Dead Adoption, Thanks to You, I am a Dead Girl Walking
One of the scariest things about adoption is that many adoptees don’t really know their history. We don’t know where we come from, who we really belong to, or what our futures will look like.
I was adopted back in 1987 by two white supremacists who, on the outside, appeared loving, kind, and gentle. But on the inside, spewed words of hate, racism, and superiority to anything and anyone who was not their hue.
So growing up, I always felt like the “other”. I was that person they hated so much. I was the black sheep of the family. Figuratively and literally.
I constantly heard my adoptive mother say “Black people are this way, black people do that”. I had to “talk proper” or I’d be classified as one of them. I wouldn’t be welcome.
They never directly said “White people are better”, but sometimes in the not saying, way too much is said.
When I was about ten years old, I started to develop faster than my sister. During the time I was living with them, I was told I was the same age as their biological daughter. And up until I was about ten, we were the same height, about the same weight, and the same pudginess. I really had no reason to doubt their claim.
It wasn’t until I was a little over 10 that I started to develop even further. I started asking them “Why, if we are the same age, am I developing at a faster rate than she is?” Today we know that so many factors could have caused this but what my adoptive parents failed to do was care about me and what my papers actually said.
Instead of looking at my birth certificate, they went with their “fantasy”. It was clear on my birth certificate that I was older than she was by about 3 years and no one EVER said a word. Why? Did they want to continue what they started? Did they want to keep pretending that I was white, that I would always weigh the same as she did, that I would always be a “happy baby?”.
Growing up as a black child in a mainly white family was very difficult. I didn’t know I was actually black until I turned about 7 or 8 years old. No one really told me I was “black”. But it gets worse, no one ever told me that I was dead either.
For the longest time, I thought my name was what was printed on my Birth Certificate. When I became a teenager, my adoptive parents finally came somewhat clean and told me I was not actually who I thought I was. My name was actually NOT what it said on my birth certificate; they told me I was older, and that I was actually DEAD.
In Haiti, it is very hard to retrieve documents from the archives because back in the 70’s and 80’s, nothing was recorded on computers. Things were done by hand, stored, and forgotten. When my biological mother dropped me off at the orphanage at only a few days old, she left me with a birth certificate (I think). The orphanage was flooded when I was two and all documents were destroyed.
My adoptive parents came into the picture when I was thought to be about three, due to lack of good nutrition and physical care. In reality, I was closer to 5 or 6. My adoptive mother, whom I will call horrible lady, was volunteering at the orphanage us children were transferred to after the destruction of the first orphanage. She saw my “need” (I was in pretty bad shape) and decided she would “save me from the grounds of Haiti’s soil”.
In order to start the adoption process, I needed a Birth Certificate.
So the people in the orphanage started searching and searching and searching for something that would “work” for me. They came across a child’s Birth Certificate who had passed away and never had a Certificate of Death.
“Aha!”, I can hear them saying. “This will do. The age looks about right. Who cares about the ridiculously long name and who cares that the mother on the BC is not her actual mother. We need to make sure she claimed her daughter on her own and that there was no father involved. If she goes to search one day for her real family, she won’t’ be able to really find them.”
So there you have it, a year later, I sat in my adoptive parent’s house with their one biological white child and I became the living dead girl.
There are many issues and questions I have about this unethical adoption:
- What happens if I search for the woman on my BC. Will she think that her actual dead child is alive? What if she wants a DNA test?
- If I go to authorities now with this story, will I become a NOBODY?
- Are there no records of my ACTUAL Birth Certificate with my real mother’s ACTUAL name?
- Now that I have my adoptive parent’s last name (but not US Citizenship) does this mean that this dead person is really part of them?
- Who is this woman on the Birth Certificate? What was she like? Am I doing her justice?
- How does this affect me wanting to emancipate myself from my Adoptive family?
- How does it affect my marriage?
- How does it affect my daughter who was also adopted from Haiti?
- Am I supposed to be thankful that I am a DEAD girl who now has life?
