The God Complex

January 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm (Uncategorized)

You don’t have to delve into adoption-blogland too far to stumble across the “Gods Will” argument as some feel it pertains to adoption. This post is NOT about questioning those individual’s faith or arguing about the likelihood that God put one person’s child into another person’s uterus. If those are the kinds of debates you’re looking for, you’ll find tons of adoptee blogs that can voice those particular viewpoints far more eloquently than I can.

The theory goes as such – It is God’s Will that a specific couple adopt a specific child. He created the circumstances that will/would eventually lead to this event and it was all preplanned by the Creator.

What concerns me about this isn’t that God is being brought into it at all, though I know plenty of people feel that it’s a load of bull. What really concerns me is that the APs who use this logic aren’t leaving any room for disagreement within their own families… Families that were CREATED by adoption. The second they throw God’s Will into the argument, the only arguments against it are submerged in faith vs. non faith.

What happens if/when one day, your adopted child comes to you and says that they have negative feelings about adoption in general, even their own? Using God’s Will as an excuse for why your own child is so unhappy is pretty cruel. What recourse do you even have as an adoptive parent? Do you shake up the very faith that you have tried so hard to cultivate in them by telling them, straight up, that it was God’s Will they lose their family? Or do you use God as a way to guilt them into ignoring these feelings? Or do you allow your own faith in God’s Will to be shaken?

Honestly, it is one thing to use God’s Will as a defense on a blog. It is wholly another to use it as the only explanation when an actual child is trying to communicate with their parent. I’m concerned that so many of these God’s Will types wont be open to an honest dialog sans God if and when their own adopted child tries to open one up.

I’m sure I could have thrown out the “It was God’s Will for me to search for my f-family” when I did decide to search. But I was much more comfortable in opening an honest dialog with my APs about how I was feeling and how they were feeling without muddying up everything with faith vs. non faith vs. different faith in how God operates. In the end, we’re all a lot more comfortable with my reunion. Nobody feels threatened, there aren’t any guilt trips rolling around, and I’m fairly comfortable discussing both of my families with members of the other.

The biggest concern I have about the God’s Will logic is that it seems like a pretty effective smoke screen. If you’re a person who’s life is strongly based in Faith and God, that’s great. But to use God as a way to block out any logic that you simply don’t like is dangerous and ignorant. I’ll be honest – I am sick and tired of people using GOD as a method for invalidating my own experiences and feelings. When I talk about adoption reform or searching or reunion or the negative aspects of adoption, I feel like people are throwing God in my face as a way to tune out what I am actually saying.

I feel like they are doing this with a lot of the other more vocal adoptee-bloggers as well.

That’s just not right. It must really hurt to even consider that one day, your own child will feel like one of THEM some day. I get that. But listening to the voices of adult adoptees today could save you from the slap in the face that might come if your own adoptee feels the same way one day. Listening and communicating with individuals who are aware and have experienced the dark side of adoption is really the only way you’re ever going to be able to help your own child through it – or save them from some of the really bleak stuff that happens when your own parent refuses to even consider certain aspects.

Starting an open, honest dialog with these adult adoptees now could make it a lot easier to maintain an open, honest dialog with your own child as they grow up. Instead of using God to invalidate someone else’s experience, why not leave Him out of it until a broader, faith-based debate comes up? If someone is trying to share with you the fact that losing their identity has caused them pain, or not knowing that breast cancer ran in their biological family until it was too late is, quite literally, killing them, the last thing they want to hear is that it was “God’s Will.”

One last point I would like to make – When adult adoptees are discussing things like reforming the adoption industry to be in the best interests of the child, don’t throw God’s Will into it. Policies and laws change all the time. If we are trying to open up a conversation about adoption reform, using God as a way to ignore the discussion at hand is weak and cowardly. You might as well say that it’s God’s Will that the adoption industry continue to be a money-making business instead “in the best interests of the child.” As it stands right now, the adoption system is NOT in the best interests of the child and using God’s Will as a way to ignore that because you don’t like how it sounds isn’t helping adoptees, you OR your families.

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It’s Not ‘Adoptee Pull-Back.’ I’m Just A Flake!

September 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm (Uncategorized)

A few months ago, there was quite a bit of static on a few blogs/forums about the issue of ‘Adoptee Pullback.’ Since I’m not too keen on invading other’s personal spaces, even if it is ELECTRONIC space, I thought maybe I would discuss this issue here in my own space… as it pertains to my own life.

My reunion with my f-mother didn’t suffer from ‘adoptee pull-back.’ She is the one that failed to return my emails after our face-to-face meetings. She is the one that failed to return my calls. I suppose there is a part of me that could be really, super angry about this… but really, I don’t even see it as ‘maternal pull-back.’ I think I may just have inherited one of her personality flaws.

My reunion with my f-dad is a little bit different. I think that if he read some of the things that other first parents wrote about adoptee pull back, he would probably chime in and say that he has dealt with those issues in our reunion as well.

