Demons in Adoption

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The universal need to know who you are

Lorraine
"The sperm donors, they agreed, had no place on the family tree."

A couple will have four children: the first was conceived naturally; the second with donor sperm; two are in the process of being adopted. "All four of our children are 100 percent in our family tree....The genetic connection has never mattered." (Emphasis added.)


Two biological half-siblings are being raised as cousins. "We decided they are not half-siblings, but donor siblings. We honor them [the sperm donors, apparently] but they are not part of the family [tree]."

Today's quiz: Which statements were made by individuals (three different people) conceived by alternate means of conception?

If you answered None of the Above, you are correct.

My mother, my daughter Jane, granddaugher Kim and Lorraine, 1996
The statements, taken from a story today on the front page of The New York Times,*  indicate how mindless individuals today have become to the questions of biological identity that these manufactured children will one day have; these parents think it is just fine to create life willy-nilly, because they want children, and science has given them the route, and no one is going to get in their way. They pay little heed to the long-term needs of the children, children who will one day grow up and ask: Who else am I related to? Why am I good in math when no one else in the family is? Where did I get this nose? Chin? Flat feet? (That would be me.)



Yet there is plenty of hard evidence  that people do want and need to know where they came from, where they fit on the tree of life, whom they are related to, whom they look like, where they get all of their special and unique traits. There are websites devoted to sperm-donor children finding their biological fathers and siblings; the children of unknown fathers write columns and blogs and appear on national television talking about it. Coming soon: writings by children of anonymous egg-donors, as these children start growing up.

My husband, Anthony Brandt, granddaughter Lisa and Lorraine last summer
The comments at a previous post** about adoptees taking their biological parent's names, and what they means to them, show without a doubt that people need to know where they came from. Only a person with a low IQ or someone who can totally block off curiosity--because they have been told there are no available answers--is able to not give a whit about their true identity.

Everyone is entitled to know the full truth of their origins. When children ask "Who is my daddy?" or "Who is my mommy?" around age three or four, they should be told the truth, as much as they are able to comprehend. Answering, "You don't have a daddy, you only have a mommy," or "You have two mommies," or, "You have two daddies" may shut them up, but is a blatant lie, and the child will know it is a lie as soon as they reach the age of reason. And they will have learned that this is a subject they are not supposed to talk about, because their "mommy" or "daddy" has already lied about it.

Lethal Secrets
Psychology of Donor Insemination
Even if the egg donor, or the sperm donor, never visits or becomes a factor in their lives, his or her existence needs to be acknowledged and honored; parents who have created such children owe them their true identities, not one that makes the parents feel warm and fuzzy when they draw the family tree.

In today's complicated world of what is a family, we can create a model that seemingly accommodates everyone; in 2009 approximately a third of all sperm-bank clients were lesbian couples, according to the Times story. That number has probably risen since. Who among us doesn't know someone, or know of someone, who has borne such a child?

I've certainly been apart of a "new family model myself." I remember how thrilled I was when my granddaughter Kim (the second daughter of the daughter I gave up for adoption) was assigned to draw a picture of her family when she was in grade school, and I was not excluded. She was being raised by my daughter's adoptive parents (it was complicated, to those who don't know the story), and so they were front and center, and drawn bigger than me; but I was there too.

If a parent, or set of parents, try to talk themselves out of filling this need in the life they set about to create, they are doing great harm to that individual. To claim obliviousness is to delude themselves, and deny their progeny what they have probably always had for themselves: the full and complete knowledge of who they are. One cannot be a fully loving parent and deny an individual the truth of his or her origins. That knowledge is their unalienable right, for the need to know one's origins is universal. Anonymous sperm and egg donation should be abolished everywhere immediately, as it already has in the United Kingdom. As someone once wrote on an ABC message board:  

Everybody wants to know where they come from, even if it doesn't turn out like you wanted it.--lorraine

_____________________
* Who’s on the Family Tree? Now It’s Complicated 
** When adoptees change their names back to their birth names

 Lethal Secrets is recommended reading for anyone considering having a child with outsider sperm or egg.

95 comments :

  1. Identity... the one thing all children crave, is written up in so many places in psychological studies, I find it hard to believe that people still think that they can simply just pretend.

    *side note, your granddaughters both share your chin and nose... interesting.....

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  2. Lori: You noticed that too, huh?

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  3. Couldn't agree more..we all need to know.The damage being stored ahead for the future is frightening, there will be lack of trust,a sense of betrayal, anger, resentment aside form the issues about it being imnpossible to confirm identity.Do we never learn?

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  4. Please keep this story posted way up fpr the world to see. It sums up so much.

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  5. Yep, it is usually those who are secure in the knowledge of who they are biologically who tell those of us who aren't that it really doesn't matter and that family is based solely on relationships. I often wonder if other countries negate the importance of the biological connection as much as the U.S. does. It seems hard to believe especially in countries that have a constitutional monarchy which is an institution based entirely on heredity and ancestry. It seems that the importance of knowing and being connected to one's true heritage is becoming worse in this country rather than better. I guess everything here is simply based on money and the more ways to create children to meet the demand the better. I mean, really, since when was adoption or assisted reproductive technology ever about the child? The child never even seems to be considered.

    And I, too, see the resemblance between you Lorraine and both of your granddaughters. I love both of the pictures although I feel the top one is not complete without Lisa. She really belongs in it.

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  6. I Agree Robin, but I didn't know where Lisa was when that was taken.

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  7. It's usually those who know their background
    And their mother and father who don't think it's
    Imortant for others to know.

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  8. Agreeing, as always with Robin.It sure seems that way from a distance.
    Here it seems we like to know our genealogy, those who have convict ancestors are proud these days!We have the most amazing mixes of class,heridity and race to make things very interesting.When we have the right to our birth records all things are possible.

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  9. Rather than talking about a universal need to know family history, an idea which is easy to shoot down because some people really do not care and are not interested, I would rather posit a universal right to find out family history if one wants to.

    Every person born by whatever means, every person adopted, should have access to identifying information about their genetic begetters. That means no anonymous donation of genetic material, no anonymous baby dumps, and no sealed records adoption. Whether the person wants to access that information should be up to them, not the state and not their parents.

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  10. Top a' the mornin' to ya'

    I'm not sure where to leave this comment; it's kind of off the above subject; it's a continuation of previous comments. I'm going to reread the above post, again. I only was able to skim it late last night.

    I don't know Joe Soll personally, but you could say that I've had "email therapy" with him for about a year, or thereabouts, in 2009, perhaps. You know how shrinks tell you to write down your thoughts. Bouncing my thoughts off of Soll helped me more than the oppressive and damaging HOLD-BACK adoption support group that I attended in my area on and off for roughly 2 decades - it's all we have had in my area!

    Soll discontinued his "Marches On Washington" because of a lack of public interest; nobody wanted to join him. I think he's now pretty discouraged; a commenter or moderator previously wrote about mothers . . . becoming complacent after they find their lost kids. Not me, man, I'm getting more ticked by the day!

    I'm curious how the oppressed [ the adoption community ] feel about Casey Anthony's acquittal!?

    Doesn't the whole aftermath of the acquittal have a familiar ring!? The VICIOUS manner in which SOCIETY is railing against her - even in the light of no evidence against her, to speak of. Yes, this is the greatest and freest country in the whole, wide, world! It's better 10 guilty men go free, than one innocent man to be confined!

    I'm wondering if Jane Edwards has been following up on the trial; it sounds like you're a lawyer, Jane. When a law license is "inactive," does that mean it's not good anymore? Or, does that mean you can use it anytime you want to use it?

