This is a strange post that I am not sure will be understood but have seen a lot of traffic lately that includes AP’s and think it could make some people think…I hope so…(my fellow adoptees please read the end of the post)…
Every single time I read a story by a late discovery adoptee I get this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as they describe how their world imploded like a house of cards when they found out they were adopted. Some are young adults but many are middle-aged adults. Some find out after their parents passed away when they are going through the process of sorting through their parents belongings…and they come across their adoption paperwork. Sometimes they had questions about why things didn’t seem right, sometimes they never did. But it is always devastating to find out they have lived a life of secrets and lies…
I am pretty sure many reading this might wonder how they didn’t know. And the answer goes back to how some agencies would match physical characteristics so you could get away with the lies. Sounds pretty archaic doesn’t it, but it still happens today. Perhaps not as often, but it does. And with the handy-dandy legal fiction done at the time of adoption your birth certificate helps that lie along provided you don’t run into issues at the passport office, because the date was more than a year after your birth…you will never know you were adopted.
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?
If you are NOT an adoptee, I want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. To completely set aside all that you know about who you are.
Are you up to it? Do you think you can do it? Honestly?
Here’s a couple of scenario’s that could happen and most likely happened. Pick either one to be the story you find out, is your story…
Scenario A: Your dad has already passed away and your mom at the end of her life tells you that you were adopted. And she still has another confession to make, that she and your dad found out after adopting you, that you were a black market adoptee. That they were afraid to tell you the truth.
That the truth was that your father was out of work and he and your mother were told you and your older siblings could stay with a “kind lady” who was really respected in the area, while he looked for work so they could afford to feed and care for you like they wanted to. But that the lady lied and when they came back you were already gone. And that you were most likely gone within the week of them leaving you with the “kind lady”.
Sit a minute and let that soak in…you have parents who wanted you but were conned and deceived. You have siblings you don’t remember…that you were not meant to be who you grew up to be…
Scenario B: You parents never intended to tell you and your mother even went away so she could come home after supposedly giving birth to you. Any questions you had about differences were creatively answered by made up stories.
In reality your mother was one of the millions who was sent by family to one of the many maternity homes scattered across the USA. She was shamed and not treated well at all by the disapproving nuns. In the hospital she was drugged and strapped down to the table. She was not allowed to see you and a sign was posted on the door of her hospital room “BFA” (baby for adoption) to alert the nurses not to bring her the baby. She was then told to go home and get on with life and never ever talk about it…even if she wanted to keep you she would not have been able to.
Start to think about what either scenario really means…you probably don’t know your real date of birth because many times they changed details so your birth family could not find you.
You have no idea where your ancestors came from because you have no idea what nationality you are.
You have a complete other family out there, you have aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents besides another mother and father and you might even have siblings.
What about the medical history your doctor has been using in his care for you? What is your actual medical history?
And if your automatic defenses start to kick in about how wonderful your mom and dad were recognise those feelings, but still think about the fact that you had a mother and father who loved you and wanted you but were conned or forced and are grieving for you. That your siblings lost you too.
Are you starting to have conflicted feelings about how you can still love your mom and dad but are angry too that they never told you? Can you recognise that those opposite feelings can coexist?
Are you starting to feel like you lived a lie?
Have you started to wonder who you really are?
Thoughts of searching may be cropping up now but then you realize you don’t even know a name. Then you find out you can’t turn to anyone for answers because the records have been sealed away, and no one supported other adoptees working to change those laws.
What would you do?
Now recognise that your feelings about what it would be like to find out your entire life was a series of secrets and lies, and the feelings you are experiencing are mere shadows of the reality an adoptee faces.
I imagine this could have happened to any number of adoptees who were adopted in the last 50+ years or through Georgia Tann or any of the other black market adoption facilitator’s and agencies that operated in the last century and probably still do.
Secrets and Lies cannot co-exist with Ethics and Morals in adoption. No one should be conned or forced to surrender their child, no matter what country…no child wants to grow up and find out the truth is not what they were told and that does not just apply to being told they were adopted. It applies to every single aspect of their adoption…the reasons behind their surrender, the way their family was treated, the promises given better have been kept, ethics matter, will always matter in adoption. We all need to work together to ensure that the only adoptions that happen, happen only because there was no alternative…it’s not that much to ask is it? For the sake of all the future adoptees?
Right now there are a group of very brave parents who are standing up to JCICS and saying no more corrupt adoptions out of Ethiopia and have created a petition to tell JCICS to clean up the hen-house instead of bullying MOWA to continue the supply regardless of the methods used to manufacture orphans to be adopted. They need everyone’s support to ensure ethics and morals are the guiding forces in adoption from Ethiopia. To stop the horror of finding out your child did not need to be adopted and has another family that was conned or deceived as to what was really going to happen to their child. Some of their stories mimic either of the scenarios above and everyone, especially the adoptee lose simply because there were profits to be made. I linked to the petition these parents wrote to JCICS in my last post and believe anyone who believes adoption needs to get back to finding families for children who actually need families should sign the petition, I did.
For any adoptees still reading this far, we have asked for adoptive parents to do this and now they have we should support them, regardless of what country we are from. Take the time to read their petition written to support Ethiopia’s efforts to stop the corruption that happens when bad people get involved. We asked them and now they are asking us to support them…just read the petition, please? It could be the start of real honest reform…
June 2013: The intent of this blog is not to exclude anyone in adoption, rather open conversations where people from all segments in adoption can talk together. Wide-sweeping statements that are derogatory against an entire segment in adoption is clearly not appropriate, using inflammatory terms against any segment will also shut down the conversation.
If you can't be civil then all comments will be moderated and unfortunately - some won't be approved.
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