Tag Archives: memories
As the year draws to a close, and 2013 is fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the posts that made me think over the years, or made me feel validated and understood. I know I will miss some great ones I should be including, and hope others will add in posts that touched them as well. Note there is no reason for the order, it’s just whatever comes into my mind next…
First up is a brand new post and worthy of mention – not just for the post – but to offer thanks to B who can face head-on that adoption is not the be all, end all, that many want it to be. She has the grace to open her heart and mind to voices that say being adopted is hard at times - and not make their words all about her, and her adoption. That every story is unique, just like we are all unique. That at the end of the day adoption still needs to be done better, because adoption matters. As you can tell I hold deep respect for B, and wish her the very best the New Year has to offer. I am also secretly jealous of her ability to speak more than one language fluently.
1. Featuring: The work of Peter Dodds over at International Adoption Reader by B.
Second up is Moogacat. She doesn’t blog that often, there is no doubt about the fact that she does not play “stick my head in the sand and pretend that adoption is all sunshine and flowers”. I’m hoping she posts more in the coming year because her honesty and deep love for her child shows through in her words …
Third is American Family. I have enjoyed her blog since I came on-line, and found this post after being shocked at how adult adoptees were treated by adoptive parents. It provided me hope that more parents were opening their minds and that adoption really was different from the mindsets from my era. Nothing has changed since she wrote this post about how adoptees are treated if they want adoptions to be ethical, and rare, but I still enjoy this blunt post.
Fourth is from Priscilla Sharp a first mother from my era, who fights for adoptee rights who wrote this letter on Mother’s Day.
4. Mother’s Day
Fifth is from Delighted in the Lord. With the wave of orphan ministries creating instant prospective parents, many who will rush head-first without looking because they have been called to adopt. I am sure some adoptions will be ethical and parents fully aware, but I’m sad because others will learn too late, that the saying ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ holds true in the current ‘go to’ countries for international adoption about ethics. Others like the blogger in the next post made a different choice, the link is the most recent post about adoption, but you will have to go deeper into the blog, to find the real story of why they walked away and it’s worth looking for, trust me. Ethics always matter.
Sixth is Paula from Heart, Mind and Seoul. This post has stuck in my mind since I read it several years ago. I wish she was still active, but her posts are always worth reading. This post is one that every single adoptive or prospective adoptive parents should read and mull deeply on.
Seventh is a guest post on iAdoptee’s blog. It created a stir on-line that seemed to go on for ages. My take – people can’t read something without taking offense “as if” it was their own personal adoption story being written about.
Eight is from All In The Family, the blog of a first grandmother. Adoption affects the entire family, not just the mother.
Ninth is from On Icarus’ Wings. I enjoy her writing and wish she wrote more.
Tenth is from Letters to Ms. Feverfew a writer who always makes me think. This post is in response to a search query.
Eleventh is from Adopto-Snark and one of her most recent posts.
I was hoping to list 12 for 12, but am running out of time and there are chores begging to be finished before the New Year, so I will close a bit differently than I planned and will include Adopto-Snark’s youtube video on searching that makes me laugh and cry at the same time it is so well done as #12….
My hopes for 2013 is that there were be less division and more discussion.
Discussion where we honestly do our best to see the other side, hear the other side. I can’t say I will ever get to the place where any adoption makes me happy, but there are adoptions that make me thankful there was another family to step in. Because that is what adoption is supposed to be about – another family stepping in when tragedy happens. Adoption was created as a societal response to a tragic event.
Writing Dear Mother seems so formal, yet I never met you, you so I can’t call you mom, or even know if you would have wanted to me to call you - mom. Let alone if I would have been comfortable with that either. How strange all of this is, and to think that at my age, I am writing you a letter for the very first time. All in all, this seems to be a harder letter to write than I thought it would be, and seems without purpose, or reason, but yet I think it is still something that I need to do. Perhaps it is just part of the journey, this need to talk to you, and write down my thoughts, so here goes…
One of my greatest wishes - is that you could have known all the times throughout my life, that I thought about you, longed to know who you were, desired just to know you. Looking back, I can’t remember a single time in my life when I didn’t want that. Every year on my birthday, would find me looking for a message from you to me in the paper, never found one, but it didn’t stop me dreaming of the day you would look for me, find me. That day never came and when I found you – it was already too late. I never heard your voice, at least not that I remember, neither do I know if you ever saw me, held me, or even said goodbye. That hurts – not knowing anything about what happened when I was born. I can never ask you the questions that haunt me, questions like: Did you see me, hold me? Did they take me away and not let you see me? Did you want to see me? Did you try? Did you name me? I wasn’t named on my birth certificate, so I will never know if you named me, or they just didn’t put my name on my birth certificate, as I was just a baby for adoption. In my heart I think you did, but that too, is just another missing piece. I do know you thought I had a family to go too, but I didn’t, and spent a few months “somewhere”. I don’t know where, or if it was just one person, or many people, who cared for me. No one knows, no one thought to ask, no one documented it. All I know, is that I was somewhere, because I am still here. I did get wonderful parents who were loving, and supportive, and did the best they could in all things.
