Posts from the ‘Family-By-Birth’ Category

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,

My (Public) Adoption Story, As I Know It

Since I just joined an adoptee social network, and they asked for a story, I figured I’d modify my password protected one to make a version I don’t mind being totally public. It’s practically the same as the private version.

WARNING:  I’m not certain how much of it’s true. Parts are what have been told to me by my Mom, parts are what have been told to me by my Dad, parts are what have been told to me by my aparents, and we all know how much they lie, or more to the point, how much the agencies lie to them. So I really don’t know if I can trust what they’ve told me. I trust what my Mom and Dad have told me more. But, either way, I don’t have the full story. I really want to ask my Dad questions, but I just don’t feel like I can, even though he’d probably talk to me about it. It’s awkward and complicated.

Anyways. On my lovely boards that I never post on, there are support categories for closed adoption adoptees and open adoption adoptees. They forgot the semi-open/semi-closed adoption category, which is what I generally consider mine to have been. 1987 was in the transition period of moving adoptions from being closed to being “open”, and I think semi-open was relatively standard. As established by the wonderful countries who don’t really do adoption, the vast majority of mothers don’t actually not want their kids, so why in the world would they voluntarily choose to have no contact or knowledge of how their child is doing? Now that we’re not strapping mothers down and drugging them and stealing their children from the moment they’re born, the agencies had to do something to keep supply up, leading them to the concept of “open” adoption.

I digress. According to both parties, my adoption was supposed to have been closed. A Catholic agency handled my adoption. I know that my parents saw me in the hospital and even held me, as I have a picture, but I have no idea how long I was there. For all I know, it was only the day of my birth. After that, I went to a foster family and was there until I was 19 days old. I have no idea if my Mom knows that I was going to go to foster care.

So at 19 days, I went to my future adoptive parents. Unsurprisingly, my Mom went a little insane after I was born and relinquished. At the time, my grandma attended a grief support group at her (Catholic) church. According to my Mom, the nun was supposed to have put me with a family in a different city. The more I think about that, the more I think they just told her that and never really meant it. By stroke of luck and that nun’s “mistake”, my eventual adoptive grandma also attended this support group. What must’ve happened is that my eventual aparents got me, eventual agrandma shared with the church, and my grandma put the pieces together and told my Mom.

Cue mother going mental because she went against millions of years of human instinct. Yes, she did track down my eventual aparents. She drove past their house and peeked in windows to see if she could see I was alright. Yes, my aparents went kind of classic adoptoraptor and were terrified of “the birthmom” and how she “might want me back”. Oh, the horror. The mother of a child might want their child back where they belong. They should have given me back. I wonder if she even knew she could get me back. I wonder if she could, I don’t know when relinquishment became final back then. It’s still my fantasy that she snuck through the window and stole me back. But anyways. They were actually considering moving to another city because of this.

They didn’t. They contacted the agency. The agency contacted my Mom and told her to cut down on the stalking (though I don’t consider finding your own child stalking). Through the agency, they agreed to open the adoption a little with letterbox contact, which made it a semi-open adoption. My eventual aparents sent letters/pictures/what have you to the agency, the agency passed them on to my Mom, and vice versa, and the agency cut out anything they considered identifying. So I’ve got letters with pages and words missing.

I think this went on for a few years. For the longest time, she always addressed her letters to me with my real name, the one she gave me at birth. I wish she hadn’t stopped. More to the point, my adoptive parents had no right to change my name, and I resent that they did. Not even three years later, she had another kid, my first half-brother. My half-brother went to live with just his father’s family, and she had my half-sister.

It was after my sister was born that it moved to sort of an “open” adoption. I don’t know when we first met in person, but I think it was the time I also first met my sister, when I was about six or so. I don’t remember it. If we had any other visits, I don’t remember them. I do remember fantasising heavily about her and my unknown father. All I knew about him was his name, and I would stare at my one picture of me, my Mom, and him when I was a newborn all the time.

For my thirteenth birthday, I went back to my hometown and spent a nice day with my Mom. She took me to her house and I met my then-youngest half-brother, we had lunch, and she bought me a present. Not too long after that, I was told by my aparents that she didn’t want to have any contact with me anymore. My Mom says that’s true. She doesn’t want her in-laws to find out about me or my oldest half-brother.

