' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Orphans in film, literature a universal: Now playing at your local miniplex

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Orphans in film, literature a universal: Now playing at your local miniplex

Lost Boy "Eggs"
Three films now playing, The Boxtrolls, Paddington, and Annie, reflect our endless fascination with orphans. The Boxtroll tells once again the story of a child separated from his real family who becomes a hero. The Boxtrolls are quirky, mischievous creatures who live underground among the trash and wear discarded boxes, take in an infant boy. He is called Eggs because that is the label on the box he wears. When an evil human devises a plot to destroy the Boxtrolls and replace the human king, Eggs ventures above ground,
where he meets the daughter of the town's ruler. Together they save the Boxtrolls and destroy the evil-doer. It's nominated for an Oscar in the animated category. Coraline, another movie from the same makers, also has an adoption theme, this time with two sets of competing parents. Coraline rescues her "real" parents, people who look like her and share her interests.

We know the adoption theme from classical works--Oedipus, Romulus and Remus and from recent
tales, Tarzan, Superman, Batman, Harry Potter, Eragon. In a variation, adoptees are not heroes, but victims, and saved when they leave their adoptive homes and join other like themselves, the Ugly Duckling, Snow White, Cinderella, Oliver Twist.

Almost as common are stories which center around adoptive parents who rescue an orphaned child whose differences threaten to undo the relationship. In Paddington, an English family takes in a loveable but clumsy Peruvian bear and saves him from an evil taxidermist. At the end of the movie, the patriarch pronounces that while Paddington is different from the rest of the family and came from far away, they love him just as if he were one of their own. The same words are oft repeated by adoptive parents although the experience of many adoptees disputes these words. The relationship between an adoptive parent and child may be loving--but it is different from that of a natural parent and child. The many comments we have had from adoptees who were followed by natural, biological children in a family are testimony to that.

Annie portrays adoption from the viewpoints of both the adoptee, and the adoptive parent. Annie is a foster child trying to find her parents. A rich man running for mayor of New York takes her in, hoping it will increase his appeal to voters. Eventually, he gives up his career and adopts Annie.

In all adoption-themed stories, adoption is a tool to create the conflict necessary to fiction. I tend
to think, though, that our fascination with these tales goes farther. There's primordial recognition that natural families belong together. When the natural order breaks down, strife is inevitable. Adoptive parents substitute for, but don't replace, natural, biological parents. Children (or bears) may adapt to a new family, but differences remain. No one is ever truly "as if born to," because that is impossible. Unless the luck of the draw deposited individuals born into other families with people with whom they share genetically wired characteristics, adoptee individuals, like Paddington, will be different.

We are human beings, part of the chain of higher mammals, and we can learn to love individuals from other parents, but still the old rules of protecting our own--to insure the continuation of our own DNA--rules. The connection between adopted individuals and their parents, no matter how loving, no matter how strong, is different from the ties between biological children and their parents, even if the biological parents are not stellar individuals, or even good.

The authors of these tales--Sophocles, Dickens, Anderson, Grimm and countless others--recognized the basic, primal differences in adoptive families, as well as the instinctual yearning of individuals to return to their original families, just as the Korean adoptees we wrote about the other day are returning to their homeland. Keeping mothers and children together ought to be a goal, not a disappointment to people who want to adopt. Those who promote adoption should take heed of these lessons.--jane

The Boxtrolls

Reference to the adventure story, Eragon
Korean adoptees are returning to their native land

Journey Of The Adopted Self: A Quest For Wholeness by Betty Jean Lifton
"For people adopted in the era after books like The Adoption Triangle and The Primal Wound were published, this Journey may seem like wallowing or old hat, but this book was invaluable to me. Reading it and dealing with the feelings it provoked was step one on my journey to healing. This book gave me the courage to find my birth mother. When I was a teenager, the birth mother search was unthinkable, open adoptions didn't exist, and the epithet b*stard was anything but a badge of pride.

"If you read this and feel it doesn't apply to you because being adopted doesn't matter, please leave a little space in your head and heart to consider that it just might matter a little bit. Try reading it again in a year or two. If it still doesn't apply to you, count yourself lucky, and have compassion for those of us who feel we were traumatized by adoption."--a reader at Amazon  



  1. I really liked this post. It was very interesting and covered a lot of important points. Many of the issues that were brought up I could relate to in my own life.

