Just wow…

03 Feb

7 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Adopting

“6. The lack of medical information and social history is awkward, embarrassing, and frustrating.”

“Right now, forms are an annoyance. The amount of blanks I have to leave is frustrating. At some point, the gaps between what we know and what we don’t might be a source of embarrassment for my kids. I can say we have to accept unknowns (because we do), but it’s hard.”

Do you have any idea the number of adoptees out there who can only wish that the lack of FHH was just awkward, embarrassing, and frustrating…

…might be a source of embarrassment for your kids.  Embarrassment?  Try life-altering, life-threatening…

I’m going to stop here before I get really upset at the glibness displayed…


Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Adoption


Tags: , , , ,

30 responses to “Just wow…

  1. Snarkurchin

    February 3, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    ARRRRRGH. The only reason not to know such a thing before adopting is that you didn’t bother to find out because you didn’t care about the child as much as you cared about your desire to adopt!


    • TAO

      February 3, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      I think she adopted internationally – so…but she could give a damn for the real impact adoptees face not having a FHH, be worried about it, instead it’s all about her. She has a platform – the least you can do is try to educate the public that it sucks not having a stitch of info – which can lead to major complications…

      but I know I’m preaching to the choir…just got my last nerve zinging…


    • TAO

      February 3, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      and one from FC so she could at least push for it, search for extended family to maintain a connection with…sigh


  2. iwishiwasadopted

    February 4, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Oh, the poor dear! How inconvenient it must be for her!


  3. pj

    February 4, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Just read this week where a mother with ” adopted embryos ” ( her wording ) wrote to “The Ethicist ” concerned about which (race) box to check on her kids school forms…yes, arghh….should be least of her concerns. Of course,”The Ethicist ” didn’t pick up on that…double arghh!


    • TAO

      February 4, 2016 at 2:11 am

      I just can’t understand how people can’t see the real implications of having no FHH for you or your children. Things get caught because of FHH, they don’t go looking if there aren’t bread crumbs – even if they tell you that they will treat you as if everything is part of your FHH…



      • Tia (S) Floberg

        February 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        There is also a downside of being treated as if everything is a part of your FHH. My doctor started giving me orders for mammograms four years earlier than recommended. Because I have no FHH, I had my first colonoscopy earlier as well due to the combination of two symptoms plus no FHH. Over the course of my lifetime, if I consent to all the tests ordered as a precaution because I have no FHH and a doctor who respects what this means for me, who can say how much additional radiation and other risks i will be exposed to. It’s a constant balancing act that gets tougher the older we get.


        • TAO

          February 4, 2016 at 3:15 pm

          Yes it does Tia…even just waiting for the test results adds extra stress. I know since I now have half my history – I don’t stress as much over mammograms like I did before when I have nothing…it just all adds up…


  4. L4R

    February 4, 2016 at 4:13 am

    At least she understands that adoption starts with loss. I’ve got to give her some credit there.

    I could be wrong, but I think she feels they might be embarrassed about the circumstances surrounding their lack of information. According to her, they were abandoned at birth and then in foster care and an orphanage.

    So, the fact that she considers how they might feel is fine to me, but I wish she also would have gone further and thought of the life-and-death consequences that can exist when adopters don’t know our family medical history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      February 4, 2016 at 4:36 am

      My biggest pet peeve…I lost it on her angst having deal with forms…the inability for people working in, and adopting to give more than a head toss to say this is so annoying, when for some of us – it’s serious. She could have at least said it’s problematic.

      And even when it’s possible – it’s a form. Updates by parents are filed away on the off chance the adoptee will ask…they don’t care, our checks were cashed a long time ago…

      Yet even the less serious – I was asked the other day if I’d had a specific childhood illness – I knew I hadn’t, not that I remembered I hadn’t but I knew it because mom and dad knew and it came up in stories. Foster kids? They don’t have the same mom and dad for all their childhood illnesses – probably not even the same set for more than one illness – even the easy is missing…

      Not to mention the children of adoptees…


  5. L4R

    February 4, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Yep, her problems are definitely first-world problems….. I wish I had enough medical information that I’d have to take at least a few minutes to write it down.

    I hear what you’re saying.


  6. CT

    February 4, 2016 at 4:41 am

    “Mom’s blood type?” Doctors never ask that question. Seems she is making things up.


  7. CT

    February 4, 2016 at 4:48 am

    “Mom’s blood type?” Doctors never ask that question. Seems the author is making things up.


  8. Eva

    February 4, 2016 at 11:17 am

    As adoptive mum, I kind of understand – I’m also so frustrated about the fact that my son’s birth mum just didn’t care enough to provide a real name for his father. His original birth certificate is a fake (though you may say the adoptive one is a fake either, so all in all – no real identity record). She lied about his father’s identity and now that she’s gone (forever), we have practically no chance for finding out for him. This is so sad. I kind of understand she wanted perhaps to tell this to the kid when she meets him one day but this proved wrong – she died soon after and now all my kid’s records are simply misleading.


    • TAO

      February 4, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Well that is frustrating. Is there at least some extended family on his maternal side? Sometimes they have at least some bits of info. They’d also have valuable info re FHH. I get that most young folks know squat about their own FHH because at that point it’s seldom an issue – and I think it is sometimes just something agencies brush to the side…but we grow up, grow to middle age, and then some of us get big unpleasant surprises…that could have been at least mitigated…


  9. Eva

    February 4, 2016 at 11:48 am

    And yes, I agree it’s more “life altering” for my son or even “devastating” than simply embarrassing..


  10. TAO

    February 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Yesterday, I was mulling on the hypocrisy of Connecticut and the laws denying adoptees the right to their original birth certificate – while they are promoting this to non-adopted citizens of Connecticut:

    A full on push about how beneficial to know your FHH – and at the end says this:

    “Remember: One of the best predictors for chronic illness or disability is a family history of the same condition. Know your family health history – and share it with your doctor.”

