others. Certainly link me to anywhere that will get the message heard. And thanks.