Private Message from Jennifer Marsh about Jeremy and Jenny Advertising to Adopt in Yard Sales and Trades

Tucked inside my Private Messages on Facebook was a comment left on May 1, 2017 by Jennifer Marsh, a woman who was upset over my blog post about wanna-be-adopters, Jeremy and Jenny. Too bad I didn’t see this sooner as I would have published Jennifer’s comment back when she messaged me. Jennifer felt compelled to find my Facebook profile so she could write to me in a private message (we aren’t connected on Facebook, so she had to leave the message in my “Message Request” folder). However, Jennifer lacked personal conviction to comment on the blog post itself. So I will publish her comment here. Her words are in quotes; my responses are written after her words.

 

May 1st, 11:08pm

“Hey Doris, I understand you have had a bad experience regarding your adoption,”

No, Jennifer, you don’t understand my life at all. “A bad experience” implies only one such experience, yet, my life, just as yours, has been full of many experiences, happy and sad, easy and hard, traumatic and terrifying, wondrous and loving, and many ordinary experiences of daily life.

Are you referring to my reunion as a bad experience? My reunion has had many upsetting events, but also many positive experiences as well, including ones that are occurring right now and will be in the future. I’m still in reunion, still experiencing adoption, with a variety of relatives and friends. These experiences range from positive, negative and neutral. Just as your life experiences are to you.

First and foremost, if you read my original blog post at all, you would have read that my mother died when I was an infant. That is a tragedy, for me, for my four older siblings, for our father, and for my mother’s siblings and their spouses and their children. You did not acknowledge my mother’s death as a profound loss for me and my family. Instead, you lumped all of my life experiences into one big category: “I understand you have had a bad experience regarding your adoption.”

My mother’s death was, and still is, a major loss affecting me even now, 61 years later. Her death was not “a bad experience” equal to that of an argument, a bad day at work, or missing the bus.

Adoption itself is a traumatic event that permanently separates a baby (or older child) from her family, replacing family with strangers. Adoption changes the child’s identity, revoking and sealing her true birth certificate with a legally false one. Adoption is an irrevocable contract made over a minor child who has no say in the matter.

My life experiences of being found by siblings I never knew I had, facing cruel mistreatment by extended adopted family and natural family because of their misinterpretations of adoption and what they believe I should and should not do, led me to join thousands of adoptees and mothers of adoption loss in the adoptee rights movement. Adoptees and parents of adoption loss are leaders in educating the general public and trying to prevent yet another unnecessary permanent separation.

You, Jennifer, need to re-read my blog post to see the impact of adoption on the world’s adoptees, and the world’s mothers and fathers. We all have had “bad experiences” due to adoption. Our lives have been ruined because of adoption. That is why we work to end adoption as we know it.

If adoption is so wonderful, Jennifer, why don’t you give up your children for a stranger to adopt? Oh wait; you adopted “your” children. So what, that doesn’t’ matter. They need to be re-homed so someone else can raise them. You don’t need these children. Come on; give them up so that another waiting couple could raise them better than you can. And these kids don’t need your name as mother on their birth certificate. Re-home them so that another mother can be named on a new birth certificate. Who cares about facts when you have your lord and savior, money, and love.

 

“however this blog post is very harmful and threatening.”

My original blog post about Jeremy and Jenny Advertising to Adopt is harmful only because you claim it is. It is not threatening at all. It is, however, an educational tool for fools who will see it as harmful and threatening.

To those of us within the adoption reform movement (also known as the adoptee rights movement), see my blog post as a necessity that counteracts the stupidity, vulgarity, and ignorance of the two people who advertised in “Tri-Cities, TN, Yard Sales, Trades & Wanted” looking for someone’s baby to adopt.

 

“You are completely unaware and of the situation of these people, what they have gone through or what they will go through.”

