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Kidnapped?

missing-child-585881

 

Lately, I’ve been comparing being adopted to being kidnapped.  I read a book, “The Real Lolita, The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World”.  It was a good book.

The girl who was kidnapped was abused by the kidnapper, and I was not abused by my adoptive parents, but the same sense of being taken against my will has been with me all of my life.  I have always felt like I was not where I was supposed to be.

I was the 6th generation born in my little corner of NYC, but I have no ties to the place where my ancestors lived.  Their bones are buried there, but I’m a stranger to that place.

Like the young girl in the book, I had to comply with my kidnappers , in order to survive.  Unlike Sally, my family was not looking for me. There was no joyful reunion, when I finally was reunited with them.  Their lives were fine without me in them.

I am the only one who felt I was kidnapped.  The rest of the world thinks everything is fine.

 

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brother, family, father, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, Uncategorized

Positive Adoption Language

POSITIVE LANGUAGE NEGATIVE LANGUAGE
Birth parent Real parent
Biological parent Natural parent
Birth child Own child
My child Adopted child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Terminate parental rights Give up
Make an adoption plan Give away
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child
Making contact with Reunion
Parent Adoptive parent
Search Track down parents
Child placed for adoption Unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away
Child with special needs Handicapped child
Was adopted Is adopted
Two years behind in development Retarded (or other descriptive language)
Spinabifida, cleft lip, or other specific condition Deformed
Has disability or is physically challenged Handicapped
Describe specifics–intelligence Normal or grade level
Divorced Broken marriage
Separated from parents or rejected Deserted or abandoned
Is taking Ritalin Hyperactive
Neurological impairment Brain damaged

I can’t stand positive adoption language, or PAL.

It is a tool used by the adoption industry to normalize the act of giving you child away to strangers.  That sounds horrible, because it is!

How much nicer to think a loving mother made an adoption plan, and lovingly placed her newborn in another’s arms, then went on to live a happy, carefree life, sans baby.  What could be better?

Who want to hear of a desperate woman, convinced she will never be good enough for her own child.  Who wants to hear her cries as she walks away from her newborn, breasts still leaking milk, body still battered by childbirth?  The months and years of grief, for both mother and baby?

Much better to use PAL.  No pain in that story!  Whitewashed by new, better language.

How about changing murder to involuntary termination of respiration? Rape:  Unplanned sexual intercourse.  We can make anything palatable, if the language is right.

I was given away, surrendered, relinquished.  It was cruel, brutal and very ugly.  My language reflects that.  Real adoption language reflects the truth.  The horror.

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My Adoptive Mother

IAPA-adoption-mother-daughter

 

 

It’s a hell of a thing, being brought up in a strangers family.  It’s thankfully rare.  It should be rare.  Children should not have to deal with that kind of pain.

No one needs to be cut off from their roots like that.  Every human being deserves to know who their parents are.

When I found my family, it changed everything.  Not in my day to day life so much, but in my internal life.  I was not the same as I was before.  I had finally seen the monster in the closet, and I did not die.

After I found my family, I had some hard conversations with my adoptive mother.  I was outraged that she had gone along with the whole closed adoption thing.  Suddenly, my whole life up to then had been a lie.  I knew I was adopted, but I did not know why.  My mother had been abstract, unknown and feared.  By me, and my adoptive mother.  We had that in common, but not anymore.

My adoptive mother clung to the belief that she did nothing wrong.  She followed the social workers advice.  If I had a problem with being adopted, it was not her fault.  She did as she was told.

That unfortunately, was not good enough.

I can’t remember when I stopped loving her, but I was very young.  Maybe it was when she said she was my only mother.  Maybe it was when she dropped me off at her sisters for the summer.  Somewhere along the line, I realized I was alone.

I hated when she said she loved me.  I wanted to scream in her face, “then why aren’t you helping me find my mother?’.  But, of course I never did.  There would be no point.  She was doing everything right, just as she was told.

She wanted her own baby, not me.

I was so dumb, I didn’t know that when I was growing up.  I thought I was the only one in pain.  Now I know that’s not true.  She was hurting just as much.  We could not help each other.

The difference is, she chose to adopt.  She chose to bring a helpless little person into her messed up world of pain.  I chose nothing.

I guess she thought I would fix her.  I did not.  It should not have been my job to fix a strange grown up woman.  I wish we had never crossed paths.

