Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Adoption

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately. I confess that, for the most part, these blogs are focused on adoption, specifically adult adoptees.

I believe it's important for adoptees to be open about their adoption experiences. Legislation currently is not on our side. We have no rights to our own information. Perhaps, if we're more open with our stories, we'll be able to educate the general public about adoption--and the importance of giving adoptees rights. Personally, I won't consider donating to the ACLU until they decide to support the rights of adoptees. Currently, their stance is to make sure that birth mothers' privacy is protected--forget about the person who was given away to strangers and has no medical information--and that many birth mothers would like to find their relinquished sons and daughters.

Personally, I have very mixed feelings about adoption. My concern is that a number of adoptive parents shouldn't actually be parents. However, I hate to tar all a-parents with the same brush, because I know some a-parents are fantastic parents.

I am adopted. I have always known. I can't remember not knowing. I have always been very open about--even when I was a little kid. I've always announced it to people. I think it drives my mom nuts.

My parents had four kids the... standard way. Then my mother had twins who died at birth. The doctors felt that my mom shouldn't have any more babies because there would be a very strong chance that any future babies would die at birth as well. This was in the 60's and my mom has a rare, negative blood type. After four years--and I'm not sure when they decided to adopt--they got me. In my opinion, I really scored (well... for the most part) in the family department. I have four older brothers and sisters who absolutely adore me. Suckers. My personality, even as a baby, was (and is) completely different. Rather than the shy, nervous babies who cried when people looked at them, she had this appalling good natured baby who loved everyone. I still hear stories about what an adorable kid I was. I would puke over the cuteness of it all, but I am a Leo.

I absolutely love my mom and my brothers and sisters. They're fantastic! I remember my brother taking me with him on dates and when he was out stealing cars. I remember intentionally sticking my disgusting smelly sneakers under my sisters bed to drive her insane. My sisters used to force me out of bed in the morning to french braid their hair when they were in high school (closest thing to slave labor--I didn't even know how to do laundry until I was 19).

So, I have a wonderful, perfect family. Really. It's weird. Every sibling is now married with children. Everyone has a degree and a decent job. We're total WASPs. Well, I don't have kids--and I'm only getting married now--when I'm on the far side of 30.

The only real negative of my childhood was my a-dad. He left when I was one. Because my adoption wasn't finalized at that point, the adoption agency tried to take me away. My grandfather (one of the last decent lawyers--known as "honest Bob" fought the agency to keep me. Luckily they won. My mom had full custody and my brothers and sisters and I saw my a-dad every Sunday.

My a-dad ended up getting in a spot of trouble (thank heavens--our family was just too normal). He ended up embezzling about a million bucks. I guess it was to support his two families. He was disbarred and eventually he went to jail for writing bad checks. I remember the last time I called him for his birthday. It was like pulling teeth to get him to speak. But, he has always been like that. My mom said it was horrible when they were married--she was home with kids all day and he would never speak when he got home. So, I stopped calling him. I decided I was done trying to cultivate a relationship with him. I mean, it's not like I'm even his real daughter. He left when I was one. Should I really feel bad about it? Well, I've been trying to talk myself out of feeling bad for about 20 years. Isn't that a laugh? He's not just a bad father to me, he's also a bad father to his homegrown kids too. He's a recovered alcoholic who still plays the "nothing is my fault" game.

So, I'm getting married in... ARGH... less than 3 weeks. I didn't invite my a-dad. Have I mentioned that his wife is the shining incarnation of pure evil? She's the meanest. I didn't invite them. I barely feel like he's my dad. My dad is my stepfather--who I didn't meet til I was 18. So, I'm trying really hard not to feel guilty about not inviting him. But, it's not like I'll ever hear from him, so why worry?

Anyway, enough about me. Adoption is weird. In spite of the one (BIG) negative of my situation, my adoption story is pretty nice. I'm not ashamed of being adopted, it's more like a badge of honor. I wish Bastard Nation gave out cards to members so I could tell people I was a "card carrying member of Bastard Nation," rather than just being a member. But I don't think my feelings are standard. And I think it's important that people know that many stories aren't all sweet and rosy.

12 Comments:

Blogger elizabeth said...