There are many missing pieces to my story that can never be answered, just like I can never get to know you, see you, talk to you. Those missing pieces haunt me. I need all the pieces to make sense of anything, regardless of what it is, but this is the big one, the one that dramatically altered my life in such a profound way. At the heart of who I am – I am a puzzle solver – I have to solve it, understand it, know it. Yet the event that forever changed the course of my life, is a puzzle to me, it will always have missing pieces, incomplete and unsolved.
There are so many things I wish could have been different. That you had reached out while you were still alive – while that one small link between us was still partly open. Perhaps you did try to reach out, but “others” thought you shouldn’t, perhaps you didn’t reach out for any number of reasons, it’s the not knowing that hurts, that can never be answered now. I wanted to know you in whatever form that relationship took. To know if we would have connected and talked for hours on end, finished each other’s sentences, understood each other, or be totally disconnected from each other, and distant, or something in between. There is comfort in knowing we shared similar interests, flower gardening and that you loved roses too, that reading was a passion we both shared, crafts. I also know that you married and had children, but that’s pretty much all I know, and it seems so little. That despite the willingness of others to share with me their knowledge about you, they can’t provide the knowledge that I crave, that can only be known when you know someone personally. I am grateful to know as much as I do, and am sorry that I didn’t push harder, but I was unsure if I should, and worried it would cause you pain, perhaps that is what happened on your end too. I would have liked a different ending, regardless of what the outcome was, that I might have been able to share with you my journey, and hear your journey. To have been able to tell you about things that happened in my life that seemed random at the time, but now strike me as perhaps what is called synchronicity. When I work on the family tree, I think of you, and wish you could tell me stories to give me a better sense of who our ancestors were. Above all, just the chance to spend some time getting to know you, and hear our story, would have been the best.
From all accounts – loosing me changed you, but I don’t think anyone truly understood why, how could they when they never went through anything like that. Little things said about your choices or actions – things that made perfect sense to me, seem to just not make any sense to them, why you would do something, or at least they never connected the two together. I believe I know why, because of similar reactions I had, after my son, your first grandchild, passed. I don’t know if that makes us alike, or just aligned, because we both lost our first child. My hope is that your husband understood, and from has been said, he was a good man, and I hope he was there for you when you needed him.
Finally, I have been told - you said, when asked, that you thought of me every day, and that makes me both happy, and sad, at the same time, because I always hoped you were okay and had a good life, while still thinking of me from time to time. Knowing that though, does provides me with a level of certainty, that you would have been open to knowing me as well, yet instead we both failed to act, and that allowed the wall of secrecy between us to stay for life. Secrecy that wasn’t right then, and still isn’t right now. I don’t believe that adoption was ever meant to be done this way, and they are slowly learning from the impact on so many, from this closed era social experiment. It’s just sad we had to be a part of that, bad timing I suppose, but at the end of the day, we can’t change the past, and just had to live the life that was dealt, I hope you did, and that you found the peace you needed, and the ability to have joy and happiness in your life too.
Your first child…
I see this need so often on-line. Post one story where an adult adoptee speaks glowingly about her mom and dad and growing up, and it is passed around, linked to, emailed, lights up message boards. I get that deep need inside of both prospective and [adoptive] parents to hear positive things about adoption - I really do. It has to be tough building your family via a method that isn’t mainstream, and shouldn’t be mainstream. That in itself takes guts - and of course you wish to be reassured.
But…and you knew there would be a but…
Here’s the kicker (or secret) - we are just like the non-adopted. We had childhoods identical to the non-adopted childhoods. Some great, some good, some not-so-good, some brutal. Based on where we fell within the spectrum of childhoods, and if in the positive end of the spectrum - we laughed, giggled, followed mom or dad around mimicking every action. We played games, learned to ride bikes with one or both parents teaching us, built forts, climbed trees, went swimming. We had dreams of growing up to be a doctor, teacher, scientist, fireman, actor, writer, artist, dancer, to be just like mom or dad. We were excited Christmas morning, Easter, Halloween and every other holiday in-between. We loved vacations and watching home movies of those times, we were kids - just like all the other kids. Nothing different from your childhood stories if your parents were like ours. We really weren’t different from other children - just because we were adopted.
