Friday, October 31, 2008


Tomorrow begins National Blog Posting Month. I am doing it for the third year in a row on Over A Candle. But I want to recommit to this blog, so I'm going to try to post once a day here, as well.

I don't want to get in the way of Shelly's story as it moves forward, so I hope I don't dilute the impact of that. (I'm very much interested in seeing how it unfolds. And I wish her all the best in her journey.)

Still, I want to post more here, and I think this month is a good way to try to get back into it. Also, tomorrow begins National Adoption Month. As something I cannot get behind, I figure kvetching about adoption every day in November is a good antidote to the saccharine that will be oozing from the adoption industry.

So tomorrow should be the first day of thirty straight days of posts from me here. (I hope.) Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

search forms

i went to lutheran social services last friday and picked up the search forms. it was kind of weird. as i approached the counter i became acutely aware of the social tension around the request i was about to make. it occurred to me that in this very very busy social services office where people are bustling around all day with thousands of tasks-- tasks they perform every day, several times a day. i presume that adult adoptee searches are not their most frequent request. i suddenly felt a little bit awkward about asking. it's a little bit like coming out. except that i am rarely freaked out by telling another person that i am a lesbian. the only part that sucks is that occasionally the information evokes a kind of judgmental tension that is always silent and never very comfortable. that is what this felt like. because being adopted is the kind of thing that--like being gay-- in this society we tend to not talk about. i found myself worried a bit about how the receptionist would react. not necessarily outwardly, because-- like actually coming out-- the reaction that causes friction is almost always internal. i was concerned not even about what she would say to me but about what she would think of the request. especially in a place that arranges adoption placements, it seems the staff who deal with these situations would have a whole set of beliefs and opinions about adoption. here is a list of the things i thought she might be thinking:
* "can't these people just be grateful for what they have?"
* "why can't they leave the past behind them?"
* "this is why people don't want to place their children in adoptive homes."
* "don't they know how much work this is?"
* "we shouldn't even offer this service."
i actually felt as though i was pushing the limits of my own ethical rights by suggesting that i should seek my first family of origin. i felt like the dreaded lost child, who has come back to seek some answers to questions they would prefer to bury.

but whatever, i walked to the window and asked politely if i could please have the forms i need to complete to initiate a search. my paranoia was not helped by the fact that the woman spoke not a single word. she exhaled. she looked around for a few seconds. she reached for a folder and pulled out a set of forms. even when i took them from her hand and said "thank you" she didn't say anything. so now i am pretty sure she believes that people like me are the reason women choose abortion over adoption.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Promises

I can't promise I'm back for good. But I'm trying. NaBloPoMo is next month. Over A Candle (my main blog) should be hopping next month. I would like to do NaBloPoMo here, too. But I don't know if I can crank out an adoption post every day. And trying to run two blogs every day for a month seems a bit overwhelming giving how much work has picked up. So no promises. If I can do it, I will do it. But I'm also going to make a concerted effort here, even if it's not every day next month.

But if you're still checking this site (as I am, to see how Shelly's search is going), you're probably sick of my mea culpas, and just want to see some real posts.

So here goes...

Tonight I spoke at a workshop for couples considering adoption. The evening was a panel discussion with a first mom, two sets of adoptive parents, and me, the adoptee. I did this last year. Indeed, almost exactly to the day. I even posted about it: Coming Out.

But a lot has happened in a year. I've gone from feeling really ambivalent about adoption to feeling pretty negative about adoption. I almost didn't agree to speak this time, as I didn't want to endorse adoption, and I also didn't feel right about going to this meeting and lambasting adoption, as much as I may have wanted to.

But with some encouragement from my adoptee friends, I went ahead. It was both a good idea and a difficult experience.

The first mom spoke first. She was probably only about 22 or so. She had relinquished 10 months ago. As she spoke, for nearly 45 minutes, she repeatedly claimed that she had no regrets, that she knew it was the right thing to do.

Feeling very uncomfortable, I just sat there. When one of the attendees asked her how her daughter referred to her, the mother said that she just wanted to be known by her first name. She never wanted the recognition of "mother." I knew that was probably true. My own mom told me that a lot during our first few months of reunion. But at some point, for me, it was so clear that she was my mother. But I said nothing. It wasn't my turn.

But it was so hard to listen to the repeated refrain of adoption was just meant to be. I don't buy it. And it serves to diminish the (common, if not universal) adoptee experience of alienation. But I've talked about that before.

When my turn finally came, I tried to lay out, somewhat simply, my story. I emphasized the importance of having information and connections to my origins. I used the term "first mom" as much as I could to counteract the "birth mother" repetition. I tried to acknowledge the "out-of-place" feeling of adoptees while pointing out that it wasn't a question of not having enough love.

I wanted to communicate the real dangers of adoption for the adoptee without completely trashing adoption. I'm not sure I struck the right tone, though I hope so. In the end, as much as I don't like adoption, I still want to do what I can to improve how it's handled, and to try to provide a balanced perspective for educating couples.

I'm glad I did it. But I don't really feel any better about adoption after the experience.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

4 years

18, 22, 26, 30
as i have mentioned before, i have made some kind of gesture toward bio-family contact or information every four years since i was legally allowed to. i am on my way to 34 now and the search interest is increasing daily. it's time. it's time to just find out whatever there is to find out and move on to whatever follows. i am, of course, only 33 right now. until june, in fact. and i am a little surprised by my willingness to pursue this plan before my 34th birthday. i tend to be a dash OCD, and with such a solid pattern already established, it would be my standard MO to make myself wait. but that's dumb. i know this.

i talked with my friend kathy last week. she is the person in the world who knows me better than any other person and she agrees that it is time. so, it is time. sometime between today the end of november, i am going to request a bio family search from lutheran social services.

i'll keep you posted. for real.