Sunday, October 20, 2013

Search Angel Help Requested: The Legacy of Adoption Loss

I am seeking the help of search angels for my former foster son (details at the end of this post), who found me about a year ago on Facebook. Scott calls me Mom, because sadly, though he was part of our family for less than a year, I am the closest thing to a mother he has ever had.

Scott's life has not been easy. He was dealt a rotten trifecta: taken and placed for adoption as an infant, rejected by adopters as a teen, only to find original family in a shambles, unable to be of much positive, constructive help. Scott has spent a good deal of life behind bars.

He is free and sober now and trying to get on track. But his job opportunities are severely limited because of his tangled identity. He cannot prove who he is!
Scott was born and adopted in NJ trough DYFS. Despite his female adopter telling him to "get out of here" and "go find your 'real family'," she refuses to be of any assistance and he has no birth certificate - original OR amended! 

Any suggestions or help would be most welcome.
The Back Story
My firstborn, Alicia, was born July 15, 1967. She was lost to adoption six months later, in early 1968.

In 1971 I married and moved from NYC to NJ start my life over as a suburban wife and mother. To redeem myself... maybe to prove myself.

Once settled into our new little cape cod house on Meadow Road, with no conscious connection, I began calling adoption agencies and telling them I'd like to adopt an "older" child of about 3 or 4. I thought, like many do today all the old cliches about their being so many kids who need homes and it would be a righteous thing to do.  A liberal act of altruism, not infertile desperation.  I was quickly told that "older" meant 10-12 and put the idea to rest.

I never made the connection that I was trying to replace my Alicia, who would have been the age of the child I was seeking, until much, much later. Was I also trying somehow to justify and believe the brain washing that adoption is a good thing, for the best?  Was I trying to make penitence for having "given away" my firstborn child? I gave one away so I will take one?

It was almost as if I was saying: "I'm ready for her now, God. I can give her that two-parent home i was told she needed and deserved."

During the next decade I had three children born 1974, 1976 and 1979. Two boys and a girl. I was labelled by family and some friends as "super mom" for home birthing, breast-feeding and always having a baby in a sling or back pack... never putting them down or letting them cry. "Spoiling" them by some standards of child care.

These were the happiest years of my life!  I felt fulfilled, and for the first time in my life proud of myself for my accomplishments in raising these three healthy children. (I had proved "them" all wrong." I WAS a fit and capable mother!)

Being a mother was so wonderful, there I was once again on the telephone inquiring about fostering. I went through the training and told them I wanted to foster teens. The year was 1983 and again, I made absolutely no conscious connection that I was seeking a teen to add to our family!

The folks at DYFS were ecstatic. they said that is the hardest population to place and the most in need. (The did send me a little girl first. Another tragic story, I won't go into...)

And then they sent David (now Scott) to us!  We welcomed him into our family with a big WELCOME HOME sign.

In a bizarre twist of fate, I quickly learned that David had been adopted as an infant, his adopters divorced and a-mom decided he was too much for her to handle. She had him living in the garage for some minor, teenage behavioral incidents at school.  And then, when he was 16, she dumped him into the foster care system and he came to live with me!

I found David's original family, which was not as much of a blessing as we had hoped for.

I look now at the photos and it so very clear to me today that as much as I ADORED my three kids, and had recently found Alicia,  something - someone - was missing from from our family photos.  

David was born April, 1968, just months after I lost Alicia.

Below is Alicia with my kids and I when I found her -- ironically, when she was 16.

Alicia is on her knees so I could see all of their faces together. 

Had she stood for the photo, it would be just like the other photos here.

The subconscious has a mind all its own and compensates in ways we may never fully come to grasp. And what a tangled web it can weave.

Born Scott Woods 4/12/68 in NJ to Delores Fleischer Woods and Roy John Woods. Adopted in NJ by Loretta (Stern) Lippe and Gary Lippe and named David Lippe.

He has been using his original name Scott Woods for decades but has neither an original or amended BC and cannot get photo ID.


Robin said...

Was Scott's experience what caused you to connect the dots and realize that adoption does not always lead to a better, forever home for the child?

Mirah Riben said...

No. If you check you will see that by 1981 I was writing and having articles published about sealed records, etc.

Years before, in the late 70s, a member of my La Leche League group's adopted husband searched and was reunited. I was initially very shocked to learn that any adoptee actually wanted to know their mother. I thought they would hate us. They introduced me to ALMA. By 1980 I co-founded the original Origins in NJ with four other moms.

At the in-person support group meetings and through our national newsletter, I was shocked yet again at the number of mothers finding kids in far less that the perfect homes we'd been promised. Some kids had died. Some abused. Some abandoned. One of our members got her child back because the aps didn't want him!

I began collecting news clippings of adoption horror stories. The horror stories kept coming and became my first book, "shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption." Took me several years to write and more to try to get it published till I finally published myself in 1988.

Mirah Riben said...

It was because of my involvement with search and reunion that I was able to find Scott's family for him.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget