Posts from the ‘Family-By-Force’ Category

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.

 

 

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.

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.