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I finally know…

08 Sep

By TAO

I started a draft post on my birthday and intended to post it a couple of weeks later, then I forgot until the other day, and now it has morphed into a very long post because I’ve incorporated new thoughts into the post.

We were watching Doctor Who and at the end they talked about family stories passed down.  That got me thinking about why we pass them down.  How my love for family history evolved because of those stories mom and dad told about their life, and their ancestors lives.  And isn’t that the very essence of family is?  The past continuing on into the future, each generation passing on the traditions, beliefs about what a family is, facing challenges together, that is woven in the rich historical fabric of what makes your family unique, that makes you, you.  Aren’t those stories the gift that is passed down generation upon generation?  That you come from people who made it through many challenges, so that confirms you have what it takes, to make it through whatever you are challenged with now?  You can see it in our conversations, even if you don’t consciously register you’re doing it, see if you can’t catch yourself doing it too.

Because of the research I’ve done on dad’s family I have expanded his story back multiple generations further than he had, and it showed me that 400 years ago, those men were the same type of men, that dad was.  I’ve woven dad’s family history into a story, instead of just facts obtained from pouring through old pioneer genealogical history books and documents.  I can tell dad’s family story starting back in the 1600’s.  The first chapter starts with his ancestor that immigrated from England to the Colonies and tells why he struck out on his own and crossed the ocean, the words describe what type of man he was, what he did for a living, who his wife was, where they lived their life, what they believed in and why including their faith, what they stood for and practiced, what they owned, who their children were.  Each generation is a chapter.  The same pioneering spirit shows up in the words used as to why each generation was driven to explore further west, in the search for a better life.  There’s the chapter of one ancestor that was struck with gold fever, but even that ancestor had the hard work ethics, the focus on his family to make sure they were provided and cared for, despite chasing the gold, he was a strong family man proven by his choices and actions.  They all had that same indomitable spirit and sense of family obligation that dad had, that comes out in the stories of his life, his chapter in the story of his family.  Describing one ancestor is to describe another, its uncanny, different stories, but same dedication to what was important to them, what they wanted to do and were good at.  That’s the very essence of a family story, and why each successive generation remembered and told the story of their forebears – it provided them with a map to know what was the right way for them to have a good life, and they could be successful because they too, had it in them.  Their history proved it was possible for the current generation.

When you put adoption into the mix, it’s totally random whether you fit into the family who adopted you, how close a match you really are.  While parents can pass down family traditions, their moral compass about how you live your life, what values a person needs to cherish and protect, they can’t pass down the genetics that is also intrinsically part of you, your personality and innate character traits, your wants and desires, what’s important to you.   The older I become, the more I believe that genetics is just as important as how you were raised.  Without genetics – the ancestors of your family are someone else’s ancestors, you can look at the story and see how each successive generation dealt with life challenges and see in your mom and dad that they had the same internal tools, drive, and desires of their ancestors.  Being adopted means you might not have same traits and tools inside you, and the only map you have to follow is what you have done.

Now I know not everyone cares, but everyone should have the right to know who they are, and be able to choose to go back into time and discover their history.  To know the history of what your family accomplished, the challenges they faced and overcame, who they were as people, what their strengths were, and weaknesses to watch out for.  Those stories also matter for your future, your children’s future is a blend of both because being adopted you received different parts of you, from each family.  Knowing your story matters because it provides comfort to know you can meet the challenges and come through even the darkest chapters of your life.  It’s a comfort unlike any other I have known, to have the gift of now knowing both my family’s story.  To know my family of birth, allows me to understand why I react differently, and have things that are important to me that aren’t to mom and dad. To know that what is inside me is both what was taught/shown by mom and dad, coupled with what my ancestors were like, is truly a priceless gift.  The gift of knowing I’m not just the only one like me, I am part of both.  Perhaps that is part of what drives the need for perfection in some adoptees, a drive to fit perfectly inside their family and what is expected family members to be like, because they are missing their family stories that would tell them it was okay to just be who they are.

Now the post I started earlier this year and never published that I pulled up because of watching Doctor Who…

I finally know

What happened the day I was born…
Who I was supposed to be…
Who I look like…
Where my personality comes from…
Who my mother, father, grandparents, ancestors were…
What they all did for a living…
Where they traveled from and what brought them to this new land…
The challenges they faced, how they overcome them…
Where they settled, how they prospered..
What my nationalities are…

I don’t believe there is any valid reason why just because I was adopted, I had to wait decades to know my family’s story, or to even know them, and yet, there are still blank pages of personal memories that I could have had, but didn’t, because it took too long..

