I don’t typically write about adoptee anger. I believe in taking the high road and being respectful while doing the work to educate about adoption.Today, I’m making an exception.
I met a beautiful young woman when I was in Austin a few weeks ago–a fellow adoptee.
We felt an immediate connection with one another, and enjoyed good conversation, during which time she shared some of her adoption story with me. I won’t go into it in detail–it’s not my story to tell–but I haven’t been able to get this woman and the story she shared with me out of my mind.
It makes me angry every time I think about it.
Like me, she was adopted under the closed adoption system, lost her adoptive mother to death at a young age, and subsequently reached out to locate her birth family. Also, like me, she was unable to reunite with the woman who gave birth to her, but for a very different reason. My birth mother died before I was able to connect with her. The birth mother of this beautiful, intelligent, and talented woman is still very much alive but refuses to have contact with her.
Her reasons are her own and she’s entitled to feel the way she feels. I was deeply saddened to hear this twist in the story but what I learned next took me beyond sorrow into anger.
Not only does the birth mother refuse contact, she refuses to have any information at all released to her daughter. No medical history, no family heritage, nothing. Absolutely nothing.
In talking with this dear young woman I didn’t detect a hint of anger toward her birth mother for her decision. I can’t help but feel angry for her.
Not only are we, as adoptees, fighting antiquated laws that keep us from having information that is rightfully our own, some of us hit roadblocks that are put up deliberately and, in my opinion, selfishly.
I would like to think that if this birth mother knew how important it is for her daughter to know her heritage and her medical history she would change her mind about withholding information from her. I would like to think that she doesn’t understand how important learning the truth is for adoptees trying to heal the wounding that came from being separated from their family of origin.
Those of us passionate about adoption reform still have a lot of work to do.
Not only do laws need to be changed, it seems that minds need to be changed as well. We must continue to educate and bring light to the impact that secrets have on adoptees mental, physical, and emotional well-being. There are some who have no chance of every finding out where they came from; they are forced to find peace in other ways. For those for whom their truth is just a changed-law or a changed-mind away, we must continue to shine the light of truth on the darkness of the shame and secrecy that has covered closed adoption for too long.
Here are some things you can do to be part of the solution.
- Take time to read some of the articles in the newly-launched Adoption Voice Magazine. This publication features stories from a diverse group of individuals who have been touched by adoption in some way. I’ll be contributing regularly as well.
- Watch Dan Rather’s report Adopted or Abducted tonight at 8:00 pm. If you miss it I understand you’ll be able to download it from iTunes for $1.99 starting tomorrow. This perspective on adoption is not the only one but it’s part of the conversation that needs to happen so all voices can be heard and change can occur in the future.
- Come back to A Slice of Life Writing soon to read a guest post by the young woman I described above. She has a voice worth listening to.