    Since I'm here, let me just say that the above post reeks of kids being concocted in Frankenstein's laboratory!

    Hitler's laboratory, too! Weren't Hitler, and his buddy, Mengela, concocting human beings and body parts of humans in their laboratories? Weren't they making soap and lampshades from the bodies of the Jewish people? Surrogacy, egg and sperm donation. . . are not a far stretch?

    How are the innocent products/children of such laboratories going to feel when they reach the age of reason knowing they were concocted in Hitler's laboratories!?

    This site sure is a great place to vent before you start out the day! Have a great day!

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  11. "It's usually those who know their background And their mother and father who don't think it's Important for others to know."

    What about adoptees who feel it's not important, that their adoptive family is sufficient?

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  12. Caleigh,

    Regarding the Casey Anthony trial,
    I saw a news magazine program on the case but I haven't followed all the details. The state had a theory but lacked forensic and other evidence to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that its theory was correct. Anthony had a far-fetched but plausible story. Essentially the state proved Anthony was a liar and that's what the jury convicted her of.

    I suppose the case will be written about endlessly like the Lizzie Borden and OJ Simpson cases where the public believes the defendant got away with murder.

    Being an inactive member of the Oregon state bar means that I was at one time an active member and thus licensed to practice law. Being inactive means that I get my name in the directory and receive a copy of the Bar Bulletin every month. I cannot practice law. I could become an active member without re-taking the bar exam by taking some classes and paying some money but I have no need to do this.

    Readers, I've answered these questions as a courtesy to Caleigh but let's not get side-tracked into writing about Casey Anthony.

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  13. People are self-centered and oblivious to FACTS if the FACTS are not in their favor.

    The "I want it and it is my right" mentality allows so many people to not consider the cause and effect on the child. They just create some excuse like those who say "God called me to adopt from X country" instead of just being truthful and saying it is because "I want it".

    No one's voice who knows their biological history should hold any weight over the voice of one who does not know their biological history in this debate.

    Talk about run on sentences...

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  14. "What about adoptees who feel it's not important, that their adoptive family is sufficient?"

    "Only a person with a low IQ or someone who can totally block off curiosity--because they have been told there are no available answers--is able to not give a whit about their true identity."

    Take your pick Mei Ling!

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  15. " I often wonder if other countries negate the importance of the biological connection as much as the U.S. does. It seems hard to believe especially in countries that have a constitutional monarchy which is an institution based entirely on heredity and ancestry."

    If you are talking about the U.K you don't have to believe it, because anonymous sperm and egg donation was outlawed in Great Britain (2005) although the law is not retrospective.

    And a landmark ruling ended sperm and egg donor anonymity in British Columbia in May this year), thanks to the remarkable and selfless efforts of Olivia Pratten:
    http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_95012.asp
    Yay, Olivia Pratten!

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  16. JANE: Thanks for that info! I don't know where I could have gotten it. In a few months, I plan on approaching a super-duper lawyer with an inactive license; I plan on pitching our cause to her. She's great!

    MEI LING: Well said! It's always those who have it all that want to tell you what you should do with your Life! I just can't imagine denying someone [that I purport to love] their own personal information about themselves!

    Speaking of purporting to love someone: I just wrote my lost son a letter and in it I said he should hyphenate his two surnames (adoptive & natural) for his own sake and the sake of his progeny and those who will come after them. I wrote, "Your parents should be encouraging you to hyphenate your name. That doesn't mean you love them any less!"

    If you purport to love someone, wouldn't you want them to be whole!?

    * Oh, yeah, let's not get on that downer - the girl in the news!

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  17. Anon asked if other countries negate the importance of biological connections as much as the US does. The US us is on the low end when it comes to recognizing the importance of biological connections. In some countries adoption is almost unheard of. Families step in to care for children when their parents can't.

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  18. " When architect Bill Cordray was 37, he found out something about himself: He was conceived using artificial insemination - a little secret that not only changed his life but also explained his life. . . "
    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50877

    'Is anonymity necessary?' by Bill Cordray:
    http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/docs/
    IS%20ANONYMITY%20NECESSARY%20AAC%20April%
    2012%202011.pdf

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  19. "Only a person with a low IQ or someone who can totally block off curiosity--because they have been told there are no available answers--is able to not give a whit about their true identity."

    I don't think this is true. In my lifetime I've heard some blazingly articulate adoptees say that their biological ancestry didn't mean much to them. Granted, I think they're probably in the minority but my point is, it has nothing to do with intelligence or IQ but with attitude and outlook.

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  20. I just want to say one more thing about the news yesterday. I don't think I was clear in my above comment:

    I was attempting to say that the AURA of the VICIOUSNESS with which our society is railing against Casey Anthony is the same VICIOUSNESS that I felt in my youth when I committed the 20th century CRIME [against society] of bearing a Gift while single!

    The people screaming in the news demanding justice for the dead child shot me right back to my youth! Is that a flashback? Boy, I really do still suffer from PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] - I know that for a fact! Don't need a shrink to tell me that! [Ok, now I'm off that subject.]

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  21. "I said he should hyphenate his two surnames"
    "Shouldn't" that be up to him?
    I'm glad your son has his, but not everyone knows their original names or even if they were lucky enough to have been given one.

    Names are important but history is even more so.

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  22. The birth of donor offspring rights in the USA?
    27 June 2011
    By Wendy Kramer and Professor Naomi Cahn:

    "The fertility industry in the US state of Washington will be transformed in late July 2011, when a new law to recognise rights of donor-conceived people comes into effect. Under the changes, anyone who provides gametes to a fertility clinic in the state must also provide identifying information about themselves and their medical history . . . "

    http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_97446.asp

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  23. JESSE: I totally agree with you, "Only a person with a low IQ or someone who can totally block off curiosity--because they have been told there are no available answers--is able to not give a whit about their true identity."

    May I humbly say [ ha-ha ] that:

    In my latest post [June, 2011], entitled, "Adding Insult to Injury," in my blogcast, http://caleighbrookswatchingthewatchers.com I list a number of DEFENSE MECHANISMS which we all use from time to time when the pain gets too tough! I'm pretty sure that an individual who has no interest in discovering his, or her, identity is employing one or more of these defense mechanisms BIG TIME!

    As I state in my humble post, the individual using a defense mechanism is NOT aware he, or she, is using a defense mechanism because defense mechanisms are UNconscious efforts to diminish something painful - which would explain why the, "I don't care about who I am. My identity is not important to me!"

    My major was Psychology. I thought of a PhD. in Psychology. I was also interested in LAW. In hindsight, it is so CLEAR, I mean, PERFECTLY CLEAR, that the loss of my boy had left me enough wounded and vulnerable to not be able to follow my dreams. I WAS LEFT A LITERAL, BLOODY-DRIPPING, AMPUTEE!

    [You "guys" better leave me alone with your super-duper comments. I gotta' get some work did and upload my July, 2011, post in said blogcast which I haven't even started yet!]

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  24. ANONYMOUS: You know, I just might take the "should" out of that line in the letter I have ready to mail to my boy tomorrow. I might write something like, "Hey, why don't you think about hyphenating your name with your two surnames?"

    I didn't even know that hyphenating surnames for an adoptee is a possibility until I read it here. Where have I been?

    Thanks for that suggestion!

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  25. ANONYMOUS called our attention in the previous comment to the "Birth of donor offspring rights in the USA."

    All right, Washington! That's the state, not Martha.

    Is the age when the offspring is allowed to get this private info gonna' be another fight?

    * If I'm not mistaken, Spain has outlawed surrogacy!

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  26. "In some countries adoption is almost unheard of. Families step in to care for children when their parents can't."

