I look at the photographs of my childhood and I can see the big smiles, and all the gifts under the Christmas tree. I can see how most people would look at me and see a happy adopted 16.5 year old girl. Most people would think I am lucky to have two families, other adopted people may think I am fortunate to know my genetic history, my heritage and where I came from. But what I see is different from what other people see; I can plainly see the pain behind the smile.
Forced adoption is a drastic step; there aren’t words to express the trauma it causes to all concerned. It surely should be preserved as a last resort, a final call for those cases where children are in grave danger and need a fresh start. In the case of loving parents who also happen to use illegal substances there are almost certainly much more appropriate methods to help, if help is required.
I put the wings on they gave me
Woven of diaphanous words
They kept me aloft for awhile
Where I hovered above my son and his family
Their voices murmurs far below
“Yet whether it was an accident, ambivalence, or a careless mistake, it’s always the woman’s fault. She allowed herself to get pregnant. She couldn’t keep her legs closed”
Other women, other mothers, who have faced the surprising results on the dreaded “pee stick of doom”. But it’s not about adoption, it is in support of parenting, and parenting young. Rolling with the natural and biological results of sex, accepting a pregnancy before it’s time and the battles of birth control, but most of all the judgment that society, often other women, thrust upon us for daring to get pregnant in the first place.
On a foundation of good intentions and corruption, domestic infant adoption has rebranded itself thorough strategic public relations moves, market research and a well funded legislative lobby. While the public thinks sweet thoughts about adopting all those “unwanted children”, the adoption industry creates a product and cashes in on a billion dollar business.
They agreed to send updates (letters and pictures) every 6 months until she turned 18 and kept up with that until about 3 years ago when the updates suddenly stopped. No explanation, no warning, nothing. The updates were being sent to me through CHS so I called the agency and got the run around. This, to me, is one of the most heartless and cruel things that can be done to a Mother and I’m in utter shock that this is actually happening.
And like many of us affected by adoption, for a spouse of a birthmothers, it helps just to know that one is not alone, which is then altered with the desire to help others also feel that validation and acknowledgment. I do infrequently run into other spouses that wish there was more public support. Perhaps one day we will have something really good for you all. Of course, we’ll have to make it ourselves. The adoption industry probably never will, as then they will have to admit that adoption has long term affects on behalf of relinquishment.
WHEN: First Wednesday of the Month 7pm to 9pm
WHERE: Hillside Children’s Center 2075 Scottsville Road, Rochester NY
BONUS: Jeff Hancock Runs the group!
WHO: Hudson Valley Adoption Support Group
WHEN: 1st Thursday of every month
WHERE: locations change, please confirm
BONUS: You get to hang out with me!!
WHO: RIARG: RI Adoptees Resource Group
WHEN: 3rd Thursday of every month
WHERE: 5 New London Avenue Cranston, RI
BONUS: John Greene runs this Adoptee Support Group!!
We make it out the double glass doors and I burst into hysterical tears. Not weeping, not crying, but gut wrenching hysterical deep soul crushing sobs. Rye looks at me shocked, I am beyond all logic. I make it about ten steps to the car, and then turn around….sobbing, tears flowing down my face, I am not sure what I said. It was like I had stepped on an emotional land mind and now all this shrapnel of myself was just flying.
I had no way of knowing it, but when I had to leave my “baby” cat behind and walk out that door without turning back..I hit that place that every relinquishing mother fears. It really was an emotional land mind that exploded when I walked out that door. I wasn’t crying over the cat, it was over Max…two days old. It’s no one’s fault that this experience reenacted the worst trauma of my life, but it did. Just ripped that scab off with such a force, that it took me hours to find the place to stop the bleeding.
