Adoptee Rap Inspired by Fellow Adoptee, JoAnne Bennett’s Question: “As your fellow adoptees, how can we help you to feel genuinely supported and cared about as valuable human beings in the Adoption Community?”

Adoptees through time have had a back seat.

Unknown relations we wish to meet.

Society’s said what we feel ain’t that bad.

They haven’t experienced the emptiness we’ve had.

Adoptees want our opinions heard,

and receipt of validation for our word.

It isn’t about revenge or ingratitude.

But people at large need a shift in attitude.

It’s time for laws to modernize and update.

We’re no longer children, wards of a state.

We can fight in wars and smoke a cigarette;

We get tried as adults, and lest we forget,

If we do our part with responsibility,

Then why can’t we connect with first family?

Adopted people don’t always agree,

but we need to establish greater unity

among our own awakening community.

We should celebrate our achievements without jealousy,

Unite for our causes and work as a team.

We should care and console, no judgmental disdain

And avoid competition and comparing our pain.

If we want acknowledgement, more cred and more gain

From inside

To feel cared for and valued by peers there should be no divide

The more we bond the less we will hide

yet be free to appreciate our differing views without shame

Understanding our counterparts; not placing blame

For something that happened a long time ago

Let’s honor and celebrate now, for now is what we all know!               #flipthescript

Top Ten Things What I Want People to Know About Me as an Adopted Person:

1- When I share my feelings and ideas about being an adopted person, I’m not whining or complaining. I am telling you the truth as I see it because I live it.

2- Please take me seriously when I discuss adoption.

3- I would rather know the truth, (about any topic), than be told a nice little “story” that will make me “happy”. Don’t think that I won’t know the difference.

4- Loss of any kind really, really sucks, plain and simple.

5- I’m not saying that my feelings are any deeper, better, worse or lighter than yours, but they are MY feelings. Please acknowledge.

6- Many times, especially socially, there’s a veil separating me from everyone else, and I will forever wonder if that veil-feeling is a result of my being adopted / different from most everyone else.

7- I no longer fear being rejected or replaced. I know it will happen eventually. It always does. What I do instead is enjoy the windows of time I do have with people, jobs, etc. and make the most of the “season”. It may be a long season, it may be short…but it’s a season. It’s like that Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/nothing-gold-can-stay When I learned about it in high school it struck a huge chord with me. Prob 3/4 of the kids in my class were zoned out, but that poem gave me a wake-up call.

8- I did not search, find and manitain good relationships w my birth family members because I was dissatisfied w the blessings I had, I did it to learn my medical and ancestral history, enrich my life and the lives of my children who now never have to grow up wondering, “what if…” like I had to do. I did all that to find a way to feel less “fragmented” and more “whole”. It worked.My birth family members are awesome!

9- I get it. We have to have laws to protect children. There are a lot of creeps out there. However, when that young person turns 18, they can serve in the military, buy cigarettes, vote and be tried as an adult. Why should that person be denied their original birth information if they are a responsible, law-abiding citizen? That’s my opinion. Please respect it.

10- I am not anti-adoption, but I am anti-lying/ falsification, anti-manipulation and anti-coercion. Adoption should not be a “business” for big profit. Yeah, yeah…social workers have to be paid. (I teach kids, and I want to be paid. Do you see me getting rich?) Lawyers and other adoption “entrepreneurs” need to lay low on this one. It should be all about family and child servicing first and foremost.

This post was inspired by a question that LeAnne Parsons, http://www.walkyourtalkwithleanne.com/ , proposed on a Facebook group. I told her that I would be sharing on my blog as well.   P.

The Benefits of Being an Adoptee (This post is a “re-run” from 2013, but not many people saw it then.)

THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN ADOPTEE

My adoption memoir, Akin to the Truth, contains some universal themes, which appeal and are relatable to all teenagers, adopted or not. (Pre)junior high through high school is the period of time when young people observe more and begin to analyze and form attitudes and concepts about their personal lives and the world in general.  Often these notions lack perspective and life experience, however the young person’s belief system still contains value and meaningfulness because their feelings and how they deal with them are parts of becoming mature. For me, being an adoptee added an extra dimension of self-doubt and lack of confidence.

The purpose of this memoir was not intended to be a complaint-fest, however, it does reflect my point of view at the time. My observation is that there are a lot of sad adoptees out there.  Not all, but a lot. I was fearful, lacked trust and was tremendously self-conscious, and those feelings held me back from developing many skills and relationships back in the day. I wasn’t sad, but I did feel unsatisfied and flawed.

Akin To The Truth is intended to show that a person, adopted or not, can overcome many obstacles with persistence and support from key people in life, whether they be family, friends, teachers, coaches, colleagues or even famous people you don’t know but admire. Embrace your heroes, the everyday or the celebrity-type. Let their positive qualities work on you.

