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I have decided to start password protecting some of my blog entries. If you want the password, please e-mail me.

cate.powell@live.co.uk

Cheers.

Small Update

I mailed my Dad’s Father’s Day card, which included my letter to him asking him to adopt me back, today.

Now I’m nervous, but it probably won’t even get to him for like a week or two. I’m contemplating asking him to let me know when it arrives before he opens it. I wanted tracking, but it was an extra £5, so I couldn’t afford it.

In other news:

  • I’ve had 3 of 6 counselling sessions with an adoption-trained counsellor. This is to meet the requirement for adoption-specific counselling to ask for my adoption file to be unsealed and given to me. I still have to come up with a good reason to want it. Any suggestions welcome.
  • I had an interview at a coffee shop near my house. I hear back about it on Monday. I also have another interview on the 6th. As nice as the coffee shop people were, I hope I get the one I interview for on the 6th. It pays better, and it’s office-based.
  • Which is especially good, because we had our financial low the other day. We ran out of food/money and had to visit the food bank. The people were nice, thankfully, and now we have some food. Yay.
  • I may, or may not, have my first breastfeeding counsellor client. I’m very happy I’ve had an enquiry, even if it doesn’t pan out. If it doesn’t pan out, that means she got the help she needs without me, and I’ll be glad for that.
  • I think that’s it.
  • Oh, yes, my mother finally responded to my asking if she’d ever want to visit me. She said she would, so, woot. Hopefully by next year (I’d love to have her visit over the Paschal Triduum) we’ll actually be living in a place that can host visitors.
  • Dom might be pregnant. He refuses to have any hope, but I can’t help but be cautiously optimistic. He’s gonna go to the crisis pregnancy centre for a test in a couple weeks if nothing changes.
  • That’s really it, I think, lol.

:)

Looking for feedback on my letter to my Dad

This is my letter to my Dad asking him to adopt me back. If anyone has any critiques, please let me know!

Dear Dad,

I’m writing to you today about something that is very important and emotional for me. It’s very difficult, and you know what I’m like when it comes to talking about important things. I’m trying to get better at it. It’s a long process. I hope you’ll really think about it and won’t say no outright. I hope you don’t say no at all, but I know it’s a possibility.

Anyway.

There’s two reasons behind my request. Firstly, I don’t know how much of my facebook postings you’ve seen, but you might have seen various postings about birth certificates and how much I don’t like that mine’s been changed or that I have to ask for permission to get the original version.

It makes feel really sad to think that I could die without ever having a correct version of my birth certificate that is also a legal copy. I want my descendants, should I have any, to be able to access their accurate genealogy. I want to see you listed on my birth certificate as my father, because you are my father.

I love my adoptive parents. I think you know that. And this has nothing to do with them. No matter what the legal documents say, they raised me, and that’s not insignificant. But, no matter what, they aren’t my mother and father. I’ve actually never thought of them as that. Mom and Dad, yes; mother and father, no. Those roles/titles have always belonged to you and A.

Secondly, but definitely not less important, meeting you was the best thing to ever happen to me. I don’t think I ever properly thanked you for everything you did for me. Not just the things you know you did, like selling your house and quitting your job, but for the other things. I still remember you sitting with me out by the river before one of my classes because I was really nervous and talking to me about it. Meeting you and knowing you did more to heal some of my anxieties than anything else. I see myself in you, and it’s truly powerful. And very hard to explain everything it means.

I can’t even imagine going on as I was at 16 for years and years. I credit you for the vast increases in my self-confidence and decreases in my anxiety. Thank you very much. For everything.

What I want to ask is this: I really want to formalise our relationship. I know by blood, genetically, that I’ll always be your daughter, you’ll always be my father, and our descendants will always be, well, our descendants, but… I’d like you to legally be my father again, so that everyone will know. Would you be willing to adopt me?

Please think about it. I would really, really love it if you said yes. If you have any hesitations or concerns, I’m willing to talk about it.

Love your daughter,

Life Sucks

I started a masters course in September, and thought everything was finally going to start getting better. But then I failed the first term. I was then put on financial aid probation until my term 2 grades came in and was told, in March, that my 3rd loan disbursement would come then. At the start of the second term, I loved the psychology course I was taking, and still hated the sociology ones, so I decided to switch courses.

I worked really hard and passed term 2, even getting a first in one of my classes. So I called up the financial aid lady and asked her, since I’d passed my classes, when I’d be getting the 3rd loan disbursement. She chooses now to tell me that because I switched courses, my next loan disbursement won’t be until October.