Yeah? Really? From what they post on their websites

http://www.meetjeremyandjenny.com/

and

https://www.facebook.com/JeremyandJenny/

and online in this news article

http://wlos.com/news/local/state-forest-ranger-and-wife-set-up-easter-egg-hunts-to-raise-money-for-adoption?fref=gc&dti=10484382277

Jeremy and Jenny Graves do not seem to be suffering much at all. They have everything; the only thing missing is their dream child. (Look closely – Jeremy and Jenny are so desperate to adopt someone else’s child that published their own full names and address and phone number online, as well as publicize the adoption agency. But you, Jennifer, claim that I caused them harm by writing my blog post to educate them?

Jeremy and Jenny, and others like them, need to accept reality: they are infertile. Grabbing up someone else’s child will not cure them of their infertility.

“Not everyone has had a bad adoption experience. I can point you in the direction of many who have beautiful stories as well as sad ones.”

Yes, oh yes, I’ve heard these wonderfully happy adoption stories. For every adoptee who is blissfully happy, I can point to an adoptee who is living in denial, who buys into the legal lie, who is detached from acknowledging the truth  – that the unknown is a part of them, whether they admit it or not.

Keep in mind, for each and every adoption – including open adoption – there is a mother and a father who are legally stripped of their parentage as if they never gave birth nor sired their child. Their names are stricken off of their child’s medical record of live birth – the long form birth certificate verifying that the birth of their child took place. Removing the validity of this document and replacing it with a false-fact birth certificate is not something to be celebrated.

 

“It is not your place to judge someone else when you don’t know the whole situation.”

Judge Jeremy and Jenny? My dear Jennifer, I wrote my blog post based upon their own words and actions – advertising to adopt someone else’s baby in a classified ad for “Yard Sales, Trades & Wanted” and on their own website and Facebook page and online in a news article.

These people, and others like them, including you, are trolling the Internet, looking for pregnant girls and women for the sole purpose of taking their baby from them to fulfill their own selfish need of parenting someone else’s baby, and/or additional children. There is nothing holy, or kind, or humane about Jeremy and Jenny’s actions. They want to remove a baby from her or his mother for their own benefit.

Does Jesus condone this?

I don’t know, I’m asking you. And, I’m asking Jeremy and Jenny. And I’m asking all other wanna-be adopters. How do you justify begging for a pregnant girl or woman to give up her baby so that you can reap the benefits of parenting her child?

As an atheist, I’m repulsed by religious people claiming that Jesus calls them to adopt.

 

“Nor is it appropriate to assume that anyone who can get pregnant should raise their own child.”

Oh, there you go, telling me, a social worker, that there are women who shouldn’t raise their own children. I know perfectly well that there are women and men who are unfit to parent the children they gave birth to and sired. That does not change the fact that they are parents deserving of respect and caring. They are the parents.

Family Preservation and Adoption Prevention should be the first priority. All steps should be taken to help a family overcome poverty, and the other situations you imply: drug addiction, crime, etc.

Jennifer, you speak of stereotypes; and yet, Jeremy and Jenny’s website and Facebook page clearly do not mention unfit parents whose children are in danger. Jeremy and Jenny are looking for a pregnant girl or woman so that they can convince her to give up her newborn to them to adopt.

Infant adoption is child snatching. So is adopting an older from foster care.

In every single situation, adoption is not necessary. Legal guardianship can provide for a loving home to a child in need of care without destroying family in the process and without destroying the child’s identity.

And let’s face it, a newborn needs the mother she was born to, and suffers when removed from her mother.  But you, Jennifer, and Jeremy and Jenny, do not comprehend simple biology, psychology and human development.

 

“There are such things as open adoptions, ones where adoptive and biological mom’s parent together.”

Oh please, I know more about open adoptions than you do. Open adoption does not solve anything. In fact, open adoption results in: the child’s birth certificate revoked and sealed by the state government and a replacement birth certificate issued naming the adoptive parents as parents of birth. The child’s natural parents are relegated to legal strangers. No open adoption is legally enforceable. Adoptive parents can, and do, close the adoption and prevent any contact between child and their natural parents.

