Just a quick thought…

17 Jun


The whole concept of “was adopted” vs. “is adopted” (and all the different variations of that) is so that adoption doesn’t define their child.  I keep going back to that and still can’t seem to understand why adoption isn’t allowed to be something that is part of what defines you…

I read those short bio’s of folks and it will say something like; wife, mother, teacher, whatever degree held, exercise enthusiast, cancer survivor, adopted, animal lover – in whatever order the person feels like.  All are obviously big or important parts of what makes that person who they are, or they wouldn’t list them.

So why the push back to not make being adopted as part of what makes you, you?

And if you aren’t supposed to be defined by being adopted – why do so many keep recreating those lists of Famous Adoptees?


Hope everyone is doing well – I’m hoping some of you will be so kind as to note in the comments why you read this blog.  I’m honestly curious as to why…and what you get out of it, or would like to get out of it. 

Thanks in advance, it’s appreciated, please don’t be shy..


Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Adoption


Tags: ,

43 responses to “Just a quick thought…

  1. Deb

    June 17, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    If you make adoption a part of who a person is, then you have to admit that what you have “possession of” was not yours in the first place and that you had to obtain it… experience based on feedback.

    You asked why we read your blog so here it is…

    Over a decade ago I had twins that were born prematurely. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital on magnesium sulfate for the treatment of premature labor. One of my children developed a swollen finger and after an x-ray and a biopsy on the finger, the doctors determined that the finger was fractured. Because I did not have an explanation for this, the state took my babies and did not return them to me due to “risk of future harm.”

    In May 2013, the FDA released a statement on magnesium sulfate saying that it should not be administered to woman for premature labor. In addition, it said that if the drug is used for other reasons, it should not be used for longer than 5-7 days because the drug thins bones in the developing fetus and can cause fractures due to this thinning. All you have to do is Google magnesium sulfate and bone fractures and the FDA article will come up.

    My kids now live in another country and primarily speak another language. I have written to them for years, but have dealt with so much emotional abuse from the adoptive parents over the last few years that I have just recently decided that I can no longer keep writing (The adoptive parents are the twin’s fraternal aunt and uncle). I have decided that I need to focus on what I do have control over in my life for my own sanity and self-esteem.

    So, I read your blog because I want to believe that the children I gave birth to will one day feel that I am important to them and your blog gives me hope.


    • TAO

      June 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Oh Deb, I’m really sorry. So many mistakes have happened and none of them should have. I think most of us believe our families are important, sometimes though, it’s complicated by fears or others. I hope they reach out to you. Have you kept copies of your letters? If not and you send any more, keep copies. Write them letters in a journal if you aren’t sending letters…


  2. kellie3

    June 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I read this blog because I like the way you call it like you see it, you aren’t afraid to tackle the tough subjects, and I enjoy your writing. It all gives me a better understanding of how my granddaughter may feel some day about her own adoption. I do not want to be as clueless as I was when the decision to relinquish her was being made.


    • TAO

      June 17, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      Thanks Kellie – pretty sure my writing sucks at least the grammatical rule stuff…what would you want to talk about subject wise…basically what is relevant that isn’t talked about – would love to do shorter posts to bring up subjects and have more discussions…


  3. cb

    June 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Many APs will say “but I don’t want to treat my adopted child any different than my biuologicla child” Fair enough. However, it might also be worth looking at the “treating an adopted child same as a biological child” statement from a slight different angle.

    By that I mean
    a) When parenting a biological child, one should consider all factors that contribute to making their child who they are.
    b) When parenting an adopted child, one should consider all factors that contribute to making their child who they are.

    Thus one is treating them the same but acknowledging that each child might have a separate set of factors that make that person who they are. In fact, if one ignores adoption altogether in never considering that being adopted is part of who they are, then one might be saying that one is treating the child differently.


