If you would have asked me if I ever thought I would be a blogger at my personal adoption blog or at a website like LGA ten years ago, I might have replied “no way!” My life, up until about the age of twenty-three had always followed a simple, perhaps peculiar, equation. I am adopted. I love my adoptive parents. I could have no ambivalence about being adopted.
No one was welcome to challenge my view on any one of those accepted principles because it meant they all got challenged. It just so happened at the age of twenty-one, I had a terrible health scare that made me challenge just how really “OK” I was with how adoption operated considering that adoption law and practice were the only reasons why I had no genetic information to supply my doctors with. I engaged with my agency for a little while about reunion. I finally concluded that my own health was not reason enough for me to try to pursue my records or find my original family. As some of you might know, I not only am reunited but I have my original birth certificate and uncensored state adoption file. So, what changed?
I still try to answer that question now. It most assuredly was the birth of my first child. He was the first genetic relative I had ever in my life seen. He caused me to ask questions and challenge my own adoption equation. Why? Simply put, I became ideologically inconsistent. I did not hold the same values for myself that I did for my child. I would never tell my child he can not know his family medical history or his ancestry. I would never tell my child he isn’t allowed to voice his opinion on his own story or that he can’t know about his own life from birth forward. I would never expect my child to put aside his feelings to try to protect mine. I’m someone’s child (and here’s one of the few instances you’ll ever read me refer to myself as a child); why don’t I view myself and my parents the same way? Can I?
The answer is yes. I don’t think my parents had any idea that I had feelings, ambivalence, happiness, sadness, you name it, when it came to being adopted.
Yes, I was worthy of family medical history. Yes, I am worthy of equal treatment under the law–to access my own identifying records the same way everyone else who isn’t adopted can. Yes, I have a right to know my own story from start to finish, interpret it myself, give it meaning, change my opinion as time goes on, and talk about it. I have the right to feel any particular way I want to about it. Why did it take me so long to come to this conclusion? I’m not sure I will ever truly know.
Today is my first day and this is my first post as an editor at LGA. For those of you who do not know me, I blog at The Declassified Adoptee and at Lost Daughters. I am also a contributor at Adoption Voices Magazine.
I was born in 1985, fostered for almost 5 months, and legally adopted at 8 months old. My monoracial adoption was closed and was facilitated by the largest adoption agency in the United States. I am a Social Work student, a Case Manager for a community-based social service agency, a Christian Universalist, and feminist. I am also an Adoptee Rights Activist and on the board of the Adoptee Rights Coalition.
Here’s to good times, healing, and more importantly…progress. A place at the table for every adult adoptee.