Re-blogged at Forbidden Family… My comment:
While these sad words of an 11 year old girl are painful, I’m glad that she was able to be a part of an adoptee-centric workshop. Something like this was not available to me or my adoptive family when I was 11 back in the 1960s. I had similar feelings to that of this 11 year old author, but could not express them.
I was told at a young age that I was adopted, but was given no information, other than my mother died. Forbidden to talk about my adoption or to ask questions, I had no choice but to stuff my feelings down. I was raised an only child and loved being a part of my large adopted family. (My adoptive father had 9 other siblings who each had spouses and children. My adoptive mother had 4 siblings.)
My adoptive parents bought into the secrecy and shame surrounding adoption, and so did my aunts, uncles and cousins. As a child, I could sense the fear, anger, and suspicion directed at me because I might find out the terrible secret someday. I heard adults in the kitchen talking loudly, throwing out names of people I didn’t know. When I came in the room, the adults stopped talking, glared at me with their heads down. Something was wrong.
When I was found by my 4 older siblings at my age of 18, it all made sense. The names I heard as a child were the names of my natural mother’s brothers and sister. My extended adoptive family spent an incredible amount of energy preventing me from knowing anything about my family of origin, yet, these adults deemed themselves worthy to socialize with my own blood kin. My adoptive parents were not the ones who regularly visited with my natural mother’s family, but they knew what was going on. When the truth came out, I felt my adoptive parents and my adopted aunts and uncles and cousins betrayed me. Some aunts and uncles and cousins were empathetic to me, but they kept quiet, bowing to the others who believed the myth that “adoptees should never know”. All except one adoptive aunt who told me 10 years into my reunion that she advocated for me to know the truth, but my adoptive mother took the defensive, “No, she’s mine!” attitude.
The deep dark secret I was never supposed to know? My 4 older siblings and our father lived just a few miles away. Our deceased mother’s grave was across town.
I’m tired of people telling me that mine is not the stereotypical teenage mother and unknown father scenario. So what? That does not negate my feelings.
I hope that this 11 year old child is encouraged to further explore her feelings, to continue to be a part of the larger adoptee-rights movement in which she can express herself without being judged. I hope, when the time is right, she can move into a search and reunion with her natural family with maturity and guidance from her adoptive parents and relatives in a loving and caring manner.
The feelings expressed by this 11 year old adoptee should never be a burden on any child. Coping with this during childhood is not a childhood. Waiting to grow up to be able to deal with these unresolved feelings and issues is mental and emotional cruelty; it is abuse.
Search and reunion should not be the goal. What do I mean by this? Children should never be permanently separated from their blood kin, nor should our identities be stolen by our state governments and federal governments. These are immense burdens to place upon a newborn or an older child who learns to cope by stuffing their feelings inside, even when an adoptee seems to be “happy”. When is society going to realize that adoptees are not free to make their own choices?
How to prevent a child from suffering adoption trauma? By preventing adoption in the first place; help parents keep their children. Help the father whose wife died leaving behind five children. Give him the tools and resources needed to keep his family intact by not insisting that “the baby needs two parents” and that a married couple “needs” his child because they have been childless for 18 years (my natural father’s and adoptive parents’ situations). Help the 16 year old girl to improve her own self-image. Give her the tools and resources needed to acknowledge and sustain her own motherhood. This is Family Preservation.