Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Guest Post: An Adoptee’s Reaction to MTV’s Generation Cryo

By Kristi Blazi Lado

I’ll admit that that my ignorance on donor conception was somewhat willful. The human rights abuses in adoption has occupied so much of my psychological space that I just haven’t been open to learning about something that had so much potential to be worse.

When I first saw the promos for MTV’s Generation Cryo, my first thought was for the love of all-that-is-holy, no doorstep ambushes, Jersey Shore behavior, or anything that would make people who are searching for biological relatives look like lunatics. I’m glad I gave it a chance because not only was the subject was treated respectfully but I was able to fully appreciate the parallels between adoptees and the donor-conceived. 

Generation Cryo is a documentary series following sperm donor-conceived Breeanna Speicher in her journey to find her biological father. Bree tours the country to meet some of her 15 half-siblings that she discovered through the Donor Sibling Registry, a non-profit organization created to help siblings connect with each other and possibly their donors. A few agree to travel to California to support Bree in her search.
In watching this show, I observed family dynamics that were glaringly similar, if not identical to closed adoption situations.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Words from an Adoptee to an Original Dad: Reclaiming Birth Family & Discovering a Place at the Family Table

'Dinner at Elixir Resort' photo (c) 2008, Martin Bartosch - license:
By guest writer, Linda Hettinger

Our friend, Linda, shared this letter she wrote to an original father who attends her church, after he sang a particularly moving song during the church service.  She kindly agreed to allow us to publish the letter here.  Linda is a reunited adult adoptee who was born and adopted within the United States.  She co-facilitates the support group Matters of the Heart.

Dear Mike*,

I was very touched by listening to your song tonight.  "Carried to the table."  The Lord's table is certainly the most important one for all of us. As you sang, thoughts came racing back and took me to another table where I felt that I did not belong many years ago.  Let me try to explain.

In my late teens and early adulthood, I would often fantasize about a family that I didn't know sitting down to a table, especially at holidays. There was always something missing. In contrast, [my husband's] family always seemed so complete...parents, lots of brothers and sisters and their children.

After I met my birthmother (I was 34), I often wondered what her table was like.  It would be many more years until I would find out. As I have told you in the past, she and I met very discretely for many years.  She did come to my home to share my table and gave me my grandmother's tablecloth.  I stayed in the "shadows" as I did not want to expose her or cause her more heartache in any way.

Finally, one Thanksgiving, she was able to tell her family her story after dinner.  They thought that she was going to tell them that she had cancer--not that she had had a baby out of wedlock.  They were very compassionate,  My cousins called me on the phone.  My "cup ran over."  

Thanksgiving was a difficult time for me as my adopted mother died a few days before Thanksgiving and my father had her buried on Thanksgiving Day. It was very hard to go from gravesite to Thanksgiving table. My birthmother had gone to counseling and her counselor told her to put a date on revealing her "dark secret." At last, It was my birthmother who said "Let me turn that day around for you."

I was invited to the family home one Easter.  My grandparents home now belonged to my cousin. For many years I had a recurring dream of knocking on my birthmother's door, and when she opened the door my birthfamily would be inside.  The people in my dream were welcoming but did not have any faces. That Easter I walked into my dream. I knocked and my birthmother answered the door, and inside were aunts, uncles and cousins.  Even a great-uncle and aunt joined us.  Now they all had faces.  This was house from which she had to leave as a young girl because of me. Her father had told her "there will be no baby coming home".

Now I was welcomed and sat down to the table where I felt that perhaps I still did not belong.  It was a very joyful and emotional day. God truly does answer prayer in His time.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment and Peace.......Published!

Our collaborative writing project proudly announces that Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment and Peace is now available in ebook format with print copies forthcoming, on

This anthology, boasting nearly 30 Lost Daughters authors, was edited by Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Julie Stromberg, Karen Pickell, and Jennifer Anastasi. It features a collection of writings aimed to bring readers the perspectives of adopted women and highlight their strength, resiliency, and wisdom.  We thank CQT Media and Publishing and Land of Gazillion Adoptees for publishing this incredible book.

