Former Angry Adoptee- Stop the Blame Game

Once upon at time, I was an angry adoptee. I wrote columns and commentaries railing against the big bad system that had placed me in a unsafe home and stolen my documentation, along with my identity.  Of late, I have read quite a few blogs and posts by adoptees who still reel in a emotional whirlwind of hate and blame.

Yuliya Nemova/Flickr

Blame by Yuliya Nemova/Flickr

These ‘blame the birth mom’, and ‘adoptive parents are greedy’ commentaries, make me realize that I’ve entered a new realm of adoptee reality. I am no longer a proponent of  blame. Nor, do I hate the people who placed, abandoned or adopted me.  In its wake, hate has been replaced by the realization that adoption is a necessary but flawed system.  Just ask a foster kid who awaits a forever home. Without the system, too many children would face a lifetime of broken promises and emptiness where connection belongs.

People who enter the adoption triad rarely do so knowing how it will change their souls and life paths. It is easy to blame, but far better to look at our adoptions as one more example of human frailty.  All segments of the triad suffer some sort of  catastrophic break.  As adoptees, our shattered identities often take a lifetime to find and stitch back to the shadows of our lives. We deserve to know where we come from, who we looks like, our genetic identities.

I see my old self in the faces and words of  blaming adoptees, and  I ‘m not sure whether it is age, or finding my family at age 27, and knowing them for twenty years that transformed anger to action.  I just know that I feel better these days, and have much more empathy for all sides of the triad.

Birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees can not be defined with a single sweeping categorization. I have seen attacks on each group of the adoption triad, and whether in it by choice or happenstance, attacking a group as if they are all one kind, is immature and hurtful.

The adoption system requires a transformation to open access for all. It should encourage the retention of identity and all first life connections.  It should not make anyone wealthy. There should  be no lies or altering of documents involved in the placement of children.

Like all things worthy in  this world, adoption should be honest, caring and healing.  The fact that the adoption system is in dire need of an overhaul does not  give us permission to play  the blame game,  attacking members of the adoption triangle. It is time to embrace change with action, not anger.

Blessings for a less angry adoption transformation,

Waving Backwards, a Savannah novel (SYP Publishing)
Imagine not knowing who you are,
until you find yourself in a statue 800-miles from home.



Huffington Post: Good News from Adam Pertman on Adoption Rights

Hooray for the Huffington Post article titled, ‘Equal Rights for All: It’s Finally Time for Adopted People, Too’ by Adam Pertman! Adam is Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; and author of ‘Adoption Nation‘ and ‘Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men‘.

Pertman writes about recent debates over marriage rights for homosexual Americans, and how the fight for equality is much akin to the often ignored rights of adoptees.  Adoptees in nearly every American state are fighting the good fight for equal access to their original birth certificates. Pertman shares good news on this front,  telling us that, “Change is in the air…, and a grassroots adoption-reform movement — akin to the one that led to the marriage-equality cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court — is growing.”

Pertman also takes on the common (and mistaken) belief that open records will result in untold calamities for everyone in the adoption triad. To prove his point, Pertman links to three readily available reports on sealed adoptions and the real-life outcomes of open records legislation.

Pertman writes, “All this information, and far more, is contained in two comprehensive, research-based reports published by the Adoption Institute, “For the Records” and “For the Records II.” Additional information is contained in testimony that I have provided on behalf of the Institute in various states that have considered OBC legislation in recent years, for example in Maryland.”

Equal rights means everyone!  Please don’t miss the article. It is a well-documented look at the issues that define the plight of adult adoptees in America. Bravo Adam, well-done!

Blessing for equal access to your OBC,

Sealed Birth Certificates: Violation of Civil Rights?

One year ago, Adam Pertman, author of the  book, “Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America,” wrote a ‘Huffington Post‘ article comparing the withholding of adoptee’s original birth certificates, to women’s suffrage, and the fight for African American equal rights.

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Pertman wrote, “it’s about providing legal and moral equality for a segment of our population that is not generally perceived as deprived of any rights: the approximately 7 million Americans who were adopted into their families. And the right denied to most of them is so basic that it almost sounds like a joke: access to their own original birth certificates.”

I agree, wholeheartedly. As an adoptee who found both birthparents, and openly shared this with both adoptive parents, I am still denied my original birth certificate.  Who are they protecting?  In New York, where my adoption took place, records for all traditional adoptions are sealed. This is the case in most American states.

Adoptees should have the same right to information as everyone in America. We did not sign any papers, approving the withholding of information, and should not be held accountable for the actions of adoptive and birth parents, especially once we reach adulthood.  While so many, fight hard for American Civil Rights, our minority is expected to accept the indignity of a stolen identity with a shrug and a smile.

Pertman, a non-adoptee, concluded in the Huffington Post article,  “We should care, and we should feel outraged, for the same reason so many men supported suffrage for women and so many white Americans joined the civil rights struggle — because we should find it offensive when any minority group in society is deprived of equal rights.”

Bravo, Mr. Pertman, Bravo! You can learn more about the man and his Pulitzer-nominated work at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute site. Pertman is Executive Director.