Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dear Jenessa and Prospective and Current Adoptive Parents, Birth Parents in hiding, Nay-Saying Adoptees and the Non-Adopted who think they know more about Adoption than Me.

Jenessa Simons



I was disheartened today to read comments to an article about Jenessa Simons who was looking for her birth parents in Utah. 

It just never ceases to amaze me as to how many myths, opinions and blatant ill-regard for our fellow man, that is present on comment boards on each and every adoption-related article I read.


Jenessa was looking for her birth parents and used Facebook to get the word out. (Article Here)

As I was scrolling through the comments, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  At least half of the comments were positive and supportive of Jenessa but many of them had comments that just leaped off the page for me.   

Really?  You are going to chastise this person for searching for what the majority have as their birth right?  Let’s look at some of these comments.


BIOLOGICAL PARENTS ARE JUST DNA (NOTHING MORE) 


I have heard Dr. Laura on her radio program state this in regards to adoption and as much as I love and respect Dr. Laura, I have to vehemently disagree with her.  Her position has always been that biological parents are just sperm and egg donors.  I read a comment this morning on the above-mentioned article to this effect and it just really bothers me. 


Saying someone is just biology, takes away their person-hood. Each surrendering birth parent has a story.  Many wanted nothing more than to keep and raise their child but because of circumstances could not.  

They deserve respect and acknowledgement because they are human and because they hold a special status in your child's eyes.  They may not be changing the diapers of this particular child (many have other children they are parenting), but neither would you, Adoptive Parent, if your child’s birth parents hadn’t created him/her.


I say the same for the men who conceived (many without knowledge).  Some  may have been just engaging in a sexual act, but without that act, your beautiful child wouldn’t be here.  Never forget that. 

Now if a biological parent has acted with disregard for your child through abuse/neglect and/or some other injustice that hurt your child, I understand your anger.  I also understand you not wanting that child to have contact with their biological parent.  

However, it does not relegate the parent into DNA.  Ask your child how he/she feels and I can assure you the answer will not be, “sperm and eggs”.


I ASKED FOR A CLOSED ADOPTION AND I DON’T WANT TO BE FOUND


You always hear from the minority birth parent (the 5% or less) who still wants to be cloaked in secrecy because she signed up for a closed adoption and wants it to stay that way.  What you never hear the birth parent admit is that she is an adult who expects another adult (the adoptee) to honor an agreement they never voluntarily entered into. 

That is perfectly fine if you want no contact, Minority Birth Mother; however, it is not fine that you think because you do not want a relationship, that the adoptee should be bound to an agreement he/she never made.  You do not hold the power to deny a now-adult adoptee from finding their roots. Just because YOU don’t want to be found, doesn’t mean the biological father, your other children, your sister and your nephew don’t want to be found.    

With the internet and DNA testing, your preferences cannot dictate what an adult adoptee has the right to do.  The laws in each state are starting to recognize that you a) don’t have a right to anonymity and b) an adoptee has a right to their own legal document of their birth (yes, with your name on it).



THIS IS GOING TO END BADLY


To all you adoptees out there who are trying to warn others out of reunion, shame on you.   

Your logic goes like this,


“Because my mom was a flake, then your mom might be too!”


“My friend’s sister’s cousin found her birth mother and she wanted nothing to do with her and she is devastated beyond belief”.


“This is such a huge risk and maybe you should rethink taking it”.


To all of you nay-saying adoptees who scare off others from their birth right, I really am disappointed in you.  I don’t have a perfect reunion.  I had to take risks even in the face of (seemingly) insurmountable odds (closed birth certificate, no contact with Agency for 40 years, had to hire a searcher) but I was willing to take that risk because my Chapter 1 was important to me. 

And I’m not going to sit here and warn somebody else not to do what I did, even if I personally had a poor outcome.  Even if I found out something difficult like I was a product of rape, I would never say, “Don’t open that can of worms” to another adoptee.  


Instead of being Negative Ned, how about supporting adoptee rights so our fellow adoptees (Adoptee Rights Coalition) don't have to feel like their only hope (because of discrimination)  is to hold up a sign on Facebook with a picture of themselves?
 

IT’S A SLAP IN THE FACE TO YOUR ADOPTIVE PARENTS


I saved this for last because this one really tans my hide.  WHY is it a slap in my adoptive parents’ face?  I know. . .I know . .. because they stayed up late with me when I was sick and made me chicken soup and because they saved me from a horrible, terrible situation with my birth mother and I should be forever indebted by giving up all my God-given rights to my heritage?  


I find this line of thinking incredibly insulting.  As an adoptive parent, I do not hold my child hostage to ever-indebted loyalty to never love another human being besides me. If she isn’t allowed to love the two people who created her, what kind of insensitive human am I?  If she isn’t allowed to have any love for her biological parents, is she not allowed to love her future husband?   If she marries a divorced man, is she not allowed to love her stepchildren?  

Biology aside, your child has a right to love anyone he/she chooses whether you like it or not.



During my reunion, I had to work through sensitive issues with my mother (my father is deceased).  I’m not going to say it was easy.  My mother had moments of sadness and jealousy for the most part she kept to herself (like good mothers tend to do).   

But my mother tells everyone who listens that Adoptees in most states are discriminated against. She is proud of me for doing what I believe is the right thing.  My mother and I have bonded over discussions about Richard Hill’s book (book) which she is currently reading and is thoroughly enjoying.  

She faced her fears and didn’t allow them to dictate her decision to try and make me feel bad about what I needed to do for my own mental health.


A parent should do what is in the best interests of their children, not the other way around.  Even when a child is an adult, the burden of doing the right thing is more on the parent than the child. 

And the right thing is to support your adopted child in any answers that child needs to feel whole and happy.  If that means you might have to work through some jealousy and uncomfortable feelings about birth family members, then do it! 


Do whatever you have to do for your child.  If you signed up for adoption, then this is part of the package.  And using guilt and superiority never works.  It only just pushes your child away from you.


Congratulations, Jenessa!  I hear you found your birth parents!  

Enjoy the ride!
















21 comments:

  1. I'll just share what I wrote as my facebook status today: I almost can't even process the statement "It's just DNA." I suppose you can put the word "just" in front of anything, but to me that's like saying "It's _just_ the essential building blocks of identity and self."
    www.rebeccahawkes.com

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  2. Lynn, you are on a roll! Beautifully stated.

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  3. Excellent post. I love the case you made against the "just DNA" argument. Well done! Sharing this on Twitter @AddisonCooper

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  4. Thanks guys . . .. love back to you:)

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  5. Yes, well done. Love this post! And love you!

    (I'm jumping off of MY couch shouting Halleluiah! LOL)

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  6. What a great post! This is my first time reading your blog but it won't be the last. Your two moms have a lot to be proud of. :)

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    1. Thank you, Eileen. I think they might be a little tired of my outspokenness . . he he . . . but the most part, I hope so.

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  7. Well said! I how this post gets traction and is shared widely.

    Your first reply says it: How *dare* anyone deny what all others take for granted! Searching for one's ROOTS is - or should be - no different for adopted persons than those not adopted. And DNA is nothing to sneeze it!

    We can pretend that our adopted families lineage is ours - our birth certificates even say it is so. But the truth is when it comes to medical history that's all a lie! Would the naysayers deny people their right to honest medical history that might mean the difference between life and death?

    As for the miniscule few mothers who live in fera of their own child - fiorst of all, shame on you! Second of all no laws protect the few. If you want anonymity, change your name! If you don't want contact don't answer the phone or hang up if it's someone you don't want to meet. JUST SAY NO. Anything else id equivelent to being able to obtain a restraining order because you FEAR something might happen.

    As for adoptive parents...if you rasied your child well and lovingly, you are no nmore "loosing" them or being insuilted than you are when your adult child marries. If you love them, you'd want them to have what is rightfully theirs and you'd understand their need to KNOW. Only a very insecure adopter would feel threatened. Get over it.

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  8. You are who you are. Well said! As a new mental health professional I am appalled that anyone claiming a title in the field can claim that genetics do not matter. Worse, the idea that a child has limits on who they can love?! WTF is that?

    Well, said!

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  9. This is a wonderful response. It shouldn't surprise me that people have been making negative comment's on Jessica's fb post. As both the bio sister of an adoptee who chose to seek us out as an adult as well as a birth mother who had a successful, if occasionally difficult, reunion, it never ceases to amaze me how people think they know how you should act and behave.

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  10. Oh my word ... "just a DNA"!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    As a birth mom I went through the absolute pain of making a decision that absolutely ripped my heart out!

    I was 21 at the time, so not as young as some birth moms and not as old as other birth moms, but TRUST me no matter what age you are it is NEVER easy to give a child 'FOR' adoption.

    It took me the whole 9mths to decide what I was going to do ... oh I talked to another birth mom who was 'forced' to give her child for adoption. She never got over it ... nope I didn't want to live like that! I talked to people that were raised by a single parent they thought it was fine. I spoke to a mother who had adopted twins and she NEVER wanted her girls to find their birth mom! I was TERRIFIED that this would happen to my child. I knew I didn't want that to happen either! I went through all the different scenarios that one could be faced with if I chose to keep my child. Oh it just about turned me gray and ripped my heart out with the thought of the struggles that may/may not take place.

    It wasn't until I was wheeled into the delivery room that I knew what my choice had to be. I knew for 100% certain I could be a mother, but NEVER could I be a father. So, I chose to give her to a very very loving couple. She was their first baby.

    It absolutely appalls me the attitude of some folks. They have NEVER and will NEVER walk even an inch in my shoes. To know or even begin to comprehend that pain a birth mom/dad go through in making a choice such as this gives them ZERO right to EVEN suggest that a birth mom/dad are just an egg or sperm donor ... we are MORE then that. Our choice was made out of nothing but LOVE!

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    1. Ange, your story broke my heart, but I applaud you for sharing it generously. Hugs to you!

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  11. Lynn. Love this, love this. Just DNA = B.S. Writing away from ,y computer, but wanted to say: Awesome.
    Laura

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  12. I sent that sweet 21-year old child a message last night on FB. I told her to be careful, to be private from here on out and to know she has a right to all this and more...a right to HER story!

    Lynn, you could not have said it any better...thank you for speaking what I feel when I am not ready to do it yet.

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    1. Thank you Julie. Your words made my day:)

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  13. Lynn - what a great post! Very well said on all fronts. I'm learning more and more each day and am grateful to you and others who choose to live in their truth regarding adoption. It gives me hope that state of adoption will change in the years to come.

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  14. Lynn - What can I say? You ROCK! I love you.

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  15. Love this post! :-) I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about the anonymity of the natural parents. My natural mother does not want contact and while I have respected that, I'm also incredibly angered by it. She made an irreversible, lifelong, life-altering decision for me and now it feels like she doesn't even have the guts to face up to it. I'm sorry if you don't want contact, I'm not asking for us to sit by a campfire singing cumbaya every weekend, but I think if you're going to put your child up for adoption you NEED to have the guts to at least spend a couple hours answering some basic questions. I spent 24 years waiting, wondering, agonizing, begging and pleading with God or the Fates or anyone to let me find her and she couldn't even spare me 40 damn minutes. If you can't do that then I'm not sure you should be allowed to make that choice because it is completely unfair to do that and make the adoptee NEVER have almost any hope of knowing why or how or some basics about who they are.

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  16. Hi Athena, thank you for reading and posting a comment. I'm sorry you didn't get your hoped-for meeting with your birth mother. I won't make excuses for her, other than to say that it's the system of closed adoption that pushes women who relinquish into shame and fear. Some are brave to step out and many others stay locked in their shame for life. It's not fair to you, and I'm sorry. I have many friends who have been denied, and they turn to other relatives, genealogy and DNA (which I myself have done as well) for some sense of identity and closure. I wish you the best!

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  17. the non adoptees think I am weird and don't want me around them its hurt my feelings I have nbody in my life because of these selfish non adoptees but the non adoptees love each other and don't reject each other they are willing to be kind to each other and understand ing with each other this sucks and is unfair

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