Our beautiful cover art of painted flowers was provided by Carlynne Hershberger. Proceeds from this anthology will be donated to a charity to be determined.

"Moving beyond racial, ethnic and professional silos frequently observed in adoption, Lost Daughters brings us together to witness the courage, strength and amazement of a diverse group of women who represent the true fabric of adoption."  --Susan Harris O'Connor, MSW, National Speaker, Solo Performance Artist, Activist Author, The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee

"These are brave, strong essays written from the heart by talented, courageous women who pull no punches. Anyone not already familiar with the inner ramifications of being adopted to the adoptee will be blown away." --Lorraine Dusky, first mother, author of Birthmark, founding board member of ALMA, and founder of [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum.

We thank our readers for their support, and our authors for their amazing contributions to this beautiful and powerful work.  Please visit the book listing at here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I was the baby in the box.

Recently, photographs of the Korean baby box flooded my Facebook newsfeed. While the intentions of those who posted were innocently well-meant, I felt wounded by them.

The story seems on the surface a human interest story of love and compassion with the Christian twist. There’s that warm, fuzzy feeling of babies, love, acceptance. But wait …

Here’s what you should know. While there are babies, love and acceptance, there are also mothers, hate and rejection. Take off the bandage and let the healing begin. Understand these things.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Round Table: Adoptee Voices in Transracial Adoption Discussions

Image: "Silencio" by Araguim, Creative Commons

Last week, Angela Tucker was invited and then un-invited to speak on an NPR show about transracial adoption. As evidenced by this experience (and many others), conversations about transracial adoption are becoming more visible, but adoptees are not always included in the discussion. Based on your opinion and/or experience, why do you think that is? What is the most important thing you want people to know about transracial adoption?

Angela: Omitting the voices of adoptees of color and only asking white adoptive parents to recount their experiences of transracial adoption is a subtlety of structural racism. People of color are subconsciously still thought by the white majority not to have as much worth, value or credibility. Obviously there are historical truths to this end. It's ironic because so many transracial adoptive parents are working so diligently to teach their children about racism, to teach their children about their heritage and culture, they are hopeful that their children grow up to be "successful," confident individuals yet they are reinforcing the racism and undermining their own parenting by not allowing them to speak. One aspect of empowerment in parenting comes from allowing children to speak their minds.

Rosita: Indeed, Angela. Adoption loyalty is playing out here. It exists alongside racism and paralyzes the children. Adoptive parents may feel everything is fine when the fact is their child is struggling with race and also trying to "protect" their parents. If they only knew.

I feel the reason we are not included in the discussion is basic fear. Fear of hurt. Fear of failure. Fear of criticism. But all those things, in my mind are internal. I am not here to tell parents what they are doing wrong or right. How can I do that? I am a parent of two, a preteen and a teenager. I am by no means an expert on parenting them. Parenting is a journey that never ends. I miss my deceased, adoptive mother for the sole fact that I cannot compare my mothering to hers and laugh over coffee about our foibles. What I can do is relay my experience and hope that some parent or child will feel comforted that they are not alone.

Monday, January 13, 2014

NPR & Exclusion from the Transracial Adoption Experience Discourse: the Wisdom we Could Have Gleaned

Do Trans-racial Adoptees Know Anything About Trans-racial Adoption?

  By Angela Tucker, cross-posted from Angela's blog.  NPR contacted me and asked me to be a part of the Sunday Conversation that aired yesterday morning. I spoke in depth about my story, my upbringing, the challenges and joys of my experience being raised by Caucasian parents, only to receive an email the next day stating that they had chosen to go another route. I responded kindly by stating “I sure hope you’ve chosen to include an adoptees perspective for your segment.” I was stunned to wake up and hear the one-sided, tired, age old perspective that we’ve heard so many times before. A loving, Caucasian adoptive parent of three African American children was the only person aired. While her voice is valid and valuable, it should not have been the only voice featured on this segment. NPR’s tagline for this show is, “Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.” When the Senior Editor of the show contacted me, she stated that in light of the recent comments about Romney’s grandchild they wanted to expand on the topic of transracial adoption. I was glad for this opportunity; hopeful that NPR would do it justice by interviewing not just adoptive parents, but adoptees themselves, and birthparents as well. I was disappointed upon learning of the parent-centric and staid approach they took.

