As an adult adoptee, I have always wondered where I came from. For many years I lived in the adoption fog and tried to accept it as fact. I did so because that is what I had to do in order to make my life somewhat bearable. Living in the adoption fog is a coping mechanism that we adoptees have. Isn’t it funny that in order to cope, we must convince ourselves that our whole existence was built on lies, coercion and secrecy in the very beginning? We are expected to go about being happy and grateful about this fact. As our society is ever-evolving, there is a new movement beginning as we begin to fight for Adoptee Rights. You may have heard about the Animal Rights movement before and this is very similar. In the Animal Rights movement, proponents often ask: Who will speak for those who cannot speak for themselves? As Adoptees, we are similar because in our beginnings, people spoke for us and made decisions on our behalves in which we had no voice. Some may say that humans are animals and in a way that is true, but humans have been able to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the animal kingdom as we are more intelligent that most other species and have become the dominant species in the world we live in. Somehow, the stigma that comes along with adoption leaves us adoptees feeling like second-class citizens and the continued secrecy as perpetrated by the courts, adoption agencies, lawyers, politicians, birth parents and adoptive parents follows the adoptee around throughout his or her lifetime.
The fog is rolling (Photo credit: davidyuweb)
The Adoption Fog is not limited to just the adoptee as the the concept of adoption is really nothing more that a bizarre love triangle. Adoption is touted as the loving option but it is ultimately built on the losses of all three members of the triad. Adoptees lose the most, but are expected to put that behind them and be thankful for what they gained. Happily accepting that your loss was a good thing allows the adoption fog to set in and once it does, it is very difficult to find your way out. Adoptees are not the only ones who can live in the fog; both the birth parents and adoptive parents can also live in the fog. I am an adoptee who has come out of the fog and ready to speak out against it. I have been trying to become reunited with my birth mother. I want to share with you the letter that I sent her a few days ago.
Please allow me to apologize in advance for some of the attitude you might get out of this message as i am very irritated with how this thing between you and I has been going. As you now have had one year knowing of my existence and whereabouts, you have done as little as humanly possible to acknowledging said existence. I am a human being who should, but doesn’t, enjoy the same basic human rights as everyone else, namely knowledge of my origins. My birthright was stolen from me as to say you gave it away like it was nothing. I really appreciated hearing from you that you loved me very much back then, but ever since the day that I was born, I’ve had a very difficult time believing that. I seriously hope that you are getting the help that you need because although I do not know you, I don’t need to in order to say that YOU NEED HELP !!! YOU’RE LIVING IN THE FOG OF DENIAL !!!
You know nothing about the difficulties adopted people face in life. You know nothing about how it feels to go through life not knowing where you came from and never seeing anyone who looks like you and has the same mannerisms. You know nothing about what its like to go through life trying to please everybody so you won’t be rejected. You know nothing about what its like to look at two people who look nothing like you and have to worry about if you’re living up to their expectations. You know nothing about how it feels to know the one person who was supposed to love you, gave you away because you were inconvenient. You know nothing about how it feels to know that the better life I was supposed to have wasn’t at all better, just different.
Please do not think that I am anything less than empathetic towards you and what you have been through as that has been spelled out many times before. I have repeatedly apologized to you for things that you somehow misunderstood. I’m so sorry if you thought that I contacted you because I wanted money. There is no dollar amount great enough to make restitution for what you took from me. All I am looking for is simple acknowledgement and and a little bit of your time. Please spare me the whole I’m too tired because I work excuse as I have heard it enough already. I don’t believe it anyway because nobody in this world works as much as you say you do. I have come to believe that you do not respond to me because you just don’t want to, probably because I never meant that much to you in the first place.
Is any of this my fault? No it is not. I was, am, and always will be the innocent party in our little triangle thing. I had no choice in the matter. You had told me that it is my choice (as it should be) regarding contact and you would comply with my wishes. What changed your mind? Am I not living up to whatever fantasies you had about me over the years? Believe me when I say this, I do not like being the way that I am; i just deal with it to the best of my ability. However I am today should have no bearing on who I was and if you need further clarification of that , I was YOUR BABY THAT YOU GAVE AWAY. Is it so wrong for me to want to know who you are? Again, that answer is a resounding NO.
I am growing very tired of writing to you with no response. In case you have not noticed, we live in a 24-hour society and emails are supposed to be responded to within a reasonable amount of time like a day or two. I’m sorry if this is taking you too long to process but I get the feeling that you aren’t thinking about me at all. Perhaps you are just hoping that one day I’ll get the hint and go away. That’s not going to happen until I get what I’m looking for. I have tried very hard to convey the message that I am not doing this to hurt you. I will repeat again that I am empathetic to you as it must have been very painful to keep secret the knowledge of knowing that you gave your baby away. I read something not too long ago and I would like you to ponder this: a secret can only hurt you as long as it remains a secret.
