' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Sealed records also seal a medical history

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sealed records also seal a medical history

We hear so many sad stories in adoption, and my last couple of posts have focused on broken--call them interrupted--reunions.  To write or not write. To phone or not. To stay receptive to a distant child or mother, but to stop actively hoping that the next time you open you email there will be one from the estranged party. 

Before I found my daughter Jane I had written three letters to Hillside Terrace, the innocuous name of the adoption agency in Rochester, New York, and received three letters back telling me she was all right. The last one said she was "happy in her family." How do they know that, I wondered. They are making this up, I was certain. In fact, my daughter had a rather violent form of epilepsy.

I wrote the first letter when she was five or six. It seemed so wrong to write--I knew the agency didn't want to hear from me--but I had a sense that my daughter needed me, and wrote anyway. Only the third time, a few years later, did I mention the birth control pills I took when I was pregnant, as DES was suddenly all over the news. DES was a drug that was supposed to prevent miscarriage. What it did, however, is screw up the reproductive organs of many girls whose mothers took it, and this all came out in the seventies. Now I wondered--what about those birth control pills? I'd been prescribed them after I was pregnant but before my pregnancy test was positive. What effect might they have had on my baby? 

After I met Jane and her parents, when Jane was fifteen, her adoptive mother told me Jane's doctor had written to Hillside Terrace around the same time I wrote my first letter. They were trying to find out more about my medical history. Jane's seizures began when she was five. Before that, nothing had been unusual. And certainly there was nothing in the information given them--as it contained no health history at all. Just that Jane was a healthy baby. If her doctor had reached me then, he certainly would have asked questions about my pregnancy and of course the birth control pills would have come out. Would it have affected her treatment? Unknown. But it might have. 

And coming into my daughter's life earlier, rather than later, surely would have been a good thing. By the time we met, her self-esteem was about as low as it could go; her adoptive mother wondered if I had ever been in a mental institution, or if there were mental problems in my family. All I could think was: my daughter might have been led to believe that I might be institutionalized. That her natural mother is defective. And that's why she, Jane, has seizures.

Later on, it meant a great deal to Jane to read the letters I had gotten back from the agency. They verified in her mind that, indeed, I had not forgotten her. Of course, no mother forgets, but sometimes hard evidence is good to hold in one's hand.--lorraine
Family ties broken by adoption, linked by synchronicity
Was I Destined to be a birth/first mother?
Letters Lead to an Alternative Universe Daughter

Synchronicity and Reunion: The Genetic Connection of Adoptees and Birthparents
"Do experiences of synchronicity between adoption-separated parents and children confirm a continuing bond or genetic affinity that transcends space and time? Carl Jung knew "synchronicity" to be a subjective experience with significant time and meaning for the participant, a clue to an underlying system of science and spirituality. Paul Kammerer used simple physical analogies for such coincidences and defined the "law of seriality" as a unifying principle at work in the universe, correlating by affinity. He believed this pull toward unity produces concurrent or serial events in space and time, bringing like and like together. After search and reunion, adoptees and birthparents begin to piece together the long years of separation and to seek their own explanations for uncanny coincidental behavior and meaningful information transfer that occurred when normal sensory contact was absent. This psychophilosophical exploration of the anecdotes of 70 reunited families will certainly stimulate subsequent investigation."--Amazon

The Declassified Adoptee Essays of an Adoption Activist 

In clear and plain language, Amanda Transue-Woolston provides a wealth of emotional intelligence answering the difficult questions that adoptees face from the moment they learn they were not born into a family, but adopted instead. Without unnecessary verbiage, Transue-Woolston gets to the heart of the matter of what it means to be adopted, and what needs to change in adoption today. First mothers reluctant to search, adoptive parents fearful of an adoptee's reunion, and adoptees anywhere on the journey will all find much to savor in this wise collection of essays from someone who is destined to be among the leaders of the next wave of adoption reformers.--lorraine



  1. For those wondering, it was necessary to take down the last post.

  2. I tremendously admire your courage Lorraine. At least you found your daughter. My daughter should be 48 years old. True about the medical history. So many pro adoption people are so short sighted they actually place the children in danger for lack of a current medical history. How much history is a 16 year old girl going to to have as I was at the time? But a 65 year old woman is gonna have plenty of history as I do now. Still, they gotta keep the adoption fairy tale going it seems! In truth, my daughter is in danger of an early death because I have no way to warn her that her DNA may have a ticking time bomb of an often fatal disease. Ugh! The creeps at "my" agency" (I use the term loosely!), are not receptive to me. They'd just rather now that they've successfully robbed me of my child that I disappeared into the neither world. Great point Lorraine!

  3. Frances, I used a searcher I paid who uncannily was able to find just about anybody very quickly, birth mother or adoptee. You paid after he found but before you got the information. It cost $1200 in 1981. What I hear today is that many who use the search services is that they take cases that are unlikely to result in a "find." My searcher apparently went out of business.

    But some of them are ethical and do good work.

  4. I searched for & was successful in finding my birth father back in '07. I had been looking online for a few years but nothing had turned up. I finally caught a break when I accidentally misspelled his name in a google search and, low and behold, there he was! I was 34 at the time. I created http://www.findfamilyafar.com to help others who are in the same or similar circumstances. I know all too well the pain that accompanies not knowing your biological roots. FFA is unique in that it creates a global exposure piece that is very useful for those persons (ie birth parents, children) that may be searching for YOU right now. Use of the site is totally free. Hope this helps and perhaps will see you on http://www.findfamilyafar.com.. Good luck!


  5. When my son was adopted, I emphasized to the social workers how important it was to pass on the information to his adoptive parents that his father's immediate family had two members who had a serious condition, one of whom had died of it in childhood. So it was crucial that this information went with him and was flagged up. I also wrote it down, in answer to questions about family medical history.

    Years later, when we reunited, I asked him if he was alert to the signs of this condition. He knew nothing about it, it had never been mentioned to him, and he knew nothing about how this condition had affected close members of his natural family.

    So my unsuspecting son could've died, unecessarily, from the ignorance cultivated by the closed adoption system.



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