March 31, 2014

2 Requirements for Adoptee Breakthrough

Expressing feelings of pain or grief  is something adoptees aren’t supposed to do in regard to our adoptions.  Early on, we understand our job description well. It basically consists of two words:

Be grateful.

We are not to vocalize any feelings of loss or grief, one reason being that it may be perceived as speaking against what is proclaimed as a heroic choice.   

Adoptees are told by the people in our lives (and many times people who aren’t even in our lives and have no idea of our personal circumstances) that our natural mother made a heroic choice -- the greatest choice- the most unselfish choice. We are assured that what she displayed in giving us up, was true love.

As children this left many of us perplexed. 

March 26, 2014

Adoption and the Dead or Alive Card

When adoptees speak out and share our feelings or the need for reform in the institution of adoption, people soon pull out the dead or alive card.

It goes like this:

“Just be glad you’re alive.”


“Just be glad you’re not dead.”


Doesn’t that apply to anybody and everybody on the planet?

Any of my friends could be dead or alive -- adopted or not.

But people love to pull the dead or alive card on us. If all else fails and they don’t like whatever it is that we’re sharing the ol’ “just be glad you’re not dead” card is pretty standard.

And know this, adoptee…when a person pulls the dead or alive card on you, it means they have run out of anything intelligent to say.

This dead or alive card is code for: “You’re making great points and I can’t refute them with anything that actually makes sense. All I know is you are making me so uncomfortable, so I thought I’d just remind you that you should be glad you aren’t dead.”

It would be laughable if this dead or alive argument weren’t so common!

When people remind me how glad I should be that I’m alive, I smile and say, “You too!” And they look at me so perplexed. As if only adopted people have the potential to be dead.

*Photo Courtesy of

March 24, 2014

3 Assumptions Often Made About Adoptees

Much of the world is wholeheartedly banking on these three assumptions about adoptees.  

1) We know or remember little of what happens to us at the time of our relinquishment and adoption.

2) We are “blank slates” when we come into this world, ready to be molded by our surroundings. 

3) There are no serious or long-lasting affects of a infant's separation from his or her natural mother. And if they are affected when they are an adult, it's their fault. They can just make a choice to not be affected.

Let’s talk. 

What do you want the world to know about these “assumptions”?

Photo Credit: Deanna Doss Shrodes

March 14, 2014

Adoptees and Anger Toward Our Natural Mothers (And Others)
A Conversation With Rebecca Hawkes

Rebecca Hawkes
Today I'm collaborating with one of my favorite people...Rebecca Hawkes!  Unless you just crawled out from a rock entered adoption world, you already know her. Rebecca's writing is well known in our community.  If you're finding her here for the first time, let me introduce you to a lady with a tremendous amount of depth. I love having conversations with people who can go to the depths, with no fear, and she's one such person. She's also all things kind and compassionate. Today we're talking about something that's a really touchy subject, and that is -- anger toward our natural moms. We do not share this with any malice or vengeful spirit. We come with open hearts to give understanding and hope that we will be received with open hearts in return. Let's get started.

Deanna: Rebecca, I had the wonderful opportunity to have lunch with you in person the other day (!!!!!!) It was amaaaaaazing to get to do that. I'm really excited to partner with you for this conversation here at Adoptee Restoration, and share our thoughts about an important topic: anger we adoptees often feel toward our natural mothers, for various reasons. And particularly what we go through in the rollercoaster that is reunion. 

Rebecca:  I agree about the lunch. I wish we could do that regularly! Darn geography!
Anger is an interesting topic for me because if you’d asked me a few years ago if I had anger toward either of my original parents I would have insisted that I didn’t. Someone even commented on my blog once asking me why I didn’t seem to have anger toward any of my parents, though I did clearly have anger directed (appropriately, I think) at the adoption industry and many of its practices. I answered, “I don’t know. I just don’t.”
And that was my story until the day when this post erupted out of me. Here’s a piece of what I wrote in that Lost Daughter's post. 

I have explored grief and loss. I have mourned and cried till I was wrung dry. I have expressed anger toward the system that caused my separation from my original family. I have raged against culture, society, my biological grandmother, and Georgia Tann. But I have never allowed myself to fully explore (or even admit to) my anger at my birth parents.  

What held me back in this area? I confess that I still have a high level of personal discomfort with anger, especially my own anger. Is that discomfort tied to my seemingly deep-seated fear of rejection? If I am angry, am I unloveable? 

March 10, 2014

Big Announcement Today at Adoptee Restoration!

I was going to build up to this all weekend on the Adoptee Restoration Facebook page, keep people in suspense and say, “I have a surprise to reveal Monday!” 

But……………..I know how many adoptees feel about surprises.

So I nixed that.

I’m just gonna tell you right now.

My story is being published in book form! 

Yep, a book is coming!

Scream NOW, all you people who have been relentlessly saying since June 2013, "This story needs to be a book!"

You said it. Over and over again.

And I said, “No, I’m not up to that right now.”

And I wasn’t.
For many reasons.

March 7, 2014

Of Adoptees, Sticks and Stones...

I saw this on Facebook the other day.

The writer claims if you agree only with the truth about you, you are free.

The first thought that came to my mind is, “I am free from believing the insult, but unfortunately, I am not free from having to hear it. And hearing it, does hurt." That dude who said the thing about sticks and stones was wrong too.

The fact is, if one is going to remain attached at all socially…
If you are ever going to come out of your home again…
If you go to school...
If you are going to hold down a job…
If you interact with the human race…
Then Cohen's statement is not entirely true.

Being totally free would mean not having to ever hear it again, or at least have to hear it and stay in the same room.

“Well, you don’t have to do that, Deanna…if you don't like something, you can leave...”

March 5, 2014

Why Do Adoptees Need Their Original Birth Certificates?
An Interview With julie j

Today it’s my privilege to introduce my friend, julie j.  We met at Lost Daughters where we are both sisters/bloggers.  I’m relentlessly drawn to kind people. Collecting them as friends is sort of an addiction. So that totally explains why I quickly felt an affinity with julie j. Yes, the small ‘j’s’ are on purpose. No need to correct my grammar.  

Not only is julie j one of the kindest, most helpful people I know --- she's also an absolute treasure trove of information on all things OBC’s, ABC’s and so much more. And... she agreed to do an interview here today on that subject. Read more about the amazingness that is julie j in her bio at the end of this post. 

Here we go: 

Deanna: Most people have no idea that the majority of adoptees do not have their actual birth certificate. Could you please explain to those reading today, what most adoptees have versus the rest of the population?

julie j: Yes, it would be my pleasure to share information on this subject, Deanna. Everyone born in the United States has a birth certificate filled out and placed on file with the state of their birth. This is a historical document that accurately records the details of their birth as it actually happened – the who, what, where, when, etc. Everyone is only born once, so those facts will never, ever change, no matter how many times legal custody of that child may later change. In that respect, everyone in the population is all the same so far.

When someone is adopted at any point in their lives, even in all step-parent adoptions, the court will issue a final adoption decree. This specifies who the adults are who will now be legally responsible for the child. The states don’t stop there though, even though they can and should. They will (unnecessarily) “seal” that individual’s original birth certificate away, in most cases forever, from everybody, including from the individuals themselves. That means in most states, the truth is locked away somewhere and nobody is generally allowed to access it. The state will then create a fake, or “amended” certificate that the individual will be forced to use for all purposes for the rest of their life. 

How is this document different from their real one? Apart from the filing dates, these are designed to resemble real birth certificates. The fake, or “amended” birth certificates, filed months to years after the original ones, claim that the adopting parents gave birth, and they are listed as the mother and father on the amended birth certificate. All of their names, ages, and location details are entered in the places where the natural parents were. The adopting parents have the option of changing any or all parts of the child’s name too, and most (again, unnecessarily) do that. In some cases, places and dates are changed as well. Then the state registrar signs his/her signature at the bottom, “verifying” that the fake one is the exact and true record of the birth and affixes the official state seal to the document. (If anyone else committed that type of felony forgery, they would be facing jail time). Because there can only be one “official” record of birth on file for anyone at any given time, this is what all adopted adults still have today. To sum it up, the original identity and roots are wiped out, and what adoptees have left is a lie, or commonly referred to as “legal fiction.”

Deanna: Why is it so significant that adoptees have their original birth certificate? 

March 3, 2014

Deanna's Trauma Toolkit

As promised in my last post, I’m sharing things today from my personal trauma toolkit. Some of these cost money, and some cost nothing but your time and commitment to pursue.

I’m not a therapist. That may be the 8,426,156th time I've said that, here. I’m just a fellow traveler on this journey of life. So, what I share with you in my next post is gonna sorta be like, “Overcoming Trauma for Dummies”. In other words, here are some things that help me in this process, in no particular order:


No excuses. I have a responsibility to heal, not just for me, but for others around me. Therapy makes it possible for others to co-exist with me, and not require therapy because of me.

Many people say, “I can’t afford therapy.”

What costs more?  Therapy? Or a breakdown?

What costs more? Therapy? Or having a marriage destroyed or kids traumatized because their mother or father never got help?

Contact every therapist within driving distance of your home, until you find one that fits your needs.  Inquire about their financial policies, and also ask them questions regarding their experience in counseling those who have faced complex trauma, significant loss and complicated grief.

Keep going. Don’t contact a few -- become discouraged, and give up. If I would have stopped pressing on in my personal e-mail and phone campaign, I would have never found Melissa Richards!

Need advice on finding the right therapist? Check out what Bonnie Martin, MEd, CACS, LCPC,  has to say about that, here.