  2. Yes, this was very interesting and brought up a lot of issues.

    I don't really understand the media's fascination with adoption. Going way back to the days of My Three Sons and Donna Reed..... adoption was always present. If one son grows up and moves away from home, just adopt the kid next door. Sure!! The public loved it then and they still love it today. What am I missing?

  3. I just couldn't help feeling forced to defend the honour of Daddy Warbucks. The real Daddy Warbucks is just a poor millionaire, who discovers one day that his wife has dragged a dog and a female orphan in, and does what a man has to do when his wife comes home with a child one day, which is effectively forming a nice single parent family for her, though with nearly unlimited means:


  4. I don't feel that the connection is real, at least not anymore, between the biological mother and child. I honestly do not want to put myself in the position of being responsible for anymore of the insanity that seems to be rampant in my daughter's life and world. I don't feel the connection I once felt so strongly, in fact, I am usually repulsed by the idea of being connected to her or having to talk to her. Mostly because I take things very personally and she seems to thrive on blaming me for her mistakes, missteps, etc., in life.

    1. I feel the same. Being constantly kicked in the teeth for no reason other than to cause pain to one who has already suffered is quite sick and I want nothing to do with it. I feel nothing for this human being anymore, seriously. My heart is apathy filled. I'm done.

    2. I put up with a great deal from my found daughter, but when my found granddaughter started the same stuff, I said enough. I wasn't going through that all over again.
      Now the ball is in her court.

  5. I am an adopted child, and I have an adopted child, and have a "fruit of my womb" child as well. I also have a relationship with my birth mother, and my adopted mother, and I love both my children, adopted and not adopted with passion. I find your use of the label "Real Family" to be pejorative to what I consider to be MY real family which includes connections both biological and not. My Birth Mother is a part of my real family, and my mother who raised me is also very much my REAL mother. The daughter I carried and almost died delivering is MINE, and my son who is adopted is my REAL son. His first mother is his, and I am his. We are all REAL and our connections are real. An adoption connection is one that has deep ties that no one who has never been involved in can understand. The bond you form with a human being that you have a choice to bring into your life is powerful and feels very different than the bond you make with a child you carry in your womb. It is like falling it love. It is VERY VERY REAL and unique! The bond you have with the woman who takes you into her arms when for whatever reason you have no one, is also very very real and deep, and unique. This blog has a unique and necessary voice, and a perspective that is important for people involved in complicated and REAL families to hear, and I agree that we should be allowed to choose our own labels. But life is complicated, there a step families, adopted families, gay families, grandparents raising grand children, all these families are REAL, and if you want to reach a broad audience and not just your own peers, use inclusive language. If my birth mother wants to be called my first mother, I get that, we should find language that upholds and honors birth families, lets find honoring language as best we can, but lets avoid an inadvertent pejorative jab at complicated yet very REAL families, because everyone should be considered, especially the child who had NO CHOICE in any of it and wants to look at their family set up as REAL.

    1. Anon: "adoption connection"?? What adoption connection? There is no very real connection between an adoptee and the adoptive parents, especially once the adoptee realizes that their whole life is based on secrets and lies. My adoptive parents are the only parents I ever knew, but I am VERY disconnected from them. We are extremely different, and I feel like a square peg constantly being hammered into a round hole. It doesn't work. And it is because I had NO CHOICE in the matter, as you stated, that I am even more angry about it.

    2. Mothers--natural mothers--are always supposed to be so damn careful with their language, and always be deferential to the whims and preferences of adoptive parents, which you are, however you look at it. When I read comments like yours, it makes me think that we ought to insist that adoptive parents always be called "adoptive parents," and let it go at that. Everyone would know they are real parents in many ways, but they did not give birth to them. Like it or not, what comes out of the mouths of people not steeped in the language of the agencies and adoption industry are the words REAL MOTHER when referring to the biological parent.

