Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Vulnerability Of Honesty

By Shadow the Adoptee

Earlier this year, E, my first mother, had a breakdown. She is doing alright now, is in an assisted living center, and comfortable. The Never Ending Emotions that seem to be a never-ending occurrence in adoption left me unable to find the words to continue my story of reunion with E. Once again, I found myself grieving the “what can never be” of adoption.

I had fully intended to continue blogging by taking up where I had left off, in my story of reunion with D, my first father. As I considered how to go on with my story, I found myself at a loss for words there as well. I just couldn’t seem to find the words to tell the story without giving details of the things people said and did. Giving those details would leave everyone in my life, everyone I love, open to the scrutiny, and judgment, of others, who would see only what they wanted to see. They would not open their minds to see the bigger picture, without applying their own bias. The tendency of people to use the actions of those, we, the adoptees love, to dismiss the feelings we express about adoption, in order to satisfy their own needs, is unfair to all those we love. How could I do that to the people I love, when I am the one responsible for my own feelings?

It wouldn’t be the first time the feelings I expressed were dismissed, the blame being placed on others, instead of people hearing my words, not only in cyber world, but the real world as well. I was getting really worn by it all. Frankly, I was really tired of people telling me I didn’t feel what I said I felt, then telling me what to feel, and why I should feel that way. That was never the point. I felt what I felt, and who is anyone to tell me otherwise?

My purpose in writing is not to put all of those I love out there for the world to criticize, make assumptions about. And judge. Finding the words to continue without doing that has proven to be more of a challenge than I thought. If being honest in the sharing of my story, and my feelings about being adopted, was going to get me, and those I love, nothing but judgment, criticism, and dismissal, I suppose I figured what was the point. I stopped talking about adoption. If people weren’t going to listen, then wasn’t it just a waste of my time?

I was recently reminded just why I began blogging, and telling my story to begin with. I was reminded how no one seemed to understand what I was going through, how terrified I was, and how crazy it all made me feel. I remembered just how, totally, alone I had felt, until I found others, who had gone through the same feelings.

Once again, I began thinking about just how to tell my story, staying true to my purpose of relating just exactly what it feels like to be an adoptee in reunion. I went back to a particular adoption forum, where I have been a participant for many years. I began reading from my very first thread, and post to the forum. I was astonished as I began to read my own words. I hadn’t even finished reading the thread I had started, and the posts, I had written, contained within, before tears began to form in my eyes. My heart began to break as I read my own words, knowing what the future held for me.

My words were so full of hope, so innocent, and so “I’m going to be alright now that I’ve reunited”. It was like watching the deer, standing in the middle of the road, stunned by the bright lights, wide-eyed, unable to move, just before the car, well, I had to stop reading, take a moment, and have a good cry.

When I was able to go back, and pick up my, so-well-documented, journey, I began to laugh. So sweet were my words, so full of joy, and optimism. It made me smile, because, as I read the pretty reunion story with my dad, how “awesome” it was, I couldn’t help but realize what those words I wrote were not saying. There was so much more going on that I suppose, I didn’t want to talk about, to acknowledge, much less put on a public forum. What would people think?

There was so very much I simply did not understand about what was happening to me. In the beginning, I never talked about the anger. I never talked about the tears I shed. I never talked about the grief. I never talked about the fear and confusion over all the emotions I was feeling. I never talked about how, at times, just functioning was a struggle. I focused on the joy. I focused on the happiness, it was, after all, awesome, this reunion with my dad. We were both so happy. We had each other, and nothing would ever change that. I never talked about those negative feelings, but they were, most definitely, there.

To this day, I have difficulty watching stories of reunions. When I see them, I can’t stop my mind from going back, and remembering my euphoric joy at meeting D for the first time. It never fails. My thoughts follow the path that I know reunion to be, and I can’t stop from wondering, as I watch the, newly, reunited’s joy, “And then what?” The story doesn’t end there. It’s what happens next, after the cameras are gone, when reality begins to set in, when the feelings of what was lost begin to override the joy that no one wants to talk about, or hear. Reading my own story, in my own words, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Who is that woman, and where did she go?”, so innocent, so unaware of the emotional volcano that was about to erupt, what ever happened to her?

When I look back over the years, I sometimes wonder how I even survived. I suppose it took the realization that I was emotionally in way over my head, the help of a fabulous therapist, who, of all things was an adoptive mother. Thank goodness she was able to set aside her own feelings as such, and truly listen to me. I suppose, too, that had I not found a particular forum when I did, with many adoptees, and birth parents, who were willing to talk, and listen, I might not have made it through. Through talking, hopefully, I am able to help other adoptees, and those that love them, understand the joy, the grief, and the pain of adoption.