I am still in contact with my f-dad. I feel that our relationship is about as functional as it can be at the moment. We talk on the phone every once in awhile, email every once in awhile, but Facebook each other every day. Since this is pretty much the relationship I have with 90% of my friend-base and adoptive family right now, I don’t really see our lack of actual voice or face-to-face interaction as symptomatic of any deeper issues.

What it comes down to is this: I am a full time music student. I also have to work to put myself through school. I am also in a 4 year relationship that pretty much has all the problems of a marriage AND all the problems inherent in a long-term relationship without official commitment. In short – I’m busy. All the time. My f-dad has been absolutely AMAZING throughout this entire reunion. He has not only been incredibly accommodating, but also understanding, and has never made me feel guilty for not always driving 4 hours to come see him, or calling when I say I will, or not emailing him back right away.

I suspect that my f-mother, who is working two jobs and taking care of her family, is also pretty darn busy… And unlike my f-dad, I didn’t put as much effort into maintaining contact with her. When she stopped responding, I stopped writing. When I stop responding, my f-dad keeps writing anyway.

I guess I feel like I’m a flake… I forget things all the time, especially when it involves returning phone calls and emails. And while it may seem to my f-dad or other first parents that this is a case of ‘adoptee pull-back,’ it’s really not… It’s a case of “super busy college student who is also incredibly disorganized.”

That’s not to say that I don’t understand adoptee pull-back. Believe me, I do. But my feelings about pull back are that adoptees didn’t really get a choice in this whole adoption thing. We were just along for the ride. And reunion is terrifying because we never know what we’re going to find. There is no handbook for reunion and I know that I personally started my search without ever really pausing to consider the ramifications of searching. I didn’t have time to. I made the decision to search and three days later, someone on an adoptee forum that I frequent had found a possible match.

That someone was right. I had found my mother after only THREE DAYS of even seriously considering searching.

I can’t imagine the agony of dead-end after dead-end that some of my fellow adoptees have described. I also can’t imagine the absolute devastation of being denied. The only real ‘FOR SURE’ I can attach to reunion is that there is no way to plan it. Just as there is no handbook or ‘catch-all’ list of instructions to guarantee a successful bond with your relinquished child for f-parents, there is no handbook for adoptees either. When reunion occurs, there are multiple PEOPLE involved.

PEOPLE. Usually adults. Sometimes an adult and a teenager. But always people with free will and pasts and experiences that are different. With secrets and dreams and their own set of expectations concerning reunion. Before you start frothing at the mouth on a public blog about your adoptee’s ‘pull-back’ and how disrespectful/hurtful it is to you, remember that this adoptee had their own set of expectations and hopes and feelings concerning this reunion too. It’s perfectly okay to speak about how you feel, but remember that you are still talking about a human being who has also felt loss because of the adoption system in this country. A human being who, like you, has no handbook. A human being who, like you, is experiencing a bunch of crazy emotions that often times clash with each other.

A human being who is most likely trying to figure out where they fit into your life, while juggling two families AND all that wonderful judgment of society that is heaped upon adoptees who choose to search.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying that relinquishing parents don’t have to deal with society’s judgment. I am merely pointing out that adoptees, especially those who make the decision to search, do as well. I feel that this point is largely ignored by the other two sections of the adoption triad but that is something I will go into at a later date.

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I Hate Goodbye’s.

June 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm (Uncategorized)

My wonderful dog died Monday morning. (June 27th)

I miss him horribly… Life just isn’t the same without him. I’ve been going through some photos and remembering his quirks… He was a very special pet.

Throughout this grieving processes, I’ve felt lost, angry, and absolutely and totally heartbroken.

I’m planning on putting a scrapbook together if I can collect enough photos. I put an online album together on my Facebook and going through those pictures really helped me… I cried through the whole process, but there were so many shots that were just pure REILLY… I found myself able to smile through some of the tears and remember the unconditional love, joy, and comfort that he gave us.

Sure, some people may say ‘He’s just a dog.’ But he’s not ‘just a dog.’ He was a member of our family… He was a source of unyielding support, unconditional love, never-ending laughs… Whenever I was feeling down, he would always sense it and come over to sit by me… I can’t count the number of times I cried into his fur and he licked my tears away.

Everything was really sudden and we were really lucky… Even though we didn’t have any chance to prepare for his passing, he didn’t suffer… We didn’t have to watch a slow, painful decline nor did we have to make any ‘tough choices.’ He would have been so depressed if he had an illness that would have kept him from playing.

He had a tumor on his heart that caused his heart to bleed into a sack of fluid that had appeared… He died peacefully in my father’s arms, being told that he was such a good boy and that he was loved. They gave him plenty of painkillers so that he wouldn’t feel a thing and his tail was wagging happily till the end, even as he lay there in my dad’s arms.

He would have been so depressed if it had been a long-term, debilitating illness… But he got to play right up until the end.

Reilly, the eternal puppy.

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Your Own Truth

March 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm (Uncategorized)

Someone said something incredibly profound recently that really struck a chord with me.  With her permission, I thought I would share it.