    Which countries?

    I know many regions in Asia (seeing as the highest number of infants get mass-adopted from Asian countries) wouldn't allow for that.

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  27. Mei Ling,

    What I said was those who KNOW their parents and their
    family heritage DON'T really think adoptees need to know usually these are adopters. After all they are the ones that will be hurt by the adoptee knowing his family.

    I am all for adoptees knowing their names,
    hertitage.

    My son said to his adopter when she questioned him why he wanted to know me. He said you know your mom.

    He also took back name I named him after his dad.

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  28. I just re-skimmed the letter that any day now I will mail to my boy. I see that I did not use the word "should" in it. I merely stated that, "Adoptees are also hyphenating their adoptive surnames and original surnames. That's what I would wish for you...." I'm going to edit more when I'm fresh.

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  29. Mei Ling wrote: "What about adoptees who feel it's not important, that their adoptive family is sufficient?"

    I don't think the issue is whether or not the adoptee feels it is important or even if s/he wants to know his bio-relatives, I think the issue is that every person has the inherent right to know this information about him/herself. What s/he wants to do with the information is up to him but everyone should at least have access to the information.

    Anyone who contributes gametes to create a child even is s/he doesn't carry the child or raise the child is still PRODUCING a child who carries his or her genes. And those of us at FMF knows how powerful the genetic connection is. No one should be able to create a child and keep their identity a secret.

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  30. Mei-ling,
    Western Europe has very low adoption rates. England and Wales with a population of 55 million have about 150 domestic infant adoptions per year. That's a third of what Oregon has which has a population of about 4 million.

    Mexico and South American countries have low non-relative adoption rates. Children adopted from these countries largely come from orphanages where they were placed because their families were poor and the countries have little welfare. Their families don't give them up voluntarily.

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  31. Jess: Consider the word or in my statement.

    Intelligent people who think they have no possibility of having something (i.e.,knowledge of their forebears) can find the will to block the desire. I know two grownup adoptees who to all intent and purposes have successful, fulfilled lives; both started searches at one point and then cut them off.

    But I stand by my statement: the desire or need to know is a universal. Only on this singular issue is curiosity seen as pathology; for any other question curiosity is a sign of intelligence. As long as we can think, we will wonder. It's human to want to know how we got here.

    One's biological ancestry might not mean much to some, but that is quite different from the desire to know it.

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  32. "England and Wales with a population of 55 million have about 150 domestic infant adoptions per year."

    Government to appoint adoption tsar
    http://www.times-series.co.uk/uk_national_news/9119224.
    Government_to_appoint_adoption_tsar/

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  33. For the record, domestic adoption keeps dropping in Australia.In my State it has been nil for quite some time.We also have healthy attitude to surrogacy which the wealthy avoid by going to America.
    India , the third richest country in the world continues to have a thriving surrogacy industry creating 'rainbow kids' who will never know their ancestry or kin.The Manager of one clinic there says they are 'ethically agnostic' which allows them of course to do what they like with no regard for anything but profit.

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  34. I do not think the desire to know ancestry is "universal" although it is common. Whether one is adopted or not, the desire to search and discover ancestry varies a lot from one individual to another, and I think it is perfectly alright not to want to know, if that works for the individual.

    What is important is that all who want to know have the opportunity to find out, unimpeded by state secrecy. A desire does not have to be universal to be important and honorable.

    I do not find those I know who become obsessed with genealogy more intelligent or generally curious than those who have no interest in it. Sometimes they can be profoundly boring:-) It is a choice, an opportunity all should have but not all have to take.

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  35. MOTHER: "My son said to his adopter when she questioned him why he wanted to know me, he said, 'You know your mom.'"

    That is one sharp dude! And concise!

    In adoptive families, why are the children smarter than the adults/parents? Just sayin'

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  36. "Intelligent people who think they have no possibility of having something (i.e.,knowledge of their forebears) can find the will to block the desire."

    Maybe, but how about considering that perhaps they actually don't have the desire? Or at least that, even if they do, it is not strongly felt.
    Even if, as you say, "the desire or need to know is a universal", some people are naturally more incurious (or less curious. Take your pick) than others. Who knows? Maybe being incurious is a genetic propensity ;-)

    Thank you, Robin and Maryanne, for bringing this discussion back to the core of the matter.
    Robin said that "the issue is that every person has the inherent right to know this information about him/herself. What s/he wants to do with the information is up to him but everyone should at least have access to the information."
    Maryanne said that she would "posit a universal right to find out family history if one wants to."
    When it comes to effecting change, anything else is a diversion.

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  37. Guys,

    I'm not talking about trolling the Ellis Island site or getting involved in genealogy. That is a personal choice and not the same as wanting to know basic stuff about yourself.

    I'm talking about knowing how you came to be born, and to whom. I stick by my belief that NOT to be curious about your own story is unnatural.

    And curiosity about anything is a sign of intelligence; some adoptees have been brainwashed into either thinking they can't know their origins, so they shut down that avenue of thought; or that it's disloyal to their adoptive parents to want to even know, so they don't go that route; or they are so imbued with a sense of being abandoned that they fear finding out the truth.

    It's not wanting to know anything about your owns story that is weird. We can think, therefore we want to know how we got here.

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  38. THANK YOU, LORRAINE DUSKY, for bringing this discussion back to the core of the matter!

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  39. 'And curiosity about anything is a sign of intelligence; some adoptees have been brainwashed into either thinking they can't know their origins, so they shut down that avenue of thought; or that it's disloyal to their adoptive parents to want to even know, so they don't go that route; or they are so imbued with a sense of being abandoned that they fear finding out the truth'
    Sadly some adoptees can't ever know their origins, they were the products of grey or black market adoption, foundlings, dumpster babies or stolen with no knowledge ever avalable to them.
    Those adoptees who think it is disloyal are mindful of causing the hurt we see all the time expressed by adopters who are threatened by reunion..perhaps they should never have been approved to adopt.Some discover their sense of being abandonned to be only too true, they are unloved and unwanted now just as they were back then.The truth hurts a great deal for some.

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  40. And some adoptees are less concerned with their origins than others.
    Because their interest doesn't meet your standard doesn't mean they are unnatural, stupid, brainwashed, shut down, paralized by feelings of abandonment or whatever.
    It doesn't mean they lack curiosity in general. They may be directing their curiosity into other areas, or be mildly interested in their origins but not obsessively so. It may be that they have other more urgent things going on in their lives (would you believe) and that the origins issue comes way down on their list of priorities at that particular time.
    It is very possible that they will experience some triggering moment when it will become more, even crucially, important to them and they will become deeply involved, but in the meantime they don't deserve to be labelled as stupid or unnatural.

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  41. I've just realized that readers of this Forum should try to comment on the topic that Lorraine and Jane write about. Thanks for bearing with me as I learn all this technological protocol! You have been very patient with this newbie.

    But, what about when a reader has something to say that's not on topic? Do we wait a million years hoping the particular topic will come up?

    I'd like to tell you something that's not about "the universal need to know who you are." Well, come to think of it, yes it is!

    I just read the nicest letter that the American Adoption Congress [AAC] had sent to Oprah on March 4, 2011, telling her that the AAC is honoring her with the "AAC 2011 Media Spotlight Award" for focusing on the importance of openness and truth in adoption, reunion, and family reconnections.

    The award was presented to Oprah at the AAC Awards Luncheon on Friday, April 14, 2011, at Noon - 1:30 PM at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, Orlando, Florida. [Was she there?]

    For those of you who are not aware, Oprah found out recently that she has a sister that Oprah's mom had placed for adoption in 1963 and Oprah did a program about the reunion before the press got its hands on the event. Great letter!