    And then, I read the article linked/quoted on Babble…


  11. vintagebaglady711

    February 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I’m rH neg and I am usually ask for mothers blood type
    But the rest of this makes me angry
    We deserve our medical history


    • TAO

      February 4, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      Obviously I agree with you 🙂


  12. cb

    February 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I was reading a “google book” where the author “commiserates” with her adopted child about the fact that every time the daughter fills out a form, she (the adoptee) will be reminded of other people knowing more about her history than she does and will be “confronted with the assumption/expectation” that she know something as vital and intimate as her body’s medical lineage”. The AP then goes on to say that she “wanted” the adoptee to know that the “error of this assumption lies with the medical community and their forms not you.” and that she (the AP) hopes that the adoptee will “speak up and suggest the form be changed to make it inclusive of adoptive situations.” and then goes on to say that she felt that the medical community etc needed to show greater sensitivity to the realities of adoption. She then finishes the paragraph by saying that “it is your prerogative if, when and with whom you want to share your beginnings. You shouldn’t have to declare it, impersonally and by default, with blank spaces on a waiting room form”

    After reading that, I thought “Hang on. I for one don’t have a problem with medical forms asking for family history – what I have a problem is that so many of us adoptees are unable to actually ANSWER the questions. We are worried about our HEALTH not about inconvenience or about “sharing our beginnings”. I don’t want FORMS changed – I want LAWS changed. I want my fellow adoptees to be able to know more about their medical history.

    Btw now that I know my bfamily, I can now fill out the forms with a lot more confidence. That is what I needed – knowledge, not changed forms.


    • TAO

      February 5, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      Exactly. I also want adoption agencies to take FHH seriously and educate both sides.


    • Tia (S) Floberg

      February 6, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Agreed, cb! I don’t give a flip about the forms. Embarrassed? No. Not a bit. Quite the contrary. I write in big block letters “NO HEALTH HISTORY DUE TO CLOSED ADOPTION AND LEGAL BARRIERS TO ACCESS.” In fact, it’s because of this that I found out my doctor is an AP of a young daughter and we have had some really amazing discussions. She’s probably one of those AP’s quietly reading all the adult adoptee blogs. I’m so lucky to have her as a doc.

      At the doctor’s office, I’m filling out a form where I’m reasonably expected to answer questions about substance abuse, addictions, medical history, depression, anxiety, suicidal anything, what my poop looks like, what my snot looks like, what my urine looks like, if I have bad breath, when was my last period, have I had children, and pretty much every other organ in my body. Then the doctor will often ask me to undress so that she can probe my body during an exam. This is an intensely personal process, medical care.

      So what does it say to a young adoptee when their parent tells them it’s okay to reveal everything else being asked and even undress in front of an adult not related to them in the interests of health care, but yet it might be too personal to reveal adoption status? In fact, this AP’s solution is to ask that forms refrain from asking what doctors need to know to provide quality health care?

      There’s something really off and toxic with this.


      • TAO

        February 6, 2016 at 3:47 pm



      • cb

        February 7, 2016 at 11:01 pm

        Well said, Tia!


  13. iwishiwasadopted

    February 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Like the old saying, “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, just don’t ever talk about it”. That’s how it was in my house.


    • TAO

      February 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      That sucks…nothing was off-limits at home…


  14. valentinelogar

    February 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I think sometimes we get hung up with how others express themselves. Yes, maybe others don’t express themselves in a way that we might feel comfortable or like, but it doesn’t mean they are trying to be insulting or don’t understand the problems. All too often I see us get hung up on the words people use rather than the intent, which most of the time we don’t truly know.

    As an adoptee, I had no medical history. Was it embarrassing? Yes, in fact it was. Every single time I had to fill out medical forms, it was embarrassing not to have the necessary information. This is especially true since my blood type didn’t match anyone in my family and I needed surgery as a child and a young adult. Our views have changed since the 50’s and 60’s, on adoption, on unwed mothers, on many things but I think some of how we express ourselves, the language we have, this hasn’t really changed.


    • TAO

      February 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Val, I’ll gladly admit that I over react to anything that reduces the seriousness of the lack of family health history for will cause problems some adoptees.

      I’m sorry that it caused you embarrassment, I never had that experience because dad was my doctor until I was old enough to need to go see a different type of doctor.


  15. Beth62

    February 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    My own doctor told me to claim to have a family history of everything on the list, plus whatever else we think I need to be tested for. He even helped me fill it out. That way the insurance company will allow my doc to refer me to specialists and order tests when needed – and it will be covered.

    I’m glad I filled out the form the doctors way. It saved me. If I had waited another ten years for the tests to be allowed I likely would have had a mastectomy with chemo and rads and a slim chance of survival, instead of a tiny lumpectomy and some pills. As well as colon cancer, instead of simply removing small polyps and more frequent colonoscopies in the future. Yippee 🙂
    Very glad I “lied” on my medical forms.

    Embarrassed? I can’t think of a time I was embarrassed about being adopted while filling out medical forms. Whether I left blanks or not.

    Embarrassed that no one obviously fully gave/gives a shit about that, about me, yes. Extremely embarrassing.

    It’s not the blanks left, or the loss of family and adoption that embarrassed me at the doctors office. It was that no one seemed to truly give a rats ass about it.

    As if I am truly so special, such a spacial and chosen child, that my adult health doesn’t really matter so much, just like knowing my original family, or even who they are, doesn’t matter so much either. I’ll be just fine.

    I agree TAO, having a blank family history can be far, far more than aggravating and frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person


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