Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Look Back Over 2015

Can you believe it?  Another year is drawing to a close and like many of my friends and readers, I am looking back in amazement at 2015.  December in Ohio has been unusually warm and I have been loving it. (Not a fan of winter!).  My daughter received a bike for Christmas and was riding it around without a coat on Christmas Day!

Today, this New Year's Eve, I want to focus on the changes in the adoption community I have witnessed in 2015 because truly, it has been a momentous year in that regard.

March of 2015 was HUGE for adoptee rights when the state of Ohio opened up original birth certificates and adoption files to adopted adults who were born in the years 1964-1996. This new law finally righted a discriminatory three-tiered law withholding original birth certificates from some adoptees based on their years of birth.

I was excited that the Dayton Daily News had front page coverage of the law change and other articles in major cities around Ohio were also writing about the change in law.  What a whirlwind!

I attended the Law Event  in Columbus, Ohio and the ceremonial walking to Vital Stats as a large group of 400 plus adopted adults made the journey to request their original birth certificates.  Myself and two other adoptees I was rooming with joined the walk, even though the three of us already had our own original birth certificates (two were born pre-64 and being an Illinois adoptee, I have my OBC).
(left) Sen. Beagle (middle) Rep. Antonio, (right) Sen. Burke (adoptee receiving his OBC)

It was just such an amazing thing to be part of the wave of excitement as it built up to March 20, 2015.  That was the first time I was surrounded by so many adopted people in one location.

As weeks went by and we all returned home from Columbus, most of us (plus others who did not attend the event but who ordered their original birth certificates) were part of a private Facebook room, where day by day, we would witness the announcements that somebody else received their birth certificate in the mail. Pictures would be seen of the adopted person holding their original birth certificate and status updates included myriad reactions to learning previously unknown facts.  In the coming months, reunion photos would be posted, status updates of joy and tears and sometimes, deep sadness. Learning previously unknown facts about ones life (and for some who choose reunion) is an emotional roller coaster and unlike during the time of my own search and reunion, this time, I rode the wave with others who supported one another.

Paige and Becky (two adoptee authors) in Columbus, OH
Also leading up to March of 2015, a group of 30 adoptees (myself included) completed a year-long project, The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools. The purpose of this book project was to support other adoptees feel less alone and misunderstood as they navigate adoption landmines.  The book also tries to balance the "happy, happy, joy, joy" of adoption in recognizing the deep losses and struggles that adoptees face throughout their lives.

Each adoptee featured in the book contributed an essay, but this truly was more than just a book project -- it was a private space that many of us could bond together in a way where we felt understood. That is the beauty of the adoption community as I have experienced it.  Validation.

With the book came my first experience venturing into the publishing world, which was a bit intimidating, but ended up being a very positive experience for me (however, formatting is an adventure  I want never to repeat!). Overall, Indie Publishing through Create Space/Amazon was a positive process, user-friendly and one I highly recommend to others who have a "book in them."

I also want to announce that I am looking forward to the publishing of another book project I have contributed to with the working title, "It's Not About You" (a guide for adoptive parents) in addition to working in the coming year with an adoptee/journalist for her future book project currently untitled.

And speaking of exciting book projects, another biggie I took part in during 2015, with the book becoming available just in time for National Adoption Awareness Month in November, was Flip the Script.  This anthology features an impressive line-up of all adoptees who share essays, artwork and poetry.  Isn't the cover amazing?

If you are not familiar with #flipthescript, the hashtag refers to Adoptees taking back the narrative of adoption from those in the the media and elsewhere who have historically spoken on our behalf (sometimes referring to us as "adopted children") during National Adoption Month (November).  NAM 2014 marked a social media movement where adoptees used the hashtag #flipthescript on Twitter, Facebook, etc. to demonstrate that adoptees can and will speak for themselves about how we have lived and experienced adoption.  

If you truly want to be an adoptee advocate (and I hope all adoptive parents everywhere do!), then please consider purchasing adoptee authored anthologies.

2015 marked my continued involvement in being part of a movement of adoptees, first parents and adoptive parents coming together in the adoption community with common goals to educate and support others.   Being part of numerous adoption writing and/or support groups, it's always so amazing to hear common themes from all sides of the adoption triangle and know I am not alone in my struggles.

One project in particular I was honored to participate in during 2015, was the first annual Adoption Summit Experience 2015. You can learn more about all the presenters here. I especially recommend the video about the Betsie Norris Story by Jean Strauss which will explain how Betsie fought to open Ohio birth certificates for several decades.  My contribution to the Summit was a video which, if you missed it, you can watch here.

It was a real pleasure to meet others in the adoption community who also have made their life work around adoption education and advocacy.  I hope you can join us next November if you missed this year's event.  It is completely free and on-line!

One final thing I would like to touch on is the support group through Adoption Network Cleveland that I have had the pleasure of being involved in.  We have been going strong for a year and a half with a gradual increase in attendance and it's looking like we have finally found a permanent home.  If you live within driving distance of Dayton, Ohio, I hope you will join us the third Thursday of the month.

It's been such a blessing meeting others in the adoption triangle and hearing their life experiences in a confidential setting. I hope to see you there!

I wish everybody a happy, healthy and joyous 2016!








2 comments:

  1. What a great summary of a remarkable year!

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  2. You have been busy Lynn!! Thanks for all you do to support the Adoption Community!

    ReplyDelete