    I'm upset about the constant use of the breeder term in the letter. Oprah has enormous clout. I know that we want the word out about reconnection [the right of adoptees to know who they are]; but reversing societal use of the breeder term will be almost impossible at a later date. Oprah would have been the one to teach society what we want to be called. Oprah could have made it happen!

    All of us know that adoption titans came up with the breeder term, in the 1950s, to dehumanize single mothers!

    I sure am glad I have you "guys" to vent to!

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  42. Addendum to my previous email about Oprah:

    How hard would it have been for the AAC to replace the breeder term, birth mother, with natural mother in the aforementioned letter? Oprah is not dumb; she would have gotten the message right away! Blacks know all about the demeaning and dehumanizing nomenclature trick!

    I don't even think Oprah is going to like referring to her mom as a BIRTH MOTHER! Ugh! Picture Oprah grimacing like only Oprah can with her upper lip askance, "Mom's a birth mother? What's a birth mother?

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  43. Caleigh, Oprah was not at AAC, nor did she send a representative to pick up the award. It probably meant nothing to her. I was at AAC this year. There was a big blowup all over adoption reform over Oprah and her sister, and then like so many other things it just blew away, on to the next "big thing".

    If by "the breeder word" you mean "birthmother", Lo has already addressed that and why it is used here. It has all been discussed to death previously. Perhaps Lo could point you to some things in the archives here. These subjects have already been gone over and over.

    If you have a problem with AAC, take it up with them. In general changing the subject of a thread is not a good thing anywhere. Live and learn.

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  44. "And curiosity about anything is a sign of intelligence."

    Yes, but that does not mean that a lack of curiosity about a particular thing is a sign of lack of intelligence. Nor is it proof of any defence mechanism or brainwashing, raised by two readers here. It could just be lack of interest in that thing.

    There is no universal need to know; there is, however, a universal right to know.

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  45. So the little child who never asks Where did I come from? is not unusual?

    I will be addressing this in a later blog.

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  46. I don't think the young child's question, "Where did I come from?" is really about ancestry or "who my relatives are," though that will be of interest to many children as they mature, non-adopted and adopted.

    That question is about how babies are made.

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  47. I don't think myraised kids are interested in their heritage. I know as a younger woman around 30's I asked my mom if she knew and she said a cousin was doing some research never saw anything from that research but never met my moms cousin.
    Adoptees aren't any different than anybody else they may or may not think about heritage. I do think adoptees take on adopters heritage just because they have been adopted and usually those that adopt want to just pretend the child is of their clan. I do think adoptees also encounter roadblocks everywhere into finding the truth. So very wrong
    everybody should have a right to know.

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  48. @ Jess (& Lorraine): It could be a bit of both, actually?

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  49. A child asking "where did I come from"? wants to know how babies are made, not "who are my mom and dad?" When the child is adopted, or the product of assisted reproduction, the answer gets complicated and comes with the knowledge that the original mother did not keep him, which for some leads to sadness and pain.

    For something to be "universal" as was posited in the original post, it has to apply to all people, not just adopted people, or else it is not universal. And that would include us non-adopted who know our mom and dad, but not much before that, which applies to many folks. Nor do all adopted people want to know their heritage or their original parents, for various and sundry reasons, so even that is not "universal". It is common and it should be a right for those who want it. but I don't see the point in criticizing those adoptees who are not interested. That is their right as well.

    I think it is normal and natural to want to know and search, and also to not want to know. It depends on the person and their circumstances. There are precious few real "universals" in the world.

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  50. We agree that all of God's creatures have the right to their biological information, "Who are we?"

    I'd appreciate expounding a little more on my above comments about Oprah [The AAC wrote Oprah and thanked her for advertising the need/right of her lost sister and the Oprah clan to know each other - so I'm still on topic.].

    A few years ago, I attended a great American Adoption Congress conference; it would have been greater had I not still been so wounded from the loss of my boy.

    There was some kind of discussion goin' on, and afterward there was a question & answer session. Didn't I get up and ask a question of the AAC President? What is it with me and Presidents? [I clashed with a different President before.]

    I merely went up to the microphone and meekly expressed the sadness and disrespect moms [who lost kids to adoption] feel when the AAC helm continually runs roughshod over them by shoving the breeder term in their faces, "Please don't call us 'birth mothers.' It hurts us." For example, one's psyche hearing it so many times in a 3-4 day conference alone is analogous to the Chinese drops of water on the forehead torture.

    The President, who is a birth mother, quipped in her gruff voice as if to be sitting at a bar with a beer in hand and a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, quipped, "I don't care what they call me! I just want open records." [see I'm on topic]

    Look, I don't care what you call me anymore - there isn't much more "you" can do to me! "You" already have my child!

    I understand fully why Lorraine and Jane include the term, birth mother, in their title! It's a great idea! It would, perhaps, be wise to somehow incorporate it into my site; but, you "guys" know me and my technological prowess.

    I don't include Lorraine and Jane in my last two sentences below because this Forum is a more intimate setting. The last two sentences are meant for the adoption reform community at large.

    Work toward "access to original birth records" for adoptees and use, and teach, respectful language for moms and dads and other relatives of loss!

    Can't we talk and chew gum at the same time!? [Not Lorraine and Jane - we love the job they do for us!]

    Just sayin'

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  51. I have a question about Missouri. It states "if the natural parents are deceased".

    Wouldn't it be necessary to produce a copy of the death certificate? How would an adoptee be able to get that if s/he doesn't even know the first parent's name and hence wouldn't know that the parent was deceased?

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  52. Lee here!
    Sorry to get off topic, but I probably am - haven't read the comments yet! But I noticed "egg" and "sperm" donor in Lorraine original post so...
    My brother was a sperm donor in the late 60s and thru the 70s, and when I told him I was going to find my daughter, he wondered if he could somehow find "his" kids!??!!
    Lorraine, or anyone else - know anything that he can do? This happened around San Francisco and Berkeley.
    Thanks in advance!!

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  53. Lorraine you forgot to use disclaimers...adoptees end up using them all the time or it becomes a picking apart individual words in a sentence or that you forgot to refer to the paragraph above, etc etc...and then taking pot shots at you for forgetting to use the right words when the intent was clear in the first place. It's context folks...

    Each adoptee is unique but show me one adoptee who has never ever wondered about where they came from and/or what the real story was (understanding they never actually had to utter the words and/or would never admit it to another individual) and I would call them a liar. At some point or many points in their life the questions will be there (note I not talking about instensity levels at all).

    We can know there is no way to find out and make our peace with that.

    We can put out feelers on registries and say that is enough and make our peace with that.

    We can choose to do nothing and make our peace with that.

    We can search forever and still make our peace with never knowing if things don't work out.

    But you will never convince me that an adoptee exists that at one point in their life (or many points) never wondered or was curious about where they came from and/or what their story was...(regardless of the level of the curiousity it exits to some degree.)

    It has nothing to do with how well-ajusted or mal-adjusted that individual is.

    It has nothing to do with whether or not they live an active and fulfilled life or not.

    It has nothing to do with how successful or not they are in life.

    It has nothing to do with any of the other things people throw out when saying "I know an adoptee who has never been curious"...none of them apply to whether or not a person wonders where they came from, good grief...

    It is simply human instinct to be curious and being adopted sets the stage for those very questions to occur.

