Friday, July 15, 2016

How Can You Support an Adoptee?

I arrived at the idea for this post thinking about all the amazing people I have met, seen and heard through the Facebook room called DNA Detectives.  The group is managed by genetic genealogists who spend hours a day helping total strangers seek out and find their roots - many of these members are adopted.  When I feel myself losing hope in my own search, I log into DNA Detectives and read posts about people who have searched for decades without much to go on, due to sealed records and secrets, but were able to get a breakthrough thanks to autosomal DNA testing.

So, what can YOU do to help an adoptee, even if you are not part of the adoption constellation? You don't have to be a birth parent, an adoptive parent or an adoptee yourself to do a few very important things to help adoptees find their roots.

1.  TAKE A DNA TEST AT ANCESTRY
My ethnic breakdown

Normally, the test at Ancestry cost 99.00 but you can get it on sale for 79.00.  How does this help an adoptee?  Simple -- every new tester in the database is a potential relative of an adoptee who is waiting for answers.  Using your saliva and a simple process of shipping via mail, you can learn of your ethnic breakdown.

Ancestry will also match you with your genetic cousins and statistically, you will be related to an adoptee somewhere on your tree.  Be sure to log in regularly to check for new matches.  Also check your messages both at Ancestry and your Message Requests folder on Facebook. My closest match at Ancestry has not logged into Ancestry in a year and she does not have a tree.  There are other steps to take after you test at Ancestry and joining DNA Detectives can guide you.  An adoptee will thank you for your efforts.

2  BUILD A PEDIGREE FOR YOUR FAMILY

When you have a well-documented tree on Ancestry, you are helping other members research their own genealogy and you are helping adopted people find their roots.  Your tree must be set to Public to help others.  Even when your tree is set to Public, your living relatives cannot be seen by other members -- only your deceased ones.


3. VALIDATE AN ADOPTEE'S NEED TO KNOW

This seems so simple that you are probably wondering why it is even on a list of things to do, which is what makes it so powerful.  Validate in words of support when somebody does not know who their biological family is and is taking active steps to learn about them. My husband always asks people who don't understand an adoptee's plight this question,

"Do YOU know who your mother and father are?"  (usually a yes follows this question).

"So, do I". (if you have ever heard my husband's deep, booming voice, you can imagine the silence that follows.)

4.  SUPPORT ADOPTEE RIGHTS.

This could be as easy as writing a quick letter of support to your state representative or sending money to an adoptee rights organization. Go here to learn more about adoptee rights.

The Adoptee Rights Coalition, which I am a board member, is a group of volunteers (adoptees and friends of adoptees) who travel at their own cost to the National Conference of State Legislatures annually to educate that adoptees' birth certificates are treated differently than non-adoptees' birth certificates in a majority of states in the U.S.  If you are able, please donate to the ARC to fund the NCSL 2017 Boston booth, go here (the donate button is to the far right)

Supporting an adoptee is as simple as words of validation, understanding and participation.

An adoptee in your life will thank you!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tending to my Own Garden by Seeking My Roots


After spending a decade privately compiling information about my relinquishment, adoption and birth family, I created a search team to help me look at my search with new eyes.  This team has uncovered stacks of information from various sources.

However, I still do not know the man who fathered me.  I know quite a bit about him through my DNA, interviews and stories I have learned of over the years, and my Non-ID.  I just need that special clue that will set me in the right direction.  That is where you all come in!

It's hard for me to ask for help; however, I am no longer alone.  I have a whole adoption community out there that want to help me and for that, I am very grateful.

Sometimes you have to be realistic and accept that even though certain secrets and lies are old --- really old --  family members many times die with their secrets.  DNA testing is helping so many people, but with my father being a recent immigrant to the country, I don't yet have a cousin match to identify my paternal family.  (Hint:  If you want to help an adoptee or others separated from family, spend the $79.00 to test at Ancestry).

There are people who are alive right now who know my story.  I have been advised by one of them to tend to my own garden and just be happy.  (I always find it humorous when a non-adopted person in one breath is bragging about her own genealogy, but then in the next breaths assumes that if I am looking for the truth about my ancestors, I must not be happy). 

Some refuse to reveal the story.  Others don’t know they have information that could be helpful.  That is where this graphic comes in.  This graphic was created by an adoptee who is part of my team who has walked this path before me.  Her support has been invaluable.

My hope is to reach a wider audience with these graphics and generate some leads.  

Thank you in advance for sharing this blog and/or the graphics!