“Of course you’re not looking for replacement parents…you’ve already got a set of those.  Of course you aren’t trash…even though you were given away.  Yep, they probably don’t deserve you…but you deserve your truth.”

This statement was so eloquently made and it explains so much of what I try to impart upon non-adoptees who question my motives for searching.  I wasn’t trying to ‘replace’ my AP’s, but I still had to find my FP’s.  Adoptees are probably the only sect of people where being given away is supposed to equal love.  (Crap, by the way.)  All of the adults involved in our adoptions, the courts, the AP’s, the FP’s, the agencies, they probably don’t deserve us if they blatantly refuse to see the damage that adoption can and has done, but we DESERVE our truth.  We deserve to know where we come from and who we come from.

One of the definitions of Identity, according to ‘Dictionary.com.’

i·den·ti·ty

The condition of being oneself or itself, and not another: He doubted his own identity.

I find it ironic that the sentence they use to show the context of this definition is “He doubted his own identity.”  Isn’t that exactly what adoptees are looking for?  Their own identity? 
I have found it completely impossible to explain to non-adoptees what it’s like growing up knowing your adopted.  It’s not their fault they can’t understand and it’s not mine either.  Where you come from is something that people grow up with – It’s a gradual comprehension that comes with the formation of our awareness as we grow from an infant to a cognizant child to an adult.  There’s no way for a non-adopted person to imagine not knowing their parents and their identity because they’ve never ever been without their knowledge.  Likewise, I don’t think I could ever know what it’s like to not grow up adopted because my adoption was integrated into my identity from the get-go.

This isn’t to say that adoption is the only thing that created my identity.  I think our identities are formed as a result of our experiences – it’s who we are.  My AP’s are part of my identity just as much as any other parent.  But where we come from is a big part of our identity as well and, as my fellow adoptee stated, We deserve to know our own truth!

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To Pay Or Not To Pay…

March 5, 2011 at 3:42 am (Uncategorized)

When I first decided to begin my search for my f-mother, I looked into requesting my non-identifying information as well as my identifying information from the state of Wisconsin.  As a poor, broke college student, I just couldn’t afford what they said it would cost me.

Luckily, I found a nifty little adoptee-centric forum online where I not only found the emotional support I needed, but I also found the help I needed to locate my f-mother.  I am lucky in that my a-mom was willing to tell me everything she knew.  I was a closed, private (read: non-agency) adoption.  My f-mom found my a-parents through one of her coworkers who was friends with a couple that knew my a-parents.  Unfortunately, during my search, that co-worker refused to give me any information, going so far as to slam the phone down in my ear.

I can forgive her, to an extent.  She’s a conservative politician in the fairly small town where I was born.  She probably didn’t want a scandal.  But as much as I still struggle to forgive her, I can’t help but be angry that she just assumed that I was some punk kid trying to ruin her life rather than a responsible adult trying to find her biological roots.

My a-mom did remember my f-mom’s name, the hospital and town I was born in, that my f-mom was married a few years after my relinquishment, that she did have a son after me whom she kept.  Another adoptee sifted through the county marriage records and found one woman with my f-mom’s first name and looked up her phone number for me.  I decided to ‘give it a whirl’ and struck gold.

I have since fallen out of contact with my f-mother.  We exchanged a few emails, talked on the phone a few times, and met face-to-face for about four hours in a Starbucks around the corner from her house… but she’s not so good at the communication thing.  Eventually the emails tapered off and she just stopped responding.  Luckily she did give me the name of my f-father.

As it turns out, she never told him she was pregnant.  Imagine his shock when he found out about me.  He’s been really fantastic as far as keeping in contact with me while still allowing me to have my space.  I know I should give him a call one of these days but I keep putting it off… I guess I have more of my f-mom in me than I thought after all.  But when I’ve disappeared for too long, he always sends me a simple message saying ‘I hope you’re well.  Miss ya.’ and it’s comforting.

My f-mom was very direct with me when I questioned her about my relinquishment.  She admitted that she lied on the adoption papers concerning the father and she did get around needing his consent.  I’m thinking about forking over the cash for my information from the state so that I can see exactly what happened.  No one saved any of the court papers or anything for me and I really, really want to see them… even if the state of Wisconsin chooses to black out a bunch of info, just seeing what went down almost 27 years ago would be nice.  At least I’d know SOMETHING.

So do I pay the money for the information?  I’ve been told different stories by different people and I’d like to know who’s telling the truth once and for all.  The truth… is that really so much to ask?

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Adopting K8

March 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm (Uncategorized)

I am ‘K8.’  I am an adoptee.

I have another personal blog on blogspot, but I wanted a better place to express myself that didn’t have the prying eyes of both my f-family and a-family all over it.  No matter what I say, I’ll offend someone in my family and, for once, I want this to be about what *I* have to say.

I can’t help but wish I had started an adoption blog a couple of years ago when I first jumped into reunion.

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