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  54. re Anonymous July 6, @ 8:47pm:
    And some adoptees are less concerned with their origins than others.
    Because their interest doesn't meet your standard doesn't mean they are unnatural, stupid, brainwashed, shut down, paralized by feelings of abandonment or whatever.
    It doesn't mean they lack curiosity in general. They may be directing their curiosity into other areas, or be mildly interested in their origins but not obsessively so. It may be that they have other more urgent things going on in their lives (would you believe) and that the origins issue comes way down on their list of priorities at that particular time.
    It is very possible that they will experience some triggering moment when it will become more, even crucially, important to them and they will become deeply involved, but in the meantime they don't deserve to be labelled as stupid or unnatural.


    Lee here:
    I hope you're right re bold - my daughter has no desire, right now she says, to have contact with me - but she knows EVERYTHING about her hertiage - has all her life she says - but I hope she gets more curious with it and does come around to get to know me! I can dream!!

    I know when I contacted her she had just got engaged, then married, and had a child... so hoping she's just living her life and has no time for me just now... BUT I will be contacting her on her 45th birthday (2014) to see how she's doing and if she has changed any of her feelings about contact.

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  55. I have known a number of adoptees who told me they spent years denying they had any interest in searching. Then bing it hit them and they realized they had a great need to know their origins.

    "Identical Strangers" is a memoir by identical twins adopted into separate homes at birth. One twin tells about writing an article for one of the women's magazines, "Ladies Home Journal", perhaps, about why she didn't want to search. Once her twin found her, however, she became interested in their background and joined her twin in searching for their birth parents.

    In other words, the "I don't need to search; my parents are my parents" mantra may be true only at a particular time.

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  56. Anon asked if we knew any way her sperm donor brother could find the children he fathered. I don't know of any direct way he could do so. There might be webs sites that could help.

    If he learns anything about searching for his offspring, let us know.

    It's to his credit that he's think about this.

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  57. Or, is that walk and chew gum at the same time? [Please see my last sentence.]

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  58. Lee, perhaps this could be helpful to your brother the sperm donor:

    Here is a long article from the NY Times about donor insemination people looking for their fathers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/18/magazine/looking-for-a-donor-to-call-dad.html

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  59. The question "Where did I come from?" asked by a young child is always specific to the child. Before at least nine or ten children do not and cannot think abstractly about children in general. Their world is focused on themselves and they want to know where THEY came from. Usually the answer from your Mommy's tummy will satisfy them, but if they know they're adopted that won't be enough. They will want to know who their "real" Mommy is, even if they're afraid to ask the question.
    Anthony Brandt, former contrib. editor to PARENTING.

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  60. Lee, yes, adoptees can change their minds, mine did, but it took many years. Probably because he was too young when I first contacted him he had no interest at all, today he is in his early 40s and we have a good email relationship. Your daughter may yet come around, especially since you have let her have her space for some time.

    This week we had a very civilized and detailed discussion about medical information since high blood pressure runs in my mother's family, and one of my raised sons tested a bit high. My surrendered son had also had some blood pressure problems and we ended up comparing numbers and ways to alleviate the problem.

    This is how it should work when those on both sides are reasonable and able to give a bit to see the other side.

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  61. I can't imagine any adoptee not thinking about his first parents and wondering why s/he was given up for adoption. After all the vast majority of people s/he meets will not be adopted and it soon becomes apparent that being raised in a non-blood related family is certainly the exception and not the norm. Whether or not the adoptee wants to learn more about his heritage or wants to reconnect with his bio-kin is another story. But to have no interest whatsoever at any time about his/her blood kin seems impossible to me.

    I read the article by the author of Identical Strangers which was titled something like "Why I don't feel a need to know about my bparents" and then she does a 180 and writes a book with her twin about their search. I think different life events such as marriage, a first pregnancy, an AP's death, etc. can precipitate one's desire to know. There really is no right or wrong vis-a-vis one's desire to search and reunite or to not have much interest in the issue at all. However, I would guess that every adoptee has at least thought about his/her n-parents and wondered why s/he was given up.

    Also, I think there is a universal RIGHT to know but not necessarily a universal need to know.

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  62. Lee here!

    Jane said:
    Anon asked if we knew any way her sperm donor brother could find the children he fathered. I don't know of any direct way he could do so. There might be webs sites that could help.

    If he learns anything about searching for his offspring, let us know.

    It's to his credit that he's think about this.


    maryanne said:
    Lee, perhaps this could be helpful to your brother the sperm donor:

    Here is a long article from the NY Times about donor insemination people looking for their fathers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/18/magazine/looking-for-a-donor-to-call-dad.html


    Thanks to both of you!! I'll send this link to my brother! He's an artist, writer and thespian... so he's curious if any of his "kids" have these traits! And feels if they want to know 'who' he is - that is their right!
    Thanks again - and Jane I'll let you (and everyone else here!) if he finds out anything!!

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  63. Shoot! Lost a LONG post here... but will try again. Wanted to response to Maryanne's post:

    Lee, yes, adoptees can change their minds, mine did, but it took many years. Probably because he was too young when I first contacted him he had no interest at all, today he is in his early 40s and we have a good email relationship. Your daughter may yet come around, especially since you have let her have her space for some time.

    re Bold - I sure HOPE so!! Long story short - I found her a day after her 37th birthday (born in 1969) so in 2006; hard time finding her address, so sent the letter to her amom to forward! I've talked with her amom on the phone and all seemed to go good, but then received a scathing letter from amom (!) re I signed a paper NEVER to search (which of course I did NOT! just gave up my 'parental right's), then a letter from my daughter thanking me for giving her life and has loved me thru out her life; she has known about her heritage all her life, but not ready for contact at this time. I waited until a year passed and wrote her a 12-page letter - giving her all my medical information, the circumstances of her birth (I went to a home for unwed mothers), family history, a picture of myself (at the age I gave birth and a current one). On her 40th birthday I sent her a Happy birthday greeting thru Facebook, and received an email back saying "Please don't contact me or my family again" and I will when I change my mind; and again thanked me for giving her life - so here I sit... waiting... I'll try contacting her again on her 45th birthday (2014), and have already started a letter/note to send! Any help on that letter/note would be helpful!! LOL!
    Again - thanks for all the responses to my posts!

    Lee

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  64. There's another interesting fact about that oppressive [ to moms who lost kids ] adoption support group in my area, the helm of which was made up of a bunch of HOLD-BACKS.

    The adoptive father of the President [adoptee] of the group was one of the lawyers responsible, years prior, for CLOSING the birth records of adoptees. Records were open before that in my state - I think prior to 1964 adoption records were open.

    Then, decades later, after some supposed reawakening, the decrepit, old, goat was trying to apologize at the podium of some stupid event, he said, ". . . I'm not too old to learn, I can learn, too...."

    There is simply no excuse for this oppression of your neighbor! Why do we have to suffer because you're so stupid? Why do adoptees and their extended families have to suffer while you're learning about the unalienable right [and/or need ] of people to know who they are? Huh? You're a lawyer, for heaven's sake? Shouldn't you know something about unalienable rights?

    I looked at the President as she gawked, with half a grin, at her adoptive father at the podium. She was so proud that after many, many, many decades, he had finally seen the light! By golly! Gee, whillikers!

    Of course, records are still closed, if I'm not mistaken.

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  65. That is a tough one, Lee. What makes it extra hard is your daughter asking that you not contact her again. I kept up sporadic contact over the years, and sent Christmas and birthday gifts, because while my son did not acknowledge most of it, he never asked me not to nor sent anything back. I lost touch with where he was for several years, and only searched for him again when my father was dying.

    Although he was clearly annoyed at being found again, he got right back to me with a work email, and a dialogue began again, and it went slowly from there, again over a period of many years. I too had sent the long letters and many pictures in the pre-internet days, so there was not really much he did not know about family background and the surrender.

