Assembling Self

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hard Truths About Adoption

I was responding to a comment regarding an article post about the hard truths in adoption and it turned into quite a lengthy response. It was then I realized I'd really written a whole adoption activism blog.  Just add an adoptee poem and VOILA!

I never deal in absolutes and view anything as black or white nor do I with adoption either. Each of us have our own stories and experiences however, there is no question that adoption has long been in need of a major overhaul and that is greatly understated. This is the bottom line for me in what I have learned, experienced, and have seen over my 51 years of being adopted, along with, being educated in adoption activism and reform.

There are variables in adoption that makes creating families very different. I state the obvious first. There is a constant comparison to the poor formation of biological family in comparison to adoptive families. They are apples and oranges. Adoption brings to the table factors, large important ones, that are missed and overlooked by those that create adoption law and policy. Our world revolves around family heredity, rituals, and celebrations. Only those of us who have been disconnected from it truly see this and it is magnified in our pain, loss, and sorrow.

There are no biological or genetic connections to an adoptee's adoptive family and much, not all, of the time adoptees “feel” it whether in good adoption situations or not. In studying child psychology even prior to my venture into adoption education and activism I learned that children raised outside their families of origin attachment disorders and abandonment issues occur no matter the health of the relationships and bonds from adoptee to adoptive parent. It's hard to develop a sense of self when you have no idea who you are. Only in adoption are genetics whitewashed as unimportant.

When we allude to the fact that money is that factor in relinquishing a child to adoption yet give tax breaks for adoption it's hypocritical to say the very least. I am not here to argue the fact that there are children in need of good homes. I am here to try and change the way it is done IF it needs to be done at all. Family preservation should be first and foremost especially if there are extended family members who are willing and able to care for the child.

Adoptee's are bound by contracts made by other people they had no say in. Adoptee's are restrained by laws that only apply to them while every other citizen of this country enjoys the freedom to contact their biological family and, we can even be penalized and jailed for it. This freedom is taken for granted by the rest of the nonadopted world. Adoptees are treated as commodities and property. If adoption is to function at all this needs to

The evolution of thought and practice in adoption has not even begun to function in the best interests of the child it is supposed to provide for. It still operates for the best interest of adoptive parents and the agencies and institutions that proft from it either monetarily and or, in maintaining control of the status quo and perpetuating it's existence. I was more than surprised and excited to see in 2000 at an adoption conference workshop and seminar when the question was asked how many people attending who were first parents and adoptees becoming adoption professionals two thirds of the room raised their hands. Encouraging to say the least that if adoption has to be it will be done by those whose are not ignorant, uneducated, or whose interests are perpectuated by monetary gain.

The voices of adoptees have long been ignored. That will be no longer be the case as we are here to continue to be heard and acknowledged in our quest to make certain the archaic and outdated system of adoption changes if not for ourselves for others.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Birth Bonds - The Severing of Biology in Adoption

As leaf to tree, as flower to bee, as cloud to sky and rain.
Like foot to toe, and face to nose, and person to a name.
Together these, like fish to sea, forever will belong.
Just as notes an artist wrote, or lyrics to a song.
Like tracks to a train this perpetual chain is what the world is based on.
There are links between each living thing and dusk that turns to dawn.
A stopped hand on the clock, a lost key to a lock, are vital connections gone.
Like pasts left behind, that we need to find, in order to carry on.
I hope you know what I'm trying to show, the point I'm attempting to make.
Like a child to it's mother, or sister and brother, some bonds aren't meant to break.

It still continually surprises me, after 12 years of involvement in adoption reform and education, that people do not grasp the vastness of having your genetic and biological foundation taken from you when you are adopted.  Only through our eyes, those that can clearly see, can anyone comprehend that the world revolves around family and heredity everyday, and through generations that came before them.  It was said best by the honorable Judge Weatherford to an adoptee upon their petition to open adoption records.

"The law must be consonant with life.  It cannot and should not ignore broad historical currents of history.  Mankind is possessed of no greater urge than to try to understand the age-old questions:  "Who am I ?", and "Why am I?"   Even now the sands and ashes of the continents are being sifted to find where we made our first steps as man.   Religions of mankind often include ancestor worship in one way or another. For many the future is blind without sight of the past.   Those emotions and anxieties that generate our thirst to know the past are not superficial and whimsical.  They are real and  they are "good cause" under the law of man and God."   -  Hon. Wade Weatherford, S. Carolina Circuit Court Judge

Thankfully there are those out there who are recognizing an adoptee's right to their biological background.  I've seen great progress in the last few years.   But, it is far from enough.  Money has and is still playing the largest part in separating children from their parents and extended family.  I was sickened recently in finding an adoption website that claimed to do extensive "birthmother marketing".  Along with the claim "Some of our adoptive parents had babies within as little as four months".  What is next "negotiable down payment", "money back guarantee", or "low monthly payments"???

Those in charge of this have no real understanding of the life long devastating effects of closed records adoptions.  Wait, strike some of that, they do but are too caught up in the profits and benefits from the adoption machine and they refuse to listen those harmed by this system.  Why are people who have no true understanding of any aspects of adoption involved with the daily function and perpetuation of it?  They act as sheep blindly being hearded by groups such as NCFA who are wolves...and you guessed sheep's clothing.  They profit off of our our pain and suffering in the guise of creating "families".

Let the voices of adoptees be heard.  We are more numerous than you think.  So many are out there feeling lost, alone, and misunderstood seeking and searching, as I was for so many years, who have not found their voices yet.  Until that time we will speak for them.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Erased - An Adoptee's Loss of Heredity and Family History


An emptied soul stands alone.
They erased who I was and gave me a new home.
Now lies not truth where my life used to be.
How could they take that away from me?
Did they really believe I'd never question,
what they gave me as a definition?
Of this person I was supposed to become,
and never look back on where I came from?
Where does one really draw the line
on how much past you can leave behind?
They expect out of us what they themselves could not do.
Despite what they say I am searching.
Wouldn't you?

Many of us have been over in the ACLU's comment section educating others regarding adoptee rights this week over the ACLU's stance against our legislative efforts for open access to original birth certificates.  I thought this poem fit the scenarios we've encountered in continued opposition from the misinformed masses.  I am still baffled and amazed that people just don't get it when it comes to granting adoptees the same rights as other citizens.  I am sick and tired of being called selfish, ungrateful, and the newest accusation that we live in a fantasy land.  As I responded to this poster yes you are EXACTLY right!  Ammended birth certificates with changed names, dates, and birth places ARE a fantasy world.  And who wouldn't want the truth about their origins and more importantly, have the right to them upon request?

Why is it the geneology fervor that is so popular now and has become a family hobby for so many people not be ours too?  Why is it when adoptee's ask for their own biological and genetic information we are shut down and treated differently?  What is it about not wanting to live a life filled with untruths, half truths, and lies that people can't grasp?

I am supposed to be on vacation this week but as any writer knows when the inspiration hits you have to get it down or it can easily be lost.  It's just so hard to take a vacation from adoption because it IS our life we live it every day.  So this blog will be brief but I have so much more so say about the ACLU's failure to support adoptee rights on a continual basis.

For now I'll go spend some time with my family who thankfully understand my need to continue to work towards openness, honesty, and truth in adoption and my passion for adoption education.   Maybe one day I'll be spending time with my first family.  I'll never give up hope.  Everyone have a safe and fun filled Holiday weekend.