Knowledge About Your Adoption prompt…

16 Nov


November 16th prompt…Knowledge About Your Adoption

Some adoptive parents share more than others for various reasons. How much of your adoptive parents’ story was shared with you? If they shared details about your adoption, how did that make you feel? If they did not, do you wish they had? Did your parents share with you why they choose to adopt? Did they share that story with others in your life? If so, did it affect you in any way?

Mom and dad shared exactly what the SW told them, and that part of my story was they were asked to adopt me, when they weren’t looking to adopt again.  Everyone knew we were adopted – there wasn’t anyway they could have hidden it if they had wanted to, so I am sure my entire four sentence story was shared with at least those close – really how could they have abbreviated it anymore than that…

Every time talk about an adoptee’s story comes up – I am drawn to look back to the posts I have done about Chimanda Adichie – “The Danger of the Single Story”

This is a snippet of what I said in my post on November 20th 2011…about what Chimanda Adichie says in her talk – and how I related to it.

In the talk she shows time and time again with anecdotal personal stories how our impressions and views on an individual are shaped only by what we know about one part of who they are.

She states “It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word an evil word that I think about “oncarli” (my phonetic spelling), it’s a noun roughly translated “to be greater than another”. Stories to are defined by the principal of “oncarli”, how they are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability to tell the story of another person but to make it the definitive story of that person.”

As an adoptee in a closed adoption with knowledge that I would never know my family, my ancestors, my nationality I had one Single Story of them. A Single Story passed to my mom and dad from the social worker. That story consisted of four sentences. Once the court opened my records and I met my family, I learned that story had no truth to it at all. But it had been MY Single Story of my family for over 40 years. The power was held by the social worker who crafted my story, each sentence had the smallest grain of truth and a liberal helping of borrowed or changed information designed to ensure that even if I searched, with those facts I would fail.

I think Chimanda Adichie provides the very best advice to adoptive parents in her talk.  What I took away in part was – be aware that you are telling only one story of another person – tread very carefully with the terms you choose to use, and how you tell the story, and how limiting that story actually is.  Recognise the power you hold over making that single story – the only story anyone hears and remembers – you don’t know all the stories – just the one story you were told.

This is what I said about this ted talk back in 2010…

Adoption is not part of this video but it speaks so loudly about it that every single person involved in the adoption world must hear the words in this video.  Please take the time to listen to her words they are important.  None of us comes with a single story, nor is one story the only story you must hear on anything.

Even if you have listened to the talk before – it is worth listening to it over again, I can’t stress that enough.


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


Tags: , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “Knowledge About Your Adoption prompt…

  1. andy

    November 17, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Powerful post!!


  2. JavaMonkey

    November 17, 2012 at 11:41 am


    You are right when you say that the origin story becomes a powerful thing in our lives. I’ve lived my entire life believing in mine. Now that I have read your story and others, I am beginning to wonder. If you are up to it (I understand these things are personal), please share more about what ended up being true, and what was a lie.


    • TAO

      November 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      My basic script of the story had her as a college student who lived away from home who had an affair with a married man. Reality was none of those were true. I think it was the standard script the SW used because a college was in the area – it tied it up in a neat package and made searching impossible. I am trying to be deliberately vague because it’s the internet. Have you ever taken the baby step of even trying to get your non-identifying info from the agency (if you were through an agency) as well as the state? Or asked if there are any letters in your files or requests to release your files to you by your mother?


      • JavaMonkey

        November 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        Thank you for sharing. I completely understand being vague on the inter-tubes.

        I was told that my adoption was handled by the County where I grew up. I have an information booklet that was given to my parents by the agency. That booklet contains a very basic story of my origins. I also obtained the non-identifying information, and it backs up the story in the booklet, at least where it concerns my birth parents ages, appearances, and education.

        The only part that really causes me to doubt anything is my mother’s supposed request that I be placed in a Catholic family. Sure, maybe she was a devout Catholic. The non-identifying information and the demographics of where I was born back that up. But it makes me wonder if Catholic Charities was somehow involved in this. If they were involved, I don’t think I can believe anything at all.


        • TAO

          November 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm

          My mother made three requests that the SW did go out of her way to make happen – none in the waiting pool matched all three so she contacted a prior adopting family who did – at least that is the story that I can’t confirm because my mother has passed. I know my era they did try to stay within religions so who knows but likely if she requested it they would have complied state agency or not. Did your parents go to the state to adopt or CC?


          • JavaMonkey

            November 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

            My parents went through the county agency. It is a huge relief for me to know that the agencies did try to fulfill those types of birth parents’ requests.


  3. Valentine Logar

    November 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    My parents told me what they knew. It wasn’t much but it was true, my mother embellished to fit her reality. Her embellishments were ugly and hurtful.



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