But unless there were a thousand people screaming for their rights, the real impact on legislators was minimal.
Yet taking part in something that you feel strongly about brings a wonderful lift to the soul because you are part of something larger than just your own dark feelings about OPENING UP THE DAMN RECORDS for all adopted people, regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual preference--or the state they live in. I add those unnecessary qualifications--adopted people come in all shapes, colors, sizes, etcetera--because these qualifiers are part of the "rights" language, but adopted people are somehow left in the dust because not enough of them control the power structure in this country. Yes, the movement has adoptee Paula Benoit, and she was the sparkplug in the legislature in Maine; but we need one of those in every state that still has sealed records.
Until then, we are going to get this, courtesy of fellow blogger Linda today:
This announcement was printed in the Star-Ledger, NJ's largest paper, today. It was in Section 1, tucked among other ads, and looked like an engraved wedding announcement:
I am an adopted girl
born in West Palm Beach, Florida
on July 22, 1986
I want to thank my birth mother for
GIVING ME A WONDERFUL LIFE
and would welcome contact at
Well, I know why she had to add that about her adoptive parents: Loyalty, and guilt because she is looking at all. Look, I am not going to beat adoptees over the head for feeling loyal to the parents who raised them--it's only natural if they had a good fit with their families--and if that has to show up in the "adopted girl's" [noted without comment] ad, so be it. It's good for everyone to read between those lines. Jane, my only daughter, my surrendered daughter who was adopted by genetic strangers, felt guilty for having too good a time with me, feeling too comfortable, especially at the beginning, and this colored our relationship in some ways all through the years.
Near the end of her life, when we seemed connected like two peas in a pod, Jane wrote that while she felt as if my family was her true family, that we accepted her no matter what, I know that feeling that her adoptive mother had turned away from here hurt her deeply. I could be her "Lorraine" or "Maraine," but I could never be Mom, the mother who raised her and never replace that woman in her heart, no matter that her adoptive mother said some pretty cruel things to our daughter. I will never forget the time Jane called, sobbing--I picked up the phone and she said: Tell me that you love me. Her adoptive mother, Jane said, had just told her on the phone that she did not love her. I don't know much about the rest of the conversation, so I won't presume to fill in the blanks. Yet they made up within the week. Not so when we had a break; Jane would walk away justlikethat and cut me off for a year.
My troubled daughter did have a conflicted relationship with her adoptive mother, who always seemed more than a little pissed off that Jane had problems. At least the woman (she is 23) who placed the ad above has parents who understand her need to search (to give them their due, so did my daughter's parents), and support it. We at First Mother Forum once posted a story about a woman who was seeking her natural parents in Korea, and within 24 hours were contacted by the woman to take the post down, lest her adoptive mother here in the United States see it. And presumably break the adoptive mother's heart--which was more or less the topic of our last blog, Adoption Is Always Painful.
Checking the blog roll at the bottom of the page, with adoption reform stories that Google has picked up, there's a story from the Palm Beach Post about this ad, as it apparently ran in several newspapers across the country, since Linda picked it up in New Jersey. (If anybody else saw it, please leave a comment and tell us where.)
But that story from the Palm Beach Post contains a line about women who are fearful of being reconnected with the children they surrendered that makes it seem that most do not want reunion. I basically don't know what to think; my informal survey of people who contact birth/first mothers came up with results all over the place, from close to half to one or two out of a hundred. I can only conclude that the fear of contact does lie deep inside some women who were brainwashed into thinking they should forget about their first child (and pretty much have) and then do not deal with a sympathetic voice, or birth mother, who helps them overcome their fears of letting the child out of the bag.
The point is, all of this does she or does she not want to meet me baloney should be moot; adoptees everywhere should have the right, the unrestricted right, to the honest and true information of their birth.
Birth mothers in the closet, get some damn backbone and tell your families about your first/surrendered child or children (yes, that does happen, life being life). Those states that insist on using confidential intermediaries should hire an army of evolved birth/first mothers to make the contact because their percentage of successful reunions seem to be way higher than that of neutral voices who have not been through the war of giving birth and surrender, and lord, that feels like war. And adoptees need to let it be known, through ads like the one above, through talking to their adoptive parents, to admitting to their friends, to writing to legislatures that their curiosity is as natural as being born.
Girls just wanna have fun, like Cindy Lauper sang, and adoptees just wanna know. --lorraine