She is not a saint. She is not a whore. She is a woman faced with one of the most awful concepts a mother can imagine: the willing separation of one’s child for life. Saints or sluts are not real. They are labels use to dehumanize the relinquishment experience. Both are used to separate the birthmother form the rest of the population and create impossible social contracts from which any person, birthmother of not, cannot continue to love within. The saint cannot admit to the pain and the slut does not deserve to feel the love. Polar opposites and not realistic for anyone. Not helpful for anyone. Not healthy for anyone.
Inside Out Adoption Healing in California
WHO: Inside Out Adoption
WHEN: Saturday, May 18th, 2013 10:00am until 6:00pm
WEBSITE: Inside Out Adoption
I was sitting on the bus, waiting to get home and I was amazed at the what ended up bubbling forth. Not that I am a skeptic on the need for healing, or finding issues, but I had really managed to convince myself that I had control of that volcano of emotion. It is a testament to both Craig and Patrick that the program they are perfecting is a very helpful tool for identifying areas that are still needing some attention. I’m coming home with a new shopping list of things that require further exploration.
Find Your Birthmother? Find Your Adopted Child?
What You Need to Know if Adopted and Searching for Birthparent
(and visa versa )
For an Adoptee searching for their original identity, the first thing you need to do try to find as much information as you can from your adoptive parents. Ask them for ANY paperwork they might have from your adoption. There is usually legal paperwork and the final adoption decrees, however what communication that went between your folks and the adoption facilitators might have more information on it as well. As an Adoptee, will want to see if you can find:
- the agency that facilitated the adoption: many agencies keep their own records and have their own procedures involved for reunions, so they are a good place to start an adoption search
- the lawyers who did the paperwork: again, sometimes they actually have records on hand and names
- the maternity home that your mother might have been at: this might be buried in the adoption papers work but can help.
- the state that all happened: you’ll be looking for the state your birthmother was from, the state you were born in, the state the adoption happened, etc.. sometimes there are a whole bunch of state lines crossed!
For a birthparent, trace the same steps. Add in hospital records which you should be privy too ( even if you have to pay a small fee for the research end of it.) Dig up what you can from your relinquishment. Depending on what state you relinquished in, there are usually certain forms which you have a legal right to have. For instance, I relinquished in Massachusetts, so my agency HAD to provide me with any paperwork I had signed..even if I ask for it 19 years later.
Gather Information about Your Adoption as Baby
You will also want to find out as many tiny rumors and bits of information as you can. Even the most minute scrap of hearsay might be something that helps eventually.. so that story that your cousin heard your aunt say once.. write down all the details.. you never know! Plus it is surprising on how many people actually KNOW the details of your birth.. so ask around! Start with people who might have been confidants of your folks at the time; grandparents, siblings of your adoptive parents, friends, etc. Let people know you need information and take it all in! Ask for help, but be ready to hear a bunch of annoying assumptions and bits of advice. Ignore the stuff that gets you down and gather the information!
Use Reputable Adoption Registries for Searches
You might have it easy and your biological family might have begun searching for you as well, so try the two best adoption reunion registries first!
The International Soundex Reunion Registry (http://www.isrr.net/) You HAVE TO FILL out the form and send it in by mail, but they are the BEST since it is an active search registry.. meaning they will actively compare and try to find a match! All non profit and run by volunteers, they have no ulterior motivation except to help all separated family members find each other.
The other one that is really good is atAdoption.com (http://registry.adoption.com/). I don’t really like their politics of adoption, BUT it IS a good registry that you can search and add your information. Lots of people have found others there, so it is good to keep updated, etc.
There are many many more adoption registries.
Adoption Searches at the Beginning: The Adoption Agency
Then, start local first …go to the agency and see what they say. DO NOT, however, pay them for anything if you can avoid it. Some DO make you go through a whole bunch of “counseling” or make you pay for their services. I would say to fight that. They MADE money off of your relinquishment and the act of separation, now they want to make money off of this end too?
