|Adoptee Rhonda Noonan|
Rhonda, your new memoir The Fifth and Final Name is captivating in so many ways. It reads like a mystery suspense novel and you are a detective. As an adoptee, you show such courage and persistence; your search to find answers and family has taken 28+ years and really still hasn’t ended. What part of your journey has been the most difficult?
RHONDA NOONAN: Without a doubt, the hardest part was looking, running into dead ends, and continuing forward; many times with absolutely no clue what to do next. I commanded myself to think, look at it all again, and think some more. It certainly didn’t help when I was lied to by the “system” and treated as though I was “troubled” because I had the audacity to ask for my own identity! Praying was involved… and good friends were called upon to cheer me up when times were rough.
In three decades, are you surprised how many states do not help adoptees by releasing their birth records and original birth certificates?
RHONDA: Because of my work, over the years, as a therapist to many adopted kids, I knew all too well the “rules of engagement” with the record holders. I have never truly been surprised, as adoption has become such an enormous money-maker and keeping records closed, and secrecy looked at as a matter of “procedure,” if you will - assists those who would use children for profit. If you can keep perpetuating lies to the ignorant masses, that birthmothers were promised anonymity, or that open records increase abortion rates, taking babies away from their mothers will continue to line the pockets of adoption agencies and attorneys. My personal experience with adoption was a good one. I was certainly a child in need of a family! Sadly, however, it is often the case that birthmothers and babies would benefit much more from assistance aimed at keeping that child with their mother. In a better world, we will come to understand that. At the very least, that child’s knowledge of their identity should NEVER be compromised in the process.
Has the genealogy of your birthmother Pat revealed any surprises for you? I was thinking of the one psychic who revealed you may have Native American ancestry.
RHONDA: Actually, the Native American blood would have to be on the Churchill side, as it is believed that Sir Winston’s grandmother was Iroquois. My birthmother was not Native American.