Miss Keeks are you reunited with your birthfamily?

And many congrats on your upcoming wedding!

8:14 PM  
Blogger Miss Keeks said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I haven't found anyone yet--but my info is out there. I assume nothing will ever happen, but you never know!

Thanks for the congrats. It seems weird. I know I'm over 35, but am I ready for marriage??

6:10 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Damn, I'm sorry you haven't found your birthfamily :(

And nah, it doesn't seems weird. I'm 36 and I still feel I'm much too young to get married. Maybe when I'm 40?

3:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

I wouldn't have invited him either. I'm truly glad for you that you have the family you do...and that you know it.

3:39 PM  
Blogger kim.kim said...

What a fabulous post, you have such a fun way of writing. Your husband to be is very lucky. I thought your comment on Mia's blog was hilarious.

1:11 PM  
Blogger carmachu said...

Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

And while I see your point, adn understand what you want and your concerns(medical), some folks may not want to be found. And in fact, the ACLU is correct(for once) on the privacy point. Its not JUST for you, the adoptee, but also for the Adpoters, and interference from the birth mother/father once its finalized.

Friend of mine adopted a little girl a year ago, and the stories of court issues till they FINALLY got the severence and all the hearings out of the way was a nightmare.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

I would not have invited him either...
Love is where your family heart is...
Be true... and you are getting married...
How beautiful is that?
Love each other!!!!

8:09 PM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

P.S. It is a wonderful journey... 17 years... and I love him truly, madly deeply...
I hope the same for you both...

8:10 PM  
Blogger Miss Keeks said...

Hi elizabeth, I generally don't feel too bad about it. Mostly because I can't imagine how the relationship would be. But I tell you, it'd be really nice to have some idea of a medical history!

Kevin, Me too! But wait till I blog about my future mother-in-law. And she seemed so nice.

Thanks Kim!

Carmachu, from your comments, I believe you're considering the issue from the adoptive parent's perspective. Frankly, after the adoptee is 18, who cares about the adoptive parent?? Frankly, my mom is the woman who took care of me my entire life. Nothing can ever change that. But if she was offended by me developing a relationship with any biological relatives, that would likely be a product of her own insecurity (which is silly--nothing could ever interfere with the bond I have with her) and not out of any sense of logic.
Personally, if someone's birthparent wants to contact their relinquished son or daughter to let them know any medical information--or anything at all, it should be their right. This issue is empatically not about minors--although many adoptions today are open and the birthparents are allowed access to the adoptee.
I repeat--not about children or minors--but about adults having the rights to their own information.

Thanks, Pen--I hope we have the same experience. And you're right about family. I was just saying the same thing to a friend of mine who has a horrible family!

7:18 AM  
Blogger AMYADOPTEE said...

I really love your blog. I just started noticing that you are popping up everywhere. Its fun and light hearted. I started that way too. Until I finally searched and hit a stalmate, she refused contact. Because of that I can't have access to diddly squat. Like you I have a wonderful mom. My first adoptive dad probably shouldn't have been selected for father material. Yes life has had its ups and downs with my a family. I am glad that it was selected for me. My birthmother seems to hate the female sex. Her sons have more validity that I and her granddaughters ever will. So I am stuck in between the adoptive and birth parents. Fortunately my mom doesn't pull on me like so many other ppl have to deal with.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Miss Keeks said...

Hi Amy, I assume that because I can't find any information out there, that my bio-mom isn't interested in contact. I don't know about you, but I was born in the late 60's. I think attitudes were different back then.

I think it's horrible when bio-moms refuse to give any information. Or to even meet with the adoptee. I guess it's hard for a birth parent to understand what it's like growing up with absolutely no biological connections, no biological medical history and no sense of familial history. It's not the greatest thing in the world.

11:23 AM  
Blogger BethGo said...

I thought the same thing Miss Keeks until I found my first mom in December. She had been looking for me for years but we never crossed paths because she was off on my birthday by one day (totally understandable when you think about it). We had even both registered with Soundex and were not matched because she said she was POSITIVE on my birthday. Turns out she wasn't. I've now seen my original birth certificate. My birthday was correct.
I don't think you can assume anything when it comes to adoption.
BTW I really like your blog.

1:57 PM  

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