    For me, a breakthough occurred when he said he could not be my savior or forgiver or words to that effect,I needed to forgive myself, and that I needed to stop blaming everyone else for my own actions and take responsibility. I did, and things got better. His adoptive mother turned out to be a mentally ill horror, but it took years for him to tell me that. He had cut himself off from her totally as soon as he got out of the house and never went back.

    I do not know if my story has any relevance for you or not, as every case is unique and different. I might help to remember you do not really know what is going on in your daughter's life that dealing with you is just one more thing she can't handle now. As a wise birthmother friend once told me, "it is not always about you."

    I really hope things will change for you in the future; I never thought my situation would change but it did.

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  66. Caleigh: that is an amazing story--what state are you in? Too bad the lawyer didn't put as much energy into opening the records as the harm he did in helping close them. Live and Learn is a nice idea, but in this case so many damage has been inflicted.

    Thanks for your story, Maryanne; I'm sure that someone coming here will find it helpful and encouraging.

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  67. snipped for space - hope you don't mind Maryanne! You said:

    I too had sent the long letters and many pictures in the pre-internet days, so there was not really much he did not know about family background and the surrender.

    For me, a breakthough occurred when he said he could not be my savior or forgiver or words to that effect,I needed to forgive myself, and that I needed to stop blaming everyone else for my own actions and take responsibility. I did, and things got better. His adoptive mother turned out to be a mentally ill horror, but it took years for him to tell me that. He had cut himself off from her totally as soon as he got out of the house and never went back.

    I do not know if my story has any relevance for you or not, as every case is unique and different. I might help to remember you do not really know what is going on in your daughter's life that dealing with you is just one more thing she can't handle now. As a wise birthmother friend once told me, "it is not always about you."

    I really hope things will change for you in the future; I never thought my situation would change but it did.


    re the bolds specifically -
    Yes, on the first - there isn't too much my daughter doesn't know about my family or medical needs; my mother is 90 yrs old, and said she would like to write a letter to her (which she is doing!) & gave me her mother's ring to give to my daughter with her letter.
    The 2nd bold - I mentioned in my letter that I felt like a 'bad birthmother' for giving her up, and she said 'please don't' that I am not, so that has made me feel a WHOLE lot better and have finally forgiven myself for giving her up, but it sure hurts once in awhile; she seems to had a very good childhood, life with great parents, which of course, I'm VERY grateful for!
    The last bold - yes - it's is NOT about me - TRUE! So, for the past 2 years I've held it together, but still hope that I'll hear from her eventually - even if get old and dicrepate (sp?) LOL!

    Lee

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  68. @Lee,
    First let me say that I have never understood adoptees who do not want contact with their original parents so I may not be the best person to give you advice. But here goes. When I read that you had sent a 12 page letter I thought uh-oh that could feel overwhelming. If your daughter is hesitant or reluctant to have a relationship with you for whatever reason she may have felt that you wanted more from her than she wants or is able to give.

    I know she said she doesn't want you to contact her but I think first parents have rights and feelings, too. I think some kind of minimal contact that doesn't overwhelm her would be appropriate. Maybe a card with a short note on her birthday. Hopefully, if she sees that you are interested in being there for her (but without any pressure) she will come around.

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  69. Why adoptees might not want to meet or know their biological parents would not fit in to this comment, let alone a post, maybe not a book.There are many, they are diverse, complicated and do deserve better exploration and understanding than they have had.
    Robin is so right, a 12 page letter may be overwhelming, it may be welcome.Suggest you write the 12 page letter, pour out your heart but keep it to yourelf for now.Send a card, a preliminary gesture of openness, perhaps even a tasteful keepsake, a photo of course and one of both parents and siblings if there are any.

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  70. Robin's advice about the 12 page letter being overwhelming is excellent. I believe from what Lee said the 12 page letter was already sent a while ago, with pictures, so that is done.

    For any future contact, I would keep it very light, a card and short note. Or a brief, "thinking of you" email if you have her email address. Just let her know you will always be there for her.

    I too made the mistake of the long, heartfelt, smotional letters and pictures, and I think it scared my son off. The way he was raised, love always came with strings and obligations, and he had had enough of that, as well as high emotional drama and demands from his adoptive mother. He did not know me, and the model he had of "mother" was not a good one. He did not need more of that.

    Best to be cautious and not overwhelm an adoptee who is not ready. Also, keep the letter and ring from your mother until your daughter responds to you, but don't send it when you make your next contact. Adding more relatives to the mix before the adoptee is ready can be overwhelming as well.

    Sadly your Mom may be gone before she comes around, if she ever does. My parents, who would have dearly loved to meet their first grandson, did not live to see him in person, only pictures, or to know he finally got back to communicating with me. Life is hard and sad sometimes.

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  71. Some very astute commenters have commented on the need for mothers who lost kids to adoption to FORGIVE THEMSELVES! And that's what our society wants to keep you in your place?

    FIRST:

    Our society likes to trick, brainwash, young single mothers out of their kids by saying it's such an unselfish act to give your child for adoption.

    THEN AFTER "THEY" GOT THE GOODS:

    SOCIETY WANTS TO KEEP YOU IN YOUR PLACE so you don't go find your kid and cause a big raucous! [Adoption titans want to keep doin' adoptions!] Society WANTS moms to feel guilty about it, "Repent! Seek forgiveness, my child! You're a wanton woman and you deserved to be separated from your child!"

    Society sends out these 2 conflicting messages: UNSELFISH ACT & FORGIVE YOURSELF! This 21st century trick is more subtle! The trick was more brutal and blatant in the 20th century! WHY WOULD YOU HAVE TO FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR AN UNSELFISH ACT!? [See how slick and sick your neighbors (society) are?

    People only forgive themselves for something they've done wrong! Your child was a GIFT from God to YOU! Do you have to forgive yourself for that?

    "Adoption is a violent act, a political act of aggression toward a woman who has supposedly offended the sexual mores by committing the unforgivable act of not suppressing her sexuality, and therefore not keeping it for trading purposes through traditional marriage. The crime is a grave one, for she threatens the very fabric of our society. The penalty is severe. She is stripped of her child by a variety of subtle and not so subtle maneuvers and then brutally abandoned." Joss Shawyer, Death by Adoption, Circada Press [1979]

    There is no way in hell that I'm going to apologize for being a victim of adoption titans and our cheap society [neighbors]! Nor will I seek forgiveness! I WILL NOT FORGIVE MYSELF FOR BEING A VICTIM! There are only 3 actions I'm going to take:

    [ 1 ] I will grieve for having been a victim!
    [ 2 ] I WILL GET MY JUST DESSERTS!
    [ 3 ] I will try my darndest to make sure single moms who come after me don't get their kids snatched!

    One thing I will never do is apologize for being a victim, nor will I even entertain the idea of forgiving myself!

    FORGIVE MYSELF!? Whaaat!? For what!? For being a victim!?

    I'M ONLY GOING TO GET A HEALTHY ANGRIER BY THE DAY!!!

    You betch ya! (Palin ha-ha)

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  72. Lee: Your posts show up as anonymous when I don't think you mean to be because you sign them...all you have to do is click on the "name" choice when you post and type in Lee. It will preserve your anonymity as much as it is now, but will become more recognizable to to those who look at the posts listed together. Give it a try!

