April 29, 2013

The Black Box Under The Bed
(And How It Helped Me Find My Brother)

Have you ever played hide and seek and found yourself underneath a bed?  Perhaps all of us have been there at some point in time. Laying underneath my adoptive parents bed during a childhood game, I felt a large, cold object. I pulled it out from under the bed into the light. It was a black metal fireproof box. Curious, I opened it. 

Photo Credit: misha.ilin, Creative Commons

Unfolding the parchment-like papers, my eyes fell upon my original name for the first time.  I knew I was adopted, but all of this was new information. Adoption and name change papers declared that the child relinquished by an unnamed woman, and given to my adoptive parents, was named Melanie Lynn Alley. 

I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I found the box. I just know I was still small enough to fit underneath the bed. I couldn't lift my head but I could squeeze underneath there and hide. 

I stared at the papers trying to reconcile that Melanie was Deanna and Deanna was Melanie.  

April 26, 2013

Significant Loss & Trauma Related to Adoption:
Interview with Bonnie Martin, MEd, CACS, LCPC

Photo Credit: KetuGajjur, FlickR
When I started this blog, I expected to gather some adoptees together for healing, and hopefully educate some Christians in the process. I've been overwhelmed and humbled by unexpected responses. Many educators, social workers, licensed professional counselors and therapists (both Christians and non-Christians) have reached out to me to thank me for what I write here. 

Over and over I hear, "You're doing an important work here, Deanna. Please, don't stop." 

I believe adoptees are the experts on adoption because we are the ones who actually live it. But we're not alone in understanding the complicated realities of adoption.  Many experts possessing specialized education, professional experience and licensing also believe and declare what many of us adoptees know to be true.
I am going to feature them in a series of posts to come, entitled, "Ask a Therapist".  I'm incredibly excited to introduce the first therapist to be interviewed -- a personal friend of over 25 years. I admire her so much, for many reasons, one of which is the work she is doing all around the world in bringing hope and healing. 
Bonnie Martin, MEd, CACS, LCPC is a therapist specializing in psychotherapy for adults, young adults and adolescents. Her more extensive bio is featured at the end of this interview.

April 24, 2013

Adopted Reality
(A Conversation With Laura Dennis)

I recently shared about reading an awesome memoir, Adopted Reality, by my dear friend, Laura Dennis. This week we chatted about the book, and particularly about adoptee resilience and dealing with judgmental attitudes. We're sharing our chat publicly on both of our blogs today and invite you to join us in chatting in the comments. (You can read the other half of our conversation at Laura's blog, today.)

April 22, 2013

The End Doesn't Justify The Means

Photo Credit: Kate Dahlquist

 When I was searching for my original mother, a few people who supported me in the search told me to do whatever I had to do, including lying if necessary, to find her. 

There were plenty of occasions to lie. 

But that didn't sit well with me, as much as I desired to find her.

I never wanted anything so much in my life. As I searched I was often asked if I was adopted by those holding information I needed.  I learned that those who are overjoyed at helping people with genealogy often change their tune very quickly when they find out one is adopted. 

April 19, 2013

Adoptees: Why Are You Focused on the PAST?

"Why don’t adoptees just move on?"

"Why do you dwell on the past?" 

"You need to move forward! Yes, things happened in your past -- but you don't have to stay stuck there..."

I’ve heard all these things and more, mostly from those who are not adopted.

Photo Credit: Nasrulekram, Creative Commons

April 17, 2013

What About the Fact That It Was MY BIRTH Didn't They Understand?

The world does not revolve around me.
I know this.

My birth, on the other hand, does revolve around me. Or it should have.

It was MY birth.

Adoptees are the only people on the planet whose birth seems to revolve around others, not the actual person who is birthed.

Photo Credit: Jencu, Creative Commons

April 15, 2013

The Only Secret In This House Is Victoria's Secret!

I hate secrets, more than anyone could ever imagine. 

I hate them more than the lines at Walmart registers on a Saturday.
There are still secrets regarding my adoption. Recently one was revealed to me that has been kept for all this time. It was assumed that it was the revelation of the secret that upset me, but that is not the case. What hurts isn't what I do know but what I still don't know. 

Information is readily known, yet it is kept from me.

Photo Credit: Paulius, Creative Commons

April 13, 2013

Adoptee Restoration Tampa Bay
(Better Than the Prom)

"How did it go??" 
"How did it go???????"
"I'm dying to hear how it went..........."

I'm getting this in text, private message, and Facebook status updates from all over the world.  Friends are asking about the first ever Adoptee Restoration Tampa Bay search and support group that launched today.

It went amazzzzinggggg!!! 

I only blog at Adoptee Restoration on a Saturday or Sunday under very special circumstances, and this is one. 

Here are the deets...

We wanted to show some love Celebration Church style, so we welcomed them in with chocolate and flowers. 

April 12, 2013

Adult Adoptee Abuse...
What Is It and How Should We Respond?

Let’s say a person has encountered a trauma in life. 
Pick a trauma, any trauma. 

After their experience, they attempt to share.

Processing their feelings is important.

They long to talk about it. 
Even though they are scared.

Helping others, even sparing them of the same pain is a goal.
Speaking about it publicly takes courage. 

They may lose more than they’ve already lost.

The hurt may be greater for a while.
Yet they take a brave step and lend their voice.

Many don't believe their trauma is real. 

Instead of  listening and making an effort to understand, people who have not been through this experience (or even some who have been through the same experience, but appear unaffected)  swiftly move in to ask them to be quiet. 

April 10, 2013

Dear Deanna: Can I Have Joy And Be Adopted?

I’ve received a lot of private letters from readers of this blog. Many of them are so thought provoking. Some issues I am admittedly not as well versed on, and  request insight from my friends in the adoptee community. I always respond and let people know I care even if it takes me a while to answer them all. I decided to start a new series here called “Dear Deanna.” From time to time I’m going to publish letters that come to me, with permission of the writers. Today's post is the first. All names and identifying info have been changed when requested. (The writer of today's letter preferred her real name be used.) Although the letters are addressed to me, I would very much like the community’s help in answering them. You may contribute your thoughts in the comments. I have invited the writers of the letters to also chime in on the comment stream anonymously or with their names -- however they feel comfortable.  Today's question is a spiritual one, from a fellow Christian-adoptee. Here we go...  

Photo Credit: LucastheExperience, Creative Commons

April 8, 2013

What Does Adoptee Resilience Mean?

Some friends have been relentlessly encouraging me to be good to myself,  so I gave myself permission to put housework aside and  read the book Adopted Reality, by my good friend, Laura Dennis, this past Saturday.   

Curling up under my down comforter leaning against a bunch of pillows, I read it in it’s entirety. Alternating between laughing and crying, I couldn’t help but come face to face with Laura’s resilience again and again.

(If you want to put off your chores and do something much more fun, you too can read the  new and updated 2nd edition of Adopted Reality as it is now available FREE on pre-release at Story Cartel.) 

April 5, 2013

And Then There Were Two
Guest Post: Lee H.

Today’s guest post comes from someone I met here at Adoptee Restoration. Lee is an adoptee and  frequent commenter here who has become a treasured friend.  She has never written an actual blog post about adoption before this. I have been encouraging her to step out and share her heart and her experiences of life as an adoptee. She is getting braver and making many changes in her life regarding her adoption. One of those she is going to share with us today in the post. I'm really proud of her and I know you will come to love her just as I do. ~ Deanna

My name is Lee H.  That is not really my name, but when I write about things related to adoption she is kind of my soul sister.  I write using her name because I still have this overwhelming desire to protect the people that I love and care about.  My story is still emerging, and even though I could come out and be the person I am in my day to day life this just feels safer for everyone right now.

April 3, 2013

The Night I Melted Down at the Movies

Two years ago my husband took me on a date to see the movie October Baby. He had no idea the trigger that would result or he would have never made this choice. He doesn't take me on dates to slay me emotionally.

Photo Credit: Sarah_Ackerman, Creative Commons

The movie portrayed a late discovery (young adult) adoptee, Hannah, who found out she was adopted only because of serious medical issues that arose. She had always felt that something was amiss, her journal revealing a young lady feeling out of place and depressed. One day during a theatrical performance, she collapsed on stage, resulting in the family doctor encouraging her parents to tell her the truth of her origin. Her parents always felt it best that she not know about her adoption due to circumstances of her conception and birth. (She was birthed after a botched abortion. Her twin did not survive.)

After disclosure about her adoption she began to search for her original mother while her adoptive father did everything in his power to stop it.  He even forced her (young adult) boyfriend to break up with her because he had assisted her in the quest to go on a trip (without her parents permission - gasp!) to find her original mother. 

April 1, 2013

Adoptees: Why Can't You Just
Be Okay With the Unknown?

"Your pressures are fine,"  the eye doctor said to me last Monday. "Things are looking good. Any history of glaucoma or high blood pressure on either side of your family?”

“None on my maternal side that I know of, no clue on the paternal side as I’m adopted and don't currently have information about my father's side,” I answered.

Photo Credit: FeatheredTar, Creative Commons