    • TAO

      June 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm



  4. cb

    June 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I started reading this blog because TAO and I became friendly via another forum. However, I don’t know how often I’ve been trying to think things through in my head and then have seen a post by TAO that has then helped to clarify what I’m thinking – I often find myself going “that’s what I’m trying to say” 🙂


  5. iwishiwasadopted

    June 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    I read a lot of adoption related blogs. I’m making up for over 48 years never realizing that adoption affected everything in my life. Now that I’ve woken up, i need to know what adoption is like for other people.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      I think many of us are similar that the realization literally rocked our world and felt the need to connect to others like us…


  6. NextInLine

    June 18, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I read your blog because after coming out of the adoption fog three years ago (and I am 51 so yes, it took THAT long), I voraciously read everything I could to try and pinpoint my journey and my search and my next step by step. I love the writing, the reasoning and the control you bring to the subject. I found many blogs that were over the top, or not impartial or even reasonable, and they only served to further my pain. Reading your story and arguments seems to help me understand more of how terribly important this all is.

    So far my search has an unhappy ending. Although the contact at the Family Services where I was relinquished (still hate that word) was able to provide me with a great deal of non-identifying information, and although she did locate and contact my bmom, the latter decided to refuse contact. In addition she herself was adopted so no trace there, and she was not willing to name the father either on the birth certificate or to my intermediary (who by the way, was amazing and went so the extra mile, and then sadly passed away three months ago — another loss).

    I did find out that I have two half-brothers and both have children, so I have nieces and nephews. She also sent me a very brief letter, but as you can imagine, it was full of adoption fog and half-truths. Baby Scoop bullshit. I have struggled mightily for the past few years over all this, and I find that your blog is a go-to for me. Next summer I can try contact again, and will, but I am pretty confident it will again be unsuccessful. Oddly, and sadly, if she has passed in these last few years, I will be able to contact my brothers. This system is so messed up it is ridiculous. Seems our lives are so often defined by loss, so being able to read the stories of others has been so connecting.

    Point being, thank you for your blog. I will continue to read assiduously.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 3:22 am

      Oh NextInLine – I wish you had spoken up sooner. I’m sorry that your bmom refused contact, I think that is everyone’s greatest fear. My father didn’t want to know me either, or tell me his side of the story, and it took several years before it didn’t bother me so bad, I still check the SSDI from time to time to know if he is still living. I’m assuming you weren’t allow to know their names. There is hope though that by the time you can request again that time will softened the shock of the original contact. Have you read The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler – it helped me even though my mother didn’t go to one of those homes. Keep talking and thank you for coming out of the shadows…


      • TAO

        June 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        NextInLine – I don’t like the term relinquished – it makes me squirmy. I’m okay with surrendered ( her parental rights) because it seems softer to me anyway.


  7. momsomniac

    June 18, 2014 at 3:13 am

    As an adoptive and bio-parent, who is also married to an adoptee, I read for insight. I also like that you honor individual experience here. If someone says “that’s not how it is/was for me” (not an ap talking about their child but a person talking about themselves), you respect that even when it’s clearly a struggle not to suggest maybe the person has some unresolved feelings.

    I like that there a person can thoughtfully disagree with you without being harassed (again, I am not talking about an ap speaking for their child – because we align 100% there [as well as in other areas] – that sh** is NOT ok).

    I like that both authors here have kind hearts and are truly trying to share important info to better the world. My spouse finally got info on his birth parents and though that is HIS info, he did share medical info with me, and then I, in turn, shared with the bio-kids. You helped me understand how to push him to get his medical info in ways that were not cruel.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 3:29 am

      Mom – you know I consider you a friend and I thank you for sticking with me. I’m so HAPPY that your husband got his medical info and in his way, hopefully, he never needs it personally but I’m thinking it probably helped your child, or, at least brought peace of mine that you could rule things in or out with a semblance of confidence. Thank you…that made my day…


      • momsomniac

        June 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

        And on that day, you made mine! : )

        I realized I didn’t address “is vs. was”. I think, when aps speak, “was” has value for very young children, so they know the process is done, not ongoing – that they are not in a risky role. However, other than that, adoptees should be respected to choose whatever language works for them.

