Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chronic Ancestral Amnesia

Andy Leppard via Flickr

The other day I had a conversation with a friend about hair dyeing. She was lamenting how often she needs to cover her grays these days. I told her I was sorry, I’ve never had to color my hair and have never wanted to. I told her that recently I’d seen an article saying redheads don’t go gray, and that it gave me hope that maybe I’d not have to worry about whether or not to dye my hair. She talked about the onset of gray hair running in families. I shared stories about my husband and my best friend from college, both of whom went gray very early in life.

Later, I realized how strange my half of the conversation must have sounded. I didn’t say I thought I wouldn’t go gray because others in my family hadn’t; I talked about an article I’d read. I talked about the heredity of other people close to me. I didn’t talk about my own, because I couldn’t.

I’m not sure of my mother’s natural hair color. I’ve only seen it bleached very blonde. In faded older pictures, her hair appears a shade of red that could be similar to mine, but I don’t know that it wasn’t dyed then, too. I’ve never seen a picture of my mother or any of her siblings as children.

I’ve never seen a picture of any of my grandparents as children, though it probably wouldn’t matter much since those photos would likely be black-and-white. I’ve met a paternal aunt whose hair color is similar to mine, not at all gray, though again, I have no idea if her color was natural. My father’s hair has become more gray since I’ve known him, but I don’t know if it ever had as much red in it as mine.

I’ll find out how my hair will age the same way I found out how puberty and pregnancy would affect me—via firsthand experience. I’ll learn about menopause this same way, without the guidance of elder female relatives. I suffer from ancestral amnesia that—unfortunately, in my case—reunion has been unable to cure. Thankfully, these days I’m able to go through entire weeks forgetting that I used to feel I was dropped down on earth from the sky rather than grown in another human’s body. And then, in an unexpected moment, that feeling returns.

Karen Pickell
Karen Pickell was born and adopted in Ohio in the late 1960s. She reunited with her birth mother in 2005 and with her birth father in 2007. Her husband is an adoptive father of two children, now grown, from his first marriage, one of whom was adopted from Korea. Karen and her husband live in Florida with their two biological children. She is the founder of Adoptee Reading Resource, a catalog of books by and for adoptees. She blogs about writing, adoption, and other topics at karenpickell.com.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Living With The Consequences

As a reuntied female adult adoptee that currently struggles to manage a life filled with the constant feeling of rejection and abandonment due to the fact that I am the youngest daughter to my birth parents. I was not raised by my birth parents although I think I could have and honestly I would have prefered that. My older sisters was never forcefully nor voluntarilly separated from our birth parents I was the only one who was given that unfortunate fate.

It's a fate I despice yet has been forced to accept, it is also a fate I share with many adoptees - the thing that I still struggle to accept is the fact that my birth parents was able to keep raising their older children yet they couldn't keep me. To know that you have full birth siblings that has been able to be raised in a family by the same parents is hurtful.

Of course the roles might have been reversed, my birth parents could have decided to surrender my oldest sister for adoption while they very well could have decided to keep me. Now my birth parents didn't change their minds, but to know that your birth parents went on to have more children or raise your older siblings when they could not raise you, that is a most cruel fate that I do not wish on anyone.

Like Teen Mum's Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra, my parents would place me up for adoption while they eventually would end up having another child years after my birth and adoption. My birth parents were not teenagers, they were middleaged and married yet the betrayal, abandonement and ultimat rejection will remain the same. The circumstances and the situatitons may differ slightly.

I was given up for adoption due to the hope and belief that I would get a better life, and I gained another life with a wider access to material things, education and a better social security. Those were things I gained but I was forced to give up so many other things-things people and the Western world often and generally takes for granted.

I am a mere stranger to my birth sister and younger sibling, legally speaking and in reality. What does it help now that I managed to reunite with them at fifteen and met them nine years later? Our roles had already long since been assagined and cemented. My oldest sister was over forthy my youngest sister was only a year older while our younger sibling only learned of my existance a few weeks before my first reunion.

I wish society could begin to realize they would have to reform their thinking that very often is a backwards thinking. Korean adoptions has existed ever since the Korean War, these days the Korean orphans very often are not real orphans but mere paper orphans.

As long as there is this general notion that poor orphans need to be rescued from a live in poverty, or homelessness. The priviliged people will continue to request approval of intercountry and interracial adoption. Thus the demand will continue to be greater than the supply for a cute Asian infant adoptee or whatever other ethnic race.

It's the adoptees that has to live with the consequences that adoption separation caused, sometimes the birth parents and birth family will have to suffer too.

I don't like this talk about adoptees in this context, but I'm trying to prov a point here.

Perhaps there is no possible solutions that could garantuee a happy, harmonious and stabile adult adoptee... Is it possible to overcome the loss and separation... Maybe open adoptions is the next best thing since the adoptee still would have knowledge and some sort of contact with their birthparents without having to severe all ties for eternity.

It's taken me this long to accept and come to terms with the many lies that I believed was true for many years. My reason for relinquishment and especially knowing that this particular sentence seems to be false.
The child was given up for adoption because birthparents already had several daughters to raise. Birthparents were struggling to make ends met and decided it was better to relinquish her while they still would be able to raise a son. 
The truth is that my gender would not have influenced or changed the fact that I was relinquished. Due to the extreme circumstances related to my birth the fate of a son would not have ended any differently. I used to be jelous on my younger brother for in a way-taking the place that rightfully was mine. I can no longer feel those feelings any longer but I will always suffer from the trauma of adoption separation and the loss of my sisters and a childhood raised with several siblings.