Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tagged for Life

It won’t come as any surprise to regular readers that I am hooked on teh YouTube, especially when it comes to adoption videos.

I’ve got a few different automated bots running that alert me when a new adoption video gets posted. They work with varying degrees of success. For the most part, the majority of videos I find the old fashioned way – searching.

Wading through adoption related videos gets tiresome. Videos that get added to one of my playlists are few and far between. Mostly what comes up are:

Animal adoption videos – I’m cool with that. I love teh Petfinder just as much, so getting a video up is a-ok with me if it means one less animal in shelter.

Public hearings where some resolution is adopted – yawn

Bizarro fan fictions – What the fuck?

Adoption Agency Promos - Boo

Mislabeled porn – I’m not kidding. I’m also not linking, go search for yourself. Pervert.

And sprinkled in there, are the actual videos that have actual people who were actually adopted. But very few of them are actual adults.

I’d guess that maybe 1 out of every 25 adoption videos get into my playlists. I’m being generous here. Because, as anyone who looks on YouTube knows, the overwhelming majority of adoption videos on YouTube are posted by adoptive parents.

Dear God Whom I Sort of Believe in This Week: Thank you for not allowing anyone to invent video and the internet during my era, so I don’t have to worry about 50+ videos of my private childhood online in the public domain forever. Thank you.

Here’s what gets me sometimes: when do you stop tagging your child with ‘adoption’?

The trips overseas to pick up: OK, I can see tagging that with adoption. I’d rather see it tagged with adoption than gotcha. Unfortunately gotcha usually is used in conjunction with these videos.

Homecoming: Yeah alright. Still adoption related, so the tag applies.

Gotcha Day Parties: Insert vomiting emoticon here. But still adoption, OK

But then there’s this other thing I’ve noticed with some of them. Every single aspect of an adopted child’s life is tagged with: adoption

Video of some child waiting for the school bus: adoption

Video of some child eating ice cream: adoption

Video of some child doing gymnastics: adoption

Some child opening Christmas presents: adoption

Same child, 4th of July picnic: adoption

Looking in a mirror: adoption

In the bathtub: adoption

On the potty: adoption

Horseback ride: adoption

Singing: adoption

At a restaurant: adoption

School play: adoption

Soccer game: adoption

Kindergarten graduation: adoption

Eating pizza: adoption

Eating tacos: adoption

If adoption is just another way to build a family, if someone loves their little adoptling just as much as a real kid, why tag them ‘adoption’ when the video has nothing to do with it? Would they tag a video of their real kid striking a home run at baseball with ‘vagina’?

Do they think ‘adoption’ every time they look at their child?

So I get irritated and angry, as I am wont to do, when I see adoption tagged on a video where adoption isn’t part of the subject. Deep down here’s why: because I do feel tagged for life. I do feel adoption is in the undercurrent of everything. Yeah adoption was there when I was waiting for the bus, because I couldn’t stand to be separated from my adoptive mom. And adoption was there during gymnastics class because I couldn’t do gymnastics to save my life, while everyone else in my adoptive family could. Adoption was there at holidays because I felt out of place with my relatives. Adoption was there when I was looking in a mirror, because the face in the mirror was the only thing that looked like me. Adoption was there during school plays because no one in my adoptive family was theatrical, but as I found out later, many in my natural family were. Ditto with the horseback riding. Ditto with the real estate investing.

Sometimes people post videos of their beautiful gardens. I’ve never had a garden. I kill flowers. I’ve got lots of bushes out front because bushes don’t need any care, other than the landscape guy coming to trim them every now and then. After seeing mom’s house, and her lack of flowers, while all of her neighbor’s porches looked like Martha Stewart lived there, I felt damn good.

My adoptive sister, who has beautiful gardens, did a drive-by when she was in Philly last summer. She called me from her car: “She’s got no flowers outside, and everyone else does”.

I gotta tell you – that was the best thing I ever heard in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to mom than when I heard that. Word.

I think I’ll post a video of a flower pot that’s in my back yard. It’s got a dead plant in it. I meant to take care of it, but I just never got around to it.

I think I’ll tag it adoption.

Read more...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Baby Boy Clemmer





Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oju42Rb34hI

The film webiste is at BabyBoyClemmer.com. Nothing there yet except this trailer.

I'm counting the days until this is released.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Adoption Corruption at BoingBoing

Adoption and corruption: human trafficking busts in Guatemala

Why this is important:


Read more...

