Tag Archives: Adoptees

The U.S. Census and Adoption

I don’t want to dwell on being adopted. It really shouldn’t affect my life. I got the family I was meant to have. I believe it. However, I’m surprised how I’m constantly reminded I’m an adoptee.
I got a form from the census bureau in the mail today. I was instructed to go online and answer some questions. One in particular really surprised me. They wanted the relationship of children living in the house. They listed the usual: son, daughter, parents, etc. then they added step children and adopted children. What does being adopted have to do with the census? I thought, by the process of adoption, one became the “real” child. Why make this distinction?
Then, they wanted to know my ethnicity in detail. The country of my origin. What about adoptees who don’t know their background? They don’t have a check mark for “don’t know.”
Really.
This morning on The View, actor Jay Thomas announced how he recently reunited with his son. And they were so much alike. What about the non-celebrities who can’t find their birth families?
My favorite. I just received test results warning me that I am pre-diabetic. After cutting out almost all sugar from my diet and adding exercise, my numbers are getting worse. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have recently learned this condition, for me, is genetic. My two bio half-sibs had, have diabetes. One passed away very young.
Like it or not, an adoptee rarely forgets they are adopted.
I know I don’t.

What reminds you about your adoption?

My memoir. How I found my bio family.

My memoir about how I found my bio family.

To Angry Adoptees

I am an adoptee. I believe I have the right to my original birth certificate that has been denied to me by the state of New Jersey. That being said, I need to point out that I am not an angry adoptee. Yes, I did have a love/hate relationship with my mom. Notice, I said “my mom.” I didn’t say, “My adoptive mother.” My mom was my real mother, whether she gave birth to me or not. Giving birth doesn’t make a person a mother. What makes a mother is someone who feeds you, takes you to the doctor when you are sick, cares for you, makes you study, scolds you when she feels it’s necessary, or just when she loses her temper as we all do. A mom does your laundry, cooks chicken soup and cries at your wedding.

My mom was not perfect. She had a bad temper. And she made me practice the piano far too many hours for someone who obviously did not have enough talent to become a professional pianist. Maybe she had more confidence in me than I had in myself.

My mom was a great cook. I did not inherit my mom’s metabolism, or thick curly hair. I did not inherit my mom’s artistic abilities. But when my children beg for more of my chocolate cake, I tell them their grandma taught me how to bake.

By accident, I joined a Facebook page for people who are against adoption. People who hate their adoptive parents. Every time I logged on to the site, I read about adoptees who hated their a-mom. Despised their a-dad. They spent countless hours waiting to meet their bio-mom or dad. They fantasized about the woman who gave them life, then let them go. They put these people on a pedestal, assuming that they have spent countless years praying for the day when they would be reunited with the child they had to give up.

There are far too many women who were forced, or coerced, to relinquish their babies. This is one of the worst tragedies ever. How dare someone, a stranger, a relative, tell any woman or young girl that it would be better for another family to raise their child? How could anyone say that getting a college degree is more important than keeping your baby? Your flesh and blood? After she gets the degree, she could spend the rest of her life analyzing how she sold her soul, her child, for a piece of paper. A piece of paper that could have been postponed.

Shame on all the “grandparents” who refuse to help their daughters, those who didn’t plan on getting pregnant, raise their child and instead, force them to relinquish a part of them. A part of their family.

A greater shame on any politician who even dares an opinion on a subject that is non-of -their business.

Yes, I believe that adoption should be the last choice. The first choice would be for the birthmom to stay with the child.

That being said — I need to point out that the birthmother does not always want to meet the child they gave away. Yes, that may be hard to swallow. But for many, and I have read countless stories of heartbroken adoptees praying for the love of their birthmoms, who have experienced great disappointment. Many birthmoms, unfortunately, have moved on. Many have a new life. A new family. They don’t want to meet the child they relinquished for adoption. Or perhaps, they just want to know they made the right decision. They want to meet, but not have a relationship. Many adoptees have trouble accepting this.

For those who dislike their adoptive moms, I want them to know there are, I’m sure, just as many people who hate their bio parents. As I said before, giving birth doesn’t make one a parent. Pick up any newspaper, go online any day, and you’ll find stories about birth parents, natural parents, beating their children, locking them up, starving them, tossing them out on the street, or allowing a “boyfriend” to have his way with them.

Giving birth has nothing to do with parenting. Adopting has nothing to do with parenting. Parenting with love is all that matters. We need to do away with the labels. A mom is a mom. A dad is a dad. The only thing that matters is love. And remember — ultimately, we make our own families. We choose who we love. We need to love ourselves. We need to let others be human.

Angelina Jolie had Mastectomy to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie announced to the world that she had a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting breast cancer. She says she hopes her story will inspire other women fighting the life-threatening disease.

Jolie wrote in the New York Times on Tuesday the operation had made it easier for her to reassure her six children that she will not die young from cancer, like her own mother did at 56.

“Like her own mother did.”

Jolie, for whom money is no object, chose to pay the $3,000 to be tested to see if she carried the faulty gene which would put her at a higher risk for both breast and ovarian cancer.

When she tested positive, Jolie said her doctors had estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. “Once I knew this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy,” she said.

As an adoptee, when I go to my doctor and I’m questioned about my family medical history, all I can answer is, “I’m adopted. I don’t know.” For millions of adoptees like me with no medical information, we are at a loss. We don’t know if we are at risk for breast cancer. We don’t know if we should spend $3,000 to see if we carry the faulty gene. We don’t know if we are at risk for heart disease, or diabetes. We just don’t know.

When will adoptees finally be able to get access to their family history, their medical backgrounds, and other vital life-saving information? When will all adoptees be able to have access to their original birth certificates which most likely hold clues to information that could save their lives and the lives of future generations? When will the Federal Government step up to the plate and unseal the birth certificates of all adoptees rather than leave that determination to individual states? I was born in New Jersey. Governor Christie vetoed a ruling that would have allowed adoptees to get their birth certificates saying changes were needed “to avoid any unwanted breaches of privacy, and the potential chilling effect on adoptions.”

What chilling effects? From reading many letters from birth mothers, they want to know that the child they gave birth to is healthy and happy. Many women who gave birth before adoptions were legal also fought to pass the bill saying the adoption agencies never promised confidentiality. If Governor Christie won’t unseal my birth certificate my only other hope is to wait for the Federal Government to unseal my birth certificate.

But I’m tired of waiting. Everyone involved in my adoption has passed away. Will I have to wait until I’m buried to obtain my original birth certificate?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.