Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Guest Author: "Conceived in Rape"

By Guest Author: "Jill"

This is Jill's original narrative that was incorporated into Amanda's post "A Reality of Domestic Violence: Coming to Terms With Having a Parent who did Something....Awful" which appeared at www.declassifiedadoptee.com on February 26, 2012.

When Amanda asked me to write about my perspective as a person being conceived in rape, at first, I didn’t feel like I was qualified.  You see, I don’t really know that I was conceived in rape; I only know that I was possibly conceived in rape.  When I found my birthmother in 2006, through the help of post-adoption services at my Agency, it wasn’t  even a thought – a possibility.  I had received my non-identifying information 20 years before and with the amount of information listed about my birthfather, I had no inkling that this was anything but a relationship between my birth parents during a time period (1960s) that it wasn’t socially acceptable to be a single parent.  Or so I thought.  That was what I was told my whole life.



Now when I reflect back on the reputation of the 1960’s,  that decade seemed to be known for doing your own thing: rock and roll, free love and sex.  I am a little hesitant to say that by 1965, my birth mother “HAD” to give me up. After all, she was a college graduate, age 23 and had plenty of family support.  Her mother wanted her to give me up for adoption because “Single girls didn’t raise their babies at that time.” Whatever the  reasons were for my birth mother not parenting me, I respect her decision.

The first full day I ever spent with my birth mother on the beaches of Ocean City, New Jersey, I posed this question to her, “Can you tell me about my birth father?  It’s very important for me to know.”  Her reply, “ I wish I could help, but I don’t remember who he was.  He was Spanish. He had dark hair, dark eyes.  She explained that she was at a party and had been drinking and had sex with somebody there; however did not remember the actual sex or any of the details.  I didn’t press her. 

Many months later, I told her what the Agency had said about my birth father (Citizen of Peru, thought to be Italian born,  marketing degree, age 26, brown hair, brown eyes, 5’6”).  Her response was that she had absolutely no idea where they came up with that information because she did not tell them that.

About 2 years into our reunion, we were having a political discussion. She is a die-hard Republican . . me not so much.  We got on the topic of rape as a reason for abortion and she yelled into the phone at me.

“I WAS DATE RAPED AND I DIDN'T KILL A BABY!”

I remember that day very well.  Immediate shock and denial.  I ran a hot bath for myself, got into the water and called my husband.  He couldn’t believe she said that to me.  I hung up and cried.
After the initial shock wore off and I had time to process this new information, I came to the conclusion that me being a product of rape really does not matter in the big picture.  What hurt me more than the actual information of my conception, was its presentation.  What hurts more than NOT knowing who my birth father is, is knowing I had believed lies for 20 years compliments of the adoption agency and/or my birth mother.
One day I was at church sitting by my neighbor who is an adoptive parent.  He said to me, “you should be grateful your birth mother didn’t abort you.”  I felt the heat rising in me.  This kind of assumption by the non-adopted is one of my biggest pet peeves.   I said, “No, I’m not grateful to her, actually.  I feel like God wanted me here and so I’m here.”
I have read many stories of adoptees who feel grateful to their birth mothers for life.  I don’t give her the credit.  I give God, Life, the Universe, Spirit or whoever it is in the sky that willed my existence, but I do not credit it to a woman who had casual sex and/or was victimized by my biological father. This may sound callous and uncaring but it is how I feel. I admire my birthmother for her decision; but I am not grateful to her for that very decision.  There was a reason I needed to be on earth and here I am.  The rest is a mystery to me.
I am grateful for my life and my family for providing me with love, a sense of belonging and to my birthmother for providing most of the missing pieces of my life.  I like what Sherrie Eledridge said about her own “created in rape” circumstances:

“One day I realized I didn’t have anything to do with my birth mother’s rape.  It happened to her, not to me.  I also learned a profound life lesson.  That good can come from evil.  That good was me. "

25 years ago, a friend gave me the book, “The Missing Piece” by Lee Ezzell. The lessons I have learned from that book, growing up adopted and raising my adopted daughter are this:     Like Lee, I too believe that every person has a purpose, regardless of their conception story.  We don’t control the cards we are dealt, but we can turn negative circumstances into a beautiful life.

3 comments:

  1. Jill-
    How would you have preferred the topic be handled? I have a vested interest in knowing as we are an adoptive family w/ similar situation. I dont' know how to handle this - best to know ahead and carry that as a teenager/young adult? Best instead to be mad at individuals for witholding facts that could hurt? Better to never tell and hope it doesn't come to light? What way would you have preferred to handle it? And by who?
    Thank you so much for your post. Our DD is 7 and is asking questions that I can't answer.

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    1. The take-away from Jill's post, for me, is that the truth--the whole truth--is better than platitudes, half-truths or lies. But, *how* the information is presented, when it's presented ... can be just as important. It has to be age and maturity appropriate. And like Jill says, turning negative circumstances into a beautiful life--well, that's something worth pointing out. The adoptee still has worth, no matter the circumstances of his or her conception.

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  2. Jill, it's a great blog. Keep writing! It's always a relief to read something from an adoptee that's honest and not just saying what other people want to hear. The truth is you are a gift! And you get to live your life as you wish - some would choose to feel like a victim. You choose to live your life bravely, and say 'this is my life' - and it is - so keep fashioning the life you want - free from the past. When are you going to write a book???? Alison Larkin

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