Assembling Self

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Adoptees and the Facts of Life

'You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life'.

And that was what came to mind when I was thinking of recent events that have taken place in the adoption community.  After 13 years being involved in it, watching, learning, and advocating I feel somewhat educated enough to throw my opinion into the arena.  And all the time remembering too what they say about opinions.  So, here goes.

The adoption community is multifacted melting pot of differing religious, political, ethnicities, egos, ages, and genders.  Adoptee's stories while having amazing similarities are as unique to the individual who experiences them.  There is one binding factor I find in most all adoptees that we are instantaneously understood by most immediately without hesitation, accepted for the adopted persons we are.  It IS a pack mentality and maybe the first and only one adoptees ever feel they really belong to.

We fight to expose the dirty, corrupt, and fraudulent underbelly in adoption that exists in ways only we bear witness to every day.  We work to educate the world on the plight of adoptees, NOT what the system of adoption tells the world it is, and bring our voices to change the system that has functioned without listening to us.  The process of adoption and how it functions as human trafficking great disturbs me, hell it out right PISSES ME OFF.  If you knew babies and children were being treated as commodities for profit in the name of adoption it would piss you off too.

Pack mentality is what has changed the world for hundreds of years, even longer.  Pack mentality is what has created numerous grassroots organizations all over the world, and in adoption as well.  Pack mentality is what started adoption reform and created the first progress towards adoptee access to OBCs.  That said there are also varying versions of pack mentality within adoption and all groups have their varying reasons for functioning and operating and how they see and view the issues.  As much as we can agree with any adoptee on how to proceed in adoption education and reform, we can also find ourselves as polar opposites. 

Do I support hate speech, or personal or private attacks, and revenge NO I do not.  What I do support is an adoptee's right for once in their lives to stand up and speak out against the horrors of adoption and the very people who are promoting the industry.  When we try to get people to conform to our idea of how this should be done we once again control them and or label them.  That has been done enough as it is already.

I watch and witness constantly the battle between pro-adoption and anti-adoption.  We as adoptees find our place in the battle to educate and reform.  I have found it therapeutic and empowering to change the world and the lives for others.  While I may or may not agree on how one group proceeds if I don't like it I can certainly state my opinion and walk away and simply not take part or get engaged in certain ideas or behaviors.  Just as there are far left, middle, and right winged politicians so there are adoptees working within legislative and educational activism.  No movement as large as this is ever going to be on the same page at the same time.

The depths of emotion that we carry as adoptees goes beyond explanation even for us much of the time.  We are navigating VERY uncharted territory.  There is going to be controversy, and disagreements, and blatant dislike between individuals and unfortunately groups.  Just as there is in any other "family" type situation.  It's how these differences are met and dealt with that make the difference.  Have I spoken out and gone too far YOU BET.  And, when I have been wrong I have taken responsibility for it.  We ALL have done it and it goes with the territory.  More importantly the old adage "It's not what you say it's how you say it" comes into play here.

I don't agree with everyone or every action I never will.  You can aim and shoot the messenger but really the messengers are numerous and on going and always will be.  What I take issue with is public shaming and blaming and singling people out and making them scape goats and turning on one another.  And this is no passive agressive type statement directed towards anyone.  I feel we are all parts of a whole and when any one of those parts is damaged or breaks it hurts.   It is what the industry counts on is our weak wills and inability to come together to facilitate change.  And those are the facts of life in adoption and what adoption reform and education is about.  Adoptees deserve to regain the very facts of life AND rights that have been stripped from us by the system of adoption.

"Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno".  All for one and one for all!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Ghosts of Adoption aka Living Haunted


A silhouette without a face these ghosts I chase from place to place.
Shadows playing hide and seek elude my call evade my reach.
They come and go within my dreams, looming near but never seen.
Just when I think they've gone away I realize they are back to stay.
Haunted by similarities, in the mirror this face I see.
It is mine but comes from where?
I find no peace, only blank stares.
Few clues to riddles lost in time.
Can't capture what I can not find.
Pursuing what I can't deny.
The truths from days that have long gone by.