My husband and I have £10. Our rent was due Sunday. Our council tax was due the 15th. Our electricity bill just came in. If the rent isn’t paid in two weeks, eviction proceedings can start. Neither my husband nor I have been able to find a job, and now I can’t get one because my passport is with the border agency in support of my spousal visa application. If I recall my passport for any reason, my visa application gets rejected.

I could possibly get my passport back, but we don’t meet the new immigration requirements for a spousal visa, so this is our one shot at that. I could return to the US, but I don’t have a home or job there, I would need my passport back, I would need an emergency loan for plane tickets from the consulate, and my husband can’t come with me. Getting benefits for my husband may be a possibility, but it’s highly unlikely, and even if it is an option, they won’t pay for everything. In addition, I doubt the application would be through and approved in less than two weeks.

I just really have no idea what to do. I think I’m cursed. Or maybe I was an adoptorapting child abuser in my past life, so now I’m being punished. I’m also ultra-pissed off that the financial aid woman didn’t tell me this back in March when she found out I’d switched courses. Apparently I was supposed to tell her. I didn’t know that. But whatever. I think she hates me. This isn’t the first time we’ve butted heads/she’s smiled and been not even vaguely “I’m sorry but I really can’t do anything” apologetic when I’ve been on the verge of homelessness because of the stupid way this stupid shitty school is run.

“I Wish I Was Adopted”

TL;DR: No. You don’t.

———————————-

This came across my twitter feed earlier from a random stranger I follow:

“Oh, lord, this made me laugh. And wish that I was adopted.” It was in reference to a video the person’s brother had put on youtube, featuring him being a dork.

I was totally blindsided. Anything to do with adoption needs to be marked clearly and come with trigger warnings, seriously. Add to that, that has to be one of the most offensive, insensitive, privileged things to say. You wish you’d been adopted into the family you were born into? Really? Did you really just say that? I mean, I cut some slack to the people who grew up in abusive households and say they wish they’d been adopted. They have the natural, normal desire to have escaped being abused. The statement shows their clear lack of understanding of adoption, adopters, and adoptee issues, but they wanted to escape, and society has misled them into thinking adoption is perfect and wunnerful.

I do, however, have a bone to pick with the general public who say such stupid, insensitive things. Society might still be saying to them that ALL (natural) parents are TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, AWFUL people who abuse drugs and children and small animals, and ALL adopters are AMAZING, LOVING, SELFLESS saviours who never die, do drugs, lose jobs, and are in general perfect in every way. But. Really? I can see believing that until you’re like five or something. By the time you’re an adult, you should have the critical thinking capacity to realise nothing is ever that black and white.

Furthermore, even if it were true, then is it not sad that the adoptee had shitty parents that they had to be taken away from? Or does being taken in by AMAZING, LOVING, SELFLESS saviours make up for all of that? Wait. Not even make up for – but erase! As if born to! Tabula rasa! Gee, who wouldn’t want to be adopted? You’d get perfect parents who never make any mistakes whatsoever, nevermind become abusive in any way, and a happy, charming life with no troubles whatsoever.

Adoption is perfect in every way.

Oh, if only all us bitter, angry, ungrateful adoptees would just believe it and shut the fuck up, right? Then the “professionals” can go on making a fuck-ton of money, and the adopters can keep on purchasing the child(ren) of their choosing. If only they could erase the psychological research into adoption and only listen to that adoptoraptor/sociologist-whose-name-I-won’t-mention, if only they could more successfully brainwash adoptees so they never so much as even THINK about their natural families ever, if only they could shove every person who has lost a child to it, the most noble of institutions, back into a closet… Think how much more money they could make. Why, everyone would want to adopt, because it’s such a good thing! (You know, if they can’t have their own kids, of course. Or if they need one of a different ethnicity to complete their rainbow collection.)

As for this twitter comment, hir brother did something embarrassing, so ze “wishes” to have been adopted so ze could, presumably, say “I’m adopted, thus not related to that dorky person there!”. I can almost get that. I’m glad I’m not related to any of my adoptive family, mostly because I really like being related to my real family. But, adoption is so much more than “just” not being related to the people you live with. Do you also want:

  • a fake birth certificate? they can change date, time, and place of birth, as well as the standard falsifications like name and parents
  • to probably not have access to the original, factual documentation of your birth?
  • to grow up feeling – and actually being – an outsider because no one in your “family” looks, acts, or thinks like you?
  • to have problems getting a passport or renewing your driver’s license because your fake birth certificate looks, well, fake?
  • to grow up feeling unwanted or like an alien? wondering why your own mother gave you away? what was so wrong with you? were you a bad baby?
  • to watch your family interact with each other, with them looking and being so much like each other, while you stand alone, apart, unable to see yourself reflected in any other being?
  • to have been ripped away from your mother at birth just so some infertile/selfish/greedy people could play family?
  • to have been bought and paid for like an object?
  • to only be grateful and never ever express any negative thoughts or feelings?
  • to be a perpetual child – to society at large and under the law?
  • to be at disproportionate risk for mental health and/or substance abuse problems?