 

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brainwashing, family, father, mental illness, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

The Past

lonely

 

Last night, I woke in the middle of the night, and I felt such fear and dread.  I sought the root of the feeling, and could not find it.  I remembered that I have always felt this, and that the feeling has no name.  I also remembered that it will pass.  It will return, and it will go away again.  I think we all have these feelings.  It’s the human condition.

When I think back on my childhood, I cannot find any happy memories.  None.  The whole thing is colored a dark grey, by my adoption.  Losing my mother, and never being allowed to even speak of it, colored my life.

No family. No one. Nothing. Every day, all day.

I could not wait to escape from my adoptive parents house.  I met my husband when I was 16.  Someone who could save me, and make me whole.

“But, your adoptive parents loved you.  They did not abuse you! They raised you!”.

I know. I was there.  They tried, but I was so hurt.  I could not feel their love.  Their love was spoiled for me, because it came at the expense of my real family.  I should not have been put in such an impossible position.  I could not accept the love of the ones who I felt were responsible for my loss.

Did they really love me?  I suppose so.  I was a good enough child.  But, I was not, and could never be their child.  They had to maintain the illusion that I was.  They did not tell anyone that I was adopted.  It was a hidden family secret, one that I dared not speak of.

How I hated the phrase, “when we got you”.  Got me? I wanted “when you were born”.  I wanted my mother to tell the story, of my birth, not the story of these  strangers who somehow, “got me”.

Even as a young child, I felt this way.

It was a lost cause, from the start.  I was broken, unable to be fixed.  On my own, from the start.  I had to turn my heart to stone.

I remember, being at my Auntie Irene’s house, during the long hot summers when I was 6 & 7.  There were 4 older kids there, my adoptive cousins.  They did not like me much.  The feeling was mutual, but I was at a disadvantage.  I was all alone, and they had each other, as well as their real parents, and I was an unwelcome guest in their home.  My adoptive parents sent me there so they could both work full time during the summer.

I used to lie awake in my borrowed bed, listening to my adoptive uncle’s snores and will my heart to be hard, like a stone so I would not feel the pain of being left alone, again.  I locked my self in the bathroom, and said every curse word I knew.

I went home on weekends, and never told my adoptive mother any of it.  I never told her the sex games my cousins would play either.  I finally told her when I was an adult, and she said, “why didn’t you tell me”.  Sigh.

Would I have sadness if I hadn’t been adopted?  I’m sure.  My real mother had issues.  I still loved and needed her.

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, family, father, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

Warts and All

warts

 

Another early morning.  I couldn’t sleep again.  This time it’s OK, because I’m on vacation this week!  I can catch up on my sleep anytime this week.

I have been upset about something bio Aunt S said to me recently.  It really steamed my clams, and I’m trying to analyze my feelings, as usual.  I always wonder, why does it hurt so much?  Am I being unreasonable?

Bio Aunt S and I made contact when she did 23 and me DNA, and we connected as relatives.  I reached out to her, and we had a brief email exchange.  I have not had much communication with my bio family.  It’s been years since I spoke to Aunt S.

Aunt S said this in her email “I do see your dad a couple of times per year.  I love him, “warts and all”, and I cannot speak for him or comment on his choices.”.  This is what has been bothering me.

I have not seen my father since Christmas 2012.  He has chosen to have no contact with me, or my 4 children.  His kept daughter recently had a baby, who I think lives with him.  The fact that Aunt S, dad’s sister loves and accepts my father’s decision to exile me hurts me deeply.

I do not feel any love, kindness or acceptance towards me in the statement my aunt made.  I know siblings love each other, and are loyal, but is putting family members on a pedestal doing the right thing?  Dad is loved, “warts and all”, but I am still shunned.  It hurts so much.  I will shove it down into my psyche, and get over it, but it will never stop hurting.  The pain will just subside over time to a dull ache, which will flare up from time to time, when I am reminded of my losses.

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brother, death, family, father, mental illness, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

DNA

dna

 

 

My father’s sister did 23 and me, and guess who popped up on her DNA family page, little ole me!

She was listed as my half sister, which would either mean her father,  is my father too, or my father, her brother is her father too.  I don’t think either is the case, with DNA relatives, they come close, but the exact relationship isn’t always certain.  But I kinda liked the idea that my dad slept with his mother.  Then finally his family would see he wasn’t a great guy.  I thought it was kinda funny.