So my thirteen year old response to her rejection was “well if you don’t want me, I don’t want you!” Totally false, but that was my coping strategy. I turned my energies to my nDad. I’d been wanting to find him, and when I told my Mom that on my 13th birthday, she gave me his first and middle name. Still not sure why she didn’t give his last name… I didn’t really do much about my desire to search until after 9/11. After that, I scoured the passenger lists for his name. I had to find him. Eventually, I found a little letter than had my paternal grandma’s first and last name on it. Her maiden name is Smith. Luckily for me, she’s a little hippy and changed it to something totally unique. I’d been warned not to contact her, but she was my only lead. It was easy to find her, and she talked to me on the phone and told me how to find my paternal grandfather and through him my nDad. She was really nice, even said she loved me on the first call.

By design, she hadn’t known about me until the day I was born, after my nDad came home from visiting me and my Mom at the hospital. He’d been abused by her when he was little, and he was afraid that she’d try to get custody of me. Given her mental state back then, it’s entirely possible that could’ve gone wrong. So I think her unstable abusiveness was part of the reason I was put up for adoption. Not entirely sure why my nDad didn’t step up to the plate, though…

So, I called the paternal grandpa. I think I first talked to my…to be honest I don’t remember who I talked to first, haha. All I know was that he wasn’t there the first time I called. He worked at sea and was currently…at work. So I had to call back when he came back, which I did, and I know I was playing Journey’s “Open Arms” when I called to talk to him. I couldn’t verbalise it then, but I wanted him to love me and not reject me, and he didn’t.

We had a very up and down relationship after that, staying in touch via very sporadic e-mail. My search and reunion with my nDad didn’t sit well with either of my aparents, particularly my adad, and he mostly stopped talking to me. Which by that point was fine with me.

Fast forwarding, lots of stuff happened in the next couple years. We met in person once and did the classic staring at each other thing. I was a stupid, idiotic teenager and wore my pro-life shirt that I’d had since I was 2 (ugh). I definitely had the mindset of “Adoption, not abortion!” when I was still brainwashed by society. Then in 2004 I went out to stay with him for a week. During that week, we drove up North to go to the big family gathering. I don’t think I could possibly describe how overwhelming and utterly amazing it was to be in a house filled with people who looked like me, acted like me, and had similar interests and talents. It was incredible, and I’d dearly love to repeat the experience.

Within days of going to stay with him, he offered to allow me to move in with him. I accepted the offer. I was sixteen. I moved in with him, started college, and lived with him until early 2008.

I moved out, and he continued being terrible. In addition to that, my amom was dying of breast cancer. She died at the end of June, and my nDad got back in touch with my Mom and told her and gave her my contact info. She called and left me a message about how she’d be there for me. I ignored her, because she didn’t want me back then, so I didn’t want her now. That’s what I tried to tell myself.

It wasn’t until 2010 that I started looking at adoption issues and everything else, and that’s when I got back in touch with my Mom and found my siblings on facebook. We started to talk, and then I must’ve said too much about adoption or something, and she didn’t want me anymore. Now I’m trying to figure out how I can open the lines of communication between the two of us. As for my nDad, I’m cautiously testing the waters to see what kind of person he is now. I’d like to start over with him and build up a new father-daughter relationship, and I think that’s possible for us. I hope so. It’s just getting past everything… I don’t know how to do that.

My Siblings

I haven’t talked about my siblings much, but they’ve been on my mind a lot recently. As has my family in general. I’m facebook friends with a good portion of my natural family on my Dad’s side, mostly cousins and aunts, and it sure seems like the majority of their birthdays are in December. Barely a day’s gone by that I haven’t had a reminder on facebook telling me it’s one of my relatives’ birthdays. September, with two family/very close friend birthdays, used to be my busiest month. Not anymore.

Thinking about birthdays led me to think about my siblings. My sister’s birthday is in mid-December. I am the oldest of the five of us. She is the third. My birthday is in late November, then there’s my sister’s birthday almost a month to the day after, then my oldest half-brother, TJ’s, birthday in mid/late January. When I talked to my Mom a couple of days ago, I asked her about my other two half-brother’s birthdays, curious to know if we were all in a line.

We’re not. We almost are, just one birthday throwing us off. It would’ve been funny. Casper’s is in October, then mine almost exactly a month later, then Noel’s exactly two months after Casper’s, then TJ’s almost exactly a month later. Only Ash’s birthday is off. His is in May.

As for our ages, I’m twenty-four, TJ will be twenty-two next month, Noel just turned nineteen, Casper just turned thirteen, and I think Ash will be four or five next year. I’ve never met Ash, and he was born during the long ten year period my Mom shut off contact.

I’ve also never met TJ , though I really want to. I think we probably have the most in common. We’re the closest in age, which helps, he was also abandoned by our Mom, and we’re both her dirty little secret. I don’t know the full story, but I’m fairly certain our Mom didn’t have a hand in his upbringing from the time he was 2. I believe he grew up outside of Texas with his father and other family. I wish we’d known more about each other and his Dad’s family had got in contact with my adoptive parents. When we became facebook friends two years ago, I found out from his profile that, at one point, he’d lived less than half an hour from us.