Akin to the Truth reflects a time in the past.  Today I have the advantage of looking back and realizing what pluses adoption did provide that I could not have recognized back then:

  • Being adopted has made me very selective about whom I’ve chosen as my best friends.  As a result, mine are top-notch.
  • Being adopted causes me to study faces and mannerisms, noting similarities between biologically-related persons. I’m not staring and being weird. I’m impressed by the miracles of life and how DNA plays out.
  • Being adopted makes me view the concept of Family  globally.
  • Being adopted makes me inclined to question everything. I may or may not openly challenge everything I am told, but I assume very little. I look before I leap.
  • As a kid, being adopted helped my imagination soar because I wondered who else had a secret identity, and what was it. I was a creative kid, which made me better at art and writing.
  • Being adopted gave me a special bond with every pet I ever owned plus the pets of many friends and family members. So many pets are adopted from large group settings or by random chance. I feel lots of compassion for homeless animals and much respect for those who rescue them.
  • Being adopted is part of what makes me strive to be the best parent possible to my kids. I never take the time I spend with my girls for granted. I feel bad for the birth/ bio-parents who were forced by society, negative circumstances and controlling institutions to relinquish children. I know the ones who did and do it by choice believe(d) on some level that they were/are doing it to provide a better life for their baby.
  • Being adopted makes me appreciate being alive. I respect all life, (with the exception of some really nasty, creepy insects). I’m glad I was born!  Life is good.

Twinsters: Adoption Movie review

Twisters Movie Review

Twinsters, a delightful documentary, co-directed, written and produced by Samantha Futerman, tells the tale of a young, adopted Southern California woman who unexpectedly discovers via social media that she may have a twin sister. Both girls were born in Busan, South Korea on the same date. Samantha was raised in the USA, and her sister grew up in Belgium and France. 

Their story is touching and relatable for all adoptees, especially for those who find siblings and form relationships, no matter which country you’re from. The film shows in detail many of the feelings adoptees process prior to reunion and just after as reality of a whole new family life sinks in. Personally, the moment when they see one another live for the first time brought back exciting memories from my own adoption reunion(s). Also, the scene where they photographed their hands together, struck a chord for me because my sisters and I have done the same thing.

Even though Samantha and Anaîs are identical twins, (proven through DNA testing), their perspectives on being adopted are different, which proves again that as adopted individuals, there isn’t one “correct” way to think about our statuses. This makes explaining our feelings challenging. However, this film masterfully represents a wide range of attitudes regarding the adoptee spectrum.

(If “adoptism” isn’t a word, it ought to be!)

The cinematography in Twisters is spot-on as the viewer travels literally around the world from Los Angeles to London and South Korea, as the saga of the twin sisters’ reunion is captured. It was also interesting to witness the blending of both girls’ adoptive families and foster mothers during their respective visits. Their story is filled with humor, honesty and resilience, and I enjoyed getting to know Anaîs and Samantha better through this film.

#adoption #adoptees #koreanadoptees #twins #flipthescript

The Art of Life by Alyce Wilson: Not Adoption-Related, but What a Great Read!

Alyce Wilson’s collection of memoir-seque essays, The Art Of Life, is upbeat, humorous and rich in descriptions about her experiences, feelings and lessons learned.  A very helpful Who’s Who section appears in the back of the book, almost like a curtain call, which clarifies the relationship of the assorted characters to the author’s life.

Many entries are themed around Wilson’s pets, especially her loving and trusty canine, Una and her kitty, Luke. Therefore, this book has definite appeal to pet-lovers. Another unique quality of this collection of writings is that many entries have morals and or humorous messages at the conclusion.

The Art of Life is the “Chicken Soup” of one young woman’s observations as she experiences post-college work life and relationships with family members, men and friends in an ever-changing world of technology and expectations. The well-crafted vignettes read swiftly but are full of enlightenment and good advice for all.

Review of Amelia’s Story, Book 1 by D.G. Torrens

Amelia’s Story, Book 1 tells the struggle of one girl’s challenge to remain a part of her family with an abusive mother. She grows up in and out of the child welfare/orphanage system in England, while trying to maintain contact with her brother, form friendships and finish school. Technically, Amelia isn’t an adoptee, but I chose to read this book because it was closely related to adoption and foster care and takes place outside the USA. The cover is appealing and wistful.

Everyone in the foster and adoptive care system has a worthy story, and all of our voices need to be heard. Unfortunately, the writing style is less literary and more like reading a factual report. It reads fast, but it lacks detail and deep feeling. Clearly, the writer has the feelings, and perhaps the subject matter is so sensitive that she felt unable to delve much beyond just reporting events.

There is a sequel to this book, and I am undecided about reading it at this time. I wish author D. G. Torrens well and much success with promoting her books. I hope that her writing has brought her some peace.

Born With Teeth: Kate Mulgrew’s Birthmother Memoir

Stage and television star, Kate Mulgrew can now add “author” to her impressive list of talents and experiences.  Her memoir is Born With Teeth and tells about her childhood, early acting success and rise to fame all the while harboring a nearly devastating secret:  She was a birth mother who had no other options but to have her daughter placed for adoption when no one would support her with parenting needs while her career was taking off. 