 

“My own family is like this.”

If you are satisfied in lying to yourself and to your adopted children, then I feel sorry for you. You can love a child without demanding that the child loses everything – family, name, birth certificate. But you want adoption to erase the truth. You want to live in your delusions.

 

“My kids biological mother is welcome in our home and is considered a part of the family.”

How very kind of you! But she must go home when it is time for her to leave. You are definitely in control of her child. Nice. How do you think she really feels? What about the father? Is he welcome, too?

I know all about advertising to adopt, not only by talking with mothers who have lost their children to open adoption, but my own research. I sat in on a workshop held by a lawyer here in Buffalo, New York who instructed couples how to put an 800-number phone in their home (this was in the early 90s when there were no cell phones). She said, “Don’t talk about the father, he’s not important anyway.”

Yeah? The father is not important to wanna-be-adopters, but the father is the child’s father. Like it or not, facts are facts.

Adoption – even open adoption – is nothing more that child trafficking. Adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry that lines the pockets of baby brokers by providing the product – a baby – to be bought and sold.

 

“What has this done for my kids, well they have more people who love them! They are spoiled with attention, love, and affection.”

Well, if it is only love you are concerned about, have at it! The more the merrier! Just wait until your little adoptlings grow up. They will ask questions. They will not feel loved when they develop their own brains. They will see the charade you invented for them. They will question the meaning of a false birth certificate and false family created by your greed and they will resent you.

 

“We do not keep secrets.”

Haa haa haaa! What do you think adoption is? Adoption is based upon lies – lots of them! Trickery to obtain the child, false identity for the adoptee, false hope and confusion instilled as the child grows up, and much, much more. Everyone believing in the falsehoods continues the game.

 

adoption schizophrenia - by Origins Inc

 

“I am sorry you had a bad experience but not everyone has had or will have the same bad experience.”

Jennifer Marsh, you are not sorry for anything. You left a Private Message in my Facebook Message Box. You didn’t even have the courage to stand up and claim your own message in the public comment section, so I made it public for you.

Yes, every adoptee has totally different life experiences than I have had. And all of us have come together to form organizations around the world to stand up against this glorification of adoption.

 

“Please consider removing this blog post, you have done so much damage to two people you do not know, and who do not deserve it.”

No, I will not remove my blog post. I have not done any damage.

Yes, Jeremy and Jenny do deserve to be told that advertising to adopt someone else’s child is morally and ethically wrong. They deserve to be told the negative consequences of adoption on the infant who is removed from mother for no other reason but the selfish motives of the adopters, and the negative consequences of adoption on the mother who then becomes a “birthmother” who is not her child’s legal mother. Let’s not leave out the fathers who may or may not be told that their infant has been given up for adoption.

If I can save just one infant from being adopted, if I can save one mother from falling victim to rich white people coveting her unborn baby, that is a good outcome.

And you, Jennifer, left a link in that Private Message to me to a YouTube video about a young mother who surrendered her son to adoption?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBraT8F4mQ0&feature=youtu.be

As if I need to be persuaded to your point of view?

Honey, I’ve been involved in the adoption reform movement since 1974. I see the light of hypocrisy and of religion used to justify “the will of god”. In reality, your religion is used as a weapon to guilt mothers into believing that surrendering to their god means surrendering their child to adoption.

As an adoptee who was given away, and from what other adoptees feel, I can tell you that there is nothing that can erase those feelings of not being wanted by your parents.

Yes, my father did want me, but a stupid Catholic priest convinced him, at my mother’s funeral, that giving me away was the best choice he could do.

No, the best course of action would have been for the Catholic Church, for Catholic Charities, to find a way to help my father through the rough times so that he could have kept his newborn after his wife died.

Go crawl back into your hole, Jennifer Marsh. If you feel the need to comment, do not hunt me down on Facebook to leave a cowardly comment. Stand up and be public in your convictions.

Daniel, Ibn Bahija.

https://danielibnzayd.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/daniel-ibn-bahija/

“To those who arrogantly propose the “win-win” of adoption, I ask you now: Do you feel no duty, no compulsion, to take on this, the grief of a mother for the child she hardly knew? Now compounded by that of her son, grieving the one he never met? I will visit her grave on Friday, inch’allah, and I will place this crime on your shoulders as I place flowers at her resting place. Will you, at long last, include us in your horrid calculus of valid humanity? Do you imagine, after all this, I will continue to suffer gladly your sidewise glances, your sneers, your judgments, your backstabbings, your underminings, your euthanizing musings? “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers”: a succinct condemnation of your arrogance and disdain.”

 

 

Source: Daniel, Ibn Bahija.

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

Part 5: Response to The Buffalo News 3-Part Series Search for Yesterday: Adoptive, Birth Parents See Reunion Problems: My Natural Father Speaks Out 1984

Appearances are deceiving, or are they?

 1984A,BParentsReunionProblems

I honestly don’t know where to begin.

Right from the start there are the two adoptive mothers who are defending their rights to someone else’s child:

“I don’t want to sound unsympathetic to birth parents”

She just did by dismissing their loss of their child.

“I wouldn’t want someone else to say ‘she’s my daughter’.”

Wow, such denial of the facts of life coming from an adoptive mother who probably was infertile so she thought adopting (taking) someone else’s child as her own was the best choice for herself and the child. Guess what? Her Korean girl IS some else’s daughter!

This “all or nothing” thinking is what causes problems in adoption.

“…chances for a reunion with her biological family are lessened. We didn’t adopt internationally because of that, but it’s a fringe benefit of adopting from another country…That’s one problem you’d almost never have to deal with.”

Really? This adoptive mother contradicted herself. She told me, via a phone call back in 1984, that the only reason she adopted foreign children is make sure her children would never have contact from their birth families.

So, the adoptee’s right to know her own natural parents and siblings and country of origin is seen by her adoptive mother as a problem that is avoided because the chances of reunion are next to nill because the birth family is in Korea? How convenient for the adoptiveparents, or at least this adoptivemother. Notice that adoptive fathers are absent from this article, and even in the series presented in my previous post. Also note that natural fathers are absent from discussion involving illegitimate births.

How am I able to write about this now, nearly 26 years later? Because I took notes.

I’d like to know what that cute Korean toddler of 1984 has to say now in 2010 when she realizes that (by the will of her loving, forever, real adoptive parents) she was held in captivity because her adoptive parents didn’t love her enough to give her the freedom necessary to build her own self identity.

There are so many blogs out there now written by adoptees of color who were adopted by white people and brought to America. These adoptees do not like what was done to them.

I sure do hope that this family has done quite a bit of healing for the adoptee’s sake, if not for the sake of the misguided adoptive parents.

“I think it would be difficult for any child to have two real mothers and two real fathers…”

Yes, it is a difficult path, but all adoptees DO have two mothers and two fathers and they are most certainly REAL. Both sets are real in the adoptee’s life. To deny that is to warp the adoptee’s sense of self.

The other adoptive mother said:

“But I’m not in favor of my daughter finding her mother and forming a relationship…I think it would take away from our relationship, and I feel there would be a strain on our relationship.”

I still meet adoptive parents today who feel this way. It’s that “All or Nothing” thinking again. The shades of grey are there in real life, but not in adoption. Or that’s just the way adoptive parents want it. The  adoptee needs both sets of parents, with or without a relationship, because, whether or not adoptive parents realize it, the adoptee already HAS a relationship with her natural parents. It is the bonds of biology, of genetics, of being hard-wired to haveinherent qualities of temperament and talents and allergies and muscle structure and facial features. With such selfishness of these adoptive parents, it is hard to see any real love there. I see possessiveness and desperate attempts to claim “mine, all mine!”, but this does not speak well of adoptive parent attitudes of 1984.

Like I said, this attitude is still alive in adoptive parents today.

“The birth parents don’t seem to realize the relationship has ended once the papers have been signed. I think it’s a real invasion of privacy when they attempt to meet the child.”

No, it’s the adoptive parents who don’t realize that the relationship between the adoptee and her natural parents continues throughout her lifetime, even if there is no contact. The adoptee feels the loss. The natural parents feel the loss. And we’ve seen natural parents coming out by the thousands, in America and in Korea and elsewhere, to put an end to “taking someone else’s child as your own.”

“Giving birth doesn’t make the parents. It’s the caring and loving and growing with the child that does.”

And natural parents have been coerced into giving up their children to adoption out of shame. They were prevented from the actual parenting of their own children because of that permanent separation. We know from organizations such as Origins and Concerned United Birthparents that these mothers desperately wanted to do the natural acts of parenting, but were forced out of the their child’s lives.

Being pregnant and giving birth are natural events and are most certainly the very essence of life itself. It is the adoptive mother in this article who berates pregnancy and birth because she was deprived of experiencing the very events she puts down.

Hurray for Dr. David Brodzinsky — a former Buffalonian! — for his professional statements. Dr. Brodzinskihas gone on to be a prolific writer on the psychology of adoption. He is the co-author or co-editor of five influential books on adoption,  including The Psychology of Adoption (1990); Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self (1992); Children’s Adjustment to Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Issues (1998); Adoption and Prenatal Drug Exposure: Research, Policy, and Practice (2000), and Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice (2005).

Still, Dr. Brodzinsky’s statement in this 1984 article raises concern:

“He doesn’t see the issue in terms of ‘rights’. Adoptive parents have the same rights or lack of rights as all parents have…”

Auh, what about the adoptee’s rights?

The International Adoption Reform Movement has made great progress since 1984: Bastard Nation, the American Adoption Congress, Council on Equal Rights in Adoption, Adoption Crossroads, Origins, Concerned United Birthparents, Senior Mothers and hundreds of adoptees’ blogs, mothers of loss blogs, oh, and The Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute, to name a few entities out there promoting adoptees’ rights.

Now, about my natural father’s photo in the paper and his statements.

First thing that must be said: He did not want to be identified in my book, so I changed his name and any other identifications that could lead to him today. BUT, he chose to go public in 1984. He called the newspaper to defend himself. For what? I have always had respect and love for him, and especially his third and present wife, my loving step mother. Nothing I ever wrote put him  down in any way.

As a result of this article, at that time in 1984, my natural father and I healed a five-year period of silence between us. We continued in a growing and loving father-daughter relationship. He was actively involved with my two children, two of his many grandchildren, and we shared tender moments. My father tearfully relayed to me what happened when my mother died — a story he had not been able to tell me in detail until after 1984. He cried when he told me that he “gave the baby — you — up, up, … up for adoption.” I could see remorse in his face and in his heart.

Since the printing of this article, my father and I talked of how newspaper reporters make situations worse by exaggerating points. He wanted to be sure the public knew he “abided by the law” and stayed away from me while I was growing up.

My father and I talked of how the articles did not accurately portray how the adoptee and her adoptive family and natural family are effected by a reunion that went out of control. Too many people butting in, saying harsh words, trying to interfere with the adoptee adjusting to her reunion.

When this article was written, there were unspoken words between my father and I. In 1979, he thought that all I wanted was to get my hands on my sealed records, to talk about the past, to ask about my deceased mother. His worst fear was that I’d hate him for what he had done. After the publishing of this article, we came together to discuss our sore spots, coming away with a greater understanding of each other. We have spent an immense amount of personal energy since then in building a personal relationship that is much different from the relationships he had with his other children from his first wife and the children he has with his present wife. We accepted each other and what the past has done to us.

One summer night in 1987, just shortly before midnight, I knocked on my father’s door. I was despondent because my adoptive mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. I told my father I can’t bear to lose another parent to cancer. My first mother died of cancer, my adoptive father died of cancer. Slowly, my adoptive mother’s cancer went into remission, only to resurface in recent years, but that night my natural father said to me:

“I will always be here for you. We may not have the legal binds, but we have something stronger. We not only have the ties of blood, but we have the emotions in our hearts.”

