Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kenny Loggins and Adoption Themes in his Music

Kenny Loggins and me in 2011
I really don't know why I've waited so long to blog about Kenny Loggins because he is  my number one favorite musical artist.  And it's not because he is handsome (which he obviously is) and it's not because he wrote and performed Footloose (because he did), it's because of his deep understanding of human emotions.

I don't believe Kenny has any connection to adoption; however there are many adoption themes in his music.  Over the years of listening to his music (not to mention the four times I've seen him in concert), I've come to realize that his story is everybody's story and that is what makes him wonderful.  I've always admired Kenny's ability to be honest, and speak his truth, even if the truths weren't popular.

One of my dearest friends, placed her daughter for adoption and she said every time she hears Forever by Kenny Loggins, she cries.  I have listened to it and studied the lyrics and I would have to say, hands down, it is one of best songs I have heard of that describes what a first mother must feel when she is letting go of her child to adoption.  The lyrics are here:

Now, while we're here alone
And all is said and done
Now I can let you know
Because of all you've shown
I've grown enough to tell you
You'll always be inside of me

How many roads have gone by
So many words left unspoken
I needed to be by your side
If only to hold you

Forever in my heart
Forever we will be
And even when I'm gone
You'll be here with me

Once, I dreamed that you were gone
I cried out trying to find you
I begged the dream to fade away
And please awaken me
But night took a hold of my heart
And left me with no one to follow
the love that I lost to the dark
I'll always remember

Forever in my heart
Forever you will be
And know that when I'm gone
You'll be here in me
Forever in my heart
Always thought I'd be
I'd be yours
Forever

The other song that really strikes a chord full of emotions with me is Kenny's song "The One Who Got Away".  When my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny in person in 2011, my husband shook his hand and said to him, "You made a grown man cry".   

This song is probably the most powerful song ever written by Kenny (maybe a tie with The Real Thing).  The story goes that he wrote the song to his estranged son; however, the adoption themes in this song are truly powerful.

You were the quiet one
Afraid to sleep alone

Heaven knows, I was lonely too
Some things in life a man

Can't learn to live without
One of those things was you

Who the good guys are
Who the bad guys are
Isn't always clear

In this world of separate houses
Someone's always missing someone
Day after day
And year after year

Though you and I are distant
Don't ever think I didn't want you
Or miss you every day

No matter where life takes you
Know that I'll still be waiting patiently
For the day that you've forgiven me
My son

The One That Got Away

It's all of the little things
That add up to a life
'N it's been so hard
Being outside looking in

You had hundreds of first times
I didn't get to see
That will never come again

How do we catch up
Is there just too much
Stolen history

In this world of separate houses
I want you to remember

That you'll always be
Inside of me

Though you and I are distant
Don't ever think I didn't want you

Or miss you every day
No matter where life takes you

Know that I'll still be waiting patiently
For the day that you've forgiven me

My son

The One That Got Away

You're carryin' an anger
that does not belong to you

'N I'm sick and tired of doin' time
For a crime I didn't do

I miss you every day
No matter where life takes you

Know that I'll still be waiting patiently
'Cause I do believe in you and me

And I trust that someday
You'll no longer be

The One That Got Away

The Final song I just discovered after posting this blog is aptly titled SWEET REUNION!

No lyrics necessary . . . just LISTEN!


 





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!
















Friday, January 25, 2013

The State Stole My Birthright



My original birth certificate 


I woke up this morning thinking about how the state stole my birthright and I felt indignant.  

This is not anything new, for those of you who know that I participate in Adoptee Rights; but I have, as of late, been thinking about it in a new way.


The state of Illinois, with all its wisdom and power, hid from me for 40 years of my life, my God-given human right to know my mother’s name.  And the state of Illinois got away with this injustice by using faulty laws that violated my due process rights.  What is due process?  A right that every United States citizen has.  Let’s look at some definitions:


"No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property or of any right granted him by statute, unless matter involved first shall have been adjudicated against him upon trial conducted according to established rules regulating judicial proceedings, and it forbids condemnation without a hearing, Pettit v. Penn., La.App., 180 So.2d 66, 69." Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 500.


"The essential elements of due process of law are notice, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to defend in an orderly proceeding." Fiehe v. R.E. Householder Co., 125 So. 2, 7 (Fla. 1929).


"To dispense with notice before taking property is likened to obtaining judgement without the defendant having ever been summoned." Mayor of Baltimore vs. Scharf, 54 Md. 499, 519 (1880).


"An orderly proceeding wherein a person is served with notice, actual or constructive, and has an opportunity to be heard and to enforce and protect his rights before a court having power to hear and determine the case. Kazubowski v. Kazubowski, 45 Ill.2d 405, 259, N.E.2d 282, 290." Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 500.* (www.criminalgovernment.com)


So I return to my original premise that the State (of Illinois) stole my birth right.  I was an infant when my adoption occurred.  I had no attorney of my own protecting my due process rights.

