Where I’m coming from

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(Originally written Nov 25, 2013) I’m new at blogging. It was pointed out to me today that readers have no idea what my story is, so they can and do come to conclusions that are not correct. That’s my fault, I apologize, and I hope to fix it now.

Obviously, I’m an adoptee. I’m part of the Baby Scoop Era, born in the early 1960’s in Washington State. It was a closed adoption, as they all were then. Our family doctor facilitated. He also delivered me. There were so many babies available then that it was not unusual for a doctor to handle adoptions instead of an agency or lawyer. There was very little money involved. Just court costs. So it was all on the up and up.

My adoptive parents knew as much about my birth mother as she knew about them, which was precious little. This was also the standard of the day. Why I was given up was obvious: My biological mother was not married. At that time, white, unmarried women could not and did not keep their babies. Not without great suffering. It was all but impossible. So I was adopted by a happily married couple who could not have their own children and I went to live in the country.

<cue heavenly music>

I started this blog is so others who may feel as I do can find a connection. That even if they also had great a-parents and a great upbringing, they had built-in complications, built-in pain, and unavoidable grief. I want other adoptees to know it’s normal to grieve what could have been. That it’s okay to be angry at a system that kept them from their biological family and still keeps them from their own records. That it’s not rainbows and unicorns for anyone, just because they were adopted.

And yes, I know it’s true for everyone, adopted or not. The problem is, society still likes to believe the myth. So if adoptees don’t play along and say, “Oh, I’m so glad I was adopted! I am so grateful! My adoptive parents are my real parents and the only ones I could ever want!” they are labeled ungrateful, spiteful, bitter and angry.

Adoption as we know it is not normal. Baby Scoop Era adoptees have lived a bizarre social experiment that failed. It doesn’t mean the million+ of us are uniformly miserable, or equally content. We are individuals with our own unique stories, with the common thread being adoption. It factors in a lot or a little, depending on the person. For me, it was a lot. For my adopted siblings, not so much. That doesn’t invalidate my story. It just makes it my story.

So, if it helps, here are my core beliefs on the subject:

I am for

  • Truth and transparency in all adoption proceedings
  • Not-for-profit adoptions
  • Completely open adoptions
  • Fostering
  • Adopting from foster care
  • Inter-family adoption
  • Helping struggling mothers and fathers without demanding their child in trade
  • Adoption to give a child a home, not to give an infertile couple a child
  • Full rights as heirs and citizens, fulfilling the “as if born to” promise
  • Unrestricted access to original records by the adoptee
  • Acknowledgement that pain is inherent in adoption, as it is in divorce

I am against

  • Sealed records
  • Veto power on unsealing records
  • For-profit adoptions
  • Closed or secret adoptions
  • Quickie adoptions with almost no waiting period
  • Wannabe adoptive parents having more legal power than original parents
  • Buying, selling, and trading children online
  • People helping themselves to other peoples’ babies because they think they love them more
  • Promoting adoption as a win/win
  • Trolling for “birthmothers”
  • Promoting a fake “orphan crisis” to harvest foreign children
  • The belief that birth mothers live in perpetual poverty, that birth fathers are non-existent, that adoptive parents are better because they are adoptive parents, and that adoptees are forever children.

That’s off the cuff, but covers the important aspects. I also want to publicly state (as public as a made-up name on the internet can be) that I adore my adoptive parents. I do not resent them. They never expected me to be grateful. I wish everyone could have parents as accepting and respectful and patient as mine. They will always be my parents and and I love them very much.

I also love my birth family, including and especially my mother. I never felt abandoned or rejected. I know she did what she had to do and she did it with grace. I admire her and I love her. And I am very glad I searched.

It’s the rest of the world I have a problem with.

I welcome comments and emails. It was because of a comment that this post was written.

Thanks for reading,

~Elle Cuardaigh “She searches”

Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread and contributor to The Adoptee Survival Guide

email: ellecuardaigh@gmail.com

twitter: @ElleCuardaigh

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