      Does a blog called first mother forum really need to be inclusive to all comers and try not to offend anyone? Try adoption.com. There it is okay to offend first mothers. Anonymous, I frankly found your comment offensive.

  6. Just reading some comments by some of the first mothers and I would love to see the adoptee's side understood. Should the adoptee be nasty, disdainful and vicious towards you? Of course not. I could never act that way.... It's not in my nature. However, my first mother, or any kept siblings might feel hurt because I do not want an ongoing relationship with anyone. I don't even want to meet. I would like information, but that's it. I would be able to manage email or letter writing only. If these people pressed the issue, it would drive me further away. I don't know these people. I have enough to deal with handling my AP's and my own family and I could not juggle all of these relationships. And yes, I am still very disturbed at being given away, at being lied to, at being treated like a commodity. Adoptees have very complex issues.

  7. Real Person: I was also very offended by Anon's comment. Adoption.com is the place for people who think like she does.
    Adoptive parents are the only happy party, the only "winners" in adoption. I do not consider them part of the triad. My AP's may have tried to conceive for years.... that was their "pain". They tried for an Italian baby and were denied. More pain, they claim. They settled for me and are still trying, decades later, to mold me into their dream Italian princess. Pain ? I don't see it that way.

    First mothers have pain, I understand that. After years of brainwashing and being told my first mother was a heartless piece of trash, I am trying desperately to understand.

    But there is anger that I can not ignore and that, at times, seems to take over my whole life. I am still in pain. I am trying to get people to understand it, and it is very difficult. That is why I am here. I want to understand the first mother. But, please, first mothers try to understand the adoptee.

  8. I met my daughter's adoptive mother for the first time, very recently. Sadly, I found that I am not the only person she treats the way she treats me. I also found out that the mother did not know that my daughter was NOT available for adoption and that it was bogus from the start. I have learned that while I still don't trust her (that's on me) I have another person in this world that knows what she really is. For the adoptee that adopted.... yeah, good luck with that in the future.

    1. Hi Lori, I have read all of your comments on this page to date and thanks for them, they are enlightening. I'm sorry that your reunion is as yet unsuccessful. There are plenty of adoptees who long for a successful reunion and do not treat their birth families like you have experienced. Your situation is unique and I don't mean to sound critical of your decisions - but I would like to bring to the larger discussion two points that occurred to me in reading your paragraph here.

      One - had my AP and birth mother or birth parents sought one another out and met - I would feel betrayed. From the start, these two worlds were to be separate and it takes enormous energy to please them both (even before a reunion - being true to oneself and being loyal to the AP constitutes two worlds.)

      The second is, I don't feel my AP really knows what or who I really am. They wanted me to fit into a mold and I failed. They gave up trying to know who I am a long time ago, when I was still very young, and have created their own narrative about me.

      As for the comment about juggling two families, or as is many times these days, three or four or more even as many of us have inlaws, and divorced parents, and divorced inlaws... etc., etc., ad infinitum. I do not think that speaks to an adoptee's feeling of juggling two sets of families - for the simple reason that, in the adoptee's case, she or he is juggling two sets of identities. Marriage, inlaws, are voluntary choices - made in adulthood - and often temporary as the choice changes, but an adoptee's crisis of identity is not voluntary, or temporary, no matter the status of the relationships, and for many of us who were adopted near birth, the issues have always been there and are now unavoidably part of our identity.

      To all, I am curious to know the ages of the adoptees who exhibit such ugly behavior, and any more context that can be offered. Not that being only 20something, 30something, 40something etc., is an excuse. But I do know that my birth mother showed signs of holding me to standards of someone her own age, from the time I was 18 to when I was 25 or 26 when we broke ongoing contact.

      Nonetheless, she would tell me that, when she was in my presence, she often felt like a helpless 17 year old again, which allowed her to say some pretty nasty things to me back then, that she does not now remember. 20 years later, she dismisses anything she said back then as a result of that feeling, while she admits, she was "choronologically the adult in the situation." We are working on our second reunion, and she has mentioned feeling 17 again when we are dealing with issues between us - i'm wondering, what other nasty things await me? I guess she has some things to work through, so I listen, but it does seem like a double-standard ! How many birth mothers have been so hurt by relinquishment that they don't acknowledge that their child is not a fixed personality but one in flux and growth like any other? Do they unwittingly communicate to their child that they are only willing to deal with a fixed personality?