Fill out what they offer you, put a letter in your file, play nice, but watch out and don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
Some agencies are great and really do help and some are more interested in keeping you in your place of ignorance. The bottom line is you really cannot trust most of the professionals in adoption well meaning or not. Remember that this is YOUR life and YOU are the professional of your own experience.
Information from the State Your Adoption was Finalized In
If your adoption was in: Maine, Alaska, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon or Alabama, then you can request a copy of your original birth certificate( OBC) from the state. Your OBC will have your birth parents names on it and from there your search is usually much easier!
Other states have different “rules” for different adoptees: Illinois you can also request info, Delaware has some openness, Ohio & Massachusetts have “black out” dates so if you were born in certain years then you have no right to your birth certificate while other years you do! Doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way the laws are.. If you think it sucks then help support the Adoptee Rights Demonstration!(http://www.adopteerightscoalition.com)
Non Identifying Adoption Information
If your adoption was in any of the other states of have a blackout year, then you can request “non identifying” information about your adoption. Basically, they let you know what they know without releasing names or allowing you access to your birth certificate. This can range from the really bland “mother white age 17 brown hair of Scottish descent” to something a bit more interesting, but keep in mind, it does not have to be 100% the truth.
Passive Adoption Reunion Registries
Most states also have some kind of passive reunion registry as well. They don’t have very good success rates since they are underfunded and under manned in general, so again, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but sign up! Many states also have “unofficial” registries and then email lists and “search angels” and more folks that can help you.. so Google is now your best friend and you need to find those places online! There are incredible people online who will help and how have great methods and information as well.
Remember that often much of the information that you think you know is wrong including:
- Your Birth date: depending on when you were born even this got changed at times
- Where you were born: often the city was changed to your adoptive parents area
- Your birthmothers age, occupation etc.
- Same with your birthfather, etc.
So be open to “maybes” and “almosts”.. and if you have a gut feeling.. explore it!
Try Using an Adoption Search Angels
Adoption search angles are people who search for others lost through adoption because they are just incredible people who help others. Since they work on more than just one personal search, they tend to be really great researches and know how to find things! The majority of search angels I know are all on a volunteer basis. Once you have non identifying information or some serious clues and if you get stuck, don’t hesitate in asking for help. A professional adoption search angle is a miracle worker!
Use Social Media for Adoption Searches
Facebook, MySpace and even Twitter can be amazing tools for adoption searches. I have witness decade long adoption searches turn successful after mere days of a Facebook page made dedicated to the adoption search. The same adoption search that I witnessed in real time, became this article on I found my own son using MySpace as well with a whole group of other adoptees, Birthmothers and adoptive moms helping me! By opening up your search on social media you open yourself up to the many eyes and minds and Googling fingers.. and the hive mind is incredible! It’s a way not to be so isolated and alone and get the support you need during the emotional journey.
Prepare for the Emotions of an Adoption Reunion
The other thing you will want to be doing at the same time is reading! This cannot be stressed enough! READ READ READ! Read “The Girls That Went Away”, read “The Baby Thief”, read about the history of adoption in the USA. You MUST be prepare for the realm of possibilities that you might find and you need to know how to prepare yourself for the emotional up and down that happens! Read adoptee blogs and read blogs and stories from the birthparents point of view too. I always say that my heart hurts the most for anyone who finds success at the end of their adoption search and has ONLY their emotions to guide them. Emotions are just not enough . The term “emotional roller coaster is used by almost every person in a search and reunion and with good reason.. it can make you feel crazy and if you are not prepared you might begin to think you really are!
- Your adopted parents might or might not understand why you are searching for your biological family.
- Your birth family might not be what you expected and you will need to understand why your mother won’t met you. There are many cases of Secondary Reunion Rejection for Adoptees searching, please be prepared.
Find an Adoption Support System
Start gathering together the people who “understand” and will support you . An adoption search both emotionally exhausting and wonderful at the same time. It’s a good time now to find and adoption group for support.. want to find adoption people? Friend me on Facebook..seriously, most of my network there is adoption related. There is also a list that you can start from here.Not all these groups are for adoptees only, so take a peak and find one that feels good. It’s also not a bad idea to see if you can find a local group that physically meets once in a while.
