Assembling Self

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Adoptee who is sick...and sick of it!

In life the two most important things are family and health, in my opinion.  So, what do you do if you have neither?  I really shouldn't be blogging when I am feeling this badly physically.  Unfortunately, chronic physical ailments also take their toll on you mentally and emotionally.  Add to that life circumstances, and throw in adoption issues, and it is easy to spiral down so deep you feel you'll never be able to climb back out.

Being nearly bedridden and unable to work gives me too much time to think and reflect.  I do better when I am active and feeling productive.  It also makes it easier to avoid feeling and thinking too much.  I am not one who wants to be dependent and weak.  But, the fact is, I am.

My health problems began at age 15 and multiplied as I got older.  I was relegated to an anorexia and bulimia clinic at age 29 when in fact, I was suffering from a rare genetic gall bladder disease only 6% of people with gall bladder problems experience.  I lost 10 years spent unable to eat much and vomiting.  It did not show up in blood tests, sonograms, MRI's, or CAT scans.  I weighed 98 lbs. at one point in time.  I am 5' 6" tall and looked like a walking skeleton.  I found out from non-identifying information at age 39 that my natural mother was 4' 8" tall and weighed 80 lbs. when she got pregnant with me.  My natural father was 5' 6" tall, I obviously get my height from him, and weighed around 130-140 lbs.  I come from small people!!!  Throw in a gall bladder disease and an adoptee with NO family medical history and what do you get?  Misdiagnosis and a life DISASTER.  My birthmother had surgery at age 15 for one of my illnesses I suffer from wouldn't THAT have been good information to be able to give to doctors rather than living ill and in pain from age 15-29 when I finally got that diagnosis? 

Most of my health issues are degenerative and not going to get better, or are incurable.  When one health issue strikes me down and I am sedentary it flares up the others from being immoble for too long.  No one knows the true cost of ill health until it strikes them, and young at that.  Most, are totally unprepared.

It affects my relationships with my immediate family and friends.  It's hard being around a chronically ill person who is in pain and doesn't feel good all of the time with zero energy.  Hell, I don't want to be around me half the time.  It is not living, not by any means.

It affects my work and job performance.  The only problem with employment I have ever had was from absences.  I have to out perform everyone else, make certain I am never late when I am there, and take on extra work and projects to compensate for my failure to be able to keep up as a normal healthy person.  A forty hour work week, especially a fast paced high stress one, takes a huge toll on me.  I have to plaster on the smile, check the clock and count down the hours, and just try and get through the days.

It affects me financially.  Lost work days, medical expenses, and time off work have almost bankrupted me, and a lack of being able to qualify for, or afford health insurance.  If you can't get well, you can't work, and if you can't work you can't afford to try and get treatment to get well enough to work.  It's an unending cycle.

I guess I should feel lucky I was able to receive one half of my medical history from my natural mother's side of the family.  But, I don't feel lucky.  It came at age 39 no thanks to, or help from, my adoptive family.  ALL thanks to the online and offline adoption community I found that guided me through how, and where, to find the agency I was adopted out of and petition the court for updated medical information.  I still have not been able to receive the other half as my natural father denied me any information and stated everyone in the family was healthy.  I tend to find that hard to believe, although it would be a huge relief since my natural mother's side is filled with all kinds of health problems and people that die young.  I am about to embark on my fourth court petition in twelve years.  I will not give up until I get all I can not just for myself, but for my children, and their children. 

I tend to isolate myelf alot when I feel like this.  First, being chronically ill for the majority of your life is something not many truly understand.  I've been labeled a hypochondriac, lazy, and crazy.  Not many people understand being adopted either.  I've been called angry, maladjusted, and ungrateful.  People pass judgement on what they don't understand.  I am here to tell them differently.

I refuse to give up my work in adoption reform, activism, and education.  It invigorates me and gives my life purpose.  It gives me a reason for getting up everyday and going on.  Something good will come out of my horrible life experience of adoptive family rejection and health problems if not for me, then for others.  I should not have spent years and a lifetime sick, without recourse to get a FULL family medical background.  I should have not had to navigate with only an ammended birth certificate in hand, and a system that continually denies adoptees the same rights as every other citizen of this country, without being able to provide any information and answers for doctors.

NO adoptee should lose their life because they are denied identifying information about their natural families to have the chance to get family medical history.  NO adoptee should be discriminated against by adoption laws that prohibit our chance at a full healthy life.  NO adoptee should have to struggle to be able to have full family medical background for their children.  It it vital, it is a necessity, and it is our RIGHT!


  1. Karen, didn't you and I quickly and beautifullyl connect in front of the park central where I was feeling very sick, and i was unable to stand, I had to make a quick exit back to my hotel. boy i'm so glad to have found your blog........i didn't realize til today that a person can add their blog to their fb account. wow, we have a sh#$ load in common. o.k. I'm friending you. also.