      My birth mother told me upon meeting the first time that she would like to meet the person I had become - I remember thinking at the time, I am in college, I haven't become anybody yet ! Later I heard stories from other relatives that my behaviors were very much like my birth mother's - everyone else can see it, why can't she? I feel that all questions about her behavior is off limits, as she was wronged in a way that I cannot possibly understand - but my behaviors are up for judgment, and as such, any one of them out of a larger context, can be evidence of a character flaw. I wonder sometimes if she feels that I can't possibly have been someone worth really missing since she has indeed missed so much of my life. (If there is a birth mother who can identify with this it would be very helpful to hear from you.)

    2. Anon - well, let's put it this way, while I don't think that an adopted person is just juggling two families, I do think that the idea that they were separate is non-sense. You connected them, no matter what happens. Also, betrayal is in the eye of the beholder. I did not "look up" my daughters adoptive family. So, I wouldn't know where to start there. The mother looked me up recently.

      My daughter didn't go to college and so I don't know where she was in developmental stages other than already a mother herself when I found her at age 24. Please note this was almost 13 years ago give or take a year. She has a grown child herself now.

      Also, the reunion itself is a non-starter since my situation is not one I will bother to continue.

      I am curious why you think my situation is so unique. I hate to say it, but I am one out of thousands. I believe.

    3. Thanks for the additional information, Lori. Please understand that I was not accusing you of betrayal. But I would feel that way if either of my families had sought each other out, and i neglected to say but it is important, if they had done so without including me.

      I think your situation is unique in that everyone's experience is unique, regardless of the similarity of circumstances. We all interpret things differently and look through different perspectives.

      Thanks again for the insight.

  9. Julia Emily, I don't know but a couple of first mothers that have not done everything in their power to understand adoptees. The thing is, it is not a one way street. Most of us understand things like juggling two families. Believe it or not, most adults who marry already juggle two families - their family and their spouses family. We also understand the illogical believe that the adoptee is abandoned, after all, from the adopted person's point of view, they are abandoned.

    The thing is, I have found, that most adoptees often feel entitled to be rude, nasty and ugly. To fail to use their own empathy and social skills to work through their issues and realize that what they learned in their life is no different than what we learned in life. That the world took an enormous shite on us and blessed us with all kinds of issues when it allowed adoption to be the answer to infertility, etc. The thing is, you can't ask us to understand and be tolerant if you can't share that.

    A little clue - my daughter attempted to get me to adopt her back. Not because she wanted to be part of my life, but because she thought it would fix all her money issues.... the name change, etc. When she found out it wouldn't, she simply shut me out. While I am sure that this is the extreme, this is not unusual. On Muzik's blog, she refused to post a comment I made to the effect of not changing your name to your birth name in an effort to manipulate the biological parents... but only because that is what you really want. Does that tell you anything? It did me - it told me that she approved of manipulating and using people that are emotionally vulnerable. I did not say "don't" - I said only if the motives are right.

    The things is, everyone has different lives and different plans in life. We have to be kind to each other and work through them. It is always about more than just ourselves... always. This is what seems to be missing.

    1. "the world took an enormous shite on us and blessed us with all kinds of issues when it allowed adoption to be the answer to infertility"

      Isn't THAT the truth!?

  10. Maybe that's the problem with being the adoptee.... It is never about the adoptee. I have been playing the game others want me to play and being kind to everyone for my entire life. Now, for once, I would like it to be about me. I would like my AP's to try to understand. I would like my husband to understand. If my first family found me and I said no in-person meetings, I would want them to understand. I would like the judge who denied my petition and the lawmakers in my state to understand.

    No.... it is never about the adoptee and I'm finally out of the fog enough to want my feelings to count for something.
    Your example of juggling in-laws and ones own family is way off the mark. Juggling an insecure, manipulative and entitled-feeling adoptive family and a first family that wants reunion and relationship is way different from juggling one's own family and one's in-laws.

