Spin-off and continuation of the last post “Family trees and whatnot…” because Beth’s comment left on the post both answers my questions, and then, spins the conversation further into the generational affect of adoption, plus so much more. Beth and I have been online friends for years, she’s funny and so much wiser than I’ll ever be. Below is Beth’s comment and tale I loved, she always tells the best stories. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: family trees
I was mulling this morning on how I shift my language surrounding the family members in mom and dad’s family trees. I know, just a weird thought that popped into my head, but it got me thinking. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday I was musing on an article written about genealogy that rubbed me the wrong way, perhaps just my take, but it seemed like it was attempting to downplay or dismiss the value of genealogy and family trees. It reminded me of the same way an adoptive parent comes off trying to downplay the importance of a family of birth to the one adopted. Later, as I was tidying up around the house waiting for a service technician to arrive, it struck me, at it’s core, what I heard was the deflection of connection, the act of being connected to another person in a personnel and interconnected way, that bothered me and struck such a discordant note in me. Read the rest of this entry »
I worked on one of my family trees yesterday trying to figure out if I had the details for one generation right. A generation I have no problem figuring out on my dad’s tree, but I’m stumped on whether I’m right on this tree, my tree, my family of birth. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve talked about seeing yourself reflected back many times over the years. Today, I’m bringing it up because yesterday I updated the family tree’s (I have one for each parent) with the details of mom passing. And, once someone’s passed, I add pictures too, something I’ve always shied away from while they are living, despite having the tree’s set to private, invite only. Once I get started, then, of course, I check to see if there are new records or details to uncover, and time slips away as I become the observer of generations. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
I don’t follow Jen Hatmaker, but from time to time I have read her posts, such as her three posts on ethics after Kathryn Joyce’s “The Child Catchers” came out, which caused the people in the Orphan Adoption Movement (or whatever they call themselves) to get so upset. Read the rest of this entry »
Growing up – I desperately wanted to know where and who I came from. I’m not going to pretend that desire was in my thoughts constantly, because I was just a kid. A kid that did all the normal everyday stuff – who had a mom and dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Yet in times of reflections, day dreaming, times when I could just be alone with my deepest thoughts – that yearning was there. That need to know – combined with knowing that I could never know. Read the rest of this entry »
I deal with insomnia – nothing seems to solve it so I watch TV quietly or read. This morning it was TV – the Canadian show – Ancestors in the Attic – that comes up with interesting story lines, and condenses it into a half-hour. Below is the episode I saw this morning – I am not great at recapping, and it will be choppy, but I think you will get the highlights. Read the rest of this entry »
Two talks from Ted but seem so right on an adoption blog. I am sure there are many marketers working hard in the background to hype adoption as the solution to everyone’s problems…the most visible is of course calling an expectant mother a birthmother (one word)…but there is so much more…
Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man
“Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value — and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.
Rory Sutherland stands at the center of an advertising revolution in brand identities, designing cutting-edge, interactive campaigns that blur the line between ad and entertainment.”
The second Ted talk that strikes me as right…
Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?
“Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we’re not as rational as we think when we make decisions.
It’s become increasingly obvious that the dismal science of economics is not as firmly grounded in actual behavior as was once supposed. In “Predictably Irrational,” Dan Ariely tells us why.”
I’ve spent my free time today working on my [adoptive] dads’ family tree. I had a duplicate entry, and stupidly deleted the wrong one – not the duplicate – but the one that also deleted all the ancestors and sources. Joy. Good news is I am back to the early 1600’s again, and also took the time to refresh my knowledge of his ancestors who first came to the Colonies and the road they had to travel to just eek out a life. Knowing the type of people they had to be to survive and carry on – I see dad in them because that was the type of person he was as well.
Every single time I work on any of my trees – it reminds me that so many adoptees have no ability to do that – to know the road travelled by those who went before. Donor conceived face the same struggle as adoptees, and yet the industry keeps creating more and more without giving a damn what the donor conceived will face. It is all so very wrong, and no one seems to care, or if they do speak up they are shot down. People are so desperate to get what they want – they forget they are choosing to go forward knowing their children – will be denied the right to know where they come from, and they may want that very much as well. Seems so very ignorant.
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.
I am a very early morning person – as soon as my eyes open I am awake, doesn’t matter if it is still dark, I am up, hubby on the other hand tends to get up around the same time each morning. Because of this, quite often I am up several hours before him and either have to read or watch TV, so I recorded several of the “Who do you think you are” episodes to fall back on. This morning I watched the Jason Sudeikis episode and he said that he was at the point in his life of “looking back“. His story had some not so nice realities to it but still his story to know. I think everyone can benefit by knowing their family history – both the good and the bad – it shows why people did the things they did, and what made them who they were.
That “looking back” time in life he referred to seems to me one that happens at different times for different reasons – most basic of all – your own mortality. For adoptees I think there are many points we come to that we can feel the need to know more of our history – regardless if we have searched in the past, or not, or made the conscious choice not to search at all and made peace with that. I always wanted to know my history and at the same time, I was always the one listening to dad’s stories or pouring over his family tree created by his dad. I loved the sense of connection he had to his ancestors, and because of my connection to him – that was all it took for me to be interested.
I have done my maternal family tree and learned a lot about myself in the journey, and am still waiting to do my paternal family tree but that requires the 1940 census to be indexed completely…sigh…
But getting back to dad’s family tree – I still continue to research it and expand it past that family tree created by grandpa – linking newly added source records, confirming my work to date as correct. It still fascinates me simply because it’s dad’s family tree. His ancestors passed on their genes and how they lived their lives to each new generation, including dad who shared with me how to live my life by working hard and helping others first. I spent several hours yesterday linking up birth records from the 1700’s, finding new siblings to add to his great-great grandfather’s family, adding war records from both the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, grave stones, places, occupations. My next project is to create an actual map of migration that will include who migrated, where, why, when, starting from where they came from across the ocean to where they lived in Massachusetts in the 1600’s to their journey across the states to where dad grew up and lived out his life – a journey travelled over many generations. I am doing this for is simply me as dad was the last male in his family line.
At the same time I will still work on my maternal tree as well, filling in gaps, confirming more details with source records, and will create a migration map as well, but it won’t have the richly told stories that dad had for his dad’s side. Yet even dad’s tree is missing stories – my grandma’s family story that no amount of searching can confirm some of the details she talked about, where her family lived because things don’t match up except for one brother who I met as a child. I suspect she had some skeletons in her closet she didn’t want known to those who might judge, but it leaves a visible hole in the story – a mystery that needs to be solved so the tree is complete.
I value all my family trees…I am linked by nature to some and nurture to others – all part of who I am, all important to me, together they tell my story of who I am.
All adult adoptees across the US deserve the right to know all of their story – please support Adoptee Rights – write your legislator today – it only takes a small amount of time and it is the right thing to do…who knows it may be your letter that gets your representative to visit the Adoptee Rights booth at the National Conference of State Legislators Convention in Chicago this August 2012…