It can take years to find your birthmother and birth families, or it can takes days, but you never know until your try.
WHO: RIARG: RI Adoptees Resource Group
WHEN: 3rd Thursday of every month
WHERE: 5 New London Avenue Cranston, RI
BONUS: John Greene runs this Adoptee Support Group!!
There are many heart wrenching cases of children wanting to be reunited with their biological parents or relatives wanting to know whether they are truly related to a person they suspect to be their blood relatives. These people simply want and need answers to be able to find that inner peace. The not knowing who you are or where you came from can be a very distressing, life long experience.
I did not know Alyssa Toner. What I do know, though, is that Alyssa was searching and cannot finish her search. She made the video, but it does not show up in searches for her birth date. The article about her adoption birthmother search does not seem have been published. The news stories about her death, do, right now, but as time passes, news articles like these get achieved and fall way down on the search rankings. Maybe her search will be forgotten completely. Maybe her account will be taken down, the video eventually deleted and, if her birthmother ever does decide to search, she will never find anything at all.
The message will be lost.
This is one of those times when I am asking for your help on a project. It was barely two weeks ago when Facebook started exploding with the Adoptee Searching Picture memes. Though I know we all tried to keep up and share like crazy cakes, it’s proving to be a difficult task! I was trying to share all the images of Adoptees begging for help finding their families, but I quickly had the longest blog post on the east coast. And then, I remembered Listly!
For an adoptee searching to find their family, DNA testing can be really helpful. We talk to Adoptee Richard Hill, author of Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA and an DNA testing expert about the the best to use this new technology to help answer the age old question ” Who am I and where did I come from?”
Imagine a world where we let adult make decisions that affect their lives. We let them fill out their medical forms with more than an unknown. We let them know the branches of their family tree. We let them know whose nose it is perched upon their face.
Elizabeth gave birth to a baby girl in January 1970 during the first two weeks of January and her daughter was relinquished to adoption. The adoption, like most during that time, was closed with no telling where her daughter went once she signed the relinquishment papers. It is hoped that perhaps her daughter has requested her non identifying adoption information form the state of Florida. If you are in the age range of 42 and female adoptee from Florida who is searching, please compare to what the possible non identifying information might hold.
I had NO IDEA that was going to happen, but it did. Ok, more exposure, right. Good for the cause and education of the masses. I ignore the stupid comments. I ignore the stupid comments. I ignore the stupid comments. Yes, that s a mantra for me, but please feel free to educated the masses. I guess they had the headlines messed up as well and I was supposed to be divorced three times?
Here’s some doozies:
“Cute, real Cute.. This is a Prime Example they have BIRTH CONTROL Girls Like her Should NOT have Children in the 1st place! That is what she should be
When the end is reached, you will not doubt the validity of her claims, for she has inherited the DNA strain that was so obvious in her famous grandfather; she never, never, never, never, gave up. While Rhonda wins out in the end, The Fifth and Final Name illustrates the injustice in the closed record system while providing a strong primer of adoption truth and adoptee understanding that the non adoption affected can understand.
No one is trying to find their birthmothers to throw stones or cast blame, yet on that emotional level we have to acknowledge that the adoptee can feel rejected by the act of adoption placement whether voluntary or forced. It doesn’t matter how they can now, as adult, intellectualize the circumstances of their relinquishment, the child inside still knows the pain and that child wants it’s mother. There is an innocence there in this need to reconnect. It is pure feeling.
He and his biological father had a mini reunion before he went away to the Marines that didn’t go so great, but considering everything that went down before hand, wasn’t that horrible. I personally think Rye was young then and was still rightfully angry at both his father figures.. one for beating him and the other for turning his back and letting him be abused.