    Adoption gave me a fake life, with fake relatives. My heritage and identity were erased. legal papers were signed and i became a new, invented, made up person to fulfill my AP's dreams. it's surreal. And no one understands it unless they are an adoptee.

    1. I second everything you said in this comment, Julia Emily. And I am impressed with how polite you have been in light of the anti-adoptee sentiments that have been left at this blog post. I wouldn't have been. I am also insulted when adoption is compared in any way to marriage and gaining non-blood relatives through that institution. People who marry choose to marry and invite another family into their lives. Adoptees have done no such thing and our situation is far more emotionally complicated. As for abandonment, when the couple who created me and brought me into this world did not to take responsibility for me after I was born, they did, in fact, abandon me. I was pretty helpless as a newborn infant. Although I would describe the feeling more as rejection.

    2. I was not comparing an adoptees life with the average life, I am stating, I thought nicely, that most First Families know what it is like to juggle relationships. In no way was that meant to be dismissive of your feelings of frustration with the whole insane world that is adoption. And yes, your feelings count! But the facts are that both your feelings and your biological family's feelings are valid. The idea is to work through them kindly without being horrible to each other.

      I have to say, as a child of the state, I get the whole when is it about me thing. As an adult that has to take care of myself, I have realized that NO ONE worries about me, but me. I found this out when my spouse passed away. It is up to me to stand up and say "HEY" just as it is up to you to do the same.

      Julia Emily, being rude to someone that won't listen to your wishes is fine. No issue. You earned that right by being human. But you have to stand up for you with the bio-family, the adoptive family, and the in-laws. I learned that as well!

      My in-laws hated me. Cool by me. I didn't marry them. But I did have to juggle them, their wants, needs, etc., and my own life and my married life, and my family..... and then add an adoptee on top of it... so yeah, I get it.

      No offense, Robin, but this is a place for mothers - right? Cause I wasn't being mean to adoptees in general at all. I am sorry you think I was. Truth is, I really don't see a connection anymore to my daughter. I feel a lot of nothing. Except that pain when you are connected to someone you know is going to hurt you. If that bothers you, I am sorry that you internalized it. But that changes nothing.

      Many mothers are beat up emotionally by adoptees. This is a fact. They may want to say "but I did this" or "I did that" to deserve the abuse, it doesn't change who is doing the abuse.

    3. Lori wrote:"The thing is, I have found, that most adoptees often feel entitled to be rude, nasty and ugly...."

      Well, I found that comment to be rude, nasty and ugly, and insulting to adoptees. You seem to have decided to take your own personal experience and use it to paint all adoptees with the same brush. In case you are unaware, we did not make ourselves adopted. I cannot imagine leaving a comment at any blog where I generalize one group affected by adoption, whether it be first parents, or even adoptive parents, for that matter, by referring to them as rude, nasty and ugly. So I guess you can add me to your list of rude, nasty and ugly adoptees.

    4. I don't think of you as rude or ugly, you are just you. I was talking about how a great number of adoptees are with first mothers, particularly their own. Sorry you got all upset by it.

  11. After writing this comment I continued to think about the analogy Lori presented: juggling in-laws and one's own family is similar to the adoptee trying to juggle AP's and their first family. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember what Lorraine's daughter said: she felt like a magnet pulled between two poles. This is one reason why I would not want a relationship with my first mother. I would not be able to handle it.

    Imagine if you will...my first mother appears and wants a relationship. She wants to spend time together, learn about me....after all, she gave birth to me, didn't she? In the other corner is my adoptive mother who will whine about all she did for me, how long she waited, how she sat up nights when I was sick....you get the idea. One will feel she has a right to a relationship because she gave birth to me. I get it....I gave birth. The other will feel that no one else has a right to anything, after all, SHE was the one who "suffered all the consequences" of getting a baby and raising it, to use her very words. How dare this girl come back? I can hear it all now.

    Where does that leave the adoptee? Is anyone asking what they want? In all the reunions I have seen....not too many parents, first or adoptive, give a woof about what the adoptee might feel or want.

    In-laws I can juggle. I have a pro-life, crusading, opinionated, miserable mother-in-law who makes Jack the Ripper look like Mary Poppins. I can handle her. It's the whole adoption mess I can't handle.