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  73. Lee,

    I once again will agree with Robin. My daughter and I are in a reunion of five almost six years. She is 42.
    We have plenty of contact but I somehow feel as though I could hear from her everyday and it wouldn't be enough. I try not overwhelm her. But on the other hand it hurts when a few weeks go by without hearing from her. In those times I will send a short email saying I love and miss her and will receive the same response. Every reunion is different and I also think that it depends on where they (our children) are in their own lives as to how much contact they want.
    It will never get easier for us as mothers and I believe the same goes for our children as well. It is a healing process. But that band aid needs to be ripped off in order for that process to begin.
    On that note, I have commented here for awhile under the name "tryingtoheal". My healing has come to a point where I no longer need to hide in shame about anything. So, may real name is Janet and from now on I will sign in as that.
    I thank Lorraine and Jane and all those who come here to comment for helping me reach that step.

    Thanks, Janet

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  74. Hey Janet! Welcome to the Land of Out-of-the-Closet!

    What I think is hard to remember that raised children do not stay in close contact all the time with their parents. We ascribe everything to their being adopted, but sometimes it's not, it's just the norm. At 42, your daughter does have her own life.

    We often want more than our found children are prepared to share. It sounds like you and your daughter, however, are getting to a pretty good place, and if we were in some way a part of getting you there, I am pleased.

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  75. Thank you all for the responses!
    Yes, I believe I did overwhelm her in that 12-page letter, but I thought I would never have contact with her again, and wanted to give her all the medical info I had, and a little about her birth, so she would know; other various things about my life - where I grew up, and the circumstances of her birth and my giving her up for adoption. Also to explain to her that I did not sign a paper that I would never search, as she & her amom both wrote about that in their letters to me. I told her I would love a relationship BUT only when she was ready - so here I am!
    About the Forgiveness - I've really been able to consider myself not a victim of sorts, since it WAS my decision to give her up! She had a heart condition, and having no $$, there was no other choices, as my family was not rich at all.
    and tryingtoheal she has a full life right now.
    I don't believe I'll be sending her any emails or cards at the moment - will just wait and 'see' if she has a change of heart. But I like the idea of sending a 'family' picture, so she can 'see' that she resembles my sisters also!
    Again THANKS everyone for the responses - I should have come here when I first started this searching... Oh well - what's done is done!

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  76. Hey Lee & Everybody!

    Thanks for that comment, Lee! I absolutely respect that you were not a victim when giving your child for adoption. There are certainly exceptions to every rule and experience.

    I've dabbled within the adoption reform and healing community since 1988 and I'm going to have to think really long and hard whether any mom [that I've encountered or heard speak at podiums and workshops] gave her child for adoption without some type of pressure, coercion, and/or finagling by authority figures! It goes without saying that the brutal and unspoken societal pressure alone was enough for single moms of the 20th century to cave!

    Moms don't give away children!!!

    * OF COURSE, the minute I let go of my son, I knew that I was going to find him when he reached adulthood!

    During my first phone call to my lost son, he casually said, "I'm glad I wasn't terminated."

    What a shame that a kid had to grow up with, "It was either be killed or adopted. Whew! I'm luck to be alive!" Poor kid! No wonder adoptees are so grateful!

    In the heat of the moment, what the heck he said didn't hit me like a ton of bricks until I got off the phone!

    See? That's why search and reunion is so important! To restore the dignity of our children! I know that my son doesn't need me! He's kind like me - that's why he has accepted all my LONG mailings over the years! Except for all the secrecy and lies [like the example above] and the fact that he said, "I never asked questions because I didn't want to hurt her [adoptive mom], I'm pretty sure he had a decent Life - the same Life he could have had with me and our tribe!

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  77. ADDENDUM to my last comment:

    A few minutes ago, I wrote at the end of my previous comment above, "Except for all the secrecy and lies [like the example above] and the fact that he said, "I never asked questions because I didn't want to hurt her [adoptive mom], I'm pretty sure he had a decent Life - the same Life he could have had with me and our tribe!"

    I'd like to expound on that last sentence. I meant to write, ". . . I'm pretty sure he had a decent Life - the same Life he could have had with me and our tribe EXCEPT WITHOUT ALL THE LIES & SECRECY & DYSFUNCTION!"

    * A family is deemed DYSFUNCTIONAL when major Life events are not discussed - like adoption I would say is slightly a major Life event, for heaven's sake. And, it's obvious to me by his statement that my son clearly got the message growing up that adoption was not to be discussed! What a shame!

    Why do the children [adoptees] have to fix the adults [adoptive parents]!?

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  78. Thanks for the welcome Lorraine!
    It's a good place to be.

    Both of my daughters are kind, caring, and productive members of this world and that is something to be very proud of. Nothing to hide.

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  79. I agree with Lee who said, "I should have come here when I first started this searching...."

    Had "First Mother Forum" been around when I first began the search for my boy 21 years ago, I wouldn't be in the shape I'm in today. I wouldn't STILL be so wounded! I would have had a safe place to heal!

    * ABOUT NOT WRITING LONG LETTERS TO OUR LOST KIDS: [ This is not necessarily meant for you, Lee. You know your experience better than me. ]

    I wrote plenty of long letters to my boy and don't apologize whatsoever; in point of fact, I should be thanked for it - and he did thank me in the beginning! I painted a complete picture of everything my son needed to know about himself in order to be a FULLY-functioning adult, and not the emotional amputee he had been theretofore!

    Who are we writing to? A bunch of morons? Don't our lost kids know to read a few pages and then put the letter down, and continue reading a few more pages at a later date? Just sayin'

    That's interesting that this LONG LETTER topic should come up. I got chided by 2 dingbat moms who lost kids, a younger one and an older one, for writing a long letter 2 decades ago! I just thought, "Man, you people are not for me! You're too stupid!" They were saying how right they are and how they're trying to help me. I was a captive audience in their car coming from some adoption-related function and I couldn't get away!

    Come on, let's get some self-esteem about ourselves!

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  80. On the subject of long letters, frequent emails, too many phone calls etc: Some reunions proceed happily no matter what either party does, because both sides really want it to work. But for others, until you get to know the person, caution and respect for their boundaries are important and can make the difference between a failed reunion and an ongoing one.

    Some adoptees are easily overwhelmed. Some can't deal with a mother they do not know pouring out her heart to them. What we may feel is "giving them all the information" or expressing love can come across as a demand for reciprocation that they cannot handle, so they cut communication off. Nobody wants that to happen to them if it can be avoided by a little tact and empathy.

    It is not a matter of self-esteem, but of sensitivity to the other person. Not to start out by overwhelming or crowding the adoptee with any sort of pressure, including long and frequent emotional letters, is good advice.
    As the relationship progresses, there may be a time for that later, as you get to know each other and each other's style. But at first contact you are strangers, and do not know what other pressures and problems are in your adoptee's life. Contact is not just about the mother dumping all her pain and issues on the adoptee, but about building a relationship that can last based on mutual respect and caring.

    I have not found it helpful or healthy to see myself as a victim, to never apologize for my actions or see any wrong in them, nor to seethe in constant anger. I was stuck in a place like that for too long and am glad to be out of it. All of us can make mistakes, and hopefully learn from the advice of others to avoid some of them in the future.

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  81. This is such a wonderful thread and came at a timely matter as I was writing about being separated from my biological parents. I even quoted you, Lorraine!

    Here is the post if you are interested in reading it.

    When Lightening Breaks off a Branch from the Family Tree

    http://weavingloveuntanglingconfusion.blogspot.com/2011/07/when-lightening-breaks-of-branch-from.html

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  82. MARYANNE: Your above comment is a great one! I don't have much time or many neurons with which to comment because the person I'm caregiving is exiting from his 20-day hospital stay and on his way to rehab! Yaaaay!!!

    I must say that I did walk on tippy-toes as I communicated with my lost son over the years.

    It's not a constant anger that I'm seething in. It's only now that I'm able to get in touch with my rage!

