I’ve been following #flipthescript on Twitter these past weeks. It’s been eye-opening and uncomfortable knowing my kids’ stories. When we were placed with X, it was a time of learning but not fully understanding the implications for first-parents and adoptees. I believe 100 percent that X would have been placed for adoption whether we were in the picture or not. At play in his story are deep seated cultural values, a minor, and an unsupportive family environment. C didn’t want to place him. We know this. We do what we can to support her emotionally, although sometimes I wonder if it’s enough. Because our wish is to keep communication open between them, and to openly acknowledge her place as X’s mother, S and I have discussions around this at intervals. If X was old enough to grasp the situation, what would he want to do? He doesn’t have a voice yet, and doesn’t even understand the concept of adoption. So, as his parents, what do we do to ensure the communication stays open, yet keep boundaries, because we are X’ parents, we are not C’s parents?
Z’s story is vastly different from X’s story, and I don’t know if we will be in an open adoption in the future. I like to think of it as an open-door adoption, to take a page from Lori’s book. J doesn’t want contact, but she wants letters and pictures. So, we will keep up letters and pictures through the agency, always providing contact information in them. Keeping our door open for the day she may decide she wants to meet A. The good thing about hospital placements, is that despite the whole “anonymity” thing, we have her last name. You can’t redact everything! So, we will keep that, for the future when A may want to search.
I realize that my own quasi-adoption story is one that many people would not recognize as adoption. After all, my mother was with me throughout, and I was not taken from my family of origin. So, yes, it’s absolutely different and I don’t understand the adoptee who was taken from their family, placed in another family and grew up always wondering where they fit. I know where I fit. I know the maternal half of my biological family and extended family. What I can understand is the feeling of helplessness when it comes to my own story. I understand the feeling of being told to “just be grateful” when I tried to express my emotions around not knowing anything about my biological father. Sound familiar? I understand the secrecy that feels wrong, because I am the one affected, yet I can’t talk about it. I understand the damage that’s done to a child’s psyche and how that affects the child as an adult when parents refuse to acknowledge feelings or talk about this big huge thing that happened to them. I did not have a say when my stepfather adopted me and my brother. I may have been asked if it was ok, but I was a teenager, compliant, and knew that whatever I said wouldn’t matter. I hadn’t yet found my voice in regards to my family situation, so why would I care? I am finding my voice now. I obtained my original birth certificate, because I too have a fake one. For me, this is more about owning the facts. I don’t necessarily need to find my biological father’s family, but I have name and age information if I want to. My mother has some contact information, but as is her way, she said she was going to give it to me and my brother and then never followed through.