    1. Life is never easy if you have various relationships, and this is especially true for adoptees, which is why so many keep the two families far apart. However, while my daughter did speak her reality, it is fair to say for her (since she wanted to find me, and had already told her amom) that she wouldn't have had her life any other way.
      As for me, I would have been totally devastated if my daughter had only wanted medical information and not some kind of a relationship. Life is complicated, and if you are adopted, or a birth mother or father, doubly complicated. Stay tuned. Next blog on this subject. Coming up later today.

  12. Robin: thanks! And you said everything in your comment that I am feeling... and you did so much better than I would have been able. I am trying to keep this intense anger from constantly rising to the surface. Not an easy task.

    Lorraine: I have a very hard time getting close to people. I would be more than open to email or letter writing, this way I could learn about my first family, have time to digest whatever they told me, AND.... keep the whole thing private. I can write letters in my own home at 3 AM, if I so choose. If I have to put aside time to navigate meetings, hiding it from the people I live with who are against it, and come home (possibly) an emotional wreck..... I could not do it. If I started by written communication I could slowly get used to the whole thing, and they, on the other end, would have to understand. I could never dive in head first. Not after taking almost 60 years to get this far!

    This is what being adopted has done to me. But, I am grappling as best I can. My poor cousin, as did Lorraine's daughter, saw no way out but to end her life.

    1. Julia Emily, have you told them that? Have you told them that you would prefer to take your time, write letters and emails first? Sometimes we assume others understand when they really don't. Just a clue, my daughter and I would have been fine if she had been straight up honest with me. If she had participated a little bit without the selfish crap. My story is very complicated and yes, I do get the whole A-Mom is jealous and doesn't want to share (that is part of the complicated). I also have a huge, extended family..... that doesn't get along and I spend a lot of time working around all their drama. I am just saying, just tell them "HEY, BACK UP, lets get to know each other by letter first. You are making me want to run!" Maybe that might help?

      I am sorry you don't understand the other side well. I am not a good person to give advice - I am with you - I don't want a relationship and I am beyond you in that I don't want to learn anymore either.... sigh.

    2. JE: I do understand. I think what you say about avoiding getting close to people--and from what I see, it is not unusual for some adoptees. Without a real person you have to deal with--your original parents--you don't really have to think about what you would or would not do. I know another adoptee about your age who is likely never to find her mother, after years of searching.

      And yes, I do notice what time of the night you write your posts.Because you don't live far from me, I hope we get the chance to meet one day--and not when I'm in the hospital!

  13. Lori: I am not in reunion. My first mother is most likely long gone. I believe she died in another country. No other relatives have been found. Everything I say here is hypothetical.

    Lorraine: when we get rid of all this horrible snow, one day we will meet! Thanks again for this platform where I can unload my feelings!!

  14. And Lori: I do understand the other side.....or at least I am making a desperate effort to do so. You don't understand the brainwashing and negativity that surrounded my first mother all of my life. The hatred towards her and the attitude with which any of my questions were answered, if they were answered at all. You also don't see how everyone around me is of the "adoption is wonderful" mindset, and no one wants anything to do with the idea of me searching. The little I have learned has been done completely on my own....I have no support in this whatsoever. It's a lot more complicated than in-laws, believe me. And, as you will see in a comment I posted earlier, I am at a dead end with the whole thing.

  15. Julia Emily, actually that very same thing is part of the complicated world that I have.... so, yes, I do get it.

  16. Julia Emily, I am in reunion, ostensibly, but my daughter was surrounded with much the same stuff as you were for her entire life with the adoptive parents - age 3 to 18.... she has never been able to let go of it. So, my statements are not hypothetical. I am sorry your mother has passed. Some of your questions could have easily been answered. As far as not understanding, I do get it. My reunion is one of those truly complicated, emotion riddled things that I think I could have skipped had I know what would be the outcome.

    So for me, this is very real time stuff.