Did you forget that everyone in your immediate family knows that you were once pregnant and gave away your baby? It’s not just them. Although I said to someone that I wouldn’t mention it, I’m going to tell you now that a few months ago, I had an email conversation with someone in the family. It was a nice exchange and I received some information about my ethnic heritage (but only half of my ethnic heritage) In that exchange, I was told that my existence was never a secret in their family and all of their children know. I highly doubt that I am a secret to your parents as I sent them a Christmas card. I understand that they are probably very old school in their thinking and can’t acknowledge me because of what society might think about them. I wonder if they have any remorse over not ever knowing their presumably first grandchild; maybe you should ask them. Either way I’m indifferent on them, but It might be nice to meet them once before they’re dead and at their age, they are already on borrowed time.
So I wasn’t a secret to a whole lot of people in the family, except for one. Do you think that he never got one idea that he might not have been your only kid? I really don’t care one bit if he and I ever meet one another and who is to say if we really have anything in common, which we probably, do but it might be nice because we are half-brothers. In any event, I took the liberty of introducing myself a while back:
Dear (half brother),
I am writing to you because I feel a need to reach out to you. Please let me apologize in advance for any discomfort you may feel about what I am about to tell you as I mean you no harm. My name is Cyndi and I was born in June of 1975. I was the product of an unwanted pregnancy and was immediately given up for adoption. The adoption was closed but my entire life I have wondered about my birth family.
I have tried to contact my birth mother but communicating with her is proving difficult for reasons unknown to me. Please know that this was 37 years ago and she was most likely told at the time she would never hear from me and she should try to forget about me as that was how these things were done back then. What I have just told you is probably her most guarded secret and you were never supposed to know of my existence. Please be kind and compassionate to her and do not hold this information against her as I know that she loves you very much.
I will not contact you again and I want nothing from you. If you would ever like to talk to me, that is entirely your choice and you would be very welcome. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is 779-XXX-XXXX.
I don’t know if he believed it or not, but at least the seed had been planted. A few days later, someone contacted me on a dating website. It was a bizarre exchange and then he deactivated his account. I don’t know who he was but he said his name was B. Williams and he sent me his picture and that is attached. Maybe you know this is? If it was (my half-brother), you might want to ask him about what he was doing on a transgender dating website.
So as you can see Mother, I wasn’t really a secret to many and now I’m not a secret anymore and that is empowering. I highly doubt that you talk about this with anyone else in the family because you’re ashamed that you gave your baby away, but It isn’t a secret so why not ask them what they think? I’m like that big pink elephant in the room that no one ever talks about as not to offend you. Personally, I think they are all missing out on a lot of fun by not knowing me but you are the gatekeeper and you are in denial and the rest of them won’t get any laughs from me because of you. I’ve said this before and will say it again, I am a really nice, compassionate person who has a wonderful sense of humor…and everyone is missing out.
I am not mad that was adopted as I accepted long ago that that was something that cannot be changed. I am mad that after so many years of wonder I am still being denied acknowledgement and the little that you have said has been some of the cruelest, most cold-hearted things I have ever heard. Mothers are supposed to love their children, not give them away and then turn their back on them. In case you did not know, there are only 18 miles between us but the way you have made me feel, there might as well be 18 million. Have you forgotten that it is my choice to make and you are supposed to comply? Have you forgotten that I have something called free will? It is my choice to make and I am pleading with you one more time to get out of the fog before I have to say damn the consequences and drag you out of the fog. If it ever comes to that please understand that I’m doing this because I think its “the best that I could do for you at the time.”
After reading all this, please do not think that I don’t love you. I am sending this message because I do love you and I want to make you a better person. You will never be whole until you open your eyes, accept reality and get out of the fog. Last but not least, as far as the title of email goes, I will be in your area tomorrow night for my monthly meeting at the church on Lake and Ridgeland and will be finished at 7 pm. Perhaps we can meet afterward? Perhaps I’ll stop by and see how you’re doing.
Outcome: My mother responded back to me very quickly.
Open Records emblem used in Adoptee Rights Protest, New Orleans, 2008, artist: D. Martin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But Why? Because of the last sentence in the letter. It is bringing the whole ordeal close to home and closer to being out of the fog.
A large part of the Adoptee Rights Movement focuses on access to Original Birth Certificates (OBC). The movement stands by its belief that access to OBC does not have anything with reunion and reunions are not guaranteed but I disagree. While there are some people who may just want the information that the OBC contains, many of us do ultimately want the reunion as that experience can provide a lot more information than a piece of paper that has remained hidden and secret. It is my belief that any adoptee who says that they do not need the face to face meeting has not fully left their place in the adoption fog. Only when we all (adoptee birth parents, adoptive parents) decide to stop living in the fog can the healing process begin.
What do you say?