        This may relate to adoptees being treated as “permanent children”. But not accepting what someone says about themselves because an ap chose specific language for the benefit of a child doesn’t make sense. What a 3 yo needs to hear should not be used to limit what s/he says about herself when s/he is 30 (or ever, really). If my now 6 yo says “I *am* adopted”, I am sure not going to correct him. He knows who he is and what he feels far better than I ever will. And that will grow and change for him over time – just like it does for everyone else.

        As usual, many among the (socially) privileged feel entitled to define reality for a less privileged group. It’s not OK, but it’s common. And I suspect a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge that growing up with one’s bio-family (for most of us) is a form of privilege.


  8. Melanie

    June 18, 2014 at 3:22 am

    I read your blog to learn more about what adopted people think and feel.

    I gave my daughter up for adoption because I was told I would go to hell if I kept her and I believed them. They told me that she most likely would never think of me because she would love her adoptive parents. They told me that the pain of losing her would eventually go away and I would move on with my life. It turns out that they weren’t telling me the truth. Every year the pain intensified as I “moved on with my life.” The longer I live, the more I understand what I have done. Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break any further, I started reading blogs by adoptees. I couldn’t believe that they thought about their mother or maybe even wanted a relationship with her. I have been trying to prepare myself for some day when I hopefully can meet her again. Reading blogs by young adoptees, older adoptees, ones that had a wonderful adoptive family, those that didn’t, some that have happily reunited with their mother, those estranged again due to complicated feelings, those that haven’t yet found their mother and those that don’t want to meet her.

    Thank you spending the time to voice your feelings and thoughts to help others.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 3:38 am

      Whoever told you those untruths should be ashamed of themselves. They did you wrong and stop and think about how little they must think of adoptees that we would only have room enough in our heart for one family – they must think we are very shallow. Reunion can be hard, rocky, unsure, emotions get all rollercoastery…but…they can work, I think if both are interested in taking the time to get to know each other and build memories. Was your daughter born in an open state or closed state – as far as whether or not she can request her original birth certificate when she is old enough (if she’s not already). If you want I can find out for you – or – you can google “state+adopted original birth certificate” and you should find a state website telling you if she can. If she can’t, find out if there is a waiver you can sign, or a state mutual consent registry you can sign up for. I do think that is what has stopped so many – they run into a brick wall and why adoptee rights fight to restore our right. I’m glad you took the time to comment and please don’t be shy…


      • Melanie

        June 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

        Thank you TAO. I was living in Missouri when she was born. I googled what you told me to and this is what it says:

        “When a person is adopted, their original birth certificate will be sealed, and a new certificate with all reference to the biological parent(s) names, and the adoptee’s original name removed, is issued.

        Original birth certificates are held at Vital Records in the birth state of the adoptee and the court of jurisdiction will not order an original birth certificate released to an adoptee.”

        That is crazy to see it there in black and white! It appears that they wouldn’t release it even if the court was petitioned.

        Just before she turned 18 I filled out the paperwork to register for the Missouri State Registry and the ISRR. I also have requested my info from the adoption agency. I’m not sure what to do now except hope and pray that she registers with one of them. In the meantime, here I am reading blogs…


        • TAO

          June 18, 2014 at 9:19 pm

          Missouri is probably one of the worst states for adoptees. They actually updated the laws so that the adoptee didn’t have to submit notarized signed letters from each adoptive parent saying it was okay for their child (who could be 60 years old) to receive their non-identifying information…jaw dropping and worse if one had passed away – to bad, so sad. Definitely a perpetual child state for adoptees.

