Friday, August 22, 2008

A "Solution" without a Problem?

I've been wondering for awhile now... what problem does adoption solve?

I ask this because of the sheer number of people who seem to think adoption is necessary. If it's necessary, that would mean there is a problem that would go unaddressed if it weren't for adoption. So what's the problem?

I expect the initial answer to be that children without people to care for them would be stuck in orphanages (or perhaps a more sophisticated version of that response).

But adoption isn't necessary to make sure children are cared for and loved. I mean, are adults only willing to care for children that they get to call "theirs"? Certainly there are other arrangements whereby the children would be loved and cared for, without the need to create a fictional "parent-offspring" relationship.

While I think reducing the need for children who need to be cared for (through support for single mothers, education, etc.) is and important step, I am not so naive as to think there will never be children in need.

But adoption isn't necessary to solve that problem. And the legal fiction that adoption creates obscures the problems inherent in children being separated from their parents. It allows couples to adopt to pretend that they have a child of their own. It diminishes the importance of motherhood and the very real biological connection that that creates. And most importantly, it covers over the loss of the child.

Children are given a new identity, a new family. But how do they benefit from that arrangement? Would the family that took them in not love them if their identity wasn't replaced? Would the family not care about them, unless the legal fiction were established and defended so vehemently? Would they not love a child if they were only legal guardians?

Adoption is not the only problem, the only issue. But it adds to the loss already suffered by the child. It strips them of the last ties to their original family and replaces them, thus obscuring the tragedy they have already suffered.

Without an explanation for how that benefits the child, I don't see how adoption, as a legal practice, is defensible.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

but i really do want to

i wish that i could have the satisfaction of attempting a search without the guilt of searching. i wish the triad was divisible. but it isn't. there is no me without my birthparents and my adoptive parents and there is no search for the former without some kind of effect on the latter.

but i am so ready!

for years i maintained all kinds of reasons to not be ready. i believed i couldn't present myself to someone so significant without having a complete, tidy package to present. i didn't want to disappoint. so all of those things about myself that made social interaction uncomfortable, or even shameful, were sufficient reasons to not introduce my mess-of-a-self to the people who created me. but i don't have that anymore. all of the things that shamed me so deeply have been resolved. i am healthy. i have completed the educational goals i began. i have a job that is right for me and that i am happy about. i have hobbies and research interests that i am passionate about. i have a partner whom i love and adore. i am ready to not be plagued with secrets, half-truths and shame when introduced to anyone. even the most significant strangers. i believe i am even as ready as i will ever be to accept not being introduced to members of my birth family. to the extent that one can really prepare for the possibility of disinterested biological parents, i think i have. but it feels like there is so much more at stake. so much more than my own feelings, fears, joys, questions, pains and curiosities.

it is as simple as writing a 300 dollar check and as complicated as all of the families involved. is this how scared and overwhelmed one feels when it is finally time to begin a search? is this the pinnacle of understanding that must precede a decision that could potentially affect so many? do we really live in a culture that stigmatizes adoption so much that i have to feel this way?

two, the bio says "two" adoptees

phil, i'm sorry. i suck at this. when we came up with this idea and started this blog, i believed that i really wanted to do it. and i did. and i DO. but i haven't. i am sorry about that. my life tends to twist and turn and when it does, i like to stay on the DL. but i do want to participate in this blog and i want to spend more time focusing on my life as an adoptee. i think about it often. constantly, maybe. and i want to be ready to begin a search. but life tends to bring about so many reasons not to.

one of the things that all adult adoptees understands is the guilt that comes with choosing to search for the people whom acquaintances have misguidedly referred to as one's "real parents" for years. whether adoptive parents nurture the feeling or not, there is a deep sense of potential betrayal of the ones who have loved and cared for us all of our lives. i have always worried that searching would be interpreted as rejection or replacement by my adoptive parents. i am old enough and smart enough to know better. but that rarely matters. it is a deep and powerful anxiety.

just when i thought i was beyond it. and just when i knew my mother was beyond it (because she told me), my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. he's not dying. his surgery was successful and he'll undergo radiation treatment to be sure he is well, but this thing scared him more than i thought possible. it made him a different person. it made him passionate-- almost desperate-- about family unity. if there was ever a time i do not want my parents to feel that i am trying to replace them it is now.

so for now, i think i will continue to suggest that a search is just not financially feasible.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I feel stronger. I don't feel 100%. I don't know if I've ever felt 100%. But I feel stronger.

I realized I haven't spoken with my adoptive parents since I've returned from my visit with them a month ago. (I called to let them know we got home safely.) I feel badly about that. I'm not trying to avoid them. I would be happy if they called me. I hope they're not angry with me, and that's why they haven't called.

But I think some down time, from them, from here, from many things adoption, has helped me some. I've played way too many video games and left important work until the last possible minute. But I feel a bit more myself again.

I had a visit with my first mom a couple of weeks ago, and that was very good. I was worried that it wouldn't be, that I would be a stick-in-the-mud, that I would be depressing, she wouldn't enjoy the visit, and she wouldn't come back. That was, perhaps, overly dramatic. But it was how I had been feeling this past month. Naturally, none of it came to pass.

Now the school year is starting again. I'm back to conversing with friends on-line and causing a ruckus over on Yahoo! Answers. It's not much of a hobby, I know, but it's something other than video games.

And I'm trying to get back to this blog. I feel badly that I have let it go this long. I just didn't have the strength to write. Now that I'm feeling stronger, I want to renew my commitment to at least a post a week again.

I hope someone is still reading. And I still hold out hope for Shelly's return. But I will be here, even if I'm the only one. Because no one else can speak for me. And if I don't do it, it won't get said.

Peace. Love. Understanding. To you all.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I'm in full avoidance mode. I've been avoiding nearly everything to do with adoption for the last week or so. Something set me off last week (the details don't matter... it was my misunderstanding of something someone else had written...), and I realized I needed a break. I'm just starting to dip my toes back in a bit.

This has all been pushing down on me for over a year, every day. I started my search about fifteen months ago, and I've been in reunion for just over a year. If I don't take some kind of break, I'm going to go crazy (more so).

I don't know if the last week was enough. But I'm still curious as to what is going on with some of my on-line friends, so I'm seeing how things go now.