Mulgrew’s story-telling “voice” is articulate and elegant as she describes her early home life and relationships with her siblings and parents, her early acting pursuits, romantic encounters and education in theater.  At the same time, the reader gets the impression that she is “real”, as if you could be sitting together at a quiet restaurant or coffee shop listening to her share her life story, passions and sentiments. The story reads swiftly and keeps the reader engaged while turning the page to find out if and how she landed those coveted acting roles and eventually connected with her long-lost birth daughter.

Born With Teeth is candid, bold and a great read for Mulgrew fans and fans of her television shows in general.  It also adds an influential voice to the emerging community of adoptees and birth parents who are speaking out more about adoption rights and reforms. For anyone who might be searching for and wondering what happened to their own missing family member(s) from years prior, this is a wonderfully expressed account of one birth mother’s life path as she pursues her dreams and never forgets.

Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age

Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, edited by Laura Dennis, is an a eclectic collection of reflections and insights by adopted adults and others affected by adoption.  Practices in adoption are changing, (hopefully), and so are the ways in which adopted folks contact and communicate with potential family members and others serving as leads and search angels for pursuing their original identities.  

Regardless of which era an adoptee comes from, many issues and feelings are universal, and this book adresses these issues effectively:  the need to know, the sense that there’s something more to our assigned “story” and a pervasive desire to learn about the truth of how we came to be in this world.  Most adoptees wish to contact their birth family members, and, similar to that sensation you experience when nearing the front of the line of the hugest roller coaster you’ll ever ride, there’s both dread of rejection but also the anticipation of possibilities and enlightenment.

Not every adopted person/ family member has a sunny, perfect outcome once they acquire their documents or make their first contacts with long-lost relatives, but what remains the same is that in each essay presented in this collection, there’s an element of hope, energy and no regrets for pursuing this unique journey of self-discovery.  

The easy access of technology and social media makes everything we pursue happen faster than ever before.  This is true also with discovering new and sometimes delicate relationships with long lost family members.  It can come upon you very fast, thanks to Google and sites like Facebook. Names, faces, blogs and ancestry records abound like never before, and this can be very overwhelming for all involved.  There’s little time to savor and digest the new information which can change lives and heighten awareness.

Advice in this anthology about how to cope and negotiate for the best reunion outcome is worthy and valuable, whether or not you are tech-minded or from an earlier era. Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age is ideal for anyone interested in exploring adoption themes and concerns and presents sound advice with a focus that’s both realistic and positive.

era

Adoptee Book Review: A Legitimate Life: A Forbidden Journey of Self-Discovery

Melinda Warshaw’s adoption memoir book, A Legitimate Life: A Forbidden Journey of Self-Discovery, is a sweeping tale of her first memories in the Dayton, Ohio area to coming of age in California, to college in Arizona, to California again and back eastward eventually to New York state. She addresses the themes of genetic memory and mirroring plus surviving abuse and family dysfunction as she takes the reader along on her adventures and thoughts which culminate in finally finding her birth family, true heritage and peace within herself.

Warshaw is multi-talented in both music and art (painting), and discovers through her artistic expressions and general hunches, hints about the biological family from which she came during the era of sealed birth records, falsified info and closeted birth parents who lived in shame and scorn for what happened in their pasts. She discovers just how accurate her intuition is about her biological ancestry, thus legitimizing and validating her life’s journey, spanning through the 1950s to the 2000s.  

This is an interesting story for readers who enjoy and identify with college life and the youth movement in the 1960s and 70s and or those who appreciate a more “mystical” perspective about the curious synchronicities in life.  Warshaw shares the pain and angst of growing up feeling different, unaccepted and even abused emotionally and beyond by most of her adoptive family. She struggles to find ways to combat these issues through study and forming new relationships, but negative interpersonal patterns are not easily broken.

Also, the author is deeply driven to provide a sense of true history and self for her two sons, and with their support she finds completeness, comprehension and closure as her once-locked past is slowly revealed. 

Review of Wendy Barkett’s Poetry Book, Shadows of a Dark-Alley Adoptee:

Wendy Barkett’s autobiographical book of adoption-themed poetry, Shadows of a Dark-Alley Adoptee, is both eloquent and brutally honest. Her artful words give the reader a glimpse into the inner world of what adopted people might be sensing about their lives.  

For example, the poem, “Did You?” explores what we would ask or say if we had the chance to talk to a missing birth mother. “You Don’t Know Me” addresses the fact that since, as adoptees, we don’t know all the facts about ourselves, how do we find self-acceptance?  It doesn’t matter if those facts are good or bad; we still have a craving to know the truth. “I Cried” demonstrates that adopted people have unique feelings and frustrations. We acknowledge that other people can try their darnedest to console or “help” us, but it still may do no good.  Sometimes being adopted and living with our thoughts is isolating and a very inward journey.  

Personally, I liked the “Medium” and “Game on” poems because I could relate these to my experiences as a fellow adoptee who searched.  Hooray for supportive husbands and honeys who cheer for our efforts!  

For a curious reader who is limited on time but wants to either learn about adoptee issues or relate to similar experiences and feelings, this is a great read.  Ms. Barkett writes directly and honestly in both rhyme and free-verse styles from her perspective as an adopted adult from a sealed-records era when adoption was extra-secretive and taboo.