          You could register on as well – that is pretty popular, search it as well but avoid putting in the day of birth because nothing surprises me in adoption anymore. Always update your information if it changes because so often someone finally finds a match but the contact info is out of date. When/if the adoption agency gets back to you – consider asking if they have release forms so your child if they make contact with them can have your identifying info and/or include a letter in the file.

          Finally, get in touch with the “Adoptee Rights” group in your state – they need mothers who support adoptees rights and they might be getting ready to get the law changed. If you can’t find them go to the main Adoptee Rights website to see if they would know (in the first category in my blog page)


          • Melanie

            June 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm

            You can’t have your non-identifying information unless your mommy and daddy say it’s ok. That is ridiculous! At least that has been updated.

            As to information being inaccurate, I requested all of my paperwork from the agency and was astounded to read what information they had listed about me. I am tall and thin, they showed that I was short and a little bit heavy. They made up hobbies for me and personality traits that are pretty much opposite of how I am.

            I think that a lot of people believe that the end justifies the means. I’m not angry about it anymore, just sad. They truly believe that babies should not be with a single mother and I think they rationalize the steps they feel they have to take.

            I’ll register at and see if I can find a local Adoptee Rights group. The agency has stated that they will do nothing to facilitate a reunion. Thank you for caring enough to give me some searching tips. 🙂


            • TAO

              June 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

              I wonder if they have poor record keeping like other agencies have been known to have and just grabbed as file, any file would do type thing…how silly though when you are the opposite of what they provided – perhaps those qualities were needed to say the baby matched well with the adoptive parents – because they did that. One CC in NJ admitted to poor record keeping when confronted with the fact that the boy they matched to his father by birth shared no dna with the father or the mother – so they admitted it their son could be one of six boys that were adopted out around that time…


  9. Valentine Logar

    June 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Ah Tao, I read because you bring information to light. Because as an adoptee who has had the fortune to meet and form relationships with my first family (some good and some bad) I hopefully can add to the discussion now and then. Because my second family struggled with me as a child and so not all adoptions are healthy and people should understand this when the consider giving up their child to strangers. Because I know other families with adopted children, some of who have formed wonderful bonds, some of whom have struggled; hopefully I can add to the discussion from my first hand observations.

    Those are just some of the reasons.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Val – you make me stop and think (sometimes for a while after), take a breath and reassess. We all have something to add to the discussion and I’m glad you do.


  10. Stefani

    June 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Tao, I read your blog because I am a parent by adoption and a counselor working with women who are considering adoption as an option. I greatly appreciate the insights you offer and it makes me re-consider things from different angles. I think reading your blog helps me be a better mother to my amazing girls, to better honor their first mothers whom I hold dear to my heart, and to better counsel women about the truth of the pain and sacrifice they are making when they chose adoption. I do not pressure, do not lie, do not expect them to choose adoption. If they do, I hope that I can remain authentic in the counseling and support I offer them about what the future may hold. I fully support them in parenting their children and finding resources that will help them do so. I hope that I am doing “better” (as there is no “right”) by women considering their options. Thank you for offering this space.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Stefani – I thank you for commenting and what a wonderful gift to wake up to. I’m grateful to know someone has listened, thought about, sees things a bit different or more broadly than before. You may not know it, but you gave me the gift of being heard and doing this hasn’t been for nothing. Keep chiming in please.


  11. shadowtheadoptee

    June 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Was adopted…is adopted…am adopted…grrrr.