So why is it necessary for you to ask to hear positive childhood stories from adult adoptees - when you can just look at your own story, your friends stories, your cousins stories? Why?
When you only want to hear our positive childhood [adoption] stories you see us as perpetual children instead of your equal, adult to adult. It belittles us.
Please understand that our childhood [adoption] story has nothing to do with speaking up about necessary changes to how adoption is practiced today. Whether we speak about adoptee rights to their own original birth certificate, or stopping coercion in counselling of expectant mothers, or the insanely short time periods to sign papers so soon after birth, well you get the point that many areas in adoption need reform. We care about adoption being done right.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are interested in the subject of adoption and how it is practiced, seeing as we have been adopted all of our life. When I got sick and diagnosed with a rare disease – I became interested in that as a cause, just like those who have a personal stake in seeing a cure for breast cancer - or any other disease or any cause - most people who have a cause – have a personal stake in that cause. It’s the same for adoptees and adoption – it isn’t rocket science.
Next time you ask why you don’t hear more positive stories by adult adoptees about their childhood – ask yourself when was the last time you posted a positive story about your childhood.
I am a very early morning person – as soon as my eyes open I am awake, doesn’t matter if it is still dark, I am up, hubby on the other hand tends to get up around the same time each morning. Because of this, quite often I am up several hours before him and either have to read or watch TV, so I recorded several of the “Who do you think you are” episodes to fall back on. This morning I watched the Jason Sudeikis episode and he said that he was at the point in his life of “looking back“. His story had some not so nice realities to it but still his story to know. I think everyone can benefit by knowing their family history – both the good and the bad – it shows why people did the things they did, and what made them who they were.
That “looking back” time in life he referred to seems to me one that happens at different times for different reasons – most basic of all – your own mortality. For adoptees I think there are many points we come to that we can feel the need to know more of our history – regardless if we have searched in the past, or not, or made the conscious choice not to search at all and made peace with that. I always wanted to know my history and at the same time, I was always the one listening to dad’s stories or pouring over his family tree created by his dad. I loved the sense of connection he had to his ancestors, and because of my connection to him – that was all it took for me to be interested.
I have done my maternal family tree and learned a lot about myself in the journey, and am still waiting to do my paternal family tree but that requires the 1940 census to be indexed completely…sigh…
But getting back to dad’s family tree – I still continue to research it and expand it past that family tree created by grandpa - linking newly added source records, confirming my work to date as correct. It still fascinates me simply because it’s dad’s family tree. His ancestors passed on their genes and how they lived their lives to each new generation, including dad who shared with me how to live my life by working hard and helping others first. I spent several hours yesterday linking up birth records from the 1700′s, finding new siblings to add to his great-great grandfather’s family, adding war records from both the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, grave stones, places, occupations. My next project is to create an actual map of migration that will include who migrated, where, why, when, starting from where they came from across the ocean to where they lived in Massachusetts in the 1600′s to their journey across the states to where dad grew up and lived out his life – a journey travelled over many generations. I am doing this for is simply me as dad was the last male in his family line.
At the same time I will still work on my maternal tree as well, filling in gaps, confirming more details with source records, and will create a migration map as well, but it won’t have the richly told stories that dad had for his dad’s side. Yet even dad’s tree is missing stories – my grandma’s family story that no amount of searching can confirm some of the details she talked about, where her family lived because things don’t match up except for one brother who I met as a child. I suspect she had some skeletons in her closet she didn’t want known to those who might judge, but it leaves a visible hole in the story – a mystery that needs to be solved so the tree is complete.
I value all my family trees…I am linked by nature to some and nurture to others – all part of who I am, all important to me, together they tell my story of who I am.
All adult adoptees across the US deserve the right to know all of their story – please support Adoptee Rights – write your legislator today – it only takes a small amount of time and it is the right thing to do…who knows it may be your letter that gets your representative to visit the Adoptee Rights booth at the National Conference of State Legislators Convention in Chicago this August 2012…
Lead in to Global’s 16 X 9 program below from the website:
“Young, unwed and pregnant – in decades past many women in this situation were shamed or disowned by their families, even sent away to church-run maternity homes until they gave birth. Years later, some of these women are saying they were forced into giving their babies up for adoption and have never been able to get on with life.”
I checked and it can be viewed in at least the US and Australia and runs 13 minutes…
Hopefully the link works now