Note: this is a great post from Adoption Truth. I hope you will take the time to read it, and hear her words…and then Rebecca’s words about a comment left on the post.


Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Adoption, biological child, Uncategorized


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Reunion and anger…


My siblings reacted very badly when they found out I existed. I told myself it was their choice not to know me, and we all have free choice, and even though I was deeply hurt and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to know a sibling, I thought I had accepted it for what it was.  I was used to accepting and moving on – that’s what adoption teaches you – this was no different from accepting any of the other parts of being adopted.  Put it out of your mind and carry on.

Over the years one sibling changed their mind and wanted to know me.  I was thrilled, or so I thought.  To know my siblings had always been a dream  – as far back as I can remember I had always wanted to know if I had siblings, one of the few precious questions I got to ask as a teen was – did I have siblings?.  That question and answer that I did made me so happy, and that even though I knew I would never know them – I had siblings.  That knowledge stayed with me and I would day-dream about meeting them, knowing them, being their sibling.

Yet despite being thrilled with the turn around by my sibling and starting off good, soon I started holding back, not being able to talk, not wanting to talk, shutting down.  It made no sense and it took a long time of self-reflection to admit that my holding back – was in fact anger at how all of my siblings reacted to me, and my inability to trust it wouldn’t happen again.

Right now we have an uneasy truce, and I don’t know if that will ever change, if I can change. Deeply ingrained in me is keep the peace at any cost, and I don’t know how to be honest about my deepest feelings of being rejected by them – and how that made me feel.  That I don’t trust my sibling not to do it again.  Trust makes me vulnerable to being rejected again.

Adoption – the gift that keeps on giving.


Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Adoption


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Good advice

The final paragraph of a letter from George Washington to his step-grandson George Washington Parke Custis, on the occasion of his going off to college.

Philadelphia, 28th November, 1796.

I would guard you, too, against imbibing hasty and unfavorable impressions of any one. Let your judgment always balance well before you decide; and even then, where there is no occasion for expressing an opinion, it is best to be silent, for there is nothing more certain than that it is at all times more easy to make enemies than friends. And besides, to speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation. For, as Shakespeare says “He that robs me of my good name enriches not himself, but renders me poor indeed,” or words to that effect. Keep in mind that scarcely any change would be agreeable to you at first from the sudden transition, and from never having been accustomed to shift or rough it. And, moreover, that if you meet with collegiate fare, it will be unmanly to complain.

The Online Libary of Liberty (scroll down to bottom of page to read the full letter this is taken from).

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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Ethics


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Must read post link…

Lorraine at First Mother Forum has a great post up on semi-open adoptions and the real risk to both parties to adoption.  That the risk of semi-open can abruptly be closed due to agency closures.  It’s a topic that does not get talked about enough – what happens if an agency closes its doors and the communication between parties is facilitated by the agency only.

When an agency promises ‘semi-open’ adoption, look elsewhere

Please read the post and then start a conversation within your circle – both sides are affected and at the end of the day the child also loses.  The post also highlights how one small agency Abrazio stepped up to the plate to do whatever they could to keep those communications happening when ASA closed the doors in Texas, and has details and quotes from a conversation between Lorraine and that agencies director.  Please go read that post now

Agencies have closed all over the states in the last few years.  I can’t find statistics, because like any statistics in adoption, they are limited and scarce.  The problem is further complicated by each state licensing adoption agencies – instead of federal.  Even the biggest adoption agencies that have been around for decades are in trouble, and just last summer Children’s Home Society and Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota merged.  Included in that article is this mention that should make everyone take notice “The merger is among dozens occurring across Minnesota as nonprofits struggle with the economic downturn”.

My hope is that the adoptive parent community starts challenging the industry to set up some protections and rules, and that each parent asks their agency what happens if they close the door.  Your child’s records are held there.  Agencies have set themselves up as the middle man/conduit and if that is broken, like it has for so many others – how will it affect your child and you.

Did you read Lorraine’s post?  I hope so.

For further info on the ASA closure this article may help make you even madder that no thought has been put into safe-guarding all the parties to adoption.  Lawsuits claim adoption agency did not intend to deliver.

Update 16 Sep 2012: Amanda at The Declassified Adoptee and Claud at Musings of the Lame have each posted about this situation.  Go read these posts to and consider speaking up

Amanda’sWill Texas Legislators Stand by While the Human Rights of 5,000 Children go Unaddressed?

Claud’sAdoption Services Associates Goes Bad, Abrazo Adoption Associates Does Good


Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics


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What I have been up to…

For the past week – I have spent most of my spare time either on ancestry or politics – two of my favorite subjects.  I spent most of that time on ancestry because…

I found my paternal family in the 1940 Census!