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Search For Survivors - Attachment Therapy

I saw this blog mentioned today on Yahoo! Answers.

The subtitle is "Firsthand accounts of the lethal “attachment therapy” that targets orphans, adoptees and foster children"

Good god.

Please digg/subscribe.

read more

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Gladney 120 Year Anniversary Celebration and planned picket of Gala at Worthington Hotel.

Update 3/27 - The plans for the 3-29-08 demonstration at the Gladney Adoption Center 120 year anniversary celebration are expanding. Go to www.studentmotivation.org/gladney for details and photos of the demonstration location. The Tarrant County Court House is in the back of the photo just 2 blocks away. It will be a very significant demonstration location. Encourage friends to attend. If you need a sign please let us know. Bill Betzen


Adoptee Rights Struggle
Texas 2008-2009
March 29, 2008 - Gladney 120 Year Anniversary Celebration and planned picket of Gala at Worthington Hotel.

If you go to http://www.gladney120th.com/ you can see the planned events for the 120 Year Anniversary Celebration for Gladney Adoption Center. Since Gladney has led the effort to deny adoptee rights to their own history a picket is planned of the Gala at the Worthington Hotel the evening of March 29, 2009. At this time the other events are not targeted so that we may concentrate on this final event with adults present.

It is planned to have all volunteers gather at the Worthington Hotel in downtown Fort Worth at 6:00 PM. We will have a minimum of three teams working, one person with a large sign and another with flyers to hand out about the history of the equal access issue for adoptees to their own birth and genetic history. Others are invited to join us in this protest and be present with signs representing their concerns related to being denied their own history, or that of their birth child, due to the legal efforts of Gladney Adoption Center.

Adoptees may have signs such as: ""Gladney celebrates their history while denying me mine." Gladney Adoptee."

Another sign to be used says "State enforced genetic secrecy kills adoptees!"

The goal is to begin targeting the adoptee struggle for equal rights directly at the adoption agency leading national efforts to deny adoptees their rights. Their efforts are certainly not in keeping with the Edna Gladney as portrayed in "Blossoms in the Dust." There she was certainly a supporter of adoptee rights!

The modern equivalent of Edna Gladney can be considered to be Madelyn Freundlich. On the pages at

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2007_11_for_records.php

you can see the most recent research by Madelyn Freundlich as she clearly documents the truth about the struggle of adult adoptees for their own records.

Volunteers are encourage to contact Bill Betzen (214-957-9739 or bbetzen@aol.com) or the other coordinators working to help bring volunteers together at the Worthington in Fort Worth starting at 6:00 PM on the evening of Saturday, March 29, 2008.
Questions are welcome.
Bill Betzen

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Grinding Up Stones: the Asian Adoptee 'Zine

Via my inbox...

***PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY***

*Grinding Up Stones: the Asian Adoptee 'Zine* is a resource guide (in the form of a 'zine with accompanying website) I am creating for teenage and adolescent Asian adoptees looking to learn more about adoptee culture. It will contain regional, national and international organizations, book reviews/reading guide, profiles of adoptees, as well as personal contributions in the forms of essays, poetry and art. I hope that this project will help young adoptees situate themselves within the adoptee community as well as give them language to talk about their experiences.

I also hope that this guide will help young adoptees see themselves as transracial adoptees and acknowledge that while there is a lot of weight that comes along with that identity, there is a rich community of people and support. This guide will encourage adoptees to express creatively their feelings on being adopted, as well as make them aware of the many opportunities for them to learn, both about their ethnic heritage and the adoptee community at large. I will answer questions young adoptees might have about visiting the homeland or getting involved in adoptee organizations, as well as dispel common myths about the adoptee experience from pop literature, etc.

*Grinding Up Stones* is a lyric from a Blue Scholars song entitled "No Rest for the Weary". I see this is relevant to the experiences of transracial adoptees in that there is a great fiction we are taught as adoptees about where we came from, who we are, how we feel and what we can become. As transracial adoptees, we must grind these stones "until they turn into dust" in order to develop our own consciousness and write our own story.

The purpose of this 'zine is first and foremost to provide young Asian adoptees with a language to describe and make sense of their experiences as racialized individuals, as well as introduce them to the larger adoptee community. However, it is also engaged in larger issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and ability, as well as the political situations that have fed the adoption industry, both within the US and in our countries of origin.

Grinding Up Stones is currently looking for contributors (essays, poetry, art, photography. ..basically anything that can be printed) as well as a web designer. Inquires can be sent to: strangerswomb [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

*Juli Jeong Martin* is an artist and activist. Currently a second-year student at Oberlin College majoring in Comparative American Studies, Juli is invested in creating this 'zine as a way to inspire and educate young adoptees. She has self-published a chapbook of poetry dealing largely with issues of transracial adoption entitled "a stranger's womb/and other exiles".

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

If you're so inclined..... Dr. Phil adoption show

Are you involved in a heated custody battle over your adopted child? Have you adopted a child, only to find out their biological parents suddenly want them back? Have you given your child up for adoption, but now what to get him back? Do you just want what's best for your child but are scared you'll be traumatizing them for life? Tell us your story!!



http://drphil.com/plugger/respond/?plugID=12088

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bette Midler was never one of my Likely Suspects

It's not that she was too young; she's just about the same age as mom.

It's not that I didn't want to be her secret illegitimate love child. I did.

It's just that I never believed anything like me could have been created from someone so.... Divine.





I adore her. I do. (I adore Colin Firth too)

I'd give anything to hear the words, "I want to get to know you" said to me.

"Then She Found Me" is scheduled for release in theaters April 25th.

Read more...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

AdoptionAgencyRatings.com

Via AdoptionThreads.com….


A new website that looks pretty interesting is:

AdoptionAgencyRatings.com.



Their opening page states:

“Over 1200 adoption agencies and adoption attorneys are rated and reviewed anonymously by adoptive families and birth moms providing unbiased first hand experience.”

I wrote to them making a suggestion that adoptees post too, so that we can report how the agencies that profited off us as infants treat us (and profit off us a second time) when we return trying to get non-identifying information or to start a search. I got a green light response back less than 15 minutes later. Now that’s service.

Anyway check it out, and leave a review of your agency if you’re so inclined. Being a private adoption acquisition myself I’m left out of all the fun. Bummer.

Read more...

From the wind... A Child's Waiting

Word on the wind is that A Child's Waiting has been closed, or their license was not renewed, by the state of Ohio.

Nothing in Google News about it yet to verify.

What happens to Evelyn now? She is always on my mind. As are the other children wrongly placed by this, or any other agency.

Read more...

Just 3 calls a day

Since just about everyone in my address book has a reader, I thought it would be faster this way than sending it via email.


----------------------------------------
Subject: Just 3 calls a day

No matter where you fall politically, one thing we can all agree on is that this is an incredibly important election.

I believe we can all make a difference.

If everyone would just make at least three calls a day, and forward this email, you can support your candidate tremendously.

Please, let's keep this positive, and follow a few simple rules:

1.) If you don't agree with this email, just delete it.

2.) Copy and paste this email into a new message instead of hitting forward, so that tons of email addresses aren't sent along. And try and use the bcc function of your email.

3.) Please don't put any type of political endorsement or message along with this. The focus is on getting voters out on election days. Everyone will make their own choice of which candidate to endorse by the calls they make.

4.) Please don't delete any candidates! Just because you may know who everyone on your email will want to call for, the idea is for this email to keep rolling on unedited.

5.) Have fun!

Here are the links to sign up to make phone calls for your candidate. Thanks.

Alphabetically by last name:

Clinton
http://tools.hillaryclinton.com/calling/

McCain
http://www.johnmccain.com/ActionCenter/

Obama
http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/phonebankmap

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Searching for Francis Miller - Videos on news page

Take a peek at this.... these separated sibling stories always break my heart


Michigan - Greenville woman is struggling to reunite her family after being separated for 60 years


Jessica Dudenhofer
Staff Writer

His bashful face peeks out through heavy locks of curly blond hair in the old black and white photograph.

The youngster is standing with two older brothers - three children who never saw each other again shortly after the picture was snapped of the trio.

Their oldest sister has been searching for a long time now, trying to track down all three and get the members of the Miller family back together again for the first time in 60 years.

This is the story of 70-year-old Greenville resident Edna Miller, her brothers and her ongoing attempt to reunite them.

1948: A simple life

The story begins six decades ago - back in 1948 at a little farm on the south side of Lakeview along Almy Road.

Charles Eli and Mabel Ilene Hammond Miller had six children - a daughter and five sons. Edna Miller, the eldest member of the group, said some of her earliest memories involve changing the many diapers of her five younger brothers, Larry, Charles, Francis, Raymond and Robert.

At that time they ranged in age from Edna's 10 down to the infant Robert.

Edna remembers performing skits in one of the farm's outbuildings and the sheep that used to graze in a field behind the barn. They were happy, simple times.

Then one day her family changed forever.

No father or mother

"One day my dad left for work and he never came back," Edna recalled, the pain of that day still visible in her eyes.

Edna's mother was left with practically nothing and six hungry mouths to feed.

"My mother had no money coming in," Edna said, trying to express how desperate the family's situation was.

Welfare was basically nonexistent back then and Mabel Miller had no means of support so she was taken to jail. Her sister came to get her out and allowed the destitute mother to live at her home.

However, Edna's aunt couldn't care for all six children too. So the youngsters were sent to the children's home in Stanton, now a large stone home at the northwest corner of M-66 and Main Street across from Subway.

All alone

Mabel later showed up at the children's home and reclaimed baby Robert.

However, she left the other five children in Stanton facing an uncertain future.

The children later learned that their father had fled to his mother's home in California after the hard times of supporting a wife and family became too much for him to bear. But a few years later he returned to the Lakeview farmstead.

"A couple years down the line my father came back to Michigan," Edna said with hesitation. "He took Mom and my baby brother" with him back to California.

But they never came to pick up the rest of the children.

It would be years before Edna would see any of the three of them again.

Separated

In the summer of 1948, the inevitable happened to the five children left behind at the Stanton children's home.

They were separated.

The two middle boys were adopted. Seven-year-old Charles and 5-year-old Francis went to separate homes.

Meanwhile, Edna spent the next several years floating from one foster home to another.

Then, finally, when Edna was a teenager a case worker helped her get back in touch with her parents.

What's more, her mother and baby brother came back to Michigan looking for her.

Mom and Dad return

"My mother and brother came to Livonia (to the foster home where Edna was living) on my birthday," she said. "It was my 16th birthday."

Edna said she never saw her father until the court released her from foster care when she was almost 17.

It would be 60 years before Edna again saw either of her two brothers who had been adopted - Charles and Francis.

Her parents never made an attempt to get the family together again. Meanwhile, Edna lived almost 60 years wondering what ever had become of Charles and Francis.

The search begins

After being released from foster care, Edna lived with her parents for just a short while before moving out on her own.

"To make a long story short," Edna said with a chuckle, "my baby brother married a Lakeview girl."

Her name was Judy Ostrander and she was the daughter of a dairy farmer. As the years went on, Edna and Judy became good friends.

"We were always close, more like sisters than sisters-in-law," Edna said with a smile.

Judy knew how much Edna wanted to track down her lost brothers and last July decided to give her a birthday present that she would always treasure.

"'We're going to help you find your brothers,' she told me," Edna said.

She already knew where two of her brothers were. Raymond had mental and physical handicaps due to birth defects and was placed in a hospital on Michigan's east side while Larry hadn't responded to attempts to contact him. The last Edna knew he was living in Sparta.

Judy said she would help pay for trying to locate Charles and Francis.

Thus the long process of tracking down Edna's two lost siblings began.

One down, one to go

Edna moved back to Montcalm County nine years ago and settled in Greenville's Creekview Mobile Home Park.

That's been her base of operations for tracking down her two brothers. The living room contains scrapbooks and photo albums filled with family memorabilia.

Using old adoption records from the state, high school yearbooks, common sense and most importantly the help of an intermediary in Grand Rapids, Christmas 2007 became especially memorable for Edna.

Back in December her telephone rang a few days before Christmas. It was a call that would forever change Edna's life. At the other end of the line was Edna's intermediary, calling to announce that Charles had been found.

"When she told me, all I could say was "oh my God," Edna said, the joy of the moment still apparent in her smile. "I was numb all over."

So close

What shocked Edna most was that Charles had been living so close to her.

He had had a home at Lincoln Lake, mere miles away, for several years.

"All this time," Edna said.

She said she couldn't help but think about how many times she must have passed her brother in stores, never knowing who he was.

It was just after Christmas that Charles William Bunce came to visit his sister at her home.

"When I answered the door I just stood there and looked at him," Edna said.

Her brother, who turned 66 on March 9, looked much older than when Edna had last seen him as a young tyke.

"Are you who I think you are?" she said she asked Charles.

Her answer was an impish smile.

"Yes, I'm your brother," he said.

It's all coming back

"I don't remember much," Charles said as the newly reunited brother and sister drove out to their childhood home on Almy Road.

This was the first time Edna had returned to the farm since the six siblings had been separated 60 years earlier. After getting lost a few times and driving down several wrong roads, she spotted the house and recognized it almost immediately.

"Yes, that's it," Edna said with excitement as the pair pulled into the driveway of the old, white farmhouse with new white siding.

Charles listened carefully as Edna poured out story after story of her childhood adventures on the farm. He remembered a few of the details, but not many. After all, he was only 3 when the children left there.

"We used to put on skits for the boys back there," Edna said excitedly, pointing to a now-abandoned outbuilding. The barn, windmill and outhouse all still stand proudly in their original locations and Edna continued to fill in some of the holes in Charles' memories.

Turn back the clock

The pair knocked on the door, nervously waiting almost 10 minutes before an elderly man answered.

At 96, Frank Rentschler could hardly stand. Though he pulled an oxygen tank behind him, his spunk was readily apparent as he greeted the two strangers at his door with a smile.

"My name is Edna Miller and this is my brother, Charles," Edna said loudly, hoping the elderly gentleman would hear her. "We grew up in this house."

Rentschler was immediately intrigued at the news and started to ask the brother and sister questions. He said he bought the home many years ago, after living on a farm nearby, but didn't remember the Miller family.

"I remember a Hammond," Rentschler said, his forehead furrowed in concentration.

Edna's eyes lit up at the name.

"That was my mother," she cried out.

"Well, what do you know about that," Rentschler said with a chuckle.

"My heart is pounding"

After a few more questions and a few more minutes, Edna and Charles learned that the 96-year-old man probably went hunting with their father.

As Edna walked out of the house she shook her head in disbelief.

"I just can't believe it," she gasped. "My heart is just pounding right now."

Charles, who'd been listening quietly most of the time, leaned over to whisper to her.

"I just love it when things work out," he said with a chuckle.

Now Francis...

The only challenge remaining for Edna is to find her last lost brother, Francis.

State adoption paperwork has been locked up for some time for archiving, but just last Wednesday Edna received a letter saying that the files once again were available.

Edna said she was going to contact the intermediary who had successfully located Charles and have her start searching for Francis again.

"I know she's going to find him," Edna said with confidence.

She said she has a feeling that Francis is living somewhere nearby.

"My gut tells me Francis is also in Greenville," Edna said.

Finding Francis

Francis' last name was Miller when the children were young.

However, no one knows if that's still the case.

Edna hopes that her search to reunite her family soon will come to an end. She said the feeling that something was "missing" has been eating away at her for years.

"It's like a hole in the atmosphere," said Edna. "Something is just missing."

She hopes that all the years of waiting soon will be over.

"It's been 60 years since I've seen him (Francis)," Edna said with a sigh.


What to look for


Things to look for to help find Francis:

• He had thick, blond, curly hair "like an afro" and no visible birthmarks as a child.

• He was born in 1953 1943 so he would be 64 or 65 today.

• He was adopted out of the children's home in Stanton in 1949 at age 6. The adoption process began the year before.

• At the time his name was Francis Miller but both his first and last name may have been changed. Charles Miller's adopted family changed both his middle and last name.

• Several members of the Miller family have an interest in hunting and cars or mechanics so Francis also may.

Contact Edna Miller at (616) 225-3433 if you have any information or know of someone who may be Francis.



Read more...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Perry Snow on The Adoption Show

Edit - Thanks to Cathy from Looking in Ontario for the following link which is relative to this show:

The British Home Children registry was set up by the British Isles Family
History Society of Greater Ottawa in co-operation
with Library and Archives Canada. Their registry is searchable, and they have a couple of other searchable databases as well.

http://www.bifhsgo.ca/


NEXT SHOW

Sunday March 16, 2008 -- 9:00 PM (EST)

www.theadoptionshow.com

PERRY SNOW

Perry Snow is the author of Neither Waif Nor Stray - The Search for a Stolen Identity

Perry's father, the late Frederick George Snow, was one of the 100,000 British Home Children (alleged orphans) sent to Canada by over 50 British Child Care organizations. These 4-15 year old children worked as indentured farm labourers and domestic servants until they were 18 years old. The British Child Care organizations professed a dominant motive of providing these children with a better life than they would have had in Britain, but they had other ignoble and pecuniary motives. Read more about the history of the British Home Children and view the registry at this web site