Fast forward to January 2016… I actually believed that the mother on the BC was my mother. Her last name was Cyr. I had known the “I was a dead girl” part but I had thought that my BC was just altered, meaning the rest of the information on it was true. It was not until I spoke with my biological brother (after finding him on Facebook) that I realized ALL OF IT IS/WAS A LIE and that the woman who supposedly “gave me up”, according to my Birth Certificate, is not even my MOTHER. My biological mother’s last name is LIMA.
There is a feeling of loss that comes with being adopted. In fact, it is not just a feeling; it is a reality. One loses trust, and one learns not to care anymore. But there is even a deeper feeling of despair when you realize that everything you were taught was maybe true is not even a little true.
Adoption created this mess and my adoptive parents are fully responsible. I found out in 2016 that my adoptive father was the one who encouraged the fake papers because there was “no other way to get you out of the country”. To me this translates to “I wanted you right then and I will stop at nothing to make sure you are MY adopted child that I saved.”
Finding out that the little information I had is now NADA makes me want to curl up in a ball, and roll back into the black hole from which I came. I have nothing and no hope sometimes. I can’t answer the positive Whys of my life, such as why I have a beautiful signing voice. And I can’t answer the negative Whys of my life, such as why I feel sick every day. What is in my DNA that makes me ache? I can’t connect to anyone. I can’t reach out. Even though DNA testing gets me closer, it cannot explain the essential parts of me that are missing; my broken and confused heart.
My biological brother recently got upset with me and claimed that I don’t want to really want to meet them. First of all, I’d love to meet them but it is not that simple. I have a family, and I won’t just “leave it all” to visit people I never met before. I won’t and I can’t.
I did get a chance a couple of years ago to meet my biological sister who swears I belong to them. There is a trust factor that comes with people telling you that you are their blood. All my life I have been lied to so what would make this time any different?
My biological Aunt contacted with me in late 2015 and wanted to meet. We met up and the experience was jaw-dropping. I should have been raised with her all along. There were tears, and questions…and peace.
Thankfully, my adoptive parents did make an effort to keep in contact with the lady who supposedly gave me up. We also sent her pictures of me when I was growing up. They stayed in contact with the orphanage and we returned a couple of times to visit her. I had no idea who she was. I just knew that after every visit, I returned home with a white lady and not a black lady. Did my biological mother know that the birth certificate they had for me was not mine? Did she even consider me to be hers?
I am this dead person. If I attempt to find my REAL birth certificate, can I become who I really am supposed to be? What’s in a name? Power? Strength? Glory? Can I have peace if I never get my real Birth Certificate back?
I want to meet my fake mother. I want to go back to Haiti and find the person on my Birth Certificate. Maybe I can be her daughter that died. Maybe I can live through her. Does she even know that her daughter died? Was her daughter put up for adoption and then died of mal-nutrition?
Was this all some insane joke?
But I also want my real Birth Certificate. I want pictures of me when I was a baby. I want to see my real mother’s name on a document that belongs to ME, not someone else. Am I living my life to be the person she would have me be?
Has someone else taken my real Birth Certificate and become me? Does this make us twins? Does this make us family? Are we sisters?
I will continue to visit my aunt because I know there is unconditional love and because I want to learn more about my mother, and because I want to be that much closer to being who I am.
I don’t want to be DEAD. I want to be more alive than ever. I want to be a LIMA!
Amazing story. And it looks as if you’ve made an amazing life for yourself.
For some reason, this made me think of the film “Rabbit Proof Fence.”
Thanks for sharing your heart
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Why in the world would white supremacists adopt a black child. This is a crazy story. At least your adoptive family kept in touch with your birth country with updates. This is actually a big deal and most international adoptees don’t even have that. A lot of times, There is no one in their birth country that is kept tied to them. I hope the writer finds the connections and answers she is looking for.
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Please contact me as soon as possible, I may have some answers for you…
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wow i have a question funny as it sound where the