I had just about given up hope with both the first and last name being incredibly common names but I am sure I have the right family.  All the details I had been told match.  Everything fits.  I am now back to 1810, but have hit a road block.  I will find the next generation back, because, I think that generation is perhaps the generation that immigrated from their home country.

I now know 75% of my nationalities – before last week I only knew 50%!

It’s been a good week…Now I know that both sides were good, hardworking, decent, honest people.  People to be proud of.

I found some quotes that seemed right for this post…

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” ― Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.” ― Noam Chomsky

Quotes above from

What was your week like?


Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


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Anglican Church apology for forced adoption in Australia

Reported in the The Church of England Newspaper (…

Australian church apology for forced adoptions

The Diocese of Brisbane has offered its apology to those harmed by forced adoptions.

The diocese “sincerely apologises to the mothers, fathers and babies, now adults, who have experienced hurt, distress and harm as a result of past forced adoption practices in homes which operated in the name of the Church. We are aware that these practices occurred at St Mary’s Home at Toowong and the Church of England Women’s Refuge in Spring Hill,” the statement printed on the diocesan website said.

An Australian Senate inquiry found forced adoptions were widespread across Australia from the 1950s to the 1970s for unwed or unfit mothers. In February the senate recommended church agencies, the government and other entities involved in coercing unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption offer an apology for their actions.


It was “with deep sadness and regret, this Diocese acknowledges that mothers suffered emotional trauma and abuse in these adoption processes. We apologise that they were subjected to shame, isolation and humiliation while in the care of homes operated by the Anglican Church. The Church acknowledges that the resulting grief and loss for both parents and children is ongoing and significant.”

From the Anglican Diocese in Brisbane, Anglican Church of Australia you can read the actual written apology dated 31 August 2012.

Apology to survivors of historic forced adoption practices and policies

From everything I have read, the practices in Australia mirrored those in New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Spain, the USA, and elsewhere.  Acknowledging and admitting the mistakes and actions of the past, and the harm done, is the first step to making a better future, a different future.  A future where anytime someone is tempted to wander down the slippery slope to coercion – they will be reminded it is wrong, or others will tell them it is wrong.  A future where Best Practices requires non-directive counseling for mothers by counselors who have no stake in adoption, or whether the mother chooses parenting or adoption.  All the countries that have this in their history – need to step up to the plate and do the right thing, and acknowledge their part in it.


Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics


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Those People

A self-professed adoptive mother just stated that “health issues are often used as an excuse for continued contact by Adoptee Rights people.  No, that isn’t an exact quote (I cut some words) and comes from a forum I don’t normally read.  Please note that I used self-professed because even though she states she is the adoptive mother of a teenager from Korea, it is hard for me to believe she is an adoptive parent.  I can’t understand how someone who has been involved in adoption for well over a decade and is on-line, wouldn’t understand exactly what Adoptee Rights are about.  Plus, how her use of the words “Adoptee Rights people” comes off insulting, and shows her complete and utter contempt by adding “people” combined with her obvious hatred strewn in her posts for those “random women” (aka the child’s mother).

It boggles my mind that if she really is an AP – that she is so bloody clueless and unfeeling.  It shocked me!  It makes me very thankful that I know so many adoptive parents who are NOT clueless, or unfeeling, and who stand up for Adoptee Rights and for mothers.

If anyone you know holds fallacies about what Adoptee Rights is all about, here is a primer created by Amanda at The Declassified Adoptee.

Amanda’s Guide to Adoptee Rights

Send them to Amanda first, and then to the Adoptee Rights Coalition website to the post below that shows in a chart by state the laws and how each has state has different rules and options for adult adoptees.  How few rights we have to our own original birth certificate.

Adoption Info-graphic: OBC Access by US States

Finally, as to the using “illness as an excuse“…okay that really burns me for two reasons.  The first reason is obvious – it has NOTHING to do with Adoptee Rights!  

The second reason it burns me is because of all people in this world who should give a damn about adoptees well-being, it is an adoptive parent.  Implying we use it as an excuse is insulting.  For any adoptee born in a closed state, if you get sick, and I mean sick enough to warrant a judge to unseal your sealed adoption record, it means you really needed it.  Judges don’t like to unseal court records.  In addition to trying to navigate the system while sick, the system of unsealing records is not done in a timely manner. If you are successful, you are left with decades old information about your mother, there is a good chance she has married and changed her name, moved, or already passed away.  It took me 13 months after my events to make my first contact with my relative who knew about me.  That is not even close to timely enough to help when you really need information.


Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Uncategorized


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Recent Calgary Reunion Story in the News – The Reunion Video

Video of the reunion Family Secret Leads to Heart Warming Reunion aired last night on Global National.  I am unsure if readers in the US can view the video – please let me know.

