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The Right to Process

The right to feel is inherent. The right to feel how you feel and use your own terms to state it is a given. Unless you're adopted, of course. 

If you're adopted, all involved parties are aggressively eager to inform you of how you feel, when you feel it, and how you're allowed to say it, all the while diminishing the reality of your feelings by interjecting the comparative importance of their own. 

For instance. The adopter. "I love you! I'm bonded with you! You love me too! You're bonded to me too! You're grateful for the better life I'm providing for you! Look how nice your things are! Could your horrible junkie parents give you such nice things?" 

In the meantime the Adoptee is wearing her nice clothes and wetting her nice bed because of the nightmares, and by eight years old is already wondering what it's like to be dead.

I could give you examples of how relinquishers, gentle adopters, industry flunkies, and even our own fellow Adoptees, thos…

A Note To The Mothers

I've spent enough time warning about the relinquishers (and, in some surprising cases, BSE mothers) who have a hidden agenda. There's really no need to pay them further attention.

With this being such a difficult season for biofamilies and particularly adoptees, I wanted to spread a little kindness, something I do not often do, and something I intend to do more of.

To the mothers that own their shit:

I appreciate you. No, really, I do. You're like a breath of fresh air in a nasty smoky room. 

As Adoptees, taking good hard looks at ourselves isn't much of an option. Every conversation, every valid point, can be cause for deep self reflection. When your sense of self is cut in half in infancy, who I am can become an unattainable answer.

It's nice to see the same level of self reflection in you. The fact that you have the courage to own your actions in the current adoptee climate... Well, that takes some guts. I would liken it to looking at the worst, ugliest face you have…

Our "Allies"

...or at least that's what they call themselves.

They aren't really, these relinquishers. Oh yeah, they'll help you with their search angel skills or yell at the Capitol building and wave signs, but it's their daily behaviors in adoptionland that tells their real feelings and agendas.

They'll help you if you're "nice". If you're "sympathetic" and "compassionate". As long as you "show them the proper respect". If you don't, they cry, bash, silence, and smear.

And what exactly is "the proper respect" to show someone who has given away their child? How am I supposed to look at you, knowing that you did to a child exactly what my mother did to the eight of us, and respect you? Knowing intimately the pain of relinquishment and abandonment, how am I supposed to be expected to be compassionate and sympathetic toward you? When I know for a fact that because of you there is at least one child out there who carries a…

The Divisive Adoptee

I will be divisive, because we need to be divided from you, relinquishers. 

We need to be divided from your adoptee-blaming, shaming dismissal. 

We need to be divided from your selfish advocacy. Our predicament was caused by you and is not a place to hide from your pain.

We need to be divided from your browbeating. It's not our fault you gave us away, and it's not our fault we're angry about it.

We need to be divided from your constant need for sympathy and compassion. The onus of your grief does not lie at our feet.

We need to be divided from your constant need for validation and congratulations. If you're doing the good work stand up and do it. Stop broadcasting it in the hopes it will score you brownie points with adoptees. We may appreciate the work you do, but it certainly doesn't excuse anything or warrant any ass licking.

We need to be divided from your fragility.

We need to be divided from your inability to take responsibility for the pain you've caused us, bo…

Lost Faith

Lost Faith

I started going to church when I was eight. If you've kept up with me you know eight was a big year for me. It was the year I really began to understand what it meant to be adopted.  It was the year I started drawing and writing. It was also the year I tried to kill myself for the first time. 

Going to church was my idea. Both of my "parents" had been raised by (their own) religious parents. Neither of them had any desire to ever go to church, and they never went with me. We didn't pray at home. My "mother" scoffed at me when I asked if we could say grace before our meals. "I have to say grace at your Nana's at Thanksgiving and Christmas," she snapped at me, "and that's plenty."

"But mama, don't you believe in God?"

"Of course I do. But that doesn't mean I want to talk about him every day."

Don't get me wrong, she supported me going to church in that she got up to drive me and pick me up ever…

An Open Letter (and the last time it will be pubically addressed)

An open letter 

To all the relinquishers who've decided to slander and belittle me:

Dear poor sad mistreated relinquishers:

You're losing. You've set your own asses on fire and we are laughing while we watch you burn.

You see, your narrative is done. Your pity is worn through. Misery accomplishes nothing and sympathy is no longer power.

And we no longer feel sorry for you.

