Category Archives: adoptees

New Essay in American Adoption Congress Newsletter

 

Here’s the link.

The target audience for the AAC is mostly adoptees, I think. Some birthparents too.

I wrote the piece with adoptive parents in mind. So if you know some adoptive parents, maybe pass it on.

Thank you.

Nonetheless, I’m grateful to The Beacon for the publication.

The Meanness Olympics/Comments on an article about Simone Biles’ biological mother

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Here’s the link to a newspaper article about Simone Biles’ birthmother. I read it twice. And I also read another interview with her in the Huffington Post and in the New York Daily News–all based on an interview with her from TMZ

She said she’s glad she and her daughter are not estranged any longer, but their relationship is still fledgling.

She says that she wished her dad hadn’t thrown her under the bus in a recent interview of his with the press. She said she thought he was insensitive about the way he described her battle with addiction.

She admits that she took the loss of her children very badly. She admits that she yelled at her father and that she was hard-headed, that she didn’t understand then why she couldn’t see her kids but she says she understands it now. She admits that she wan’t able to care for them back then.

She admits that she was an addict and says that she’s been clean for nine years now.

She is raising her two youngest children herself. She has a job.

It seems pretty clear that Shannon Biles’ children were in jeopardy. “In and out of foster care” is not a good thing. It worked out well, probably better than imagined, that Simone’s grandfather and his wife legally adopted Simone and her sister and are now their mom and dad. Hooray for all that. Gold medals all around.

While I understand the hunger of the media for a story and the  curiosity of Olympic viewers and the general public about all this, I don’t understand the hate directed at Shannon Biles in the comments sections.

Shannon Biles was an addict. She lost custody of four children. That’s a clusterfuck of hurt  for a lot of people, including innocent children. It’s personal disaster beyond measure. BUT this woman who lost her children and the respect of her father is now clean. She has turned her life around. In the olympics of her personal life, that’s pretty damn golden too.

Birthmothers/first mothers/bio mothers are human beings deserving of compassion. We did what we did for a million reasons. Put on those shoes, haters. Try a little running and jumping in them and when your feet are bloody, give thanks for your perfect life and your shiny veneer over your hate-filled soul. I have to try a little bit not to wish you ill, but I can do it. I wish you well. I wish for you understanding, and some personal peace, and an inclination for you to share that with the world instead of hate.

 

image at the top of this post is from stargazer-gemini.deviantart.com

 

Breaking the Silence

 

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The painting, Silence, by Odillon Redon

This story highlights the aspect of secrecy in adoption. A secret weighs heavy on the heart. A secret can be found out. You mind your tongue, look over your shoulder, scan the room for a face with a knowing look. Your heart begs you to lift its burden.

Not long ago I was having lunch with new friends when someone asked the ages of my children.  The answer to this question always elicits raised eyebrows or a comment. “I had my son when I was a teenager,” I said. “He was given up for adoption, but I reconnected with him.” I always keep the answer short, but people want to know more. When I say that I searched for my son and found him, people think that I’m Nancy Drew, or that I’m super courageous, or a ballsy political activist. My answer is just, I had to.

And sometimes we feel we have to tell our stories. Here’s the link to Caitriona Palmer’s book.

What to Say to a Birthmother on Mother’s Day and a Thought or Two on Birthmother’s Day

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There are millions of us. For every adoptee, there is a birthmother. We’re your sisters, your friends, your aunts, your cousins, your teammates, your co-workers, your wives and girlfriends, that person next to you on the plane who’s flying home to see her mom and tells you everything after her 4th rum and coke.

Each of our stories is unique and they’re all the same. What you say to the particular birthmother(s) that you know probably depends on the story. Think about what you know. Step into her shoes. Is she still keeping her secret from others with you being one of the few in her confidence? Is she happily reunited with her son or daughter? Has her child refused to meet her? Is she searching? Does she have other children? Maybe you invite her over for coffee or take her out for a drink. Maybe you tell her you feel enriched by knowing her story, or you give her a card or a take time for a conversation. Maybe you ask her what she thinks of Birthmother’s Day, which is today, by the way, in case you didn’t know.

I don’t exactly hate the idea of Birthmother’s Day, myself. But I don’t really love it either. The phrase Happy Birthmother’s Day pretty much gets stuck in my throat. I’d rather cough up a carving knife than say that, but the idea of commemoration is a good one. We’re here. So, I’m thinking of us and all of our stories.

“Birth Mother” is now available on audible.com

 

BirthMother

My memoir, “Birth Mother,” published last summer by Shebooks is now available on audible.com. I’ve listened to the sample, and while it’s kind of strange for me to hear another voice reading my words, I like the reader’s voice a lot. She sounds, well….kinda like me.

There are other fabulous books by women from Shebooks on Audible too. Check them out.

“Fable” –a poem by Louise Glück

Though the poem, “Fable” by Louise Glück is not meant to be about adoption,  it resonated with me nonetheless. But not in the way you might think. Not pitting adoptive mother against birth mother. For me, it cracked open the suffering of the two daughters, which might be an element in an adoption reunion story (though this is not the real-life situation the poet is most likely drawing on from her own childhood.) The pull of loss and grief is strong in this poem, deep and primal. A piece of the story perhaps for many in the world of adoption.
Judgemnt of Solomon by Raphael(1)

A Fable

BY LOUISE GLÜCK
Two women with
the same claim
came to the feet of
the wise king. Two women,
but only one baby.
The king knew
someone was lying.
What he said was
Let the child be
cut in half; that way
no one will go
empty-handed. He
drew his sword.
Then, of the two
women, one
renounced her share:
this was
the sign, the lesson.
Suppose
you saw your mother
torn between two daughters:
what could you do
to save her but be
willing to destroy
yourself—she would know
who was the rightful child,
the one who couldn’t bear
to divide the mother.

Adopted Children More Likely to Live in Highly Educated Home, Census Bureau Reports

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The news has been making the rounds in publications large and small. For me, it was a *smacks self in forehead* moment. When I was trying to finish high school in the spring of 1970 while keeping my secret pregnancy, uh…welll…secret. The last thing I could imagine was somehow keeping my baby and going off to college. Adoptive parents have also been found to have higher incomes. Another forehead smack.

Of course the intent of this report is not to surprise us. It’s to gather data. If you’d like to read more adoption stats, you can see the full report here.

Mostly, I think of the personal angle rather than the statistics  when I see headlines like the one above. I think of a woman reading the paper over her morning coffee. A woman who gave away a child, believing that someone else could provide a better life. I think of the ache she might have in the pit of her stomach or the pull in her heart.

Free Kindle Book: Saying Goodbye

This weekend, in a special promotion, you can get a free Kindle edition of Saying Goodbye, a collection of true stories about how we say goodbye to the people, places & things in our lives with grace, dignity & good humor. http://amzn.to/tcU8PP

My essay about saying goodbye to my newborn son, “Holding Him Softly,” is in it.

Here are a few snippets of reviews about the collection: (and if you like the book, you might consider reviewing it on Amazon.)


Tender perspectives helping readers with their own goodbyes. If you have ever had to deal with loss, read this book. It will make you feel better. — Christina Johns, Midwest Book Review, Oct. 18, 2010 

The stories are about love, really, not sadness. Despite all the sadness and grief that come with saying goodbye, there is love and joy and comedy on the Other Side. — Gretchen Little, Squidoo.com Lens, Oct. 29, 2010 

This book gets to the heart of what I teach in my class on death and dying – that life is filled with loss of all kinds and we can learn from each one and ultimately experience life more fully. The stories in this book do a wonderful job of showing that out of loss there are new beginnings. I recommend it for any teacher of death and dying classes. I also recommend it for anyone who is struggling with a loss – no matter what kind. — Professor Jann Adams, Department of Psychology, College of Idaho, Aug. 25, 2011 

Life is full of goodbyes. Some are painful, but some are downright humorous. Saying Goodbye is an anthology of short (true) stories about people saying goodbye to a variety of people, places and things. The authors vary as much as their subjects, and this collection does a nice job of showcasing how different people have so many different experiences with saying farewell. — Book Nook Club, Nov. 5, 2010 

This is a great book. There are many anthologies out there, lots with great short stories, but Saying Goodbye is about much more. It’s about memories. There are heartfelt memories, humourous memories, some extremely personal memories. Some really made me smile. Others brought tears to my eyes. — UK author Melanie Sherratt, High Heels and Book Deals, Nov. 22, 2010

Do Your Part for Open Records

As as pregnant seventeen-year-old, I wondered exactly what was meant by sealed records. Just a humble envelope? An envelope with the state seal? –done in sealing wax, perhaps? A locked file cabinet? I still don’t know.
But I do know this, birthparents can help the Adoptee Access Movement in their struggle to obtain original birth certificates for adult adoptees. You can sign this  form: Birthparents for Access .
Because “birthmother confidentiality” is often trotted out as an argument opposing open records, it really can help the cause to sign in favor of unsealing those records.

Through the Rabbit Hole

I’ve been lurking around over at Birth Mother, First Mother Forum.  Their blog has 117 followers (I’m one of them) and I have been clicking on each little picture wondering who all of these women are and what their stories are. If there is a link on the profile, I click on it and read a bit of their blog, and then I look at their followers and I click on those little pictures and see if they have blogs and who their followers are and then……

Are you following me–I mean this journey through a cyberspace rabbit hole where there are birthmothers around every turn?

One thing I’ve noticed is this: Many of the followers and the followers of the followers, etc. do not have blogs of their own, so I don’t know for sure if they are are birthmothers or not, but I bet they are. Or adoptees. There are quite a few adoptees who follow Birth Mother First, First Mother Forum, too.

There are so many of us. So many birthmothers. So many adoptees.
And now I’m hooked. Every day, I’m going to click on a couple more pictures.