I hear so much well intentioned, and some not so much so, "advice" doled out to adoptees about their adoptive situations.  Mostly in search and reunion, or more importantly the lack thereof.  I think as adoptees we are always searching even if we have found our biological family and roots.  We search for our place in a family we are not connected to by genes and heredity.  We search for our place in the world as we watch other families operate out of this commonly shared heredity.  And we search for your place within our biological family if we are lucky enough to find them, and be accepted by them.

Most know both of my biological parents have refused to release their identities to the courts.  And, although my biological mother sent a non-identifying letter and a 40th birthday card both of my biological parents want to carry on and keep the secret that is my existence.  Just how does one ever forget about the roots and genes they come from?  Rhetorical there.

You don't, you can't, and you never will.  You can live in denial, you can push it as far to the back of your mind as you can, but at some point in time it will come up and confront you and most of the time without notice.  I believe it's better to address it when it comes up or burying the emotions and denying them, at least for me, have worse consequences at a later time. 

I turned off the computer and the TV the other day and decided to take my mind off of adoption and do something else.  Not an hour it seemed that went by as I changed channels that there was not some adoption themed show on or topic that came up in conversation on news and talk shows.  I switched to a Science channel show to watch Penguins (they are so very cute).  Ten minutes into the show what do you think?  YEP the narrator began talking about orphaned penguins whose parents never returned from fishing and the penguins whose babies died and how they tried to adopt the orphaned ones!

I just laughed and shook my head.  I know I will never be able to look into a mirror for any length of time and not wonder where I got my eyes, my nose, and my hair.  I will always jump whenever someone says to me "You remind of someone I used to know" and begin with innocent questions about who and where they are.  I will always wonder who my mother and father are who are responsible for my being in this world.  I will always wonder if I will ever be able to know my siblings, or for them to have the chance to know me.

I now know from my non-id information and the letter from my biological mother where so much of "me" comes from.  I have assimilated it into who I am and it has given me a foundation of confidence I never had before.  I am such a more integrated person how could anyone not be?  But, I will always want the rest of "my" story.

Although I don't have names, or cities, or even a state to search in and all tracks of my existence and birth have been covered up, I will always continue to search in some capacity and wonder almost every day who I really am.  I will always be a part of another family whether I am a secret or not.  And, if anyone comes across a 60 something woman, 4' 10" tall, just under 100 lbs., with green eyes and brown hair, feel free to let me know. ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

When in Adoption?


When will it be alright to mourn someone that is unknown?
When will it be o.k. to yearn for places most call home?
When will it be enough to fill this void and empty space?
How do they think that parents are commodities replaced?
How can it be the world believes that all of this is fair?
How can we make them understand or make them more aware?
How is that each day it seems we witness endless change,
as our names are taken from us and our lives are rearranged?
If only we could make them see, if only they could know.
That these questions never answered will not stop.
They only grow.

Adoption is so misunderstood even by the people who are involved with it firsthand.  The misconceptions are numerous and the magnitude of their impact is over looked and dismissed by those NOT adopted.   I've come to realize that people really need to see the separation of children from their biological families as some kind of divine intervention to create another family as some sort of "blessed event".  All the time they are ignoring the ways and means this is done, and then justifying it some way, shape, and or form, as "building" families. 

Children unfortunately lose parents or other relatives before or soon after they are born.  They will never know these parents or people and they will never be in their lives, but they are allowed to ask questions and have information about them.  They will be provided with photographs and explanations about what happened and allowed their emotions and feelings about it.   Adoptees who lose both of their parents, along with all other family members, at birth are expected to forget and for it not to be important to them who they came from.

If a child loses its family to divorce and parents remarry, children are not asked if they are glad their family was torn apart to create new ones.  They are not expected to be "grateful" or "thankful" for the tragedy that is the demise of a family unit when they obtain a newer one.  When will it be widely accepted AND believed that adoptees under go a huge monumental loss at birth that will affect them for a lifetime?

When will the laws and rules of  that govern regular families apply to adoptees as well?  When will adoptees, who are told and expected to be like "everyone else" actually have the same rights as "everyone else"?  When will the struggle to have access to the truth of our origins be granted us, and not continually denied?

When the government and religious organizations who profit from adoption are exposed for who and what they are.  When the public is educated to the harsh and hard to hear truth and facts about what adoption really is.  When I can hold my original birth certificate in my hand.

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.
Eleanor Roosevelt