At the end of the segment my husband asked me if I needed to cry some more.  The story of the cake baked every August 3rd was what I think tipped me over completely when I first read about it, but then to hear them talk about it…the tears poured.  Very happy for them.

This story was first written about in the media at the end of August Mother and daughter to meet for first time in 67 years

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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Adoption


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Amanda – telling it like it is…

Amanda at The Declassified Adoptee…

PA Paves the Way: How to Make A Really Great Adoption Law in 5 Easy Steps

Make sure you listen to the words and realize exactly the implications of the choices made.

Sad isn’t it…in 2012 the adult adoptee voice is still silenced…

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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics


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When you are too late…

The end of my search came on the day I received a cold factual statement telling me my mother had already died.  I had no warning that the next update from my searcher would contain such stark words.  I do remember eagerly opening that email expecting to hear that either she couldn’t find her yet and was working on other avenues, or that she had found her.  I wasn’t expecting she had already passed.  She wasn’t that old.  I never expected that at her age she would already be gone.  That my mother had already passed away from the same event I had just experienced.

I don’t know how to grieve the loss of my mother.  How to let my dreams go.  How to make peace within my soul of never getting to meet my mother.

This is the ending of the story of how adoption “benefited” me.  My story isn’t all negative and has many positives.  I can’t do any type of “what if” scenario about if I had never been adopted, because it has already happened and you can’t go back and wipe away what was.  It doesn’t work that way.  I do believe reunion allows you to combine your two lives and find peace, and provides an opportunity to regain a relationship that was lost.

When you weigh the good and the bad, I don’t think the scales are tipped in favor of adoption being the better option when there are no concerns over safety.  There was no reason for my adoption except for the pervasive religious fervor and ideology of the day – conveniently combined with the rising rates of infertility.  I am scared for the future as I see that same misguided thought process raising up again, and the infertility rates even worse.  I am scared by the promotion of adoption as the superior option over parenting for unplanned pregnancies.  I am scared for women like my mother and for their children like me.  They won’t have a choice either.


Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


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You’re Too Sensitive – You Worry Too Much…

Every single time I see mom or talk to her on the phone – that phrase is uttered at least once, if not may times throughout the visit or call.  It is usually accompanied by words of *advice* that have been repeated every single time.  You need to relax.  Take things as they come.  Roll with the punches.  Worrying won’t a difference.  I don’t know why you can’t just relax, I wish you could get over this.  You can’t worry about everything.  And a million or two other versions of the same.   I just wish she could accept that is who I am, that it is a combination of my genetic makeup, and my life experiences.  Neither of which I can change, and I wish mom could accept that, but I also never expect her too.  She is who she is – just like – I am who I am.

I am too sensitive and worry too much – but I can’t change a core part of what makes me – me.  Sometimes my worry is front and center, and other times it is subconscious – both forms take their toll.  My friends get it and accept it.  It didn’t take long for my closest colleagues at work to learn that I stressed over everything but they accepted it as part of who I was.  That for me, my work needed to be perfect and any mistake made by my team or I was unacceptable, so I built-in controls into every facet so that the risk of a mistake was minimal.  Being able to control it – reduced my stress about it.  That was my only solution.  I was a pro at risk assessment…

Worrying is unhealthy, but I don’t have a magic way to fix it.  I have read books on it.  I have tried to consciously block things out of my mind.  I have tried, and tried, and tried.  The only method that works is control of the situation and outcome, and yet there are still things I cannot control.  Those things I stress over, either by putting them off, or waiting anxiously for the outcome to be known.  I can face known – that is the easy part.  What I can’t face is not knowing and someone else being in control of when I get to know the outcome.

I have been this way since I arrived home.  I think at it’s core it is about separation from my mother, and then from whoever, or however many whoever’s cared for me the first two and a half months of my life.  My transition home was horrible according to mom – when I was awake, I cried inconsolably for well over 6 months, nothing she tried worked for more than a minute or two.  Nothing was physically wrong with me.  I was just inconsolable – except with dad.  I attached to dad, but I don’t think I ever really attached to mom.  I don’t know that she could have done anything different from what she did, I just didn’t attach to her.  She will always be mom, but not in the same way as dad.  Mom and I don’t fit.  I don’t know why, but suspect it is a combination of being nothing alike, and a babies instinctual distrust of mothers/caregivers not being there anymore learned by reality.

Yet I don’t have separation anxiety and never have…it doesn’t bother me when someone leaves.  How messed up is that.


Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


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No words…

I certainly don’t have any answers, but I can say the solution is not breaking apart families…these children will be affected by this for their entire life.  I don’t care how many people think adoption is such a great thing.  Not this way.

As thousands of parents are deported, US citizen kids face fallout; some placed for adoption

I’m not even going to try to quote parts of it – it is too heartbreaking.  This is wrong.


Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics


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