Some people fight for their sister, standing by them when they go through breast cancer or some other serious illness.
I fought for my sister, just to see her face, to know her name, to have her in my life.
Years before I found her, I knew I had a sister by birth.
I had no idea what she was like, nor her name or anything about her.
But, I knew from non-identifying information from the adoption agency, that she existed.
Like the majority of other adoptees, I was up against a system that doesn't give us the information that is rightfully ours, to make connections with members of our first family.
All I can think of when I ponder this reality is, "How sick is that?"
What kind of a person or system forcibly keeps people from their family?
I'm going to share my answer that I gave her, here in this post.
First, for anyone who is doubtful, let's establish why healing is needed in the first place.
Julie Kelly: Adoption is not a one-time event. It is a lifelong experience. We will never be UN-adopted. Being an adoptee will forever color the way we see the world and events. Yes, adoption has a legal start date. Just like I was married 27 years ago, and I'm STILL married.
Rebecca Hawkes: What? Julie, are you telling me that you STILL haven't gotten over being married? What is wrong with you!?
Julie Kelly: I think adoptive parents tend to look at adoption more as a legal event that added a child to their family and that it's all over now after the judge signs the papers and they get the child home. That's adoption to them - going through the hoops to obtain a child and then finally getting one. For us, it's only just the beginning of the adoption experience. It literally never ends.
An adoptee processes how their adoption impacts their life, throughout their life.
To proclaim: "they're over it!" is not only naive, but inaccurate.
Is the adoptee still alive?
Then they are still processing their life events.
with whom I shared a queen-sized bed for the weekend. Sherice has trauma in her background. When she was a small child, her parents abandoned her repeatedly, even in other countries -- leaving her to find her way home. This unfortunately happened many times. She had to learn early on, how to survive.
When we went to sleep the first night of our retreat, something interesting happened. We were both on our own sides of the bed, not touching whatsoever. But, feeling slight movement at the bottom of the bed where my feet were, she softly said, “What are you doing?”
Sharing your truth with a stranger, colleague, friend or family member...there it is.
a mechanism that forces an object backward.2.
opposition or resistance to a plan.3.
the forcing of an enemy to withdraw.
They try to tell you how an adoptee should feel or what they should believe, even though you have been adopted all your life, and they are not.
One thing many of the people who collaborated on our adoptions never considered was that one day we'd all grow up and have a mind of our own.
And some of us...would be brave.
We would go on to actually find our voice.
We would take courage and speak.
We would change the world as we know it.
I recently became acquainted with a first mother/birth mother named Lisa who writes at Living Through Today. She left a comment on my blog and I then started reading hers. Her journey will turn your heart inside out, unless you don't have one. I read this post and needed a box of Kleenex.
|Lisa & Brit, Photo Credit: Living Through Today|
Lisa was led to believe that her daughter Brit's adoption would be a completely open one, with a mutual exchange of information and visits. But shortly after the adoption was finalized, everything changed. Not only that, but as soon as they adopted Brit, they immediately underwent fertility treatments and got pregnant with twins. Once the twins were born they immediately became pregnant with another child. When it is all said and done Brit's adoptive parents will have four children under the age of three. The family structure and open adoption arrangement in the way it was originally communicated are all completely different from what Lisa was promised when she was encouraged to sign the adoption papers. My heart breaks for Lisa and Brit. And although I have so many thoughts about this situation, the one I have most is this:
Brit will not always be a baby.
She is going to grow up.
She is going to have a mind of her own.
She is going to exercise it.
And it's going to scare the living heck out of those who tried so hard to control everything.
It seems many more turn away from God.
I get why.
I have served as a pastor for 25 years. And yet, even as a vocational minister, I understand the rationale that brings many adoptees to the place where they want nothing to do with God. Between questioning what kind of "God" could possibly plan or allow their relinquishment and adoption, to the cruel responses they get from Christians concerning their feelings about adoption or their search for their original family, their exodus from God and the church is not a mystery.
It is common for adoptees to receive messages from religious people throughout our lives:
"God planned you, as a gift to your adoptive parents."
"You are a special child...chosen by God to be adopted."
"Your adoption was ordained by God..."
"God knew all this and had a plan worked out for you to be with your adoptive parents..."
When adoptees struggle with post adoption issues and try to come to grips with the significant losses that have occurred in our lives, who do we blame? Of course it's only natural to pin the blame on God, since after all, everyone's been pointing to him as the mastermind of our adoptions for as long as we can remember.
I'm just warning you in advance. Maybe you should go now to get a piece of chocolate to soothe yourself once you're done reading.
My word of the year is BRAVE, so here goes.
I'm not referring to compassionate people who appreciate what we have to say and tell us something was hard to hear because they feel sympathetic. I'm talking about those who want us to stop. Basically their, "wow, that was hard to hear," means, "Your story or your perspective about adoption makes me uncomfortable and I really wish you wouldn't share it."
The feeling is definitely, "I wish you wouldn't have spoken up and said that. It hurts and it makes things harder."
Up until the recent experiences I referred to in this post, nobody has ever asked me, "What was it like for you, growing up adopted?" or "How are you now with everything concerning your adoption?"
When I reunited with my original family, nobody asked me if everything was okay or how I was doing in the reunion process, which can be very challenging. Not one single time was I asked if I was alright or if I needed help.
It was a scary time for me, daring to open up and write about my experience, feelings and beliefs about adoption .
I feared people's reactions, but not enough to suppress my truth anymore. I bared my soul at Lost Daughters, and hoped for the best and braced myself for the worst.
I'm not talking about being so open minded my brains fell out, but simply thinking realistically. Some views just don't hold up when you follow them all the way through.
One of the arguments that just doesn't work for me anymore is when Christians claim that children should be relinquished and adopted by a couple who can provide more for them financially. If you look at this in a completely pragmatic way, it just doesn't add up, pardon the pun.