The state of Illinois, up until 2011, withheld all adopted citizens’ original birth certificates from them, with the exception of those very few adoptees who had a "match" in Illinois' useless adoption registry.

A U.S. citizen in this country who cannot get the legal document of their own birth?  Seems preposterous but absolutely true for the majority of adopted citizens in this country. 

It is even more ridiculous when you factor in the post-911 problems of some adoptees’ not being able to obtain driver’s licenses and passports. 


In Illinois, an adoptee within the Circle of Trust pushed a bill to open Illinois adoptees’ original birth certificates and even though the majority received those unsealed original birth certificates, a minority still cannot access theirs.  So now, the minority adoptees are stuck with a terrible situation.  Why?   

It’s called a Disclosure Veto and this is where the state gives a minority of birth mothers the power to deny an adopted citizen their right to an accurate copy of his/her birth certificate.  So now we have gone from the State violating the adoptee’s rights to allowing another U.S. citizen to violate an adoptee’s rights.  And we call that progress?


As somebody who was born in the state of Illinois in the 1960s, I was deprived of an opportunity to be heard and protect my rights before a Court (my adopted parents’ rights were protected though).    

My God-given right to know my family name, to know where I was born, to enjoy relationships with members of my birth family, to know which diseases run in my family and to know when my mother began menstruating and went into menopause or if she had breast cancer,  to see somebody who looks like me, to know what strengths and talents run in my family, to be able to build an accurate family tree in fourth grade, to know my ethnicity, and to hear my birth narrative that didn’t start with


 "And we picked you up at the adoption agency . . ."



All were stripped from me, a U.S. citizen.  


My pursuit of happiness was sidelined while others’ happiness was put first (my original mother’s and my adopted parents’).  The adults in my adoption case had their legal rights protected but mine were not considered important. 

I acknowledge that my right to be a legal member of my new family was itself a protection by law; however, this protection came at a cost of violating my other rights as a human being and a U.S. citizen.


 And the cycle continues.


My daughter, who is 8 years old, was adopted in the State of Ohio.  

Her birth certificate – her most important first piece of paper that tells her something about who she is and where she came from- is being held under lock and key at the Vital Statistics of the State of Ohio.   

She may be able to lay eyes upon it when she turns a certain age that Ohio deems appropriate.  But Ohio adoptees born between 1964 and 1996 cannot join my daughter in that right to obtain her original birth certificate.  

What the state of Ohio didn’t consider when creating their faulty laws is that now-adult adopted citizens who were deprived of life and liberty would never allow their own child to experience the same thing.  


I have a copy of my daughter’s original birth certificate sitting right next to me that does not include a legal fiction that I birthed her.   I have her amended birth certificate also sitting right next to me that shows I birthed her (it’s amazing how documents can change biology!).  


Lucky for my daughter, I ordered her birth certificate before her adoption was final.  I urge any adoptive parent who can, do the same. Or better yet, DEMAND from your attorney that you receive a copy before it’s sealed.


As an adopted U.S. citizen who is raising another adopted U.S. citizen, I will fight for my daughter’s civil, legal and human rights and those of other adopted citizens. 

Because as a U.S. Citizen, I find it abhorrent and unacceptable that the majority of states in this country continue, each day, with each new adoption, to steal somebody else’s birth right.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why I am testing my DNA



Many years ago, I researched getting a DNA test to obtain information about my ethnic background and missing paternal line. As most of you know who read this blog, I was adopted through closed adoption and had no information about my biological family for 40 years. At the time I was researching, the only two DNA tests offered were:


1.       The Mitrochondrial DNA that goes from mother to daughter and

2.       The Y-DNA that goes from father to son

There was no DNA test at that time that would tell a female anything about her paternal line.


Recently, I was asked by Lost Daughters (www.thelostdaughters.com) to review Richard Hill’s new book:  Finding Family:  My Search for Roots and the Secrets in my DNA.  I was thrilled because I had already been researching the book on my own and was preparing to order it.  Apparently, the universe was one step ahead of me.


I read the book over the Christmas Holiday (see review ).  I was so impressed not only with how well the book was written, but I had hope for the first time in years that I may find my missing paternal line.



So Hope has been reborn!  Reading over Richard Hill’s DNA Testing Advisor (here) helped me to select the correct DNA test for me (Family Finder).


My lack of knowledge about my ethnicity has been a huge thorn in my side my whole life.  I have always wanted to know what my family background was.  Having a Generic Ethnic look doesn’t help because there is never any shortage of opinion of where I come from (I dedicated a whole blog to this issue here). 

I learned in 2006, on my maternal side, there is German and Scottish.   I am really looking forward to having the missing ethnicity on my paternal line.


So today was the Day of Swabbing. (this video was helpful in showing you how to swab properly ).   I swabbed my cheeks before dinner and then again at 10:30 p.m. Tomorrow, I will drop my DNA in the mail to Family Tree DNA and will await the long four to six weeks for an email with results.


I plan to blog in the future about the outcomes I learn of.   I hope you will come along with me on this journey or better yet, embark on one of your own!