    I don’t like thinking that being adopted defines me, any more, than I like thinking that being blind defines me. It doesn’t matter whether I like it or not. The truth is that they, both, do define me. If they didn’t, I, really, would not be the me that I am today. What I find funny about the, whole, was/is arguement is that it isn’t adoptees that get upset, or, for most of us, even care about was/am adopted. It seems to be others, who “are not adopted”, that get so set on the was/is thing.
    When I think about that, it seems to me, that, it isn’t we, the adoptees, who define ourselves through adoption, it is everyone else. Ha, we don’t want to define you, but…seriously, you’d think people had bigger things to worry about than whether an adoptee , was/is adopted. Once and adoptee, always an adoptee, believe me. If I could stop being adopted, I would, because, it’s really not all rainbows, and sunshine, and no matter how they try, they can’t make it so. Maybe, we, adoptees, would not feel so defined by adoption, if other people would stop trying so hard to keep us from feeling defined by adoption.
    Ha, TAO, see what you did. lol I know I’m not around much, but I read everything you post. You rock.
    Hmmm, glad I got that off my chest. lol Thanks.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      So I should just keep writing posts that hit your triggers to get you to talk more? You don’t talk enough and you should.


      • Beth

        June 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

        Hey, whatever it takes!
        I think maybe Shadow is so happy to be defined as a happy adoptee that was adopted, she has no need to come out of the shadows much and tell us any different


        • Beth

          June 20, 2014 at 6:41 pm

  12. Tiffany

    June 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    We met through another forum as well (and I always appreciated your viewpoint), but I have come to love your blog. I read many adoptee and first mother blogs but only comment on a few because I can feel uncomfortable as an adoptive mom. You are so welcoming, and your particular viewpoint really speaks to me. I’m usually nodding along as I read your posts.

    The overall reason that I read your blog is because the voice of adoptees is one that I want and need to hear. My young daughter, who is adopted, will someday be one of these voices, and I need to be prepared to be the supportive parent she needs. If one of my daughters had autism, I would be all over finding blogs written by people with autism. Or, if one had ADHD, I would be on every board and reading the experiences of people with ADHD. There is nothing like firsthand experience, and since I am not adopted, I cannot have the firsthand experience. So, I rely on others to share their wisdom with me to help me be a prepared and supportive parent.

    I deeply appreciate you sharing your heart with your readers. I learn so much from you, and that knowledge is priceless to me when I think of my daughter and the support she will need from me throughout her life.


    • TAO

      June 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Tiffany – I think you should start giving classes to adoptive and pre-adoptive parents on being sensitivity training regarding adoptees? You know, I’ve tried explaining that when I was dx with a rare disease, I did the same thing, I wanted to know everything there was to know and talk to others. It’s a pretty normal reaction but not if you are an adoptee.


      • Tiffany

        June 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

        I would love that, but I think there is already such a strong and loud AP voice out there. I want more adoptee voices. So, my ideal class would probably consist of me giving a short intro to several adult adoptees. 🙂

        Personally, and i think this equally of myself, APs need to shut up more often in many cases. The only area I can think of that we need to be more vocal is on sealed records. Otherwise, we need to give way to the voices that represent our children. Your voice.

        You know I get pretty bent out of shape with APs try to discount the adoptee viewpoint. 😉


  13. Dannie

    June 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I don’t read as often as I should anymore due to being busy with the young kiddos and their events now but I read for information and to think. My daughter is my life and my first and adopted so always want to be on her side no matter what and it is helpful to read about feelings that may come up for her.
    As a parent of both an adopted and bio child, it is helpful to read about the differences and experiences that change us. My love for both children is the same…..of that I’m sure, but I can’t deny that both children are defined differently. I read to gain insight. Also because yanno you (TAO) are pretty cool and we have another connection in the way we both were raised :).


    • TAO

      June 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      And Dannie they are both adorable but better you than me with teething, spitting up and sniffles and all sorts of things that come with tiny bundles…I like seeing the pictures though…


  14. Robyn C

    June 20, 2014 at 3:33 am

    The bottom line is, I read your blog because it’s thoughtful and well written, and because I appreciate your point of view.

    As for is/was, I use them interchangeably. When my kids grow up, I imagine they’ll decide which verb they prefer. Who knows? Each of them may prefer a different verb.


