I Fought For My Sister!

Photo Credit: Generationbass.com, Flickr
Some people fight for their sister on the playground, when a bully picks on them.

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?



Adoptees: In Position For Healing!

Recently, a desperately hurting adoptee asked me, "Deanna, can God really heal post-adoption issues?" 

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.  
 
Photo Credit: Harry2110, Flickr
You can find links with a lot of information about post-adoption issues on my blog's resource page,   but today I'm going to share a part of a conversation that was on a private Facebook discussion with the Lost Daughters bloggers. I am doing so with the permission of the two writers involved, Julie Kelly and Rebecca Hawkes. (Two women I am abso-freakin-lutely crazy about.)
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.
I agree with Julie and Rebecca.

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 that said, does this mean an adoptee can't experience healing?

When Adoptees Face Push Back

You've faced it before.

Sharing your truth with a stranger, colleague, friend or family member...there it is.

Push back.

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass, Flickr

push·back

[poosh-bak]  
noun
1.
a mechanism that forces an object backward.
2.
opposition or resistance to a plan.
3.
the forcing of an enemy to withdraw.
They are dismissive of your feelings, and your story.

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.

Their Greatest Fear: Adoptees Grow Up
And Think (And Speak) For Ourselves


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. Whodathunkit? People with brains...

And some of us...would be brave. 

Freaking 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.

Why Many Adoptees Kiss God & the Church Goodbye (And Why I Didn't)

Some adoptees turn to God.

It seems many more turn away from God.

I get why.

Photo Credit: C. Sexton, Creative Commons
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.

Everybody's Going to Hate Me For This Post

I have tons of conservative friends. And plenty of liberal friends. And a slew of them in between. I have many dear friends who are pro-choice, and lots of them who are pro-life, like me. Although I love all of you, I'm pretty much going to tick all of you off today.

 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. If you are among my liberal, non-AG minister-friends, go to the fridge and grab yourself a Corona.

My word of the year is BRAVE, so here goes.

Photo Credit: paulinaclemente, Creative Commons

One Way Adoptees Can Respond
to Challenging People

My last post  was about people who feel threatened and respond to our personal narrative or sharing our view about being an adoptee with, "Wow, that was really hard to hear..."

Photo Credit: Suchitra, Creative Commons

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."


"This Was Really Hard to Read..."

When adoptees share their truth on blogs, I've noticed that adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents (AP's and PAP's) often chime in on comment threads with, "Wow, this was really hard to read..." or something similar.


Photo Credit: Caitlinator, Creative Commons

The feeling is definitely, "I wish you wouldn't have spoken up and said that. It hurts and it makes things harder."


Do This With An Adoptee...I Dare You!

Photo Credit: memekode, Creative Commons
The two biggest victims in adoption are adoptees and natural mothers. They aren't the only victims but I believe they go through the most pain. Ironically, they seem to be the last two people anyone asks about. When I share about my adoption and reunion experience, even to this day, rarely does anyone ask about me.

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.


What Every Adoptee Needs More Than Anything

Six months ago when I first began writing at Lost Daughters, my (adoptive) cousin, Grace, read my first post there, and commented.

 It was a scary time for me, daring to open up and write about my experience, feelings and beliefs about adoption .

Photo Credit: Renee McGurk, Creative Commons

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.


Do Christians Talk Out Both Sides of Our Mouth When It Comes To Adoption?

My view on adoption has changed greatly over the years. This was mainly because I started thinking with an open mind and stopped repeating the narratives I had been exposed to for so long without further consideration.

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.

Photo Credit: @boetter, Creative Commons

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.