    Yesterday, I just saw a handsome shaman in grey braids working with the Duchess of York. He was attempting to get her to a point of SEETHING ANGER about her past, in particular, her childhood!

    Fergie's series on OWN and her story is just like mine. Fergie is telling my story! [except for the fame and money]! She has gone along merrily SHUT DOWN throughout her Life NOT realizing that she has a right to ALOT of anger [which I won't bore you with]!

    Man, I AM SEETHING IN CONSTANT RAGE!!! And, that's great! Those of us who haven't yet experienced that same anger that you, Maryanne, wallowed in, and that the shaman is trying to get Sarah, the Duchess of York, in get in touch with, would appreciate that same experience! Rage is healthy!

    You done good, Maryanne, with your comment and experience!

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  83. Caleigh, either I did not express myself well, or you misunderstood.
    I hope I did not "wallow in anger", although when I first got involved in adoption reform when my son was very young, perhaps too young, I was angry, and then I was bitter because my reunion did not work out for many years, and I got stuck for a while in a bad place. It took me a long time to see my part in it not working, and when my son finally did come around, to give him the space and grace to set whatever boundries he needed to, without demands or expectations.

    I am not proud of having been angry or advocating rage or anger as productive. It was not for me at all. I regret the time I spent being angry and depressed. It did not help me or anyone else. No, in most cases rage is not healthy, nor is depression, although it is understandable given the circumstances. Rage corrodes the soul and clouds the vision. It is not something to encourage or be proud of.

    I do not believe in Shamans or other New Age beliefs, so that analogy does not work for me either.

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  84. Anger and rage are normal reactions, if not expressed they often lead to depression, not a healthy place for anyone to be.There is nothing wrong with justified anger, it's what we do with it and how we manage it that matters. No-one needs to be ashamed of anger or of being depressed, they are human reactions to difficult situations.How we deal with them is important for good outcomes in our future.
    Living in constant rage as some groups do is not healthy, retraumatises constantly and is certainly a dysfunctional place for adoptees to go.
    Re adoptees or anyone else, you cannot assume they will do what you would do or that your way is right.How would an adoptee know to read a letter of 12 pages or how ever many in stages? They may be eager for the information but unprepared for the contents.
    Caleigh said 'I painted a complete picture of everything my son needed to know about himself in order to be a FULLY-functioning adult, and not the emotional amputee he had been theretofore!' The powers of a mother to heal an adoptee are sadly overestimated in most situations.It is not about information altogether, more about the damage of the loss of attachment and the trauma of adoption.Many adoptees hope that one day mothers and others will really understand what adoption is about.

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  85. Thanks for allowing me to be concise, I just got home and can't see straight! I'm going to re-read your comments, eventually; I was only able to skim them.

    What the heck was I going to say? Um?

    With respect to Maryanne's previous comment about shamans. I don't even know what a shaman is. I'm going to look up the word in the dictionary as soon as I publish this comment. [See, how educational this site is for me! It has me lookin' up words.]

    I'd like to clarify that it's not only the shaman trying to get the Duchess of York to get in touch with her anger. Also Dr. Phil, Suzie Orman, and other professionals, and mental health professionals [which elude me at the moment], a Harvard professional... are all trying to get Fergie real! There were so many that I can't recall the names. I'm sure the shows will air again and I'll write the names and credentials down for my own edification.

    For instance, Dr. Phil said to Fergie, "You just described for me the most horrific story of your mom's accident and decapitation as if you were ordering lunch...."

    And Fergie looked at Dr. Phil, bafflingly, "What's wrong? It wasn't right?" or something to that effect.

    Personally, I'M SEETHING WITH SO MUCH ANGER lately, yet, my Life is better than it's EVER been! MY FUTURE LOOKS SO BRIGHT THAT I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT! I'm so lucky!!! And I'm so happy! Very recently, around 2 or 3 weeks ago, I even started listening to music in the car, again, REAL loud!

    You "guys" will be proud of me: I just mailed my son a mere 3 and one-half page letter today.

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  86. Von wrote:Living in constant rage as some groups do is not healthy, retraumatises constantly and is certainly a dysfunctional place for adoptees to go."

    This is equally true for birthmothers, and what I was trying to express. Thanks Von! Of course individual justified anger is normal and healthy, it is never moving out of it and seeking further reasons to fuel one's rage, which does happen in some groups, that is unhealthy and harmful.

    Also what you said about the power of a mother to heal the adoptee goes for the adoptee healing the mother as well. Both have their own healing to do that the other can't do, because they are in very different situations. Expecting the other to heal you is futile and not fair to them.

    Caleigh, I have no respect for any of the TV authorities you cite. I am glad you are feeling better, but the all caps about how happily angry you are is overdone. Does your son respond to your letters? My son responding is what made me a bit happier, not rage.

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  87. Oh, I'm sorry!

    I'm being torn to pieces, the person I'm caregiving needs me pronto, and my best friend, who seldom asks for any help, needs me pronto. Go figure!

    I only have time to say, "You 'guys' know I'm social media illiterate. It's not ok to use capital letters to express joy?"

    See? My phone's ringin' again! Just let me know what I'm doing wrong. You "guys" are terrific!

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  88. Caleigh wrote:"You 'guys' know I'm social media illiterate."
    No, actually, we do not know that, so I asked my friend Google about you. Interesting, since according to google you have been on Twitter since at least 2009, ditto your own web page and blog, are also on Facebook, who knows what else? Not exactly a newbie to commenting on blogs either.

    I don't even know what twitter does! So I do not consider you naive or social media illiterate, and am not sure why you try to present yourself that way here.

    Certainly is is good that this blog is helping you with your issues, and you will get more sense here than from your current advisor, but some things do not really hang together or make sense.

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  89. I should have made it clearer Maryanne.I was actually referring to mothers' groups, one brand in particular.

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  90. Got it Von, and still agree:-)

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  91. Simply by clicking on my name in these comments will take anyone to my blogcast and to my Twitter connection which is right at the top of my sidebar in my blogcast.

    I seldom tweet. Sometimes I'm not on for six months at a time, which I explain right in the sidebar of the blogcast. It just seems that I'm always doing something wrong in social media.

    I hope that's helpful.

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  92. Addendum to my previous comment:

    I've also been mentioning, advertising, my complete blogcast address in my comments, and I've quoted from the posts in the blogcast, since I've been on First Mother Forum.

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  93. IMHO, I think there is a universal right and a universal need to know your origins. What information someone has or doesn't have to consider that need fulfilled for themselves is up to that individual.

    I have never in my life met a non-adopted person who couldn't tell me at least part of their birth narrative or something about their parents or ancestors. They can claim that they have no interest but they also grew up with automatic knowledge of some of their roots simply by being able to know the parents whose genes they carry. Can they claim they have 0 interest or need to know their roots when they've never gone for a minute without at least some connection to their roots? How can you speak for something you don't know?

    Brodzinsky and Schechter state in their book that adoptees also have a universal desire to search. However, they clarify what searching means to each person is different. They have never met an adoptee who did not at least ask one question to their APs about their original mother, the most common questions "who is she?" and "why did she give me up?" That, they say, is a form of searching. It is also an expression of the adoptee's need to know something of their roots.

    Many adoptees consider their APs heritage their own. They have no desire to learn of their genetic origins. But they've still fulfilled that basic need with information from their adoptive parent's background.

    There is BOTH a need and a right.

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  94. Caleigh, I'm glad you won't leave us. Discussion is good.

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  95. Thank you Amanda. This discussion is going on at two places, this post and the next one, the Part 2.

    A universal human need gives rise to what we call "rights."

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