    • TAO

      June 20, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      It’s funny Robyn that we can agree or disagree and the end of the world doesn’t happen – it makes it easier to see both sides when you can own a point and not get bashed either way. Thank you for reading – I’ve often worried it would drive you batty because my punctuation sucks most of the time but with good reason if I do say so myself. Congrats on your new job and moving…


  15. Beth

    June 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I read your blog daily, because you and your cute kitty pic make me happy.
    Alright, maybe it’s just all about the cat 😉
    I read because I consider you a friend, because I trust you, because you get it, because you are well studied, because you are not afraid to jump into this crazy tornado of adoption thinking with me.
    I enjoy being in the tornado with you, as we watch and point out the crazy spinning all around us while trying to make some sort of sense out of it!


    • TAO

      June 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      I know – the picture makes me smile every time I see it…the rest is just going to go to my head my friend. Thanks!


  16. Beth

    June 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    oh, the was/is/am adopted.
    I wish people would get over themselves and their fearful brainwashing ideas!

    I was married. or I was married in 1984.
    So what does that mean??? can’t really tell can you?
    Sounds to me like I might not Be married, but maybe was at some point.
    Having been married doesn’t say I am currently married (which I am) or how many times I have been married (which would be four times).
    I can hear my husband now if I said ‘I was married.’ to someone; “Oh, she’s still married buddy”

    You would think aparents (especially the extremely possessive) would want their kids to say/admit that they are currently adopted by them.
    Unless they are trying to hide it, the Aword?

    Duh, I am adopted and I am married. I really don’t understand any reason to deny either, unless I am embarrassed by the people I am adopted to or married to?

    Why would I not want to define or describe myself as the things that I am? Would that not be the healthy realistic thing to do?
    If I was never adopted I would say, I am not adopted AND I was not adopted.
    Since I was I naturally say, I am adopted AND I was Adopted.
    Does that make too much sense or something? LOL

    I’m a mother, wife, daughter, adopted daughter, sister, adopted sister, aunt, adopted aunt, niece, adopted niece, cousin, adopted cousin, painter, artist, genealogist, business owner, consultant, mechanic, electrician, plumber, carpenter, mentor, Big Sister, retired (from Having to work)…
    there’s a really long list that is the definition of me.
    Not one thing on that list defines me completely.
    And if one thing is left out = not a complete definition of me.

    I’d prefer to keep the “was” type of craziness far way from me! I’m headed for the middle of the tornado where it’s peaceful!


    • TAO

      June 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Exactly…it’s all so silly that it just makes me want to say – if that’s the biggest problem in the world then life is good. I think it takes a while for adoptive parents to catch up with us old folks in being comfortable with just what was and still is…


  17. TAO

    June 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Hey guys – I want to thank you all for commenting…I was at a point where I didn’t know why I was doing it – but if it helps others in the broader understanding of adoption by including one more person’s viewpoint – I’m good with that.


    • Beth

      June 21, 2014 at 11:13 am

      I know it helps TAO, I’ve seen what and how you say/approach things make changes for people. I’ve seen it, here, people actually considering what you’ve shared, and altering the way they think about something.
      I hope you don’t stop, cause I really LOVE seeing that 🙂
      And I am astonished every time I see it happen, and probably always will be no matter how many times it happens. I’ve waited many years for this time, don’t stop now it’s finally starting to work. LOL We are being heard – how crazy is that!?!


  18. Andre'

    June 24, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Well it hurts to be a father that lost to adoption. I read to get perspective. I want to find out why mothers give up their kids. Why they exclude their fathers. What it means to be adopted. I am so saddened I did not get to watch my child grow in her mother’s womb. Raised my other child, so close in age. Hated my child was hidden by name change, closed adoption and apathy. After four years I did not believe I had a another child, let alone adopted. Tears flowed nightly putting one to bed but not the other. I hope it becomes illegal to put young mothers in a position of feeling unworthy to be what they are. Preyed upon is how I would put it then, even more so now.



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