Seems so incredibly wrong-headed that adoptees must still fight to know, what I finally know now.  It seems unfair that I know, but others still don’t, and I feel guilty.  It’s such a random chance whether an adoptee can know, whether it’s because they got sick, or the laws in the state they were born in allows them the same privilege non-adopted already have.  Some states were wise and never changed their laws, others have changed them back, some states can’t seem to grasp how wrong it is to deny adoptees their knowledge.  Why must people adopted fight against the powers that be in legislatures around the country for the same right non-adopted enjoy?  Why is it remotely acceptable that people from the adoption industry speak about the need to continue denying us our rights, speaking about a time they weren’t present for, and can’t understand what anyone actually wanted back then.  Doesn’t that seem wrong?

I’ve read my court surrender judgement multiple times, there is no promise, or guarantee made to my mother (my father had no right to consent or contest).  I’ve read the laws from my state from that time period, they also contained no promise, or guarantee, made to birth parents – the laws just set out the time-lines, notice requirements, and who was, and wasn’t entitled to notice, processes for surrendering parental rights – that’s it.  My state did not promise parents of birth anything, they simply stripped their parental rights to the child named.  I would suspect most other states didn’t promise anything either.  How is it right that adoption industry believes that if some social workers promised some mothers that no one would ever know, and despite the reality that many (if not most) of the laws then, did not make those promises – that millions of adoptees born in the US should forever be denied the same rights that non-adopted have?

It also angers me no end when the arguments made by those in adoption speaking against adoptee rights, infer that adoptees are not to be trusted, alluding that we will turn into stalkers intent on doing harm to our family of birth if we gain the right to know who we were born to be.  It should anger you too.  It promotes a stereotype that we are abnormal, different, damaged, pathological, untrustworthy, less-than…

Please support Adoptee Rights until all adoptees born in the US have the same rights that the non-adopted enjoy.

 

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7 Comments

Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Adoption

 

Tags: , , , , ,

7 responses to “I finally know…

  1. kellie3

    September 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    In states that do not have open records, where adopted individuals have to justify their reasons for wanting a copy of their birth certificate in front of a judge, first/birth parent approval or notification is not a requirement yet that is the defense these states cling to when trying to maintain closed records. It is baffling why it is even part of the conversation.
    The inference adoptees are “not to be trusted” infuriates me, as well. When adoptees are young, the first/birth families are “not to be trusted”. When they are older the tables are turned. Anything to keep reunification from becoming a more accepted practice, but that’s just my opinion.

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  2. Mary Kate

    September 9, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Knowing even just the bits I now know, I understand so much more about why I am who I am. It is impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t been through it how much you can learn about yourself in your 30s from the tiniest and most random details.

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    • TAO

      September 9, 2014 at 2:26 am

      I so agree Mary Kate…unless you have never not known, it’s really hard to understand. I wish there was a magic potion other could use to understand.

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  3. eagoodlife

    September 9, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Here in Australia records have been open for decades with no problems. Sadly your legislation is so punitive and denies what is rightfully yours. I have never been able to swallow the arguments made for denial. Family history is vital to our sense of self and identity. I’m lucky to be able to trace back to 1770 in the family who’s name I bear. It has been so important to me and I wish everyone could have these rights. I’m writing it all out for my daughter who has never had to query who she is or where she came from as I did for my first 50 years.

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  4. shadowtheadoptee

    September 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    You know how peple will ask if we know our “real” families? “knowing” made me feel real. I didn’t even know I didn’t feel “real” until I finally felt, yes, “real” is the right word.

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  5. nutsfortreasure

    September 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I am a birth mom who adored her child but wanted more than I could give never knowing all I possessed was all he would ever need thirty 2 years after saying good bye we said hello then the internal battles began again. We never really talk yes a message here in there in text and pm’s on FB but too much time had passed for us but now he has all the answers and I hope as he grows old it will somehow fill him with peace.

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  6. Beth

    September 13, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Recently I sat in a room with my adopted family; my parents, their natural sons, my sister in laws and my husband.
    All of us adults over 40, all of us parents.
    I told my mother details about her family ancestors, my father about his family, I told my husband about his, my sister in laws about theirs,
    and I told them all about mine.

    We were all on an equal plane.
    Everyone knew.

    A memorable moment for me.
    I’ve never felt like that/this before now.

    And I got to be the “know it all” haha
    after thousands of hours of research!
    Well worth it, and I am sure I will continue my research until my end.
    I was so very glad and satisfied when I could finally start it.

    Like

     

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