So, I contacted her, on the 23 and me website.  We shared our DNA profiles.  It was nice.  Then we started emailing.  I shared my huge Ancestry.com tree with her.  She asked if I wanted to meet for dinner sometime, me and hubby with her and her hubby.

I did not want to do that.  I told her about the shunning, and she said my cousin, the one who told me about the shunning had it wrong.  There was no decision to shun me.  I guess it was not official, but everyone did it anyway?

Strangely, I have no desire to see my Aunt.  She does not mean much to me.  She told me that she loves my father, “warts and all” and cannot speak about his decisions.  Fair enough.  I can, and his decisions hurt a lot of people.  He’s a scumbag.  As long as I feel this way, I don’t think I can ever get along well with my aunt.  We can’t have a casual going out to dinner kind of relationship.  Especially after all those years of silence.

And…still no word about my mother.  No acknowledgement of her death.  No I’m sorry, nothing.  why would I want to be near this woman?  Well, I don’t.

Auntie said she’d be there if I ever wanted to get to know her.  Does that sound like a loving invitation?  It does not to me.  I know enough to stay away from this one…

 

 

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brainwashing, brother, family, father, mental illness, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

Maybe I’ve Got it All Wrong

 

Family-gallery-for-clip-art-pictures-of-families-clipartcow

 

I think my birth parents are my parents, not my adoptive parents.

I do not think I’m related to my adoptive parents at all.  I can’t understand how I can be expected to believe unrelated strangers are my family.  I was raised by, and around my adoptive family, but I never,ever thought, or wished that I was related to any of them.

They’re OK people.  Not too bright, actually.  My mother was much smarter.  More damaged, for sure, but quick, in a way the adopters are not.  Mom & I both have large vocabularies.  A-mom, not so much.

It’s not a popular point of view, but it’s one I just cannot shake.

No one likes it.  My adoptive family think it’s wrong, because my A-parents raised me, and I should see them as my parents.  My birth family doesn’t like it.  I’m not sure how they feel about it, but it seems they don’t consider me a relative, and wish I would just vanish.  Which I have.  I have little contact with my natural family, 7 years after reunion.

We may have no contact, but they are still my relatives.  No matter what everyone else believes.

Are there any others out there like me, who do not understand how we’re supposed to believe strangers are our families?  Please let me know how it is for you.

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brother, death, family, father, mental illness, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

She Should Have Been Proud

Mothers_and_children_II

 

My dear departed mother should have been proud of me.

I’m getting ready to go to work this morning.  I’m a supervisor in a busy government office.  I’ve raised 4 wonderful people into adulthood.  I own my own home and have been married to my sweetie for 34 years.

But she hated me.  My family shuns me.  It breaks my heart.  No matter what I do, it is never good enough.  I am tainted.  I am tainted by their rejection.

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brainwashing, brother, father, hospital, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

I’m 55 now

 

father

 

I can hardly believe how old I am.  I was young yesterday, now I’m middle aged.  Oh well, what choice do we have?  I still feel good.  My kids are grown, and life is a bit easier.  I’m enjoying this time of life, but still fearing the end.

My father did not wish me Happy Birthday.  He sent me a card once, and a check for $100.  This was when I turned 49.  Since then, nothing at all.  So, in total, he gave me $100, and bought me 2 glasses of wine, and a BLT sandwich.  And he gave me a ride to the adoption agency in his car.  That is all I got from my father.

Can I really have done something so bad to deserve this treatment?  I don’t think it’s possible.  I’m sure Dad would not shun his kept children.  But I was not kept, so I am not his child?  I guess that’s how it’s supposed to go.

The only problem is, I am his child.  He is my father.  His siblings are my aunts and uncles, their children my cousins.  His parents my grandparents, and so on.  Everyone can agree that this is not the case, but I cannot be convinced.  I have DNA proof.

Another birthday goes by.  A very hard day for some of us adoptees.  I felt, and still feel that my birthday is something to be ashamed of.  I should not have been born.  It was a mistake.  My adoptive mother was not there.  My birthday reminds her that she could never give birth.  My birthday ties me to another woman, and that’s painful for A-mom.  So, my birthday is bad.

