The last articulately written adoptee article I read at the Washington Post has created more controversy with comments from nonadopted persons and than I have seen in awhile. And of course, it's the usual advice to adoptees in varying degrees of "Get over it", "Be grateful you weren't aborted", "biological families suck too be glad you escaped", "Get a life", "Create your own path", "You need therapy/are mentally ill" and some really struck me as particularly hypocritical. Why, well let me explain.
Getting a life and creating our own paths is exactly what many adoptees are attempting to do every day. When most adoptees search for biological family and speak out how being adopted affects them, and their families we are expressing our emotions and desires to do something with our lives to bring peace, closure, and wholeness. I see that as fairly normal, healthy, and mentally sound not to mention vitally important for many adoptees. If not, then why the genealogy fervor over the last few decades?
Adoptees usually do not have the basic family history and genetic knowledge at birth and or access to it later as adults that others are privy to. The informative genetic playing field we enter on to in life is not the same level course as nonadopted persons. We are given handicaps, disabilities, and barriers the nonadopted world can't begin to imagine, obviously. It's a given for the majority of nonadopted persons that they know who their mother, father, sisters, brothers, grandparents, and generations spreading back and forward are. They have photos, stories, historical documents, family heirlooms, and all kinds of tangible evidence and facts about themselves through the people they come from. What anyone does with that information is their right. However it's not the same rights adoptees are given.
I am a 55 year old adult adoptee about to embark on my 5th court petition for access to my original birth certificate. Why would I keep continuing to pound my head against a brick wall you say and not move on? Because I can't and I won't. And I hope my persistence will pay off eventually (judges and social workers have to retire at some point) not only for myself but for adoptees are there with me and will follow. Although I realize that at my age and with people dying taking knowledge about my adoption situation to their grave, I can't allow myself to give up seeking, searching, and trying to find out where I came from. I just can't believe, although the evidence is overwhelmingly monumental that nonadopted persons think adoptee are "lucky", how anyone could not fathom not knowing who your mother and father are, where your brothers and sisters are, and waking up every day to look into a mirror at a virtual hereditary stranger.
If you as adoptee never feel the need to look back, to know biological family, or have the desire to explore in any capacity family history nothing wrong with that. But, adoptees who don't feel as I and others do, for nonadopted persons labeling and judging adoptees, to the industry of adoption and systems that continue to expect adoptees to accept less than other citizens, STOP. We've already conformed for far too long.
You want us to get over being adopted? Ummmm, no although adoptees can learn to live with it and quite well and successfully. How? Give every adult adoptee their OBC, honest answers to questions they ask if you have them, and the support they need to put the pieces of their own personal life puzzle together into as cohesive a whole as is humanly possible. Level the playing field for adoptees by removing unnecessary obstacles, legal restrictions, and constraints in their quest to simply gather important and valuable truths about their lives. Abolish lies, half truths, and the falsification of documents in adoption. Then, and only then, do adoptees who want the truth(s) have a chance to grow into complete and authentic human beings.
I will still not be grateful, because seriously who would be just to finally achieve the same legal status as the next person who never had to fight to get it, but I will be equal. With that I can then move on with my life and into whatever future I want to have. Until that time I live in limbo.