Friday, April 3, 2015
Lisa and I have met in person a couple times -- once we met half way between our houses (I am in Ohio, she is in Indiana) to have lunch and do a little shopping and another time, Lisa joined my daughter and I for a weekend trip to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. We were like two giddy teens hanging in the hotel room together. I love meeting adoptees in real life whom I have shared many conversations with on-line first. And adoptee-bonding time is the best!
Lisa is an Indiana adoptee in reunion with both sides of her biological family. She wrote an essay titled, "Discovering the Real Me" for The Adoptee Survival Guide.
Hi Lisa! Thanks for joining me today!! I was curious -- what made you want to write an essay for The Adoptee Survival Guide?
I wanted to write an essay for The Adoptee Survival Guide, because I wanted to let adoptees know that they're not alone and there is a way to come out of the intense grief with a newfound sense of hope. I share my story to give guidance on how best to deal with reunion and its aftermath, and the hope that something good can come from all the pain we as adoptees have experienced.
I know you are from Indiana, can you share with the audience your experience searching for birth information in Indiana?
I didn't even think about searching for my birth family until I turned 40 which was when I started coming out of my adoption fog. I hired a confidential intermediary to contact my birth mother who then chose to not have any contact with me which ended my search for a couple of years. In 2013, I did DNA testing and with the help of a wonderful search angel I was able to locate my maternal birth family.
When reading your essay, it was really hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that your birth mother barred you from her funeral. Is there any lessons from this experience you can share?
Obviously, I was devastated at the time, but I realize that my birth mother wasn't rejecting me but rather the memory of what I represent which was a painful time for her, and she just couldn't deal with that. I'm sorry I never got to meet her, but I forgive her. I have 3 siblings on my maternal side, and I had a 6 month relationship with 1 brother that I no longer have contact with. There is no guide book for reunions, and I know I'd do some things differently if I could such as not have such high expectations of my brother. I think with reunion you do the best with what you have and, I've learned from my mistakes. I'll never regret finding my birth family as I've found myself which is the greatest gift there is. I pray for reconciliation with my brother and a relationship with my 2 sisters if that's what the Lord wills.
I know you are attending college for a career change. Can you share what prompted you to want to work in the field of adoption?
I plan on becoming a trauma and attachment therapist, because I want to help my fellow adoptees heal and find their true passion and purpose in this life. I want to help them see that they matter, and their lives have meaning. There are so few counselors who have any real understanding of adoption issues which I find to be sad, but I feel with being an adoptee that I have a unique insight and can use my experience to help and educate others. I'm even educating my Psych professors now which is pretty darn cool!
What is the status of adoptee rights in Indiana?
We're finally beginning to make some progress in adoptee rights in Indiana. We currently have a bill that's being held for amendments in the House with the hope that it'll pass out of committee for a full vote on the House floor which would then go to the governor. The governor objects to the amount of time that a birth mother would have to be notified if she wants to redact her name from the original birth certificate. I hope the right thing will be done. I feel very positive that the tide is turning in favor of adoptee rights in IN, and that we'll no longer we treated like second class citizens.
Thanks for the great interview and for all your hard work on this book! Glad to call you friend
Thank you, Lisa, for joining me here today!
For information on Indiana Adoptee Rights, go to the Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records.