Dear Ms. Fisher,
My name is Amanda. I was born in 1985 and surrendered at three days old into a privatized version of foster care, destined for private, domestic, infant adoption. I am one of the thousands of adoptees whose records were sealed due to the unethical activities of adoption workers decades prior, like Georgia Tann, which activists worked long and hard to have somewhat restored to Tennessee adoptees in 1999. I held my uncensored adoption file and original birth certificate in my hands and my mother in my arms at the age of 24.
I learned who you are and about your hand in reviving the Adoptee Rights Movement just a few years ago. This was about the time that I learned who BJ Lifton was. BJ had friended me on Facebook and sent me a few messages here and there to comment on things I had written that she liked. I responded to her not knowing who she was, as if, in some way, I could even begin to discuss adoption, Adoptee Rights, psychology, and history on an equal plane with her. How embarrassing. BJ was gracious. By the time I figured out who she was and picked up one of her books to read, I was too embarrassed to tell her how much I admired her. By the time I started reading my first BJ Lifton book, she had died, suddenly. I cried the day BJ died. Tears well up in my eyes every time I think of her. I have read two of her three books and have the third sitting on my shelf waiting for me to pour through it. BJ Lifton books are not something you can speed through, well, at least I can't. With every turn of a page I come up with more questions I would like to ask her and more frustration that I can't.
You're wondering if I am writing you a letter just to tell you about BJ Lifton. Really, it is the lesson that I have learned from losing that personal hero that inspires me to write to you. As I have been told, you have not been involved in Adoptee Rights for some time. I understand the need to retire from it believe me and I have not done near a fraction as much as you have. No one I have talked to knows how to get into contact with you. I did a Bio-Lifespan paper on you for one of my classes at school. I think I did a good job using your autobiography of your life, search, reunion, and activism. Still, like with Lifton's books, I was filled with so many questions I wanted to ask you.
I don't think it is often for an activist in Adoptee Rights, the over-looked element of the Civil Rights Movement that it is, to hear someone say "my search and reunion changed my life. I traced back in history all of the events that lead to not only the opening of my records and identity but lead to an atmosphere in society that has become increasingly tolerant of the narratives of adopted people. When I looked back in history, I found you. I read the words you've said and written and know that the work you did has directly and positively impacted me. And I wanted to thank you." Do Adoptee Rights foremothers and fathers ever get to hear those words? Or read them? If not, it's a shame. So I wanted to use this small space of the Internet to say something to you, in hopes that you might some day find these words:
My search and reunion changed my life. I traced back in history all of the events that lead to not only the opening of my records and identity but lead to an atmosphere in society that has become increasingly tolerant of the narratives of adopted people. When I looked back in history, I found you. I found the words that you've said and written and know that the work you did has directly and positively impacted me. And I wanted to thank you.
All the best,