|Jane and Lorraine, 1982|
All this interest does mean that a great many mothers and fathers whose children were relinquished for adoption will be eventually contacted. Not every adoptee will search, but many will. Many mothers and some fathers who have been in denial about this possibility may be fearful of being contacted. Worried about "what the neighbors will think." Or, what our (kept) children think? Will I have to tell him/her who the father is? Or they may start remembering the awful time of pregnancy and relinquishment, the shame of the past, the fear of being "found out" that they were "knocked up." My god, even the language of previous times sounds judgmental, indicative of the shame of that era.
|What it was like from|
conception to reunion
Sometimes the right words are the direct ones. No twaddling about with language. Just start, and let the words come out. I'm pretty sure I said the whole shebang fast, without comma stops or ahems to get the words out without faltering. And then, there, the story was on the table before the food arrived.
Many of you won't be telling your parents, but your other children instead of all ages, or even perhaps your husband/partner. No matter how frightening it seems at the outset--and it is likely to--telling the truth about yourself will lift a huge burden of hidden emotions you have been sheltering alone. But once you release the secret you've been stuffing down your heart, you can share your feelings. You will be free to be your complete self. Over the years, there must have been times when something reminded you of her/him--a child in the street, a movie scene, a cousin's pregnancy, talk of adoption--when you had a pang of guilt and sorrow and couldn't share it with anyone. That can't be good for anyone's health. I'd love to see a study of the health of women who have, say, cancer, and if there is a relationship between keeping grief and a secret hidden and rate of disease. Research has shown for years that stress is directly related to disease.
|Revolutionary and still|
But as you face telling your family, remember that times have changed! The era in which you relinquished--even if only two decades ago--is past. Think how quickly the public went from not talking about anyone being gay to where one's sexual preference in many places is no longer a whispered scandal, just a simple fact. When I relinquished in the Sixties, unmarried people of opposite sex couldn't live together--or "shack up," as it was called--without a marriage certificate. My mother would have turned purple at the very thought! Now it's common; so is having a child without marriage. So while you remember that era, remind yourself that was the past, that was when we were so different then.
Not only are the times different, you are a different person today. You are not the scared, lonely, screwed up, teenager, or yes, addicted person you may have been once. You are stronger, older, wiser, more able to see the world and consequences differently.
No one is going to stone you, put you in the penalty box, or send you to a nunnery. Yes, there will be some initial shock: How come you never told me? How did you do it without us knowing? Is that why you went to Spain and decided to stay for a year? (I actually knew someone whose sister went to Russia--and stayed and had a child there.)
|Richard Hill's search and|
reunion due to DNA
As for New York, 3,600 number refers only to those adoptees 18 and over who applied for their true/original/pre-adoption birth certificates and applied online at the state Department of Health, the venue for people born outside of New York City. People born in New York City apply at the New York City Department of Health. (Hot links to the sites) Direct descendants of adoptees who have passed may also apply, such as a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild. There are an estimated 600,000 adoptees in New York State, but this provision opens the records up to many more people, should they so choose.
To adoptees: This is your record, your right, your heritage. To birth parents: think of your baby, only now grown up. Had circumstances not intervened, he/she would have always known you. Be a part of undoing the ill effects of bad social engineering. Don't let the wake trailing behind you determine your future.--lorraine
hole in ny heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
"In this brilliantly crafted and compelling memoir, Dusky covers all perspectives: her own grief and pain as a first mother, her daughter's anger and longing, and the adoptive parents' fears...I was equally astounded by her ability to flawlessly weave in facts about adoption practices over the years, the impact of adoption on both adoptees and birth mothers, and the lack of progress to unseal records."
November 12, 2019
There are few books that qualify as Essentials for comprehending the protean nature of adoption experience — this one does and it very well may top the list. The co-authors Annette Baran and Reuben Pannor, who collaborated as well on another classic in the field, Lethal Secrets, here together with the psychiatrist Sorosky present adoption not as it is often represented in the media, as a picture perfect solution to a threefold problem — the problem of infertility or child loss, a crisis pregnancy, and a child in need of a home — but as a complex, at times conflicted and deeply troubling human experience, a conflict heightened by the secrecy that prevailed in adoption at the time of the writing of the book. The author’s revolutionary argument, ratified and reinforced here with research and stories, was simply that you cannot build families, much less enduring trust and love, on lies and secrecy, no matter how well-intentioned. The Adoption Triangle truly changed the field of adoption and uplifted countless hearts with the possibilities of finding their roots and knowing their stories. Written with concision, heart and fluency it is both irreplaceable and indispensable. A True Classic.
Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA