December 30, 2013

Two Crazy Things People Say to Adoptees

Today, I’m sharing two of the least favorite things I've personally heard as an adoptee, and why they have the distinction of landing on my least favorite list:

Photo Credit: Daquella Manera, Flickr
 “Your mother gave you life. That was all that was important. Just forget about everything else... whatever else you think you are missing out on that's so important. Life is all that matters. And, she gave it to you.”

I’m pro-life, as anybody reading here for a while, already knows.

Pro-life means just that -- life.

Many people are pro-birth, not pro-life. 

For such individuals, it's an extremely high priority to get kids safely out of the womb, but whatever injustices they have to go through after they get here are a moot point. 

Regarding the need for adoption reform, someone recently said to me, “Deanna, adoption is really okay the way it is. Whatever happens to these adoptees, it'll be alright, because children are resilient…” 

December 27, 2013

Adoption Search ADD and the Importance of Overcoming It

Taking me into his arms for a few moments before our Christmas Eve communion at the church, my husband made a plea for us to connect more.

Last year (2012), Christmas Eve ~ in the sanctuary before  communion. <3

It's not normally our custom to be distant, or for me to be pre-occupied.

But a search becomes all consuming at times.

And in searching for the family I don't know yet, I sometimes neglect the family I have. 

I hate it when I do that.

And I've realized, it's time for a course correction. 

December 26, 2013

Adoptees: Getting Your Spouse to Understand Holiday Triggers

Recently an adoptee asked me:   “Deanna, it seems like you have a really supportive marriage. How do you handle triggers at the holidays? What things does your husband do to help? Can you share this in a blog post?”

I agree that Larry is very supportive of me, in general.  At the same time, we still have challenges at times. This is normal for anyone -- not just adoptees. 

I am glad for the ways Larry is able to meet my needs, but I don’t look for him to meet all of them.  

My husband and I communicate a lot -- but on any one issue, his limit is about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, I still have a lot more talking to do. Whether it’s about issues I’m having as a mother, a pastor, a leader in any of the roles I carry, an adoptee, or anything else – I need a variety of friends for understanding and dialogue. 

December 23, 2013

This Adoptee Will NOT Miss Searching

“Don’t you love the thrill of the search? And, won’t you miss it when it’s over?”

An adoptee friend said this to me recently.

No. I will not miss searching.
At all.

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass, Flickr

Maybe some adoptees enjoy the rollercoaster ride of the search. For me, there is nothing fun about being in the dark and having to pursue the truth if you want to know it.

I find nothing thrilling about not having the basic answers about my origin.

Knowing who and where a person comes from is a human right. Adoptees have been stripped of this right by a man-made institution.  Archaic laws have the potential to keep us in the ghost kingdom - the land of the unknown, unless we take matters into our own hands to search our way out into the land of the known.

The majority of people in the world possess basic information about themselves and have never had to give it a second thought. They don't know what it's like to not know. So, at times it's hard to gain non-adoptees' support or have their compassion because they've never known what it's like to be us.
When you meet someone who doesn't walk in your shoes as an adoptee yet has compassion and actually extends a helping hand, it's an amazing gift.

I received such a gift, this weekend.  

December 20, 2013

Rebellion, Backsliding, Demons or Post-Adoption Issues?

Controversy Alert!

I know I’m fixin’ to walk where angels fear to trod. Chuck Norris said he wouldn’t even go there. 

I ate my literary Wheaties this morning.  
Buckle up people, hold on to the bar. 

Just a word to any of you who may want to go off on a rabbit trails that are irrelevant to the post... 

Don't. This is an adoption blog. So what we talk about here is in the context of adoption. This is not the place to discuss Justin Beiber's retirement.

Disclaimer for unbelievers:

Why do I share on Christian subjects when at least half of the readers here do not subscribe to any religion, many of them being atheists? Because part of the goal of this blog is expanding the Christian understanding of adoption. So please, unbelievers - have respect for the goal of today's post. 

And for the believers:

I’m a Christian and a pastor. But I am not here to argue theological issues.
I'm not that smart.

There are people (adoptees and nons alike) who e-mail  me as a result of reading this blog and  want to get into debates with me about the Trinity, eternal security, baptism, marriage, Pentecostalism, whether I baptize people in Jesus name or in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and much more. Go get some ice cream. Be happy. Live a little. Really, it's okay to breathe, my friend.

Let me say, I have my well- thought-out beliefs on all of those issues, but Adoptee Restoration is not the context in which I am going to debate it, publicly or privately.

Today's Topic As It Relates to Adoption:

In this post I’m going to discuss three things in relation to adoption:

1) Rebellion
2) Backsliding
3) Demons

No, I am not on drugs. Nor has someone hacked my blog.

December 18, 2013

I Would Love To Comment On Your Adoption Blog, But I Can't.

I hear this all the time.

The inbox is the most interesting.

It shows me how far we still have to go.

Consider these true stories. (All names omitted and a few minor details altered, to protect those who have reached out.)  
The Almost Adoption

There’s the pastor friend of mine who loves my blog because he was almost adopted. He has lived for a few decades of knowing what almost happened to him. He finds the blog fascinating because it gives him a window into what might have been.

His parents are church members who served in many ways in the church from the time they were just kids. Throughout the years they were choir members, Sunday School teachers, and whatever was needed in the church. They still serve today in many of the same roles. 

Back when they were barely out of their teens, and engaged -- his mom became pregnant and they thought their world had ended.  

December 16, 2013

Why I Am Going to Keep My (Adoptive) Mother
Guest Blogger: Karen Caffrey

She's been interviewed here before. 
Today's guest blogger is one of my favorite adoptees. 
One of my favorite therapists.
One of my favorite people in the world.

Welcome again to Adoptee Restoration... Karen Caffrey, LPC, JD


Karen Caffrey, LPC, JD
My mom has been on my mind a great deal lately.  As some of you know, I have recently become involved again in the adoptee rights movement.  The last time I did this so intensely it was 1998.  That was when my mom still drove.  When she still walked.  When she still smiled and laughed.  When she still remembered me, and my brother, and other people she knew and loved.  It was before she became so, well, still.

I think of her when I speak with legislators about the need to re-establish the right of access, which I had when I was born and adopted in Connecticut.  Sometimes I tell them stories about my mom.  About how she supported me.  And about the things she said and did.  About how I knew she had my back.

Then I read this post of Deanna’s about adoptive parents who deliberately, deliberately I say, adopted children from foreign countries because they thought they could avoid the grim reaper their child’s need to know their origins.  And I decided I wanted to tell those people, and the rest of you, about my mother.

December 13, 2013

Adoption: It's in the Bible!

I want my adoptee friends to know God’s love. 

I want them to see Him for who He really is.

Photo Credit: Ryk Neethling

I long for the whole world to know Him. If you are a Christian, I feel certain you join me in that desire.

Many adoptees have a hard time seeing who He is clearly because they keep hearing, “Adoptive parents pray for their children, and do what God did for us! Our adoptive parents pursued us, just like God pursued us and adopted us into His family!”   

When people share that what God does for us, by salvation, is the same thing as what adoptees receive from adoption as an institution -- created by man and regulated by the government --  many don’t want to say yes to God. 

They want to get as far away from God as possible.

Because if what God  can do for them is the same thing that a man-made government institution has provided, many of them think, “No thanks.”

December 11, 2013

What I Could Have Said to This Adoptive Parent...And Didn't. (Until Now.)

 “One of the main reasons we adopted our son from Korea was so we don't ever have to worry about the reunion stuff…”

Photo Credit: Okasafa, Flickr

This was said to me earlier this year by an acquaintance I hadn’t connected with since college.  A mutual friend had forwarded one of my blog posts to her and she wrote a note and sent it to me in response. The topic of my post was navigating the challenges of reunion. Her reaction to what I wrote was that she was grateful she would never have to deal with her son reuniting with his original family because she and her husband adopted from Korea.

December 9, 2013

Mark Your Calendars and Come Join Me!

Click to Enlarge

I've never attended an inner healing conference.

I've never hosted one.

In fact, when God impressed on my heart to lead one, I'd never even heard of such a thing.

Shortly after I had the thought during prayer many months ago that I was supposed to do this, people started asking me to. No, they didn't say, "Deanna, we want you to host an inner healing conference..." but what they did say was worded in such a way that it was basically what they were asking for. 

"Deanna, I wish you could get everybody together for a weekend conference that is focused on moving forward from hurts that we face..."

"Deanna, have you thought about planning a retreat where adoptees could focus on healing? I would like that very much..."

December 6, 2013

My Review of Philomena (No Spoilers!)

This past Tuesday I went to see Philomena with some friends from Adoptee Restoration Tampa Bay. We met for dinner a few hours beforehand and caught up on our lives before we settled in at the theater. 

After discovering we all like our popcorn drenched with butter, we got a huge stack of napkins, not just for buttery fingers but for what we already knew was going to be an emotional flick.

Photo Credit: Sarah_Ackerman, Flickr
After 213 previews, only slightly exaggerated, Philomena finally began and we braced ourselves for the emotional rollercoaster we willingly and even excitedly paid for.  I usually don't pay for triggers. This was an exception.''

December 4, 2013

When Should An Adoption or a Parent's Identity
Be Kept a Secret?

Monday night our family went out to dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday.  During the meal, one of our sons asked me what the definition of an "adoptee lite" is. I explained this term is often utilized in the adoption community when an adoptee has one natural parent and one adoptive parent.  Some also refer to this as a "half adoptee". They asked why that would be the case.

Photo Credit: Restricted Data, Flickr
I explained that in some cases, a person may marry a man or woman who already has children and adopt them. 

I also shared that at times, the adoptee is so young when this takes place, they may grow up unaware of the adoption if they are not informed. A woman may have a child and have no ongoing relationship with the father of the child. Or they may go through a breakup while the child is still very young and marry another man who raises them as if they were their biological son or daughter. Sadly, many choose to keep this a secret from the child.

Sometimes a mother may feel it is in a son or daughter's best interest that they not know who their biological father is. 

I didn’t stop talking when the server walked up to our table. As our evening came to a close my husband and sons headed to the parking lot first and Savanna Rose and I lagged a few minutes behind. As we were gathering our things to leave the server approached us and said, “Can I talk to you? I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation..."

December 2, 2013

Why Adoptees and Fantasy = Reality

"Natural children, who have parents, siblings, and other blood-related relatives, are grounded in a reality from which they can spin their images. But adoptees do not feel grounded or connected by any such reality. Much of their imagery is not centered on the adoptive family in which they live as if they belong, but rather in fantasy and imagination. They have a sense that their very perceptions are deceiving them. They have lost the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is supposed to be real." 

My natural hair color is brown.  

I knew little about my natural mother for the first twenty seven years of my life. So when I pictured her in my head, she was always a lady with brown hair. 

Imagine my shock when I knocked on her door the night we reunited and she opened the door and a blonde haired lady stood before me. (She colored her hair at the time.) I had thousands of fantasies about my natural mother and what she was like, and when we entered reunion I discovered many of my fantasies didn't match up with reality.