  17. Lori: I often say that this blog should be required reading for the "not involved in adoption" population ! If people would listen to adoptees and first mothers tell how adoption REALLY feels, and how much trauma it causes, maybe we could move forward and change things. But somehow adoption is always seen as a magical win-win situation complete with Gotcha Day charms, unicorns and fairy dust. This is one of the things that makes me so angry.... no one is listening. Here we are spelling it all out very clearly, yet there are those who believe, somehow, that they know better. Mind boggling!

  18. Julia Emily, No one cares. I have given up.

    1. I agree, Lori. No one wants to hear the truth about adoption, because the truth hurts. I actually deleted my Facebook account because I could not stand the arguments anymore. All those not involved in it seemed to think they were the experts, and no one wanted to hear from the true experts....those of us that are living with it. There is NO OTHER SUBJECT, I am convinced, that is handled this way.

  19. Robin wrote : "In case you are unaware, we did not make ourselves adopted."

    That statement says so much to me, and it is the statement non-adopted people should be made to understand. But they don't get it at all.

    When I look at the few measly pieces of paper that were issued when my adoption was finalized, it looks like nothing more than closing the deal on a house. There are countless lawyers, judges, a caseworker, and clerks listed, as well as petition after petition filed by my then-foster parents. (I do not have copies of the petitions...just the numbers are listed.) I know money changed hands, because A-dad has mentioned never being able to pay his father back. There is mention of a sworn affidavit signed by my first mother. There are two pages of legal language. At the very bottom it says that "there is no objection" to my name being changed, and that, forever more, I shall be known by my new name.

    All of these people, most of whom are now dead, decided this for me. And I was no longer an infant...I was a 4 year old human being. Now that I am a middle aged human being, finally speaking up, no one wants to hear it. The laws and the general public still say I have no right to know anything, no right to see the file, no right to be anything but happy it all took place.

    If that isn't enough to make a person angry, I don't know what is.

    So, to Lori I say this: Yes, adoptees are angry, and we have every right to be. But not all of us, or even most of us, are rude and nasty. We were dealt a hand in life that is very difficult to play. Some of us are nasty about it, some are angry, and some just say nothing, no matter what they are feeling. There is really no way to make sense of being the adoptee in a closed adoption. Again....the whole thing is surreal.

  20. Don't we all just looove closed adoption? and it's not just closed adoption even open has it's closed doors. I thought, mistakenly, that the state of Missouri had passed a bill that would allow adoptees or their descendants (of certain years) to access their true information. I was wrong. Guess that was just my hopeful looking forward to some sanity. My Dad's amended certificate is so full of lies. Date filed, same month and year of his birth.. only it wasn't as he was adopted at the age of 7. His real name for the first 7 years of his life was changed.. the last name to say he 'belonged' to these other people. (yes I used and will continue to use the word real. I could replace the word real with -true- and it would mean the same.) The part that says this is a -true certification of name and birth facts- ..uh, no it isn't. Nothing but lies. I'm 'forever' forced to use that last name when answering the what is your maiden name question. ..only it is not and never was the truth. Why are we forced to be liars? Why do """"Christians"""" (which a great part of the populace claim to be) think it is ok to make adoptees and the succeeding generations liars? If they read the bible it says "the devil is a liar and the father of it". So pardon me if I desire to tell the truth. (I wonder if desiring to tell the truth and being forced to tell lies isn't a big part of what causes so much distress for adoptees. Even if they may not recognize it as such.) A purchase or a change of ownership title is not going to keep me... (thankfully I know my true name, just can't legally take it anywhere) from stating that 'they are my -adoptive- grandparents. Yes I will use the prefix adoptive. Not -forever 'family' owners/purchasers. It has absolutely nothing to do with who they are/were as human beings or as people I care/d about. NOTHING. It has everything to do with my truth.. my reality and my need to feel connected to my family, history, roots. The majority do not seem to understand nor can they fathom the mind-bending distress and distortion that living a lie and being expected to speak perpetual lies does to another human being because they see it as according to 'law' and so that makes everything ok and sunshiney, no problems here. They do not see or seem to want to understand the extreme distress that places on a child.. now who would want to put that weight on a child and call that ''best interest of the child"? That, in part, is so much of the reason the forced adoption of my son sent me over the edge.... family is everything. EVERYTHING. I shut down and walked like dead for years. Yeah, I graduated.. hah. If you want to call it that. They transferred me to a 'secondary learning center' after I failed miserably to function back in a high school setting. At that I'm pretty certain they passed me through just because. ..I sure didn't earn it. I don't remember but 1 assignment for English. I wrote something about the loss of my son (that was all that was ever on my mind) I wish I had that. I don't know where it ended up. I think someone just felt sorry for me or maybe the high school counselor (who was a freshly minted adoptive parent) pushed to move me on through and get me out of the way. There were several freshly minted adoptive parents, they seemed to pop up everywhere ... and boy did they hate me. Go figure. All because I was the -real- mother of a child, a son.... possibly theirs, yikes. Yes, they all had baby boys.. ..and they had to make me 'disappear'.

    Seems I can never stay on topic... but it is all interconnected. It's all a part of the disassembling of reality and truth and a trying to put it all back together again.

    1. For all the reasons you give, I will never stop working for OBCs and hell, more, given to adoptees. In some cases, the OBCs were not filled out with the correct information. The shame was that great.

    2. Yes, the shame that made cover-up ''necessary'' was that great. The shame of many. The shame of those who did not/do not do ethical adoptions, or the shame of the mother / father, The shame of adoptive parents, The shame of the families of the mother and father... plenty of it to go around. It seemed, to me, that all the shame of the others got projected onto the mother of the child from the beginning and sadly, with closed records and expectations or demands of gratitude (I rescued you), onto the child as well over time.

      I wonder if the knowing now how much influence the mother (her mental, physical and emotional state) has on the formation of the child in utero is part of the reason agencies and others spend so much time ''kissing up'' to the mothers now-a-days and telling them they are honourable, noble and brave and loving and taking them to Disneyland and ''''empowering'''' them ..until they have the baby .. it has a big effect on the baby I'm sure. The expression ''When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy'', I think they have proven to be true. Keep momma ''happy'' (unashamed), baby will be more well adjusted/happy.

      Just finished watching an episode of the television series JAG. The episode 'People v. Rabb'. Lot of adoption triggers in this one for adoptees and natural parents... ESPECIALLY the ''you have to move heaven and earth and, seems like every agency there is, to get this documentation and spend a fortune'' to maybe end up with falsified documents anyway. (The 'system' does have a way of making us feel like criminals, or 5 year olds, for requesting our records). The show also has the themes of "Yes I think about them/this every day, often all day, I'm obsessing. I have to find -my parent/s/son/daughter/sibling/grandchild etc. where and how are they, alive, ok?" "I have to find out information-truth/something/anything." It touches all the bases. If I'd watched this before November when my son found me.. It think it may well have sent me to bed with my fuzzy blanket and curled up in the fetal position for a long while. This episode is on the POW/MIA experience (something many people can feel compassion for). I truly don't see any difference in the desperate need to know, to find some sense of peace. Knowing DOES bring a sense of peace... a knowing of what became of one so loved. For which I'm very thankful.

      It is sad, that for some, even open records will not answer the questions that are so begging answers.

  21. Cindy writes: "I wonder if desiring to tell the truth and being forced to tell lies isn't a big part of what causes so much distress for adoptees."

    You hit the nail on the head. It takes a lot of us a very long time to realize this. I always had the feeling that something was not right, but I never could put my finger on it. Then comes the light bulb moment when the adoptee wakes up and realizes that this, exactly the way Cindy stated it, is the main problem.

    Closed adoption, complete with defensive adoptive parents and sealed records, can not work. It forces the adoptee, and the entire adoptive family to live a lie. I was with my AP's yesterday, and came away realizing that we are so disconnected I almost can't believe it myself. Everything they ever told me was a lie. Everything they believe about who I am is a lie. They don't know what makes me tick at all, and A-mom, especially, is constantly trying to change me. They never offered me the truth, and never bothered to ask me, or even wonder, if I needed to know the truth. It took me a very long time to see this clearly. I am glad I now know what has been bringing me down for so many years, but at this point there is not much I can do about it.

    I am hoping, with the upheaval going on in the NYS Assembly, that maybe the laws will be changed. That's about all I can hope for now.



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