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Standing Rock

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The way I see it: Adoption was not discussed #NAAM

mom's card to me
My adoptive mom Edie was close to me (like a best friend) and she passed last December. I miss her. Her importance in my life seems even greater now that's she gone.
I miss everything about her - daily phone calls, birthday cards, everything she did to make every holiday and birthday special.
She was the only mother I knew. She  knew me as the child she raised, not the adoption activist I've become. Adoption was not something we could discuss.
When you've known someone over 50 years, you can't help but miss their place in your life. I miss getting snowed in at home with her in northern Wisconsin. I miss her eccentricities. I miss shopping with her. I miss everything.
Despite many years of turmoil, we grew past them. We were close but many things (like adoption issues) we didn't talk about but I accepted that.
Her cards and letters always said I LOVE YOU.
If I had the chance right now, I would ask Edie how she would have felt being abandoned by her own mother. How would that change her perception of being adopted? Wouldn't she be hurt, devastated and confused?

The way I see it:
Adoption itself is not the enemy for an orphan/adopted child. We need parents!
Forcing adoptees to accept these circumstances without a real explanation and truth is our enemy.
Forcing women to give up their babies or taking babies from Native people is/was the enemy.
Child trafficking babies is still the enemy.
Adoption secrecy and closed records for adoptees is the enemy.
Not having my own medical history was wrong. That was my enemy.
A fake (amended) birth certificate is wrong.
Low self-esteem that comes from being adopted was my life-long enemy.
Not getting help or counselling is/was the enemy for me and many adoptees.
Religions and their followers said an unmarried or poor woman could not keep her own child - pressuring my own first mother to give me up for adoption. Their ideas are the enemy.
Adoptees being told (even forced) to accept being adopted was "a good thing," told it saved you, that is wrong.
Lack of reality in this adoption scenario is the enemy.

The way I see it:
We have no choice as adoptees.
We adapt to our circumstances. I was adopted after months in foster care. I needed parents. We love them since these strangers are the only parents and family we have.  Adoptees did not and do not create adoptions!
Adopted children may not have words for our sadness or confusion but we'll show it in many ways. We know something feels strange, or we are not like them, or look like them, yet we're helpless to fix any of it. We'll try to fit in.
Our growing hearts do hurt as children but we can't show it or we'd seem ungrateful.  Those adoptees who showed confusion, discomfort and "acted up" did end up in trouble, ran away, got on drugs, landed in prison, or committed suicide.
I felt so much pain over my adoption, I buried it deep but I would not let that primal wound take over my life.
I do not want anyone to question if I loved my adoptive mom Edie. I did.
I felt terrible when she wasn't happy. I put her needs above my own. I admit I wasn't easy to live with and my moods were very hard on her when I was a teen. I know that. Being adopted was hard to accept. I blamed her when it wasn't really her fault. I am not going to sugar-coat this but my teen years were not easy on her or on me. I was rebellious and stubborn. She felt I didn't like her and told me so.
I chose to heal and opened my adoption at age 22 in 1978.  Even when I opened my adoption, my love for Edie didn't change.
Loving her didn't stop my need for truth to know who I am and what happened to my first parents or know why I was adopted.
Did I discuss opening my adoption with her? No. I tried and she looked betrayed.
I can see how much she gave and how much she loved.
We always ended out phone calls with "I love you." I used to end with, "I love you more." 
Mom would just laugh.
 

2 comments:

  1. I thoroughly related to all of what I just read, especially the part about always trying to fit in. I never did in my own mind. At the age of 58 I have finally found 1/2 of my biological family (mothers side)and will be meeting them over the coming holidays. I just hope that meeting them will help mend at least a piece of the hole that has been left in my heart all these years.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous, You are the one in charge of reunion. Ask friends to be an ear and take it slow. Reunions are wonderful and life changing and they do heal our hearts, like the hole you mention. I called mine that, too. Enjoy yourself - reunion is a gift. I am happy for you!

    ReplyDelete

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To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

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Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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