“Aren’t children adopted, too?” Ashley wanted to know.
“Yes, children can be adopted, too,” I said, my stomach starting to churn at the twist in the conversation.
“But why are children adopted? What happens to their old family?”
I took a deep breath; I saw where this was heading.
I don’t know why I never told them. I didn’t set out to be deceitful. It’s just not a topic that pops up often. Not something I was ever really comfortable announcing. I’m 37 and I can count the number of people I had told on one hand.
When are you supposed to tell people anyway? When you meet them?
“I don’t think adopted kids should seek out their birth parents. It’s selfish. It’s rude. You’re gonna break her heart just because you are curious? It would not only break my REAL parents’ hearts, but who knows what kind of life she has gone on to lead?” And then later, Marianna says this: …”there’s my birthmom, but I don’t ever care or think about her. She did a very selfless thing to give me up, so why would I want to bug her? That’s incredibly selfish of me.”
My adoptee friend recently obtained more of her records from her adoption agency, which she found very validating. During the conversation, I was thinking of things that I wish I too could have that were part of my experience pre-adoption, such as: having the slightest clue of who my foster parents were, or where in the world I was for the first four and a half months of my life. I would like to know that I did not drop off the face of the planet that someone real loved me and took care of me.
When adoptees share their truth on blogs, I’ve noticed that adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents (AP’s and PAP’s) often chime in on comment threads with, “Wow, this was really hard to read…” or something similar. The feeling is definitely, “I wish you wouldn’t have spoken up and said that. It hurts and it makes things harder.” I’ve witnessed this in blog-world, as well as face to face a few times when I shared my experience as well as the truth about some things going on in the adoption industry. A few thoughts I have in relation to this: If you haven’t adopted yet… Consider it very carefully. Are you really ready to adopt a child if you don’t want to honestly face their true feelings? Not just their feelings now but feelings they may have twenty years from now? This week I posted a link to an adoption article I contributed to and it received this response: “I honestly found this very hard to read. I feel it’s potentially damaging to potential adoptive parents.” I didn’t take this negatively. It excited me! I hope adult adoptees sharing the truth about post-adoption issues does unsettle people and do damage to Read more
On a summer trip to El Salvador, the chivalrous man I was traveling with kept insisting on carrying my luggage for me. “Let me get that.” “No, I’m fine.” “No really, I’ve got it.” “No!” (Snatching back the bag.) “I can carry my own weight.” Not only CAN I carry my own weight. I want to. Always. Don’t get me wrong, I love that he offers. But I’ve always found it hard to relinquish control or let someone help me with anything. It’s a point of pride, I’ll admit. But it’s more than that. It’s a sense of independence that, on a cellular level, feels like a survival necessity. Psychotherapist Nancy Newton Verrier, author of “The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child,” puts it this way: “There seems to be an almost desperate need [for adoptees] to be in control at all times.” I’m sure this plays out in different ways. For me, when I’m stressed or feel like I’m losing control of a certain aspect of my life, I find myself in the aisles of my local travel supply store, fondling the luggage (even if there is no travel on my horizon). I open zippers, check the placement Read more
Where are you Mother, I mutter as I walk down another row in the cemetery.Are you still hiding from me? I scan the headstones, bend down now and then to brush grass off of one in order to read the inscription. Searching. Still searching. “How do you feel about seeing your birth mother’s grave?” Gerry had asked as we drove toward Chilliwack, BC. “I don’t feel one way or the other,” I told him. “It’s just something I feel I need to do.” A number of months ago I resolved that the next time I was in the vicinity I would stop and visit my birth mother’s grave. Closure. That’s what the goal was. To close the circle that had started fifty three years ago when she gave birth to me and then gave me away. It had taken less than five minutes using my smart phone to find the name of the cemetery where she was buried and set the navigation system to guide us there. Finding the cemetery had been easy. Finding my mother would prove to be, predictably, more of a challenge. I knew my half-brother was buried in the same little cemetery so as I scanned tombstones Read more
I am William Patrick (Blank), I think. Well I was born William Patrick (Something). According to the social workers he was born to the (Something) family and taken home to live with my birth mother (Blank) for the first three months of my life. Or for the first three months of his, William Patrick (Blank’s), life.
Publisher’s note: I want to introduce you to a new contributor to the magazine. I have had many contributors who have included references to their religious faith and the role that it played in their story. So there is no confusion, let me state clearly that I welcome everyone of all faiths, or people who do not have a particular religious faith.
Deanna, who is a minister for her church and an adoptee, brings a unique perspective about how religion and adoption intersect. I have learned a great deal by reading her posts, and I know all of you will as well.
Some adoptees turn to God. It seems many more turn away from God. I get why.
I have served as a pastor for 25 years. And yet, even as a vocational minister, I understand the rationale that brings many adoptees to the place where they want nothing to do with God. Between questioning what kind of “God” could possibly plan or allow their relinquishment and adoption, to the cruel responses they get from Christians concerning their feelings about adoption or their search for their b-family, their exodus from God and the church is not a mystery… READ MORE
In her most recent work, The Goodbye Baby: A Diary about Adoption, author Elaine Pinkerton reveals the bruises of adoption that have impacted her from the tender age of five. It tells the author’s journey as she is coming to grips with her lifelong wounds from her very own adoption. It is an exploration into self-discovery and the attainment of authenticity. The story of The Goodbye Baby is told through essays and diary entries that span over four decades from the 1950s through the 1980s. Elaine hopes that by sharing her innermost thoughts with her readers, they will feel informed and inspired – her overriding mission with the book is to serve as a resource for others in the adoption community who are struggling with their own adoption.