When Adoptees Are Chastised to "Just Be Grateful"


Adoptees are often chastised that we just need to be thankful or grateful, particularly when we share our feelings or speak out for reform in adoption.

A reader posted this at the Adoptee Restoration Facebook page this week:

 
In answering Elizabeth’s question, I want to share with you one of the most important truths I know.

There Is More to Me Than Being An Adoptee


Recently I was talking to an adoptee friend about her search for her original family. It's been a long and winding search, over many years time. When I asked what the main obstacle was in achieving her goals, without missing a beat, she said, “time.”

Photo Credit: Speed Pro Photo, Flickr

 I understood completely.

It has been difficult for her to keep up with her search, with all of her family and work obligations. I face the same challenge, and maybe you do too.

There is the factor that time is running out when it comes to original family members who may be deceased by the time you find them. 

And, there is the factor of the responsibilities of your current life.

We are adopted, yes.

But we aren’t just adopted.

An Interview With One of My Favorite Birthmothers
Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy


Birthmothers have been an essential part of my healing process. I've mentioned many times that so many of them were there for me in my darkest hour. And they are still there now. I count them among my dearest friends. They have helped me to understand more and the have taken time to understand me.

One of the women who has been a great blessing to me is Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy, or "Claud" as she is often called. 

Claudia is the mother of four children, the oldest relinquished to adoption in 1987. As a prolific blogger, she has spend hours writing about her deepest feelings and talking to people about what it's like to relinquish a child. She is a writer, editor and director of social media who has been blogging since 2005.  Claud's writing has been featured at the New York Times, Blogher, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Land of Gazillion Adoptees,  Adoption Voices Magazine and many others. She writes at her blog, Musings of the Lame. It's my joy to introduce you to this amazing woman -- a mother who has made a complete overhaul in the adoption industry her life's work.

Deanna: Claud, your story had me riveted. I have to confess -- I read the whole thing in one sitting. I just couldn't stop until I finished it! I want to direct readers there to read the entire thing for themselves, but can you give us a snapshot of your story so they know a bit of your background?

When Mothers Defend Their Right to Stay Unhealed


Karen Caffrey, LPC, JD, wrote an amazing post this past week at Adoption VoicesMagazine that had me dancing around the room.

At the same time, the post had some mother's panties in a bunch.

If you haven’t read, “Birthmothers and the Responsibility to Heal,” you might want to exit out of here right now and go read it. 

And comment on it.
It’s that important.

Ready, set, go!

Leave this blog, comment, go potty, get a cup of coffee, and come back and cozy up with me. I don't bite. At least not on Wednesdays.

Okay, now that you’re back…

I don't even know where to start in sharing what I adore about Karen's post. I like this post so much, I ate it for breakfast, shredded on top of my oatmeal this morning. Super good, people. 

How Pastors and Churches Can Help Adoptees


 There are between 6 and 7 million adult adoptees in America. 

Photo Credit: Lori Stalteri, Flickr
In my 26 years as a pastor, I have met many adoptees who would never darken the door of a church because they've receive hurtful and dismissive messages when they have dared to open up and share their feelings with spiritual leaders. 

 Adoptees who reach out to the Christian community may be hurt instead of helped if Christians do not come to understand the differences between a spiritual understanding of adoption (known as "salvation") and being an adoptee in a world where most people are not adopted.

When adoptees finally open up and share their pain, it wounds them all over again to hear from a Christian and especially from a trusted authority figure such as a pastor:

Things People Say to Adopted People


Being a pastor, I have a front row seat into people’s lives both good and bad. I rejoice with them in good times and weep with them in times of sorrow.

Photo Credit: ST33VO, Flickr
I’ve comforted a lot of people as they have received news of everything from a death in the family to a diagnosis of cancer. 

With all of these tragedies, I can safely tell you that I have never said things like:

When Adoptive Parents or Authority Figures
Tell A Child's Story

 When it comes to telling their child's story, many adoptive parents start with "Our arms were empty...we struggled with infertility, and so..."

Or they say,"We never struggled with infertility. We just love adoption and had it in our hearts to be a blessing to a child...and that's how the story began..."


Photo Credit: Mikey_KK, Flickr


The adoptive parent's personal story may start that way. 

But their child's story doesn't start with them.

The adopted child's story always starts with another mother and father besides his or her adoptive parents, and a whole different maternal and paternal extended family.

The beginning part of a child's story should never be erased, in order to make others comfortable.

And, the child's story is not for an adoptive parent, or any other adult, to tell.


A child is the owner of his or her personal story.

When it comes to an adoptive parent or other authority figure (social worker, pastor, Sunday School teacher, friend of family, etc.) the child is rendered powerless to tell them to stop telling their story. Or, to stop telling it their way.

So,  most times the adoptee smiles and nods, or they are quiet.
Or they meekly stuff it down and go on.

Why Do Some Adoptees Want To Search For a Bio Parent Who Was Never There?


Upon announcing my public search for Mr. Greek (my natural father) on the Adoptee Restoration Facebook page, this comment appeared:

 



Please don't think I'm picking on Rita. For all I know, Rita and I would have coffee and go shoe shopping together if we lived in the same city. 

I have shared Rita's comment here as an illustration, because Rita is not alone in her feelings. 

Rita is one of untold numbers of people who feel the same way she does. They don't always share it in the same exact words, but the gist of this comment is one that is repeated millions of times. If you are an adoptee, you've probably heard it.   

Comments like these are filled with assumption: 

Attention Adoptive Parents:
This is How It's Done

One of the goals of Adoptee Restoration is to  “expand the Christian understanding of adoption." This includes helping adoptive parents gain understanding of what their son/daughter may be feeling and experiencing.

With transparency bleeding on the laptop being my foremost writing style, I quickly realized the level of honesty in my posts was too much to handle at times for many adoptive parents and some people in general. Others say reading my posts has “saved them” whether it be from making a mistake to losing their mind. While I certainly don’t consider myself a savior of any sort, I am grateful my words have been a blessing to a number of people.

With that said, I want to highlight an adoptive parent today who everyone could something learn from. That person is my father ~ Leon Doss. 

Dad and Me, April 1967

My Dad and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on everything. 
Many days we've gone head to head. 
Or toe to toe. Enough cliches already?
We've really had our share of ups and downs. There's one more for ya.