No matter where I go
This past month I’ve been to Albuquerque and to Santa Barbara for T’ai Chi Chih retreats, and I’ve done some traveling with friends in Hawaii. Whenever I meet new people and strike up a conversation, more often than not, I find out that the person I’m talking to is either an adoptee or a birthmother. Or someone very close to them is. Adoptees and birthmothers are everywhere.
On the plane to Albuquerque, it was obvious the guy next to me wanted to talk. Business cards were exchanged. He stared at my card (the front image is the cover of my book) and out spooled a stream of questions. It turned out that his best friend is an adoptee. This friend had recently seen a lot of ups and downs with reunion. On Maui, one of the people in our group was an adoptee. Also in Santa Barbara. Adoption is everywhere.
When people in a group setting are party to these encounters and hear that I surrendered a child for adoption, there’s a very common comment. “Oh, what a wonderful generous thing you did,” they say. A few years ago I would have mumbled some sort of sheepish reply and changed the subject. But these days I’m much more comfortable telling people that it wasn’t like that at all. “That’s not how adoption works,” I say. So I tell them that I didn’t give up my son to be kind or generous. I tell them I had to in order to survive. And I tell them what it was like living in a town of 3000 Catholics in 1970, and how my family would have been ruined. More often than not people seem to get it.
Drinking the Kool-aid
It’s not just birthmothers who drank the Kool-aid, brainwashed into believing we were doing what was best. The adoption industry has been really thorough at handing out samples of that beverage to everyone. It always feels good to tell the truth about it.