Perry Snow lives in Calgary, Alberta and has worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice for 27 years. Contact Perry through his web site:
http://members.shaw.ca/snowperry/

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Alfred Hitchcock - Night of the Owl

A man blackmails a couple by threatening to tell their adopted daughter about her parents. Aired: 10/04/1962



Direct link: http://www.hulu.com/watch/12775/
alfred-hitchcock-hour-night-of-the-owl

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Dealing with your crap

(I'm sorry, I couldn't resist)

To make sure there are enough of these:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us




The folks at A Day For Adoptee Rights! need to have an accurate headcount.

Please - if you haven't signed up yet for the demonstration, take a minute to head on over to the signup page so your butt can be counted.

OH and PS - $10.00 gets your name in the paper as someone who loves original birth certificates!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Little More Real

She asked: Who are you looking for?

Next month I’ll make one of my intentionally infrequent trips back to Philadelphia to attend a very special baby shower. It’s the baby shower for the wife of my beloved godson.

I’m taking the day before the shower off from work, and intend on making it a trip back to the neighborhood where I lived when I lived inside my mom. I want to see with my own eyes, not just via Google StreetView, the house I lived in as I grew from rapidly diving cells to birth. I’m going to visit the library and see if I can wade through some yearbooks from the 1960’s. After all this time, I still have been unable to discover what high school my mom or her sisters went to. A yearbook picture of one of them would be priceless to me. The closest pictures I’ve been able to find of anyone related to me are a tiny MySpace profile photo of a first cousin, and an old black & white picture of a very, very distant cousin from the 1950’s. That’s it. 

I’ve also decided to pay a visit to gramma 

Being six feet under, she’s unable to tell me to go away or lie to me and say I've got the wrong grave.

Someone on a genealogy list said to me once, “It doesn’t start to feel real, until you actually visit your first grave.”

The person who said that to me was a real kid, and I don’t think they knew I’m a fake kid, but hearing a real kid say the word “real” is a mind-boggling thing.

I have a hard time living in the real word. I’ve always been prone to daydreams. It will come as no shock to say the majority of my daydreams usually focus around my other family. Even before the often-griped-about event of last August, the daydreams usually were of being rejected in one form or another.

Sucks, but what can you do?

It’s hard to feel real when the world tells you that you have no right to it. From the sealed secret birth certificate, to the “you know who your real parents are, right?” comments by the ignorant, to the letters in the newspapers, feelings of disentitlement overwhelm. Overwhelmingly.

But I do want to see that grave. And I do want to leave flowers. If for nothing else, to try and make myself believe I’m a better person than she was.

So I called the cemetery. I realized I’ve never gone to visit a cemetery before. OK I take that back – I taught my kids how to drive in an old abandoned one because it was safe there. But I’ve never been to visit a grave before. I Google-Earthed the address.

Jaysus-Christ, it’s freaking massive. 

If it doesn’t have it’s own zip code I’d be surprised.

I called the cemetery office. And the minute the woman picked up the phone, like I annoyingly, frustratingly, irritatingly always do when talking to a real kid while thinking about my fake kid status, I started stuttering.

Damn.

“Hi, I’m g-g-g-going to be c-c-c-coming from out of st-st-st-ate (ok I’ll stop with the stuttering typing because I know it’s annoying) and would like to visit the grave of a relative. Can you tell me how I’d locate the grave?”

She said: “If you come during business hours you can just come into the office, or I can just give you the location now if you’re going to be visiting when the office is closed. Who are you looking for?”

And it took me a minute. It’s like her name had this powerful forbidden hold over me, I’ve never spoken it out loud to anyone other than a few friends. Why? To say her name cements me as one of them. It cements me as this is my family, dammit, I’m of this tribe, I’m of this line, this is who I am, even if you threw me away, even if you deny me, I am of this family. 

Even if deep down inside, I fight every day to believe that.

So there was this moment, this pause, was I going to lie, was I going to hang up, was I going to say never mind, and pass on this opportunity, and go to Philly yet never visit this grave? Was I going to be as weak and as spineless as usual, the things I hate the most about myself? Or was I going to just fucking do it for once.

“Who are you looking for?”

“My grandmother, A--. M.----“

And after a moment, “Section 4, Range 1, Plot 6. Everything is very well marked and there’s a big map by the front gate if we’re not here when you come to visit. Have a safe trip.”


Just like she’d say to a real kid.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Would they?

Would he agree to taxation without representation 5% of the population?





Would she compromise and deny votes to 5% of women?




Would he agree to 5% segregation?
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us



Do you agree that 5%, or 3%, or 0.01% of adoptees should be denied access to their original birth certificate if their mommies say no?


Are all adoptees created equally, or just the ones with mothers who consent?

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Monday, March 10, 2008

What If Diaries Video: Reunion

This is incredible.




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WE TV - Family Secret

via AFC:

Family Secret

Airs March 18 at 3:00 PM ET

Synopsis:

Liz Bagwell of Kingston, TN, was abandoned by her parents just before midnight on January 25, 1972, shortly after her birth. Bagwell had wondered for years about her parents but didn’t know that her mother, Sher Altenhoff, was looking for her. With the help of BigHugs investigators, Bagwell and Altenhoff were reunited. "The Switch" - Two Women -- Shirley Morgan Lawsen of Gillette, WY and Debra Munoz DeLay of Phoenix, AZ -- discovered that they were mistakenly switched at birth at Campbell Memorial Hospital in Wyoming. Terminally ill Jim Morgan had long suspected that Shirley wasn’t his biological daughter. A DNA test confirmed his suspicions, and with the help of a confidential intermediary, the Morgans found their real daughter and Shirley found her real mother.



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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dementia

It worked

I don’t know why. It didn’t before. But this time, for some reason, luck was on my side.

Sitting next to my keyboard as I type are the death certificates of my maternal grandparents.

After my search was completed last May, I had requested them. And was denied, because under state law, as an adoptee I am not entitled to them. I don’t know why. Maybe their corpses would kill themselves or have abortions or rise up out of the graves and hurl babies into dumpsters if their cause of death were released to me.

Anyway, on a whim, I tried again last week. I filled out the exact same application, I sent in the exact same amount of money. But this time instead of a denial letter, I have their death certificates. Weird.

Tiny pieces of my elusive medical history finally laid out in black and white.

My son came in as I was looking at them. He read them over my shoulder.

“I hope we inherited her dementia.”

He’s funny like that. I like that kind of humor.

Gramma’s primary cause of death was lung cancer; contributory factors were dementia, cerebrovascular disease and oh yay, Parkinson’s Disease. Damn. I really should quit smoking.

Grampa’s cause of death was listed as congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. He was also much, much older than gramma when she died.

I’ve decided I take after Grampa’s side of the family anyway. I’m still mighty irrationally pissed at the gramps, but for some reason I still have an odd genealogical fondness for his mom, my great-grandmother Mary, schlepping across the Atlantic with her entire brood in tow.

I like that kind of history.

My eyes keep drifting to the dementia on gramma’s certificate though.

Etymology:
Latin, from dement-, demens mad, from de- + ment-, mens mind

I’ve been demented for the past two months or so. Most likely I’ll be demented for a season longer. As stated previously, it is rather boring and unattractive, but I’m positive it’s temporary. I just don’t see a way out right now. I wish I could. I’m tired of feeling this way. I just have this demented belief in my abject worthlessness that has sunk into me on a cellular level, and won’t let go. It’s entirely irrational, I know, but so is adoption.

How demented do you need to be to turn your back on your pregnant teenage daughter?

How demented is it to raise your own children, and then give your firstborn grandchild away to strangers?

How demented does that pregnant teenage daughter become in her own life?

Demented enough to say, “You have the wrong number” to her own scared and stuttering flesh and blood when she calls on an August night 43 years later?

Is that demented, or is it just not giving a fuck? I'm not sure.

Yeah, yeah, I know the era, I know the history, I know the misogyny and the double standard.

But still.

But still.

But still I have these two death certificates, that the great State of Pennsylvania says I am not supposed to have, as somehow adoption severed my medical ties to these two demented dead people. And owning these two certificates makes me feel a little more real, while at the same time a nasty demented part of me looks at them with an entirely apathetic eye and thinks, “I hope you thought of me, and felt guilty, you shits”








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Monday, March 03, 2008

March 4, 2008 - New York Lobbying Day

Letters! Faxes! Phone calls!

Get busy. Please.

UnsealedInitiative.org

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