So your baby was stolen. So what? My first child was murdered. I dealt with it and I don't whine about it anymore. Hell, I barely talk about it at all. I haven't spent the last 25 years whining and crying about her and trying to change legislative processes so the mothers of murdered children are treated more fairly.

You changed some stuff. For yourselves. Mothers aren't treated the way they were in the sixties. Children are still relinquished and redistributed like cattle. Who have you been working for?

Thirty years is a long time to be advocating for Adoptees to have ALMOST NOTHING CHANGE FOR US. S…

Birthmother Bypass

Term coined by Margot Elyse. Very apt term indeed for what is expected of Adoptees fresh out of the fog.

When I first arrived in the scene, I was greeted with soft open arms by relinquishers everywhere. They patted my head and told me to be sad. They cheered me on when I tore into the adopters. They lifted me up on celebratory shoulders when I published anti adoption, anti adopter blogs.

Then I wrote, "Self Righteous Birthmother? Come, Let's Chat". A bit of a vent toward my mother and many of the ones I read, before they all blocked me, letting them know what I thought of their "choices" and "feelings". Because I didn't, don't, and cannot subscribe to relinquisher exaltation and "birth mother love".

You see, I don't need to excuse my mother for what she did. I lost the need to excuse her for her actions when I met her twenty years ago. My mother willingly relinquished eight children. There's nothing excusable there.

Boy did they …

My Janice

My Janice

I could never bring myself to call her mom. It wasn't as though she was there. I told her at one point, "Yeah, I know my mom isn't that nice, and we don't even talk now, but she's my mom. She was there."

I don't regret not calling her mom. But I do regret saying that to her about my adoptress. It wasn't true then and it isn't true now.

So Janice, if you're listening, yeah, you are my mom. You were there for four months. And there or not, your blood runs through my veins. It's your face I see when I look in the mirror. You're my mom, even though you didn't want to be.

I imagined all the moms were my mom. The stepford mom, the movie star mom, the equestrian mom, the soap opera mom, the royal mom. Hell I even had the postal clerk mom (my adoptress worked for the postal service), the grocery store cashier mom, the hairdresser mom. My mother was a waitress. So am I, ironically.

None of these moms ever had a face. It was one of thos…

Beware, Or At Least Be Aware

A fair warning to my cribmates

As you step out if the fog and begin to navigate adoptionland, there are people and places you will have to watch out for. Let's just dive right in. 

1) Adoptive Parents: Also known as APs, Adopters, Purchasers, Vultures. These people will tell you how beautiful it all is. How heart wrenching infertility is. How grateful they are for the "gift" of their child. These are exactly the same people who, in discussions about open adoptions and birth parent contact, will say things like, "You can tell the judges and counsellors whatever you need to, once the papers are final you can do whatever you want." 

That "whatever you want" includes rehoming Adoptees, 75% of open adoptions being closed by the five year mark, claims of biological unsuitability to stop contact with "their child's" real family.

These are the people who, if you say, "being adopted sucks", will quickly jump on you. "You just had a bad…

Relinquisher Fragility

I would call it birth parent fragility, but unlike adoptive mothers and fathers and relinquishing mothers, I've never had a relinquishing father go off the deep end demanding I seek therapy, stop trolling, or calling me an adoption industry sympathizer. So let's put the focus where it belongs today. Birth mother fragility.

Yeah. You're fragile little broken flowers. Poor pathetic victims that "lost" your children. Never mind your responsibility in either their creation or putting yourself into a situation of "losing" them. 

That's right, I'm going to hold you responsible for that night in the back seat where mindless teen hormones overcame your better judgement. I'm going to hold you responsible for allowing yourself to be manipulated into a maternity home. I'm going to hold you responsible for staying. I'm going to hold you responsible for caving. I'm going to hold you responsible for being unwilling or unable to do whatever it to…

Disassociated

"Dissociative amnesia

Cause: A way to cope with trauma.

Treatment: Psychotherapy (e.g. talk therapy) counseling or psychosocial therapy which involves talking about your disorder and related issues with a mental health provider. Psychotherapy often involves hypnosis (help you remember and work through the trauma); creative art therapy (using creative process to help a person who cannot express his or her thoughts); cognitive therapy (talk therapy to identify unhealthy and negative beliefs/behaviors); and medications (antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or tranquilizers). These medications help control the mental health symptoms associated with the disorders, but there are no medications that specifically treat dissociative disorders.[6] However, the medication Pentothal can sometimes help to restore the memories.[5] The length of an event of dissociative amnesia may be a few minutes or several years. If an episode is associated with a traumatic event, the amnesia may clear up…

Family Traditions

This is the first year of holidays after I ran into the brick wall of adoption reality. And today I want to talk about family traditions.

The very idea of this post fill me with misery and makes my eyes sting and my throat close up.

When you have to text your bio brother, asking what your real family does for the holidays, because you've been completely cut off from your adopters, then you'll understand where I'm sitting this morning.

It was a cracker barrel commercial, of all things. "Family Traditions, because I'm your mom" hand Xmas ornament to cutey baby daughter "and traditions are my job."

Then I realize, that since my adoptress died, none of the "family traditions" I've been trying to instill in my children mean anything. They are activities savored buy a family that had no affiliation with these children. No one in my adoptive family has even seen any of my children in person. So WHY in the name of all that is stupid am I teaching …

Julie Gray, Buried Alive

If you were adopted at birth, you may have only known yourself for a few days before it happened to you. But rest assured you knew.

I was eight months old. I knew who I was when they started trying to bury me. I screamed and threw off the dirt. "Julie's not dead. I'm Julie!" But my "mother" was determined, older, stronger. She could shovel on more that I could throw off. I was slowly buried under the daughter she named.

She shoveled the identity over me with her violence and her cloying, syrupy, overprotective "love". She subverted my real self, dictated that I was "theirs" and therefore should be "like them". I fought her until I was four... It's the only explanation I have for the violence escalating so far against such a young person. I must have resisted and rejected her efforts to pretend to be my mom. Why else would you knock a two year old unconscious?

By the time I was four, I was pretty well subverted. Compliant. Mise…

An Adoptee's Sacrifice

Sacrifice. It's such an abstract concept. It's basically and frequently defined as: giving up something for the sake of something else. (Or killing livestock and children in the name of a diety. Since I refuse to allow adoption to be referred to as a diety, I'll be sticking to the former.) But what does that really mean?

For adoptees, it means everything. Because that's what we give up for the sake of something else. 

I gave up my family. I gave up my name. (I was eight months old when they "got me", I knew my bloody name.) I gave up my original unfalsified documents and my access to them. I gave up knowing where I came from. I gave up lifelong relationships with siblings and the connection they  afforded. I gave up my concrete identity and sense of self. I gave up my ability to ever fully trust anyone to stand beside me. I gave up my ability to believe in anyone's "best intentions" or "love". I gave up a life. for the sake of something …

You Can't Help.

I wrote a blog not too long ago about ways adopters can "help" their adoptees cope with being adopted. Let's face it, it was a list of a couple of do's, and mostly don'ts. Problem. I've since come to a realization, with the help of adopter apologist Nancy Verrier, Adoptive Families Magazine, Adoptions with Love, Brave love, and Gladney adoptions (not to mention multiple mixed groups of adopters and adoptees on Facebook)...

There's nothing you can do to make it better. If you're the kind of person who thinks it's ok to adopt, you're NOT the kind of person who can help an adoptee cope with abandonment and relinquishment. 

Even Nancy Verrier, author of the primal wound and supposed "adoptee advocate", was not the kind of woman who could do any good for an adoptee. Yes, her points about developmental trauma and the severing of the maternal/infant bond are spot on. But not even she can own her adopter shit. For instance: "...although s…

Never Mind My "Bad Experience"

Seven months ago, March of this year, what were you doing? I was trying to cope with the fact that suddenly BOTH of my mothers are dead.

Seven months ago, March of this year, what were you doing? I was coming out of an all consuming blinding fog of denial.

I don't claim to have been fogged like the "I'm so happy, life is so perfect" adoptees are, but I had my own special version. I actively ignored it. Any reference to adoption was refused admittance. It bounced off. The fact that Dexter was a foster child; on Friends, Monica and Chandler's gleeful hunt for a newborn or Phoebe's surrogacy, Sons Of Anarchy and their baby farms, the Blacklist, This Is Us, etcetera. The endless stream of baby-collecting celebrities... I literally didn't allow it to connect. The cord was too short and the plug wouldn't reach the wall. Even when asked about it, I would proclaim it didn't bother me and didn't matter, all the while loudly humming the theme to "I D…