Friday, April 20, 2012

Adoption's Legacy of Shame, Silencing of Truth, and Censorship

On March 29th I blogged about adopting for convenience and wrote in my comments about how I was threatened with removal from a Yahoo group email list for professionals, though many (most?) seem to be adoptive parents who are also "professionals." I guess my authorship granted me entree. The group is described as being for adoption professionals and advocates, rather than for consumers of adoption services. Its purpose is to provide a place for professional-issues networking between support group leaders, web site moderators, and counseling, legal and social work professionals working with prospective adopters, birthparents, and adoption-expanded families.

I was sanctioned and warned to cease posting links to "negative" articles.  Seems discussing the causes and possible solutions for adopters who abuse their children or terminate adoptions is off limits.  The group which ironically identifies itself as an "umbrella group" implying it would be embracing of all in the adoption constellation, has censored me and any and all postings that express the pain and loss of adoption labeling such truths as "bitter."

In the following post, reprinted with permission, Triona Gaudry talks about the silencing of adoptee voices within the adoption community. This denial of the truth and disallowing of all voices to be heard is hurtful to those being suppressed and damaging to those who are denied the full truth of the adoption experience.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I Am Adopted. I Am Shame.

I hate holidays. I get this innate, overwhelming knowledge that somewhere nearby, in this very city, my birth relatives are gathering for tradition and celebration. Except me, of course, since I'm not supposed to exist.

Except I KNOW. I can feel it in my blood, like a rising tide. I should be with them. Blood calls to blood. But I'm not, and even if I knew their names or where they were, they wouldn't welcome me.

I'm a secret.

I am shame.

I'm a bastard.

My distant Irish ancestors weep. They want to know why I am severed. I have no answers. I'm not allowed to have answers.

My children ask me questions. I have no answers. They're not allowed to have answers, either.

My mother's brief contact revealed little about my life.

It was a mistake.

I'm a mistake.

I don't exist.

My mother doesn't want me to exist.

If I did know who and where my birth family was, and I was stupid enough to go there, they could easily have me arrested. My mother filed denial of contact with the state, criminalizing me for wanting my original birth certificate. Never mind that I have zero way to identify her. Never mind that the incompetent Illinois CI program gave her my identifying info without my consent. She knows exactly who and where I am yet I still have nothing.

I am a criminal for wanting to know my origins.

I am a criminal for continuing to want to know my origins after being told to shut up and go away.

I am a criminal for publicly disagreeing with adoption policies and practices.

I am a criminal for standing up for myself.

Meanwhile, everyone's talking about all the lucky Illinois adoptees who are getting their birth certificates. Oh, except those who were denied. And those from certain adoption agencies who are essentially filling in the blanks with, "We don't feel like telling you." And those whose information was never recorded, was recorded in error, was falsified, was destroyed, is mysterously "missing," or exists in another state or country. Hmmmm. That seems like a lot of exceptions for a law that gave "all" Illinois adoptees their rights.

I am a pariah for not sacrificing myself so others can have access.

I am a pariah for standing up for left-behind adoptees.

I am a pariah for not accepting the status quo.

I am a pariah for insisting upon equal rights for everyone.

I hope my mother is reading this. I hope the Illinois politicians are reading this. I hope every single person who is getting their Illinois OBC is reading this. I hope every last one of you who has ever supported a conditional law is reading this.

And I hope all my fellow nonexistent denied bastards and our counterparts, those uppity hell-raising first mothers, are reading this.

If we are shame... then so are the people who shame us.
Check out 16 comments to this post at 73Adoptee.

"....replace the voice that only whispers about your pain and loss with a strong and unwavering one, and be prepared to tell your story with courage and conviction, to add your voice to all the others, never to be silenced again." Pemina Yellow Bird (2000) 

"I never gave then hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell." Harry S. Truman

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