Since neither he nor I grew up with our Mom, we became her secret when she married her latest husband. The in-laws are uber-Catholics, the judgmental, preachy type, the type who would’ve forced their daughter to go to an unmarried mother’s home during the Baby Scoop if they’d had a child old enough for that. Apparently they hate/extremely disapprove of my Mom just for having been married and divorced and having two kids by two different fathers. They have no idea she has another child, also by a different husband, and one she gave up for adoption – one born out of wedlock when she was a teen. I imagine they’d probably have a heart attack upon learning that news. I was the only one of her children born out of wedlock. She was married to the Dads of all the other siblings, though the marriages generally didn’t last long. So while all the kids know about me and TJ, the in-laws don’t, and she wants to keep it that way. I have no idea how she’s managed to keep that secret so far, and I’m fairly certain it’s only a matter of time before it gets out somehow. I’m not looking forward to that day.

I can’t wait to meet TJ. I hope the next time I’m in Texas he’ll be around. He lives in Texas, but he’s in the military so he doesn’t live in Austin. The last times I was in Austin, he wasn’t, though he seems to be there relatively often, visiting Noel.

Noel, I have met, several times, more times than I (or she) remember. We met once when she was about four or five. All I remember from that meeting was that we did gymnastics together, and I was gobsmacked at how alike we looked. She looked like a younger carbon-copy of me, except she had blue eyes. (I’m also the only sibling that didn’t get light/blue eyes. I’m jealous.) Apparently we met at other times, too, but I don’t remember them. When I was in Texas in 2009, I met up with her again. She didn’t remember us meeting when we were younger, so for her, it was essentially the first time. For me, too. It was very awkward, but it was so nice to see her. She doesn’t really look like me anymore. All of the siblings have so far ended up looking more like their fathers. My great aunt (maternal-side) commented on that when I met her earlier this year. However, we’re about the same height, which is nice, especially growing up in a family of tall(er) people, and we’re both very weird, though she is louder and takes the weird-cake. Her father is also very strange. I haven’t met him, but I’ve stalked his facebook.

I’ve met Casper once. He was a baby, like three or so. I met him briefly when I was thirteen. I was in Austin for that birthday, and I spent the day with my Mom. She took me out to eat and to a store to buy me a present, and we talked a lot. Then she took me home and showed me all kinds of pictures she’d kept of me and things from the hospital she’d saved from when I was born. Then, she cut off all contact. So I saw Casper for a moment. But it’s been ten years, and he’s a teenager now. It’d be awesome to get to know him now, but I doubt that’ll happen until he’s older/moves out/has a facebook.

Like I said earlier, Ash wasn’t even a thought at the time my Mom cut contact. He would’ve been born when I was about twenty or twenty-one. I’m not sure how old he is. Of course, I haven’t met him. I’ve seen some pictures, found them somewhere, and I’ve heard his voice in the background when I’ve talked to my Mom on the phone, but that’s it. I wish I could have one sibling relationship that started from when they were younger and evolved naturally, but I don’t think that’ll happen with him, either. Not unless the in-laws die. So, I suppose I’ll have to wait another ten or more years before I can meet him.

It’s weird to have siblings you don’t know. Except for Noel and possibly TJ, I wouldn’t even recognise them in the street if I passed them. I hardly know anything about them, and it’s strange to build a sibling relationship as adults. I don’t even know how to make friends. How in the world do you go about making siblings? I guess we all muddle through and do our best, but I often feel like I’m not doing enough or I’m not doing it right. I usually feel like I’m just messing it up, and they’ll decide it’s not worth the trouble. I mean, we went some twenty-odd years without knowing each other. What’s forty/fifty/whatever more? I don’t want that, and I hope they don’t, either. And maybe one day I can have a picture with all of us together. That would be nice.

Me and My Parents

Belonging

I think this is something every human longs for, belonging, but especially every adoptee. Whether it was the intention or not, every adoptee’s first experience is one of rejection and abandonment by the very person that’s supposed to love you more than anyone else ever. When you’re adopted, your own mother doesn’t want you (feels like, at least, if not in actuality). If your own mother doesn’t want you, the game’s kind of up after that point, isn’t it? That one person, supposed to love you and want you and be there for you more than anyone else, has given you away, because she doesn’t want you. How can anyone else possibly want you, really? More than that, even if you can more or less trust that some people do want you, that can never make up for the first and most devastating rejection, so every wanting after that pales in comparison. The original rejection will always be there, and I don’t know if it can ever be forgotten. I don’t know how to get over it. I’m still waiting for her to want me.

A little while back, I had to work the gymnastics meet we were hosting. I always love working the meets. It’s the next best thing to competing or coaching at them. Gymnastics is a very close-knit sport, because it’s really not that big, especially once you start getting to the upper levels. Everyone knows all the good gyms, coaches, and gymnasts. It’s like one big family. Rhythmic gymnastics is even more so, because it’s so much smaller. My gym is the only gym in the state that does rhythmic gymnastics, and they have to go up and down the Eastern seaboard to compete, because so few other gyms do this type of gymnastics.

Everyone knows everyone else. They all talk, they’re all friends. It’s easy to be drawn into it. I was running back and forth between my office to keep up with tabulating scores and the gym to watch the routines, wanting to support my friend. At the end of the meet, it was time for the awards ceremony and a special performance by a Special Olympics group coached by my friend. I sat on top of the low bar and watched, apart but there, feeling everyone coming together and supporting and cheering on one another. I starting crying, because I’m more apart of this family than any other. I feel like I belong in that family, but I also feel/know that I’m growing away from it. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been losing that family, and soon I’ll be fully on the outside again. I keep trying to hold on, but it keeps slipping away.

I guess that’s the bottom line. No matter where I go or what I do or who I’m with, I’ll always be on the outside looking in. I just want to belong, feel like I belong, and never have to leave. The family I belonged with was forcibly made not mine by a seventeen year old’s signature on a piece of legal paper nearly twenty-four years ago. Now I’m still searching for one to fully belong to. Maybe I’ll find it one day.

Meet My New Friend

Today was a great day. I had it in my mind when I went to bed last night that I would walk the 4.2 miles (one way) to the nearest surf/skate shop to get a skateboard. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to start learning how to skateboard again. By the time I actually woke up, I wasn’t so keen on that idea, but I told myself I would just take it one step at a time, starting with getting out of bed and getting dressed, and decide later. As I had thought, I decided to do it.

The walk was pretty nice. I actually might do some of it again. It’s always great going there, it’s the coming back when you start to wonder when it’s ever going to end. I got to the shop, and the nice guy who was working there helped me find a decent board and all the gear I need.

So I want you to meet my new friend, Bob Stella (first name subject to change):

(the colours on my webcam really suck…)

I wanted to go to the skatepark after, but I waited thirty minutes for the bus and it never showed, so I gave up and just walked home.

Skating on sidewalks or anywhere other than on the university campus/at the skatepark is illegal here. ‘Cause this city’s lame. But I put on my pads and helmet and did it anyways. I waited until I was in the residential areas, though, as I didn’t want to lose control of my board or go splat on a busy road and get run over.

Ohmygoshskateboardingissofun. I mean, I knew it was, but I’d forgotten just how much. 😀 I owe my interest in skateboarding to my nDad. He’s a musician/surfer/skater, in fact, it’s ridiculous how much we’re alike, and how much I’m like my Mom, too. But I seem to take after my paternal family a bit more than my maternal family. When I think about it, I kinda feel cheated. When I was younger, early teen/teen, I wanted to be a musician. I played piano, I was teaching myself guitar, I wrote songs (music and lyrics), I was trying to sing better… My aparents were superficially supportive, at least of my piano playing. They don’t think being a musician is a real career or an aspiration anyone should have.

Funny, that. My nDad was a bassist in a touring punk band in the 1980s and 1990s. No, they weren’t anywhere close to big, but I never cared about that and neither did he. (Besides it was punk, “big” is like the antithesis of punk). He plays guitar, cello, bass, and has lots of electronic devices. My cousin on that side is in an a capella group at his university. My nGrandmother was a working musician when my nDad was younger. My grandpa plays instruments. All of my freakin’ paternal family is musically-inclined, and everyone in that family supports each other in that respect. I was all alone in my love of music and desire to play every instrument known to man and to create my own music. I can’t help but wonder where I’d be if I had grown up surrounded by people who were like me.

Same thing with skating and surfing (and motorcycle racing). I love those things, but they weren’t even on my radar until after I met my nDad. I feel like I’ve been going through life blind, and now that I’ve met people similar to me, it’s easier for me to find things that interest me, that I’m good at, and that I enjoy. It’s like suddenly having a compass. I actually have some common ground with my parents, it’s amazing. I just can’t help but feel that adoption robbed me of my chance to grow up understood and guided through life by people who resemble me in many, many ways. I’m 23 now. I could have had these outlets and this relief my whole life, except Catholics suck and they like giving babies away to random strangers.

But I love my new skateboard, Bob. He’s great, and we will have great times together.