Dear Adoption, Do Not Tell Me How I Feel

As I reblog this by Elle Caurdaigh on Dear Adoption, I must tell you, my readers, that Elle’s words could be my own. Every single word resonates with me.

There are only three lines that describe a situation that do not match my feelings because these don’t match my life:

“When I say I long to connect with my birth family, you say “those people” mean nothing to me.
When I say I miss my original mother, you say I have abandonment issues.
When I say I mourn my bio-father, you say I cannot grieve someone I never met.”

Because I was found by my natural family so very long ago, these statements don’t exactly match up. For me, I was already in reunion (since 1974) when so many of my adoptive family, and so many strangers, told me that “those people mean nothing to me.”

For me, my natural mother died, for real. I spent the first 6 weeks of my life in an incubator. So yes, my abandonment issues are very real, felt on an instinctual, pre-verbal level.

For me, I never met my mother because she died. I only know of her from those 7 months (yes, only 7, not 9) while I grew inside her. And yes, I can, and I do, grieve for someone I have never met.

For me, I met my natural father and had an on-again, off-again relationship with him. Ours was a complicated father-daughter relationship. While many people love to blame him for “giving me away,” I never held that against him. How many times have heard from adopters that I SHOULD hate him for what he did to me?

Dear Adoption and Dear Adopters: Stop telling me how I SHOULD feel and how I SHOULD behave. You were never adopted.

One last thought on one last quote from Elle:

“You do not know my pain, Adoption, because you cannot admit you are the cause of it. You want to think you saved me – that I would have been an abortion statistic without you, that my mother and I would have lived on the streets unless you came along.”

For me, I would not have been an abortion statistic because abortion was not on anyone’s mind at the time my mother was pregnant with me. She was dying, Adoption! My married mother wanted to stay alive to raise her five children with her husband! How dare you, Adoption, assume that every single adopted person was “conceived in sin.” I am an orphan, Adoption, conceived in love. I would not have lived on the streets because I already had a home, a family, a name, and a birth certificate before you came along.

Thank you, Elle, for putting into words what so many of us have been feeling for so long.

IMG_1239Dear Adoption, Do Not Tell Me How I Feel

Dear Adoption, I need you to hear me – without interrupting or forming a response before I finish. I am adopted, not you. I have experienced it, not you. My entire existence has been shaped by the construct of adoption, leaving me incapable of imagining my life otherwise. You cannot imagine, so for once, just shut up and listen.

Dear Adoption, do not tell me how I feel. When I say anything concerning my families or my feelings toward them – or adoption in general – do not contradict me as if you know better. As if you have any idea the complex emotions and psychological mindfuck adoption creates. As if you have any basis of knowledge on the subject. You don’t.

Dear Adoption, you have no idea the harm you did, in the name of A Better Life. You…

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The First Two Christmases of My Life

Today, two days after Christmas 60 years ago, my pregnant mother was taken by bus (my parents did not own a car) to the hospital. She was so sick that she was admitted. Tests were done and, though the doctors knew she was pregnant, they x-rayed her abdomen (so I received a full body dose of x-ray radiation). There, next to me, was a massive tumor. Mom gave birth to me on January 7, 1956, two months prematurely. Mom died on March 28, 1956.

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The following year, just a few weeks before Christmas 1956 and just before my adoption became final, the husband and wife who had custody of me since that April (and who would become my adoptive “parents”) felt sorry for my father and for my four older siblings. “We bought a Christmas tree and presents and drove them over to your father’s house when the kids were asleep, so they would not see us. We wanted them to have a Christmas,” my 89 year old adoptive mother said to me in 2005.

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When I heard this story for the first time in my life, I was seething with rage. While my adoptive “parents” thought they were being kind by giving these charity gifts to a family who was “less fortunate,” what they actually did was give gifts to ease the pain of taking away the baby to keep for their very own.

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Yes, my father relinquished me to adoption, but no one ever offered him help. No one ever thought that the baby might miss her family, or that the siblings might miss their baby sister. Just give the baby a new home and new name and be done with it. What counted most was to provide me with two parents, a new home, and a new life. And to provide a child for a childless married couple who desperately wanted a baby.

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I lived a sheltered life as an only child.

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To say that I felt betrayed when the truth was revealed, is an understatement.

Joan Mary Wheeler

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

 

Announcing the Kindle World Release of FORBIDDEN FAMILY: My Life as an Adoptee Duped By Adoption

I am thrilled to announce the Kindle edition world release of my memoir, Forbidden Family: My Life as an Adoptee Duped by Adoption on Saturday July 18, 2015.

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Raised as an only child of my adoptive parents, when I turned 18 in 1974, I was found by full-blood siblings I was never supposed to know. Less than a year later, I joined Adoptees’ Liberty Movement Association and began researching and writing about adoption. All the while, my adoptive family and natural family opposed my activism.

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Please join me in my journey by picking up your copy of Forbidden Family: My Life as an Adoptee Duped by Adoption today at one of the Kindle online stores listed below.

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Thank you,

Joan Mary Wheeler
Born as
Doris Michol Sippel

“The death of my married mother when I was an infant led to my closed adoption. Eighteen years later, I was found by family I was never supposed to know.”

2015-4-24 Kindle Book Cover.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

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Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

The Netherlands: http://www.amazon.nl/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Brazil: http://www.amazon.com.br/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Mexico: http://www.amazon.com.mx/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Spain: http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

France: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Germany: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Italy: http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

India: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

If you think more positively you may find happiness

Earlier this morning, a dear older friend of mine slipped a note in my hand, saying that she had to leave church early but wanted to give me the note after reading the introductory papers to my memoir that I gave her last week.

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After reading her note, I wrote her the following letter:

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January 4, 2015

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Hi L,

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Thank you for your sweet note.

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Please continue to call me “Joan” since that is how you know me! “Doris” is the name I had at birth, and I use it to make the point that all adoptees lose the name they were given at birth. I know it confused you, for that, I am sorry. My legal name, Joan, has been the name I’ve had for 58 of my 59 years of life.

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Thank you for expressing condolences for my plight in life.

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However, I’m not bitter. I’m bitter for what happened to me, but I am neither angry nor bitter now. My writings express it to get the points across, but no, I am quite happy.

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In the last 4 years, I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been because I no longer have to interact with hateful relatives. The last two of my parents died in 2011 and with that came relief – relief that their suffering was over, and relief that the negativity of the relatives associated with my adoptive mother and with my natural father was over for me. I no longer am forced to deal with people who have been cruel to me.

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There are positive relatives whom I miss, some I let go because I don’t want to interact with the rest of the relatives, and others are still in my life. Believe me, there are adoptive relatives who have never treated me cruelly, and there are a few cousins from my natural mother’s family who also have not treated me with cruelty.

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I surround myself with positive people. I have good friends at church, at the YMCA where I exercise daily, and at various live music venues where my musician friends perform.

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So, the papers I gave you explaining my life were meant to share with you why I joined the United Nations Envoy Team – where you and I met last year. With my knowledge, I want to join forces with existing programs to help make the world a better place for women and children, particularly poor women and poor children, especially women persecuted for giving birth to illegitimate children, and widows and orphans. I want to stop the trafficking of poor children in international adoption and to protect our own vulnerable pregnant women and their children.

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Yes, I’ve lived through unbearable trauma. But being in touch with adoptees worldwide through email and Facebook on the Internet, and with mothers (and fathers) who lost their children to adoption, I am contributing to make the world a better place. I am living our UU Principles of social justice! Networking with others to foster understanding of what each of us (adoptees and parents of loss) has lived through is energizing for me. We create legislation to change laws statewide, and we write books, we appear on TV and radio to talk about our lives with the goal of raising awareness of the realities of adoption. So you see, I am not alone in writing about my life.

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Yes, I do see the truth in your statement: “Who knows, behind every turn, life holds treasures that you can’t foresee at the present.” In what you perceive as bitterness in my papers on my life, please keep in mind that writing these specific pieces: “About the Author” and “About the Book”, are meant to be brief highlights of what my memoir is about and a short bit of what happened to me. It all happened in the past – being transferred from one family to another, I lost my family, and my name at birth and my true birth certificate.  Yes, the first years of reunion were filled with confusion and anxiety for me. But please do not believe I am not happy today. I am. It makes me happy to explain my life so that no other child – no other person – has to go through what I did. There are lessons to be learned – that is why I wrote my memoir. And as I said, it is currently being professionally edited and formatted and will be re-published this year.

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It’s amusing to me that you think I don’t accept the things I cannot change. See, I have been the only one doing just that: accepting all of my life. It is the rest of the people in my families (adoptive and natural) who have not dealt with the realities that created the trauma of all of our lives where my adoption is concerned. It is also the general public who does not want to hear the realities of adoption; they’d rather believe in the myths of adoption.

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It makes me happy to do the things I do. While you may not realize this, I am one of the pioneers in the field of adoption reform. I’ve been writing about adoption since 1975. I am one of about 500 to 1,000 activists around America and thousands throughout the world.

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It may seem to you that I am not happy since my story is tragic. I am, in fact, very happy inside myself, knowing that I am trying to change what I can to make this a better world.

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Blessed Be,

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Joan

Flip The Script on World Adoption Day – Abolish Adoption Now

Here I am proudly holding my Original Birth Certificate:

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2014-11-09 Joan with OBC -4b

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My name at birth and baptism was Doris Michol Sippel. That was my legal name until the Surrogate Court Judge signed my Final Order of Adoption one year and one week after my birth. He then sent orders to the Registrar to seal my birth certificate and create a new one in my new adoptive name. My Amended Birth Certificate was issued three months later.

When I was reunited with my natural family in 1974, my adoptive mother gave me all of my birth certificates, baptismal certificates, and my Final Order of Adoption.

I own my OBC. I do not have the legal right to own it.

Which is why I have been fighting for adoptees’ rights for 40 years.

I had a home. I did not need to be adopted. I did not need to lose my entire family because of adoption. Therefore, I am proud to be among the New Abolitionists.

Abolish Adoption Now!