Sadly, through the passage of time, and the realization that I went full steam ahead, completed and published the memoir I said I was going to write since 1976, those old fears and resentment rose up again. When asked to, my father read a rough draft of my book in 2004. He clarified points. I made corrections he asked me to make and said I represented him in a clear manner. He read another draft of the book again in 2008. This time he said it all could have been avoided if he had gotten some help. I agree. He was alone in his decision to split up his family.

Then, in 2009, I added a Social Work Assessment, of which, my father did not understand. He reacted out of emotion and fear that I do not love and respect him. That is not true. I do love him and respect him. The Social Work Assessment of my adoption was written in analytical style and encompasses all parties to my adoption. My natural father did not understand it. There were other aspects that entered into why we are again not speaking to each other: a disagreement between my natural father, my adoptive mother, and myself; so, my natural father and I parted ways again.

I went ahead with my goals. The book is out now. My adoptive mother doesn’t like it. My natural father doesn’t like it. No one looks good in this book, including me. The true destruction of adoption in my life had to be told, with or without the approval of others.

I wrote it to prevent another family from being permanently separated by adoption.

I wrote my book to make sense of my life with the facts as they were presented to me.

 

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, born Doris M Sippel, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

 

 

Part 3: The Buffalo News 3-Part Series Search for Yesterday (Adoptees) 1984

Here is the main article that offended my adoptive family and natural family because I went public — I put my face and name in the newspaper. Though I had been interviewed for newspaper and radio and public television on and off since 1976, and had been writing Letters to the Editor since 1975 (paid articles didn’t come along for a few more years at this time), this article with a larger-than-the-others photo of me really annoyed my relatives. This wasn’t my idea – the photo – it was the newspaper reporter’s idea. My natural family and my adoptive family would have much preferred that I kept quiet. I was labeled as conceited. I had been reunited and the secret outed ten years earlier, but certain people in both my adoptive family and natural family were angry for me putting my face and name in the public’s eye. But this was not the first time I had done so. I had been writing in the newspaper, and have been interviewed in the paper, since 1975, at the age of 19. I had been interviewed on radio and TV for several interviews beginning in 1976. Those tapes have long ago disapeared as they warped with age. If they hadn’t, I’d print transcripts of those 2 and 4-hour interviews.

In the nearly-full-page photo and article posted here, please note that the reporter misquoted me several times. That will be discussed following the article itself.  Two other adoptees, one age 19 and the other age 18, were interviewed as well.

1984 - DoubleTrouble - Title 1a

 

1984 - DoubleTrouble - Title 2a 

1984-10-18 AdopteesFaceFear-20001

 

1984-10-18 AdopteesFaceFear-4

 

1984-10-18 AdopteesFaceFear-30002

 

1984-10-18 AdopteesFaceFear-5

  

Though the author of the article, newspaper reporter Paula Voell, gave a good overview of the plight of adoptees in search, she misquoted me. I did not search for my natural family, rather, I was found by my natural family.

My natural and adoptive relatives who read the first few paragraphs were upset when they read, “To obscure their true origins, some were told their mothers died in childbirth…the false information…” Both of my families were devastated by this statement which linked me to the two other adoptees who were lied to about their natural mothers’ deaths. For days after this newspaper article’s publication, I received numerous angry phone calls and hate mail from relatives wanting to know why I had told the reporter these lies. Fact is, I didn’t lie. It was the interpretation of the readers that led to their reactions to me and to the article. Also, even though I had been told (during my childhood) that my natural mother died, HOW and WHEN she died was not told to me while I was growing up. MANY stories were told to me by many people after I was found at age 18 and many of these stories conflicted with each other.

My relatives were also upset over this paragraph: “While family members and neighbors knew that her mother had been ill, she had been advised not to become pregnant and had subsequently died while giving birth to her…” Both of my families were angry that I relayed distorted information to the reporter. Relatives telephone me and angrily yelled: “That’s not what happened! We told you what happened, you can’t get it straight that your mother did not die in childbirth! She died two or three months after your birth and she died of cancer and not because she was pregnant with you!”

The constant yelling at me about my mother’s death further eroded my emotional state. Grief at having lost my mother and having that knowledge denied to me for the first 18 years of my life in the true aspects and facts of her death were overshadowed because of the constant bombardment from relatives telling me their versions of the truth.

What I told the reporter was the collective “truths” told to me by many relatives (both natural family and adoptive family). The reporter shortened the stories to suit the length of the newspaper article.

The article had some accurate passages, however, which angered my relatives even more than the misquotes: “Why should one group know everything and the adoptee not know anything?” and “Adoptive parents are confused. We adult adoptees are coming out and saying ‘You did it all wrong.’ They need guidance, too.”

Both adoptive and natural relatives attacked me because of key phrases like “you did it all wrong”. Many aspects of my adoption were wrong. Over and above my own adoption, the system of adoption has people tied up. The SYSTEM needs to change. That was my message then, as well as now. Change the system, and eventually people’s attitudes will change, too. And yes, my adoptive parents lied to me and prevented me from knowing key truths about my life, and for that, they, and other relatives who kept their secrets, were wrong.

Today, it seems that many members of both my extended adopted family and natural family are still upset that I have gone public.

I wrote my memoir, Forbidden Family, with falsified names. Names of dead people are used but names of the living are changed. This still upsets people. I wrote the truth of what happened to me, the adoptee, and my adoptive family and my ex-husband and my children as a result of other people’s misinterpretations and judgments of me. I cannot be responsible for other people’s opinions of me, I can only be responsible for myself. I wrote a book of truth. I wouldn’t have written a book of lies. Every page was carefully vetted by editors, counselors, a literary attorney. Trafford Publishing’s legal division also approved of the content of the book.

My purpose then — when I began writing about my adoption publicly in 1975 in Erie, Pa and in Buffalo, New York in 1976, and in this interviewed newspaper article in 1984 — and now in 2010 — is to write my truth and to promote adoption reform.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, born Doris M Sippel, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism,Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

 

 

What I’m Doing This Summer

Nursing homes, hospitals, funerals and memorials, declining health, recovery, inevitable death, fear of the unknown, fear of death, sadness, grief, reconciliation, savor the moments, overwhelming contradictory feelings, and simple joys — these are my summer activities.

This is a time of daily struggle for family and friends. We’re aging. Our parents are dying. Our spouses are dying. Church members are dying.

A phone call tells of an adoptive second cousin’s mother’s death. Reading her death notice tells me of that cousin’s wife’s passing. I did not know. A family gathering after the memorial reveals memories and smiles of cousins not seen in decades. New wonders present themselves. Life’s continuity unfolds.

A phone call from a friend tells of her mother’s hospitalization and dying. The bits of summer sunshine fade as familiar faces dim. Grasping for memories of good times past, we cling to the moments of the present and grapple with the process of death and the aftermath. Still, we plan for the upcoming birthday party of her twin toddler grandchildren.

An email from an adoptive cousin lifts with happiness as he tells of his joys of soon to be married in midlife.

At a church gathering, a mother tells of her son coming home from Afghanistan. We mothers tear up with joy that the one’s son will never see combat again. He returns to his wife and infant son.

My son visits a museum where he sees a new exhibit of a distant blood cousin’s fame as a scientist immortalized. Wonders of adoption reunion pop up unexpectedly. My son calls me excitedly. Coincidentally, that cousin calls out of the blue. His message greets me as I return from a memorial service. I wait till my mood lifts before calling him back.

My daughter and I share daily stresses and concerns.

The occasional gathering of friends for a bit of live music and smiles are small moments of happiness. A walk along the river for a breath of fresh air serves as respite comfort.

Political adoption issues are not on my mind.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.