Reflections on the 2012 Adoptee Rights Demonstration in Chicago

A brand new CrackWhore Birthmother T shirt!

One Mother’s Excursion becomes a Mother Daughter Trip of a Lifetime

A brand new CrackWhore Birthmother T shirt!I am not exaggerating when I say that the week that encompasses the Adoptee Rights Demonstration is my favorite week of the year. The only other thing that gives it a run for its money is our Halloween party, but that’s a sure case of apples and oranges.

Once again, the feelings of community, accomplishment and even the snail’s pace of progress in Adoptee Rights filled my heart and soul with renewed vigor and purpose. Plus, again, one of the only good aspect of this adoption journey has been the wonderful people I have been blessed to know, work with, and call my friends.

This year was extra special because I had promised, back during the Louisville Adoptee Rights Demonstration two years earlier, that my daughter, Scarlett, could go with me. She is eleven and a half this year and after two years of hard core local activism with her father and I with the local neighborhood watch, I knew that she could handle the “boring” adults talking. Rather, I knew that she did not find our discussions boring at all. Plus, now she is blogging and writing and sadly, she also has a story to tell.

The Sibling of an Child Adopted Out

Part of me was proud to be able to share this experience with her.

While Rye has joined me on a few adoption related local trips, this was the first time anyone from home has ventured to the ‘big one”. I know she has taken in the work that we do here at home. I know that I am raising my children to do more than sit back and complain, but to try to do their part to be part of a solution. I know that leading by example is a great way to ensure that my kids will be contributing citizens and good people who think beyond themselves.
But on the other hand, it’s sad that she is with us.

Yes, that decision I made 25 years ago continues its ripple effect. What I did at 19 has made my daughter part of a population of which, she too, has no control. As I explained to her;

“These are your people too. You have a right to be here and a voice in this.” 

Yet another thing that they don’t tell mothers about when considering relinquishment. Adoption will continue to break your heart if you let it. Not that any of us have a choice anymore, if we did to begin with. I gave my children no choice. I hate that.

Every year, the numbers of children who attend our demonstration grows. Young adoptees, children of adoptees, and like Scarlett, siblings of adoptees, join our ranks. Even better, they are all pretty close in age and have formed their own little tribe within our adoption community. It is pretty amazing to see them forming their own friendships and also, have someone to talk to who is in their own peer group.

Thank goodness adoption does not have to be so isolating for future generations.

Tears Brought to My Birthmother Eyes

Copying off of Cassi’s daughter, Scarlett also stood proudly for who she is: a “Denied Adoptee’s Sister“. Both sisters, with three brothers, and the oldest adopted out within 6 weeks of each other, I couldn’t ask for a perfect person for her to relate to.

Sisters of adopted brothers demonstrating adoptee rights

At one point, we were almost finished; with only ten minutes to go and we wanted EVERYONE up and marching. I was standing in the middle of the circle with Scarlett, partly to be loud so all could hear the chants in unison, and partly because I am just a nut like like.  I looked at her, and couldn’t help but state; I never thought I would end up a cheerleader. Yet, here I was, jumping up and down, screaming at the top pf my lungs. We had a giggle.

A mother daughter Adoptee Rights Moment

After the actual demonstration, Scarlett spotted Jeff’s Adoption Name Necklace , his yearly tribute of those who cannot join the actual demonstration but walk with us in spirit. Yes, he placed it around her neck. And yes, I still get completely teary eyed as I did when I first quietly said “Your brother’s name is in there.”

Sister of an adopted brother carrying the names of almost 100 denied adoptees

With that, she was truly shocked to realize that so many others’ names were also there. Yet, we know that the 949 tags only represent a fraction of those adoptees denied their human rights.

Other Fine Mother Moments in Chicago

On the final day, as we were leaving directly from McCormick Place after we broke down and loaded the booth back into The newly dubbed “Bastardmobile” aka my car, Henri, for storage until next year’s Adoptee Rights Day, I had Scarlett dress up and join us in the booth.

While she didn’t lobby anyone, it was great to have her see the real work in action and to hear the discussions about civil rights and adoption legislation.

We also took a nice afternoon off while in Chicago and went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective and visit some good old friends like Georgia O’Keeffe and Manet and Monet and Degas.

Scarlett and Water Lilies? Priceless.

The previous afternoon we just walked around downtown and I let her run about free willy taking photos. I love seeing her perspective. Followed up by cuddling in the yummy hotel bed, watching The Hunger Games (finally!) and sharing Caesar chicken salads. It was a great trip even with the harrowing 14 plus hour car rides. After the tornado escape, the ride home was more rain, but we did it straight though with only two breaks for gas.

I think, though, my favorite part was seeing my daughter interact with my dear friends. I knew she would love them and fit right in. Sharing this important part of my life with her was just completely magnificent. My thanks to all who warmly took her in and enriched her time in Chicago. She also says it was “the best week of her life”.

2013 Adoptee Rights Demonstration: Atlanta!

Needless to say, I cannot wait for next year to roll around again. The Adoptee Rights Demonstration will be in Atlanta Georgia and looks to be on August 12, 2013. Rye loves himself some Georgia so the plan already is for it to be a family (working) vacation.

I can think of nothing better. Unless, that is, Max comes too.


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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

7 Comments on "Reflections on the 2012 Adoptee Rights Demonstration in Chicago"

  1. I thought your daughter was totally cool and funny and sparkly. She is a real treasure.

    Can’t wait for Atlanta!


  2. So amazing to meet you in person, Claud. And Scarlett! <3 <3 <3

  3. I love that picture of our girls. Of the sisters fighting side by side for their older brothers. And, like you, I am so thankful our kids have the chance to meet others who share their experience.

    They don’t ever talk about how adoption affects siblings, do they. Nobody sat down with us and told us about the loss that would stretch further than we could possibly imagine. Nobody ever cared enough to make sure we knew that giving up our sons would forever affect our daughters.

    I’m already looking forward to Atlanta 2013 and I can’t wait to, hopefully, meet more of your wonderful family. If they are like you and Scarlett, I know I’ll love them!

  4. I attended my first adoptee rights demonstration in 1998 in San Francisco as part of the Bastard Nation gang. I was scared out of my wits, didn’t feel like I belonged there, as a mother, not an adoptee. Jim, an adoptee fighting for his right to his OBC, took me under his wing, helped me work a corner with flyers and talk to people about the issues. Later I worked Reg Days, and demonstrated in Sacramento for adoptee rights in California. Why am I chicken about showing up for ARD now? Why do I still fear I’ll be out of place amidst the adoptees for whom we are fighting? Claud, you are a known quantity, a darling of the movement, a brave soul. Maybe next year in Atlanta I will brave the waters… and the emotions that I fear… and show up. I support all of you from afar. But that’s not the same as showing up, right?

  5. @Denise, don’t feel bad. I have a mini panic attack every year about a week before ARD. I try real hard to convince myself that I *really* don’t have to go. Of course, then I argue with myself, that I DO have to go and if I don’t I know I will be sad and disappointed, so I make myself do it. But, I fear the emotions that come up. I think I fear them more than they actually deserve, but it’s there. Luckily I’m usually running around like a mad woman, or in lobby mode, or just yelling like a fool.. so it’s all in control, however, there always is that moment, when I can become a puddle on the floor.
    @IAdoptee, you got to see that this year…lucky you. That’s about as close as I allow myself to get the dark void.
    @Cassi, Yeah.. my hubbie and your boys.. I see beer. Lots and lots of beer. lol

  6. Can I please get more info on the group and the dates for the Atlanta march. I am an adult adoptee and defiantly want to be apart of this!

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