I wonder why NPR didn’t want to air my story. What part of my truth wasn't worthy of telling? What were they trying to shield your listeners from hearing? Are the powers that be afraid that the adoptee voice will disrupt the current narrative of trans-racial adoption? Is it safe to assume that you don’t feel your listeners can understand that I, a transracial adoptee, had both a wonderful upbringing and some exposure to African-American heritage while living in a predominately white city, yet also had a need to find my roots and search for my birth parents? Is it too hard to understand that I can be both glad for life opportunities afforded to me only through adoption, yet also wonder about what the plight of my life would've been had I not been adopted? Is it too hard to grapple with the notion that while transracial adoption is a necessary solution at  this juncture in time, it’s also a solution that comes with a lot of complexity, and may not be easily “fixed” by hiring a black mentor or teaching your child about Rosa Parks?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Round Table: Safe Haven Laws

In today's Round Table, the Lost Daughters discuss the so-called safe haven laws.

Laura Dennis: I don't know much about safe haven, except that I used to get a huge lump in my throat every time I saw a sign publicizing a safe haven drop-off location (adoptee fog dissipating).

Deanna Shrodes: I'm not well versed on safe haven laws either. But like Laura, I get a lump in my throat every time I hear a story like this. And I read the comments and realize, people don't have a clue from an adoptee standpoint.

Julie J: I'm opposed to safe haven laws. Most people are in favor of them because they believe babies are being saved, babies who otherwise would be left in secluded dumpsters or restrooms to die. The fact is, since safe havens started, the numbers of infants dangerously abandoned have not decreased. They have stayed the same. Why? Because the groups of mothers who would dangerously abandon their babies are mentally ill. They are still doing it. They are not the same group of mothers who would lovingly wrap their babies in blankets, leave them someplace where they know they will quickly be found safely and cared for. Safe haven babies are additional babies who could have either safely stayed with their own families had they had the proper support and resources, or else they could have been adopted through the traditional channels.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Help Me Find the Words I Need to Say

Two years ago, a young mother lost her life to cancer, leaving behind her husband and five year old daughter. I'll call the young mother, "Evelyn." We were co-workers and I would like to say we were friends.

This past October, around the time of the second anniversary of her death, I visited Evelyn's parents' farm. They open up the farm at Halloween to guests for hay rides, a pumpkin patch and corn maze. I wanted to take my kids to a pumpkin patch, so it worked out that we could do that while patronizing Evelyn's family farm. I recognized Evelyn's mom when we bought our tickets.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Making Bounderies and Keeping Them

I think I'm finally on to something life altering you could even say I have experienced another epiphany of sorts. As an adult or more so adult adoptee I've had people trying to give me advice or even instructions from time to time. I especially recall many different situations with a similar or repeating pattern.

People who are close to me, relatives, close friends and immediate family has tried to brush my feelings aside, I'm to sensitive or need to re-adjust. Since I have felt really lonely for the large part of my rather short life I developed a behavioral pattern which is triggered in certain situations. (I won't go in to that now, for personal reasons).

Because I felt ignored, unimportant and what more, all I honestly wanted was for someone to see me and if not help me at least show that they cared. Yet I was forced to spend time in a toxic environment that at least (appeared to be dangerous to me), based on personal experience. All I really wanted was to flee; escape and run away. My body told me this, I could feel it in my heart and in the very essence of my soul... I got what I wanted in the end. Now I realize this situation is very likely to reappear again if I don't learn to set bounderies.