Sealed With a Law

November 24th, 2013
Posted By: on Adoptee

I was adopted from New Jersey, which, like many other states, has sealed records for adoptees with closed adoptions.   Year by year, states are starting to open records for adoptees.  Every year, I search New Jersey papers online hoping to glimpse, "Adoptee Records to be Unsealed for New Jersey Adoptees." This topic of sealed records is always a hot one in the world of adoption.  I have always thought adoptees records being sealed was rediculous, and nobody had a right to do such a thing!   I remember back in college, I turned 21, and went out to a bar.  I had an out of state license, and the bouncer didn't believe it was legit. I knew he would have an issue, so I brought along my birth certificate.  I gave it to him… [more]

TRA Gratitude Project: Days 4 – 7 (Belated)

November 11th, 2013
Posted By: on Adoptee

BookCover-FindAStranger150x150To catch up on the Gratitude Project, I will cover a few days at a time. I must admit that using micro-blogging sites like Twitter and Facebook makes it easy to pop up a gratitude statement each day. However, I'm hoping that you are returning here, dear readers, for the explanations WHY I'm grateful. Day 4: I'm thankful for adoption resources: books, blogs, etc. Even when I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, there were SOME books about adoption. Now there are multitudes of places to turn. Adoptive parents just have to search them out. I live in western Massachusetts and towns can get pretty spread out from here to there. But even in Western Mass, I've found a surprising amount… [more]

TRA Gratitude Project: Day 3

November 3rd, 2013
Posted By: on Adoptee

MtAiry-1970sIn my previous post, I explain why thanksgiving and gratitude is important to me. And because this is National Adoption Month, I will continue on with my gratitude project "30 Things I'm Grateful/Thankful For..." -- Adoption Edition! Day 3: I'm thankful for the neighborhood where I grew up. It's still a pretty awesome place. I'm a native Philadelphian. Born and raised. And even though I definitely had no control over this, I'm so thankful for my parents' choice of where to live in the greater Philadelphia area. My neighborhood was West Mount Airy -- a northwest section within the city limits of Philadelphia. It's south of Chestnut Hill and north of Germantown. It is famous for its diversity across all categories… [more]

Why Do Grandmothers Give Their Grandchildren Away?

October 3rd, 2013
Posted By: on Adoptee

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Joyce Maguire Pavao in London. When I traveled the United States in Spring 2012 on a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship, making contact with Joyce was central to my project being a success. She opened up professional networks to me that I would have otherwise had no contact with. For me, Joyce became a mentor. Her enthusiasm and support meant a great deal. More than that, I’m very glad to have made a good friend in Joyce. It was Joyce that said to me “You not only need to ask the grandmothers who decided to keep their grand-children why they did that, you need to ask the grandmothers who decided to give to give… [more]

View from the Cabbage Patch

July 16th, 2013
Posted By: on Adoptee

cabbageCabbage Patch? That’s where my parents told me I was from. It seems the stork dropped me off in Ohio in their cabbage patch, their special little girl. How many of us have been told a tall tale about our arrival? There are lots of stories our parents told us: we came from Heaven, delivered by the stork, found behind a cloud or just plain, “a miracle.” I like to think I arrived because I had a birth mother who realized she could not take care of me anymore and she did the right thing. Many years later I would learn this was, in fact, the situation. Immediately after arrival, how were you received? Were you old enough to remember those first few days? … [more]

The Truth Hurts

May 16th, 2013
Posted By: on Adoptee

Adopted AbbyAfter adopting me, my parents had continued to do foster care and over the course of my young life many children had come and gone from our home. This specific story centers on a brother and sister who came to live with us during my early adolescence. The brother was my age and the sister only a year our junior. The brother and I had hit it off and enjoyed the same outdoor activities and had become great friends. The sister struggled with the kindred relationship he and I shared and was constantly jealous and felt left out of our adventures. I can still close my eyes and smell the earthy aromas of the soil, fall leaves, and birch trees that filled… [more]

Time to Celebrate Life

October 18th, 2012
Posted By: on Adoptee

Happy BirthdayGrowing up, birthdays always turned into some sort of sad memorial for the birth mother I never knew. I guess it was the realization of never having known her which turned a festive day into a full-blown day of mourning. On birthdays, If I focused long enough, I could imagine her eyes peering out at me from some unknown corner of the planet, or maybe, I thought she was looking down upon me from the heavens. I always wondered if she thought of the baby girl she had left in that cold downtown hospital, patrolled by nuns regimenting young unwed mothers while viciously  guarding tiny newborns. “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” remained my birthday theme song… [more]

Quote from a Mother

May 29th, 2012
Posted By: on Adoptee

Below is a quote from a mother.  I found this notion on an evening when I WAS wondering if the fact that I always feel less than my sister, who is a biological, was my insecurity or rooted in my status as an adopted. The first thing that showed up was this. "I have biological and adopted children and I have to admit that, while I love/adore them all fiercely, there is something primal about the way I love my biological children. It's not something I control, it's just there. They all feel equally special." They all feel equally special. Except some know that they are adopted and that no “primal” love exists for them. We assume they would never guess it……never notice……after all, they were chosen. I certainly hope my mother has… [more]

Adoption Journey

May 29th, 2012
Posted By: on Adoptee

I am conscious of being adopted as I watch the journey of a friend of mine as she becomes a new grandmother to a baby girl. Her son and his wife have been waiting for the first mother to sign away her rights. To legally, once and for all, say that she is no longer the primary mother of her daughter. To say that she willingly severs that relationship in order to give her daughter what she believes is a better life. Usually that better life is one that has more money and more social opportunity. Fewer stigmas and less societal restriction. A better life. My heart breaks for that mother. And my prayers accompany her daughter. Watching the love of my friend, the new grandmother, has given… [more]

I Am Adopted

May 29th, 2012
Posted By: on Adoptee

I am adopted.  It struck me several weeks ago that the phrase “I am adopted” partially defines who I am. Just like, “I am also smart” and “I am old”. It really hit me when I was with a young woman who is a dear friend of my family.  She is adopted. She knew that I was also adopted. Both willing to talk, the bond began.  We spoke like two English people who connect in a foreign country where they don’t know the indigenous language. There were understandings between us that are known only to those who are adopted. We assured one another that being adopted isn’t bad, it’s just different. You have parallel “selves” who exist in different DNA strains. Nature or nurture. These questions have a special meaning for… [more]