Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another Post in Which I Try to Explain the Importance of the Biological Connection and Urge You to Support Adoptee Rights

One of the hardest things for me to encounter is an account by an adult adoptee who desires contact with the biological family but has been unable to access the necessary information or who successfully located the biological parent only to be met with rejection. The frustration, pain, confusion, and, yes, anger in such accounts cuts me to the core. It's personal for me, because it could so easily have been my story. Where would I be now, mentally and emotionally, were it not for my reunion?

I am one of the lucky ones. Finding my biological mother was ridiculously easy, once I finally got up the nerve to start the search. My adoptive mother had all the information I needed. She knew my original mother's name and was able to hand me a newspaper clipping of her wedding announcement, which included the biographical information that helped me find her. I did it on my lunch break. It took about 5 minutes to get a hold of her current address. I wrote her a letter, sent it, left town for a long weekend, and returned to find her voice -- her voice! -- on my answering machine.

I wish it were that easy for all adoptees, and I'm frustrated that it isn't. It angers me that adoptees in many states can't even take the first steps towards reunion because access to information is blocked. It saddens me that many parents who relinquished years ago are still living with unprocessed shame, keeping secrets that prevent them from opening their lives and their hearts to the returning now-adult child. 

As someone who lived without genetic mirroring and connection to the biological family for almost 30 years, and then got to experience what I was missing, I have this to say: "with" is better than "without." It is so, so, so much better. If you're a non-adoptee who has always known your biological family and can't really imagine what it would be like to have never met a single biological relative, please don't try to tell me that it doesn't matter. It does. 

Also, please don't assume that adoptees are caught up in a delusional romanticization of our original families or that we mistakenly think our lives would be perfect if only we hadn't been adopted. Such assumptions miss the mark. Adoptees who search only want what non-adoptees get automatically ... the opportunity to know our biological families, warts and all, to discover the ways that we are both like and unlike them, to see ourselves reflected back, and to know, without question, that these are "our people," whether or not we choose to engage in an ongoing relationship with them or they with us.

In a few weeks the Adoptee Rights Demonstration will take place in Chicago. I won't be there, but I will send another small financial contribution to the Adoptee Rights Coalition. It's not much, but it's what I can do. I want every adoptee to have the right to do what I did, to at least have the information necessary to take that first step. I urge you as well to please consider what you can do to support adoptees in this work.


  1. Amen. I got it as a kid a little (having a dad who's adopted), but didn't get it completely until I became a birth mother. It's not a rejection of adoption as a whole, nor is it a rejection of the family who raised you for someone to want to find that genetic mirroring. It's just your wanting to find that missing piece of yourself and to see what your adoptive family has brought out in who you are. I'm all for adoptee rights. Wish I could be in Chicago in a few weeks!

  2. Thank you for alerting me to this. I love the idea of supporting adoptee rights.

  3. Great post, as always, right on the mark.

  4. That is good to know about. I liked your post today on poetrysansonions.blogspot.com

    It was good to read about your daughters and how your family works.


  5. I told my bloggy pal that you are a great resource for her as she navigates setting boundaries with her newly adopted teens first mom. Can you pop over and weigh in on her post? http://babyinthewindow.blogspot.com/2012/07/biological-family-dilemma.html


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