February 12, 2010
I'm really honored and also a little nervous about being included in the nominations for "best single topic". It is such a "catch twenty-two" feeling to be out there for more people to find this blog and read. In fact, if I truly thought about it, I'd probably panic. But I won't let myself.
I mean unless you are personally "touched" by adoption (and think about it ~ almost every family in America is somehow touched by it), you would probably think this blog is downright boring. And if you happen to be one who is or knows someone close who is adopted or touched by adoption in some way, your first reaction to it may be one of offense. I don't know. But that is what I am nervous about. The not knowing. And the controversy it brings. I am a people-pleaser by heart. Yet here I am. Probably making people mad.
Adoption is looked at in our society as charitable. And I too am glad that orphans and those kids who don't have parents who can raise them can have a way to be cared for and loved. My writing is not about that. It is about the BUSINESS side of adoption. The laws and policies are so skewed that adoption has become (literally) a billion dollar industry. It is based on the economic principles of supply and demand. And that, my friends, is what angers me. It is governed by an elaborate marketing scheme to obtain MORE available infants and children for adoption, not less. That seems like an extremely cruel and inhumane goal if you ask me. But most of the time the children of adoption are NOT asked. Adoption is geared to meet the needs of those who want to adopt. Period. And that is just not right.
Adoptee's birth certificates are immediately "sealed" upon their adoption, and a new "amended" birth certificate is issued. This "Certificate of LIVE Birth" is not factual or accurate, because it lists the adoptive parents as actually the ones who gave birth to the child. I vote for a more ethical and truthful reform (like other countries have "adopted") such as a "Certificate of Adoption" be issued, rather than stripping the child's identity genealogically and medically.
Six U.S. states have passed legislation restoring the right of adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificate (like every other American citizen). Won't it be a day of true celebration when Oklahoma follows this "best practice" in adoption (as supported by The Child Welfare League of America among many other advocacy groups) and restores this important right to Oklahoma adoptees?
In states that have passed this legislation, they have found that the "myths" surrounding these "sealed records" laws are just that ~ myths. Abortion does not increase, and "birth mothers" were never promised confidentiality (nor asked for) confidentiality in the first place. It was imposed upon them in the "Baby Scoop" era of the 40's-50's-60's by laws which were enacted to protect the privacy of the newly formed adoptive family.
Genealogists argue that within another four generations NO American's genealogical history will be completely accurate because of "sealed records" laws, which "seal" adopted people's birth certificates and create falsified ones. That affects everyone and the generations to come. So really, this subject is universal.
I tell my own personal story of being adopted and then reunited with my first family here. It is so close to my heart and I began this blog completely "anonymous" with no pictures or names or way for people to recognize my real identity. It was amazingly cathartic to let my true self, my true feelings come out and be revealed. But it was also safe. Because in "every day" life I can't share this intimately with people, because most will give you the "deer in the headlights" look if you even mention adoption search and reunion. You get questions like, "What does your (adoptive) parents think of that?" and it shuts down really fast. Really lonely.
Thank God my Mom (adoptive) was very supportive of my reunion. But that doesn't mean she didn't hurt. That I didn't hurt. And that my first family didn't hurt. Many say that it is a "roller coaster" of emotions, and that is an understatement. Highs and lows like you couldn't imagine. And they never end. I'm SO thankful to know my entire family now, and to finally know me because of it.
I'm still meeting new family members, in fact, twenty years later. This summer I'll meet a cousin (Susan) and I'm so looking forward to it!
I was born and raised in Oklahoma and have lived here my entire life. Much to my surprise upon reunion, I found that ALL my first family live in the same town I do! We probably passed each other a million times through the years not even knowing. That is amazing. In fact, I have found that my adoptive family actually KNEW them but had no idea they held such a connection. My dear adoptive Aunt Kay used to do my birth Grandmother's hair at her home salon. The same house which I spent countless hours in growing up. And her husband, my Uncle Olan had Anchor Barber Shop on Harvard for many years and was friends with my birth Great-Grandfather who owned a barber shop on Peoria. Talk about "messing with your mind" when trying to process this as an adoptee. Separated from my very roots, but growing up all around them. I am thankful beyond words for my reunion and the completion of my history. All in Tulsa town. I was destined to be an Okie, that's for sure.
I am getting braver about sharing this blog and myself (my true self) with more people, and those who may even know who I am. Ouch. My passion is to "uncloak" the subject, even if it means controversy. I can't tell you how good it feels to come out of fear and be myself, without worrying (quite so much) about what people think. To be honest, I still do. And that makes it hard. But this journey of search and reunion, and the resulting passion that has grown regarding adoption reform and "open records" for adult adoptees is something I will always cherish and hold close to my heart. Thank you so much for allowing me to share alittle of myself with you.
If you happen to live in Oklahoma (only those living in OK and also blog are allowed to vote) and would like to "vote" for this blog in the Okie Blog Awards you can click here. And be sure and check out the amazing blogs from Oklahoma. They are awesome. Thank you so much for including me in this list.