If you really want to be adopted, be my guest. Let’s switch places.

Newsflash to the world: Adoption is traumatic. Only the survivors get to joke about it. Saying casual things like that is not on. It’s beyond the pale. If you’re not an adoptee or a natural parent, shut the fuck up about adoption, especially saying stupid shit like you wish you’d been adopted into the family you were born to. You know nothing. You’re just showing your ignorance and lack of ability to empathise. It’s not cute.

Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE

It is difficult to face the fact that by definition every adopted child is an abandoned child, who has suffered a devastating loss. No matter that the adoptive parents call it relinquishment and the birth mother calls it surrender, the child experiences it as abandonment. ” – Nancy Verrier

FLR(M)

* The FLR(M), for those of you who are not immigrants to the United Kingdom, is the name of the form used by the spouses, civil partners, and long-term unmarried partners of British citizens (UKC) or permanent residents to apply for “Further Leave to Remain” – i.e. temporary residency, i.e. the first step towards citizenship. If you get FLR, you are given permission to remain in Britain for two years. At the end of these two years, you must either apply for SET(M), which is “indefinite leave to remain” – i.e. permanent residency – or return to your country of origin. After living in the country as the spouse/partner of a British citizen or settled person for three years, you are then eligible to obtain British citizenship.

Because all the rules change in April, and according to all sources we’re looking at major changes to make things more restrictive, Dom and I will be applying for FLR in March. I would say we have a decent chance of getting the visa. I am, however, very worried about the maintenance requirements. At the moment, neither of us have a job. We’re living off my student loans and hoping one or both of us will be able to find a job soon. For me, getting FLR will make that much easier, as I’ll then be allowed to work as many hours as I want whenever I want. Right now, the student visa limits me to 20 hours/week during term-time, which is very unfortunate as there are many more full-time jobs open around here than part-time.

But, I met someone on the immigration forums I haunt who was in a similar situation two years ago. She is a US citizen (USC), and her husband is a UKC. At the time, she wasn’t working, because immigration rules didn’t allow her, and he was an unemployed student living off of his student loans. They also had £5000 in savings. They applied for, and got, the visa. My student loans give me more each term than they had in savings, so it probably evens out. I also have a budget drawn up to show that we can afford our rent and council tax without recourse to benefits, so I’m really optimistic that our application will be approved. I’m also hoping to include a letter of support from my father-in-law.

I’m trying very hard to not be too optimistic, as that usually leads to disappointment. I really don’t know what I’ll do if the application is denied. Continue on as I have been, I suppose, but out £550. The process is very stressful, so I’m sure I’ll be posting updates along the way. I’m not yet sure if I’ll do the in-person appointment or not. If I do, then I’d know on the day whether or not the application has been approved or denied, but those appointments are only for straightforward applications, and I’m not sure if ours would count as “straightforward”.

Since we’ll be using all our “extra” money to apply for the visa, I’m going to have to hold off on getting my birth certificate corrected. *sigh* All the more reason for me to find a job as quickly as possible, I suppose. I do, in fact, have a job I’d really like to get that I’m applying for soon. But I really don’t think I will get it. And if I did get it, I’d have to have the spousal visa, since it’s full-time.

But… That’s where things on the immigration front are now. There will be updates, I’m sure, probably about how I can’t find some document or another that we need to apply or how the banks are being dicks about giving us the proper statements (they do it to everyone). :D

* Massive changes to immigration rules will be put into place in April 2012. I believe these rules will apply to me, since if I get the visa, I’ll be considered already in the pipeline, but if someone randomly happens upon this post looking for information, these rules are NOT CURRENT. The best source of information is, of course, the UK Border Agency.

A Positive Adoption Post

This is for all those idiots people who think that angry, ungrateful, bitter adoptees hate their adoptive parents. I’m sure some adoptees do hate their adoptive parents, because some adopters deserve it. In fact, I’m sure more parents (adoptive or normal) deserve to be hated than actually are hated. So.

My adoptive dad was an electrician when I was a kid. He’s a very handy type of person. When I was around 10+, we moved to the middle of nowhere because my adoptive mom’s dream was to have their own house on some land they’d bought from my (adoptive) Papa in the eighties. My aDad built this house by himself. He designed it and built it. Sometimes I would get to help. I was around for the raising of the walls, putting insulation in the walls, laying tiles and carpet, doing the floors of the upstairs… It was quite awesome to see. I’m quite proud of having helped, and I tell people that I helped build a house. I’d love to do more.

