Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Declassified Adoptee: Fifty Shades of What the....

"It's the worst thing I think I've read in a long time" my sister-in-law, Anne*, said to me.  "But you have to read it anyway.  Everyone else is."  Anne is my go-to-person for current, popular literature.  She was an English and Communications major in college and has somehow become a sort of popular-books-maven.  To be completely honest, she's the book goddess.  When Anne says "my book club is reading this," you read it.  You go the bookstore right now, buy the book, and you read it.  It doesn't mean it's the best book ever but it does mean that it will become somehow popular or relevant in pop culture.  Anne has a sixth sense for that.  As my nose is always in some text book or journal article somewhere because of school, Anne has been the sole reason that I know what anyone is talking about when it comes to recent best-sellers (or soon-to-be best sellers).  So at our last gab-session where we completely nerded it out about our love affair with books, she gave me her copies of "Fifty Shades of Grey," warned me that it would probably annoy the crap out of me, and told me to read it anyway.  Read the rest: The Declassified Adoptee: Fifty Shades of What the.....An Adopted Feminist's Nightmare in Print

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Phone Call: An Adoption Reunion Story

"Are you ready for this?" Those were the first words my biological father spoke when I heard his voice on the phone for the first time ever a few days ago. I am 45; he is 65. "No," I answered honestly, even though I was the one who had reached out first and requested contact. Is there anything one can do to prepare for speaking to a parent for the first time as an adult?

The call was awkward and wonderful. He called at a bad time, just as I was leaving work to pick up my daughter from camp. We were on cell phones and the reception was imperfect; we had difficulty hearing each other and often had to repeat ourselves, but we stumbled through the call. I broke my rule about talking on the phone while driving (I'd been waiting my whole life to hear this man's voice; I wasn't about to ask him to call back later), put him on speaker, and hurtled down the highway. It is a route I will be driving every day for the next three weeks till camp ends, and now each spot on the drive is marked by some memory of our conversation. Here is where we discovered that we had the same college major; here is where we talked about being bad at the same sports; and, most poignantly, here is where he confessed to having some feelings of guilt, shame, and regret about how he handled things all those years ago.

The big lie of adoption is that everyone gets to move forward without negative repercussions: original parents go on with their lives as if nothing had happened; adopees are placed in new families and raised "as if born to," with no emotional fallout. My biological father is 65 years old and still feeling bad about something that happened almost a half century ago. And he's not alone.

Guilt, shame, and regret are pretty standard birth dad emotions. What perhaps puts my biological father into a more select category is that he was able to those feelings put into words, acknowledging them to himself and me, rather than simply communicating them through actions, such as avoidance of contact.

I'm encouraged that he was able to do this. I liked hearing those words, in part because -- let's face it -- it's preferable to hear that someone feels regret about not having you in their life than that they are happy about it, but also because I recognize that if he can speak about those emotions then maybe, just maybe, he will also be able to lay them down.

I need him to lay them down, not only because 45 years is enough time for self-flagellation, but because he can't embrace me in the present if he is holding onto stuff from the past. I need his arms free.

I'm at that early stage in reunion where everything is uncertain. Some promises have been made, and time will tell if they are kept. I've asked to meet in person, and he seems to be taking steps to make that happen. I have no map for anything beyond that first meeting. Maybe I will get that far and no further.

But whatever happens, I have already received gifts from this reunion. I have heard my father's voice, and I liked what it had to say.

Image copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I never used to think that my birthday affected me much when I was growing up.  I mean, I always…ALWAYS…thought about my mother on that day.  I figured that if there was one day of the entire year that she wondered about me, it was my birthday.  But I never connected a conscious feeling of sadness to that particular event, until about a year ago when I happened upon my 2nd grade report card.  I was completely shocked, almost in disbelief, when I read my teacher’s comment from the last grading period:  “We had the problem of extreme sadness for days over school closing and now this has switched to something akin to anger.  She’s a deep little girl.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nothing was going to stop me

I blog about American Indian Adoptees
Every now and then we must step back and see where we are. I look back and see I am a reunited adoptee, someone who took steps without support or help from anyone, including close friends. I went it alone.  If I did talk about my adoption search, it was obvious to them I was frustrated and most friends preferred small talk to my serious talk. They didn’t get what it means to not have your identity or ancestry. Some would shrug and say, why would you want to find the people who abandoned you?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Family Ties: Where do Family Ties and Adoptee Rights Intersect?...

Family Ties: Where do Family Ties and Adoptee Rights Intersect?...: I've been doing a lot of babysitting lately, so not so much blogging.  Memorial Day week-end my husband and I had all six of our grandch...