Monday, January 29, 2007

Adoption Sucks - You can make it better

Posted as a comment on http://amyadoptee.blogspot.com/

Amy,

I'm an adoptee that was adopted by an adoptee and now I have adopted children. Like you, I think adoption sucks. For years I was bitter and resentful of the "normal" lives people lived all around me. I was adopted in 1965 by a military family (Marines)having been relinquished from a Navy family. I was separated from my two older half brothers (like I'm supposed to consider them half at the age of 4). I was sent to a "receiving home" which was simply a glorified name for an orphanage full of unwanteds. My infant sister and I were immediately placed in a foster home with other children of the foster family. I never got to see my brothers again. At the age of 4, you don't know how to process what is happening and you don't have anything to compare life to. Being adopted was exciting but the joy was short lived. My new father was sent off to Nam in less than a year. We had to move to the midwest and live in the state of Missouri where all of my amom's family lived. I became the "adopted" bastard among all of my mother's 11 brothers and sisters and their children. My Aparents were in their early 40's when we were adopted and my mother was the youngest in the brood of 12 so you can imagine what going to a family gathering was like. I couldn't keep the names straight and I have 4th cousins instantly. All this to say that it sucked being the different one. The one that looked nothing like anyone else, who acted differently (raised in California my first 4 1/2 years). And then the threats and forced re-learning only caused me to ask myself every day "Why did my parents give me away?" "What did I do wrong?" And I cringed every time I heard the word "chosen". It is as though that was the ONLY training the social workers gave my parents was to refer to us as "chosen"! They sure as hell didn't teach them anything else productive. My mother threatened to "take me back" any time I didn't do things in line with her perfectionistic attitude. She couldn't be pleased and I have spent decades unlearning mannerisms which I assumed while growing up. After my father returned from Nam, he met someone who was easier to deal with and divorce happened. In the divorce proceedings, it came out that the adoption was to salvage a marriage gone wrong. I left home when I was 17, and only saw my mother once in my late 20's. My father and I got along quite well and I usually vacationed with him every couple of years. After I married at the age of 28, my wonderful wife and I waited to have children and a medical condition of hers prevented this once we decided we wanted a family. So once again, I had to address the only way to have a family being adoption. From the decision to adopt, we investigated the domestic options of fostering and then adoption, infant adoption and then international adoption. Living in the state of Massachusetts, we couldn't bear to deal with the only types of adoption they deemed us eligible for - older kids - because I knew what hell I had gone through. Infant adoption was too heart wrenching to even attempt because you have to go on parade, hope a bmom chooses you to parent their child and then hope they don't take you to court and take your child back. So we went through the trial of international adoption and i wouldn't wish this on anyone! We were ripped off by an agency who lied to us about their credentials in Russia (they weren't and the program was in the process of being shut down when they took our money and never told us their accredidation had been pulled). We had been given a referral for twin boys (our request) and then told they were claimed by their grandmother. This ripped our hearts out as we were led to believe all was well for over 12 months from the time we received the video referral. Then we sought out an agency of high caliber who did adoptions in Guatemala. We liked the program in Guatemala much better as children are fostered as opposed to institutionalized. We waited for only a few months and a referral for unborn twins was presented to us. We were ecstatic. They were still born. My wife and I promised ourselves we would only go through this once more and then we would call it a life without kids. We were called with "virtual twins" which were described to us as same age but unrelated and this particular referral involved 1st cousin boys. Knowing what we knew about the slimy creatures involved in adoption overall, we passed. Less than a week later, twin identical boys were born and we were called the same day. That was in 2002, and our boys are now 4 1/2 - the same age I was when I was relinquished. To look at them and think that someone abandoned me at that age causes me to cringe. I'd kill myself before I gave up a child knowing how the system treated me and I was one of the "lucky" chosen ones.
Adoption sucks, there is little to no interest in protecting the children because they aren't the customers. This world revolves around money and it always will. The child will always be the one who takes the hit, especially in a country that promotes education over every other major life goal, including family. It is considered OK to abort or relinquish if you've made an error. Simply erase the problem and go out and try try again. It is OK to hide the records of those who commit such deeds because they need the protection from their shady pasts, while we suffer wondering whether or not we'll ever find our original family. I did find my original family having been adopted in a state with sealed records. It took me 3 years and a lot of detective work, but I was one of the fortunate ones. I did it long before the internet was commercialized. I joined support groups, I visited libraries and I read every book I could find on the subject (not many). I used every available angle to try and find and it was with the help of another adoptee that I got the lead that led me to my grandfather who never knew I even existed as he had divorced out of the family during my mother's child bearing years. I accept my fate as one who was dealt adoption and though I think it is a putrid system, it has everything to do my wife and I now having a family. The surface hasn't even been scratched when it comes to reform, policy or regulation. The Hague is the UN method of trying to make the world play fair. It's not going to make a difference just as "oil for food" made Saddam rich. People cannot turn down the lust for money that they are born with. All we can do as a people is shout a little louder and get involved when opportunity presents itself. By doing this, we'll make small changes and persuade corrupt politicians to use us as a means to vault themselves a little higher with an air of humanity as part of their platform. But if that's what we have to do, so be it. Their means is power, so make use of it. It's what Gates and Buffett do with their money. They put it into charities to make the world step back and think they're great humanitarians. They're not. They're people like you and me and they simply have the power to use the charity card to increase their power. It's all about the money. Again, the children will continue to suffer except for those that you and I can help one at a time. Go see your congressman and get in their face. But pose it as a way for them to launch themselves and not simply to bitch and moan. They'll do it because now is the time. Adoption is center stage with the Evan B Donaldson folks, the number of families seeking to adopt because they have waited so long to have children in order to further their career and because it's a cause that has now become widespread and we as adoptees now have a voice through blogs and MySpace and so on. Speak up, pass stories like this one on and get in your politician's faces. They need more causes like opening sealed records to attach their names to. They can't save the world, but they can invoke change that will help if we get in their faces with something that will fuel their career paths.

6 comments:

AMYADOPTEE said...

Wow!!!!!!! Welcome to the world of Blogging. If it is alright with you, I am going to post your blog addy and this little note. Believe it or not, I have been in legislators face. My own birthstate has asked me to help write the access laws in Indiana. I suggest you do the same thing honey. If they hear from us often enough, maybe we can do it.

3rd generation adoption said...

Amy,

Please do.....

John

chez said...

Hi John,
Just found you through Amy's blog.
Yours is an amazing story.
Welcome to the blogosphere.
(I've only been doing this myself since Oct 06)
I'd like to link to you - if you don't mind.
Hugs from an adoptee from Down Under!!

3rd generation adoption said...

Chez,

Please feel free to link and tell others. There must be a reason I got to go through so much. Hopefully it will benefit others now that we can shout and be heard 'round the world!

Cheers,

John

34quinn said...

Hello.
came by you via elizabeth...

I read this post and heard alot of "sameness" in your story..

I have not yet divulged alot on my adoptive life I am still working through alot.. but I have written about my search and reunion and stuff.

Elizabeth's writing help me to be brave enough to even contemplate dealing with things I did.

Like you write..I too am hoping there is or was a reason that I had to endure the suffering and abuse by adoptive family...

There better have been a reason.

noah said...

I know exactly.where u are coming from i was adopted when i was
5 and my mom and sis died while i was going from orphinage to foster home and back and forth when i was little and lately my adoptive dad got stationed in iraq and my real dad is in jail for assault and battery