When I was a kid, we had CAD software at home. CAD software, for those who don’t know, are architectural drawing programs used by professional builders to design blueprints. I’m sure there are lots of other uses for that software, as CAD is just “computer-aided design”. I know it gets used in various engineering fields. But I’m most familiar with it for its building purposes. So, we had this nifty software where you build houses and the landscaping, and the program could then produce a 3D model. It was awesome, and a lot like Sims only much more realistic. And of course, at the time, The Sims hadn’t come out yet. (SimCity and SimCity 2000 had, though.)

I loved drawing in that CAD program. It was amazing, and I’ve wished  since to have CAD software that I could play around with and build houses in. One of my dreams is to live in a house I’ve designed and helped to build, and that dream comes straight from experiences I would have only had in my adoptive family. If I had not been adopted, I doubt I’d have developed this mild obsession with building. Although, it’s possible I might have once I found the Sims.

If I was smart enough/mathematically-inclined enough, I’d really like to get into building. Not even necessarily the design-side, but the actual building part. Of course, if I was smart/mathematically-inclined enough, I’d just become an engineer. I’d love to be an engineer, that would be so cool, but higher level maths go right over my head.

So, I would like to, over the public internet, thank my adoptive family for giving me those experiences that sparked an interest that I would, most likely, not have had in another family. Some of my favourite memories are of that house being built. Now I kindle the interest by playing the Sims and building things in there, though it’s frustrating to do so because the game has many limits that real life doesn’t have.

However, this is NOT to say I’m grateful/happy/etc to be adopted. I’m not. Being kept with my natural, rightful family will always be what I want(ed). Nothing will ever trump that. Being unhappy to have been a victim, now survivor, of the adoption machine is not the same as hating my adoptive parents. I don’t hate them. I don’t like that they adopted, and I do think they have to own up for that. They don’t have any excuses. It being the late eighties/early nineties is no excuse. I’m sure the question of “why do they give up their children” came up, and I’m fairly certain the answer was “because they’re too young/poor/etc and they love their child and want what’s best” not “because once she had the baby she neglected it even after social services offered all the support they could and she refused to take it or change her ways and all the rest of the baby’s family is dead”. So the proper response would have been (and continues to be) “what can I, as a decent person, do to help this young woman to keep her child that she loves so much” not “wow that’s great let me take that baby off her hands because I reallyreally want/deserve a baby”.

Dude, for people that read the Bible, they sure seem to miss a lot. The fact that Moses was with and raised by his real Mom for five years (and that he ultimately returned to his true family and brought plagues down upon his foster family)… The fact that “adoption” in the Bible was historical adoption between adults and didn’t come with sealed/falsified records… That one is re-born into God’s family not adopted into it… That the Bible is really into genealogy… That Solomon gave the real Mom her kid back when she proved willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of her child… I mean, how much more like a natural mother could you get? I also thought the Bible said something about not coveting what others have (you know like fecundity and children…), but maybe I hallucinated that.

In short: I hate adoption. I hate being adopted. I don’t hate my adoptive parents and can in fact find something positive that came about only because of my being adopted by that specific family. So there you go. An angry/bitter/ungrateful adoptee being “grateful/happy/whatever” about something adoption-related.

 

 

In The Life Of…

Sims 3.

I’ve made a Sims 3 blog, y’all. It’s been a long time coming, and I feel better about having one since my husband has a Skyrim blog… My Sims 3 blog is called In The Life Of… It features stories about my Sims, creator journals relating to my amateur attempts at modding the Sims, and various other in-game stories.

My current Sim, named Arianna, is an ex-foster kid. She was a foundling and bounced around from home to home until being adopted when she was young, but the adoption disrupted. Then she went to an orphanage, which I am currently constructing in-game. Once it’s done, all of my Sims worlds will have orphanages – nice places (in my sims-world, they are nice places with nice people) where kids without parents can go to grow up as happily as possible in a stable, supportive environment without having their history erased by adoption. (Not that my orphanages will be able to work like this in-game… but, hey, it’s all fantasy anyway.)

I would say my Sims games don’t have adoption as it’s conceived of in Western modern terms, but I’m pretty sure that if you adopt in the Sims it changes their family tree. Which means that once I learn how to code for the Sims, I will be attempting to make a mod to stop it from doing this. Hehe…

So, if any of y’all love the Sims/are obsessive about the Sims, check out my new Sims stories blog (and leave me any links to sims stories you have)!

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