It’s also the day my sorrow began.  The day I met my mother.  We were together for 5 days in the hospital.  Then we were discharged, and Dear old Dad picked us up and drove us to Spence-Chapin adoption agency, where they left me forever.

And, that’s why he’s not my father anymore.  Get it?  Well, I never will……

 

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, brother, family, father, mother, pain, rejection, reunion, shunning, Uncategorized

Another Letter

writing-letter-586d7bbe5f9b584db320f6c5

 

I like the letter format.  It helps me organize my thoughts.  This one I probably will not send, but you never know.

Dear Dad,

 

I should say I hope this letter finds you well, but I really don’t.  Your health means nothing to me.  Let’s start again then.

Hi Dad.  How are you?

I don’t even know if you’re still alive, or if you can speak or read.  I don’t know if you still live in your own home, or are in an institution.  I know nothing about your day to day life.  Do you still drive?  The last communication I got from you, I think 4 years or more ago said that you were ill and not able to leave the house much.  I don’t know if you have recovered, or if the illness has gotten worse.  I hope it’s not a heredity illness, but you have chosen to keep that a secret.  Maybe it’s a result of your past drug use, like the liver disease that killed my mother.

Our little family is well. A’s 20 now and in Copenhagen, doing a semester abroad.  I can’t imagine living her life.  I did not go to college, and have never been to Europe.  I’m proud that I can provide this experience for my child.

C is 25, and in graduate school, getting her teaching degree.  She lives at home with us.  K is 30, and a practicing court reporter.  She travels around with her machine, taking depositions for several court reporting agencies.  She goes all over, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.  She’s living at home for now too, but saving up to get her own place.

Your oldest grandchild, P is 31 and still working for the county.  He’s been there for 10 years, and is a supervisor.  He has his own place a few miles away.

I just got promoted to supervisor at the DMV!  It’s scary and exciting.

I write letters to you all the time in my head, so I decided to write one down.  There is so much I must say, but no one really wants to hear it.

Being an adopted adult is a very strange experience.  There are not that many of us out there.  Closed infant adoption is rare.  Everyone knows someone who is adopted, but not many people know how it feels to be one of us.

We are told how to feel, by everyone.  Our bio and adopted families both see us as “different”.  We do not fit anywhere.  We face things every day, that most people have no idea about.  We seem normal on the outside, but we suffer on the inside.

I am part of a dying breed.  Infant adoption is not as popular as it used to be.  Women are keeping their babies.  It’s not as shameful as it was in the old days.  Closed adoption is rare now.  Society has seen the pain and problems that it caused, and the trend is for more openness in infant adoption.

I, personally think all types of adoption are abusive to children.  Babies need their mothers, not strangers, and every effort should be made to keep children and their mothers together.  If that’s not possible, family care should always be considered next.  Stranger adoption should be an absolute last resort.

Growing up with strangers is a bewildering experience.  I knew that I was adopted from before I could speak or understand.  I cannot remember the terrible moment when I learned the truth about my sad beginnings.  It was always there.  I always knew that my own mother gave me away, and I could never understand why.  Even after we met, her reasons were never clear.

She blamed you, but she had to sign those papers too.  I know she wanted me to have a better life than she did, but why she thought giving me to random strangers was the way to do that confuses me.  How can you be sure your child has a good life, if you have no idea where they are, or what’s happening to them?

I faced many harsh realities as a child.  I could never be the biological child my adoptive parents wanted, and I could never go back to my real family.  I was stuck in a nightmare world, with no way out.

When I found my family, I was dismayed to find that you had a stable upbringing.  I was upset, because it went against what the agency told my adoptive parents, that you were too poor to take care of me.  You were not.

I quickly realized that there was a reason that you did not want your family to help raise me.  I’m still not sure what that reason is.  I can only suspect that it had to do with my mother’s race.  I feel strongly that your father knew what was going on, and he was aware of the adoption.  I think other family members knew too.

When my mother had her third pregnancy, she called my brother’s grandmother, and told her that she had my brother.  My brother’s father’s family helped my mother raise her son.  She finally got to keep one of her children.

So, why couldn’t your family do the same?  Why did I have to be given to strangers?  I don’t think there is an answer that will make sense to me.

 

Well, that’s it for now.

 

Sincerely,

 

/Marylee