Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Adoptee Film about Searching in India

I'm so glad to discover yet another film in which an adoptee shares about her experience! You Follow shadows Nisha Grayson as she returns to her birthplace of Goa, India, for the first time and searches for her biological family. The film was recently screened in Sacramento. Looking forward to this one making the rounds!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Letters To My Adoptive Mother

My Mother and I, 2013, Best Friends Forever

Back in 2009 my therapist at the time asked me to write a series of letters. The assignment was to write letters I would have wanted my Adoptive Mother to write to me as a young girl. The task challenged my loyalties to my Mother and made me feel very icky and uneasy. However, the healing that took place as a result was remarkable. As I read the letters aloud in the therapists office, I cried and cried like a lunatic. If only my Mother had known what to say or do when it came to adoption. If only she had the tools. The truth is she had nothing. She was handed a baby and was told that it was her own. In her mind, I was a blank canvas.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

If you love something, Let it go free

Trace's story was recently featured on Al Jazeera

"...If you love something let it go free…If it comes back it’s yours: If it doesn’t, it never was."  

I saved this quote from my teens. It came in handy when I was trying to figure out if someone really loved me.

It hit me as relevant for parents who adopted us... you can be selfless for adoptees and you can set us free... especially when we are adults and go into reunion with our first parents.
This past week I had a long conversation with a friend whose wife gave up a baby for adoption 40 years ago. I played a small part in their finding the child she gave up at age 16. 

Now they are reunited with Barb (not her real name.) My friends are trying to figure out what is happening to Barb now that she is in reunion with them and they are obviously looking for clues or signs that she's doing OK. They honestly don't know if they should reach out more... They aren't sure of anything because Barb is in the midwest and they live on the East Coast. They just can't pop in for a quick visit. (I told my friends that Barb is not in their "territory," which means they can't even guess what is going on with her adoptive family since she lives in "their" territory.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Female Role Models

Perhaps my life would be different had I had the opportunity to be raised alongside my older sisters... I'm sure I would have had them as role models and been both influenced and inspired by them. But if I had been able to stay--- not be adopted I'm not sure if my youngest birth sibling would have been conceived or even born... (I don't want to elaborate, or dwell on this in any possible form because that part of my adoption is still a very real, tragic and hurtful thing. I reserve the right to mention that in another separate post--- if or when I feel strong enough to actually do it.)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Would Black Transracially Adopted Males Rather Be White Right Now?

Many of us know about the fatality involving an unarmed African-American 18-year-old named Michael Brown. I won't rehash what has already been said and written (in very passionate and poignant ways) by firsthand witnesses and ill-treated journalists in Ferguson. Instead, I will focus on bettering the future of transracially adopted black males by encouraging a discussion around how we are preparing them for the reality of our "post-racial" world.

I cannot recall how many conversations I've had with white prospective adoptive parents who would say; "I'd just love to adopt a little black boy - they are the cutest!" I always wondered if they realized that the little black boy they so fondly dreamt of would become a teenager in a matter of years, and that between the time of his infancy and his teen years that he'd also morph in to a walking crime. Could those parents also gleefully say "I would just love to parent a black teenage son who is being profiled by the cops!"? Not likely - although these two sentiments are largely one in the same right now. Between Micheal Brown, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner and Ezell Ford it's clear that in America's current climate it is a crime to Be Black.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

American Seoul by Zeke Anders

Filmmaker Zeke Anders is a Korean adoptee who grew up in a white middle-class family in suburban Detroit. He is making a series of YouTube vlogs (video logs) called American Seoul about his experience.

So far in the first three episodes, he talks about his one and only memory of living in an orphanage, what it was like being the only Asian kid in elementary school, and his childhood desire to be white.

The episodes are short--running only 3-5 minutes--and easily digestible. In fact, I found myself wishing they lasted a little longer and went into a bit more depth. Still, I'm anxious to see what other territory Anders will cover in upcoming episodes.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Somber Moment For A Fellow Lost Daughter

The writers and contributors of Lost Daughters comes togheter to remember, honor and also celebrate the life of one of it's contributors. The writers on Lost Daughters comes from all walks of life and ages. Susan Perry a beloved, honoured , inspirational, empowered activist and strong woman sadly passed after battling a period of illness. Let's take a moment to remember.It's a sad event and the first time Lostdaughters had to bid farewell to one of their own, one of our lost daughters is no longer here with us.

Defeat I do not recognize the meaning of  the word, Margaret Tatcher.

If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman, Margaret Tatcher

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adoptees - Reality Mentality


There really needs to be an adoptee dictionary.  One that adoptees can hand out when they are attempting to educate nonadopted persons on the impact adoption has had on their lives.  I find that adoptees often communicate through their own terminology and language mostly due to the fact that we are little understood by anyone and sometimes even ourselves.

Adoptees are accused of many things wallowing in self-pity, not being thankful for the parents and family that we were assigned via adoption, and a multitude of other sins including being ungrateful, disrespecting our adoptive parents by searching, and interrupting our  biological families with our "curiosity".  But, that one accusation that really really sticks in my craw is when we are accused of having a victim mentality.

I think for many adoptees we have grown weary of being told how to feel.  Adoption has been painted as a win win for all parties and a wonderful way to create families for so long the under belly of adoption not been revealed.  Adoption is steeped in mystery, secrets, and lies especially considering the history of the closed records system and the propaganda of the profitable industry of adoption.

Loss is loss. You don't tell someone who lost a leg be thankful for their prosthetic, or tell someone who has lost one kidney to be glad still have one left, or someone who lost a child that they have others to be thankful for.  Even IF there is some reason to be thankful for that it doesn't diminish the initial trauma and loss.  Loss, is loss, is loss, is loss and will always BE loss.  Some losses are greater than others certainly.  We can measure and compare them, but they are all still loss. Yes, what we do with it makes the difference but that will never erase the initial loss.
Diminishing initial loss for adoptees can further undermine their feelings and emotions leading them to question even more who and what they are.  Adoptees begin to believe there is the distinct possibility that everything about them is wrong.  Mistrust in one's own basic instincts leads to poor decision making in the present, and in the future.  If adoptees are shamed into believing some of the most basic and primal parts of themselves are wrong then they begin to trust in others rather than themselves.  I know this has led me down some wrong pathways in life because I ignored what my gut told me.  After all, if I was told repeatedly I was wrong then everyone else must be right?

WRONG!   I am exasperated at how adoptee's emotions and reactions to one of life's most primal connections, that of those to our biological family, are continually and often cruelly trivialized, undermined, and judged.  Adoptees do not need to allow other people to define our journey in adoption.  It is ours, it belongs to us, and it certainly deserves the same respect as others.

Life's Links

As flower to bee as leaf to tree as cloud to sky and rain.
As foot to toe as face to nose and person to a name.
Together these like fish to sea forever will belong.
Just as notes an artist wrote or lyrics to a song.
Like tracks to a train this perpetual chain is what the world is based on.
There's links between each living thing and dusk that turns to dawn.
A lost key to a lock a stopped hand on a watch are vital connections gone.
Like pasts left behind that we need to find in order to carry on.
I hope you know what I'm trying to show, the point I'm attempting to make.
Like a child to its mother or sister and brother some bonds aren't meant to break.
Karen Brown Belanger