Friday, October 26, 2007

Open Records

I posted this video at Over A Candle, but it really belongs here, too.

I'm struggling with this right now. I'm a bit upset at being denied access to my original birth certificate, even though I know my birth parents' names. You might wonder why I would want it, if I know their names. It's one of those things that's probably hard to explain, but it's a link to the events that shaped my whole life. How could I not want it?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coming Out

Last week, I had an odd experience. I was asked to speak to an adoption class. This was a class of a dozen or so couples who were preparing for adoption. The person who asked me to come speak had been very helpful to me during my reunion, so I thought the least I could do would be help out.

I wasn't the only one there. There was a birth mother and an adoptive couple. I spoke last. And listening to the birth mother and the adoptive mother speak, I realized I had little idea what they were talking about. Both had been through their experiences in the last six years. They were talking about what I've come to think about as adoption 2.0. I went through adoption 1.0. (Adoption beta is worse. My adoptive paternal grandmother went through something like what I think of as the beta version.)

Adoption 2.0 might not be better than 1.0. It has dangers and problems that we probably can't really see yet. But the kind of education and openness that seems common today seems to be an improvement over what happened forty years ago. (There were some odd things that came out. The big book of potential parents for the birth mother to look through to pick out parents for her child just struck me as odd.) Who knows, however, how these kids will feel when they are adults?

But the problems of 1.0 are pretty obvious. And that's what I tried to talk about. I stressed, as much as possible, that, whatever arrangement they decide for their child (whether open or not, and if so how open), they need to be open with the child. They need to find out as much as they can about the birth parents. Because their child is likely to want to know at some point. And if they don't have any information, their child is going to make something up.

It felt weird to talk as openly about my adoption as I did that night. Outside of my support group, this blog (which has focused more on reunion than on other issues), and a few extremely close friends, I don't think I've been that open about my experience. It went well, I suppose. But I hope I gave the potential parents issues to think about.

On another note... Given things going on in my head lately, I'm going to try to be more consistent about this place. I don't want it to die on the vine, as it were. So keep checking back. I'm not going anywhere.

Phil, i'm sorry. i'm back

well, life does tend to stomp all over our hopeful endeavors with its own will and agenda, doesn't it? when i suggested to phil that we should start this blog, i did so with every intention of participating in it! but the delay of a broken computer was followed closely by the joy and insanity of a new relationship and then a strong jolt of reality when i realized just how little time i have to do the required research and writing for my master's thesis. in all, i just got damn busy and i fell off the blogosphere for a while. but i am back.

i think part of my avoidance has been this sense that while phil is going through this remarkable, intense, life-changing experience, i am not really doing anything. just sitting around thinking about it and having occasional conversations about my fake newspaper sister and the small north dakota town in which i was born. but i guess since i have already established that i desire to make this the slowest procedure possible, i can only talk about it from this moment and these minor subtle moments are my process. every adoptee will be able to relate to the great diversity with which we undertake the search-or-not-search decision-making process.

my parents visited from arizona in late august. while we were sitting in the coffee house one day, phil came in and i introduced him as my friend who was in the middle of a search for his birth family. this is the safest way to test the waters for their feelings about the whole thing. my mom bit. she was interested. we all chatted in fine, forced midwestern form and then phil opened his computer to work and my mom focused her attention on me. "have you ever done that?" she asked pointedly. "searched?" that is, in fact, what she meant. i told her about the photo in the paper and the intrigue it triggered in me. then i told her about the non-identifying search and the letter i received. she wanted to see the photo. she wanted to read the letter.

when i placed the photo in front of her, her eyeballs got really wide and her head bobbed in surprise. she saw the cause for question. then she read 5 pages about my birth family and she was genuinely interested and seemed to enjoy the mystery of it all.

my parents have told me my whole life that they would respect my need to find out about my biological roots if i wanted to do that. they have also told me my whole life that they would never want to be involved in that or to help me do it. i asked my mom about this seemingly reversed position. she said, "well, before it was kind of scary, but you've been with us for over 30 years, i don't think you're going anywhere."

i know now that i got my eye color and stature from my bio-mom. i can only hope that i will develop the strength of character that i have witnessed over the years in my mom-mom.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Holding Pattern

I'm in a bit of a holding pattern. Life has a way of... well... getting in the way.

My birth mother and I have met and we exchange regular e-mails. But... well... that's just about it for now.

We both feel like something else should be happening. There was this massive upheaval in finding one another, exchanging stories, getting to hug. But now, it feels like there's nothing. I think we both want there to be something. Some major next step. But nothing happens.

We live too far apart to visit often. Indeed, it will probably be months before we can see each other again. E-mail and the phone are nice, but not the same as being there.

The world kept moving, even while this earth-stopping event happened to the two of us. Now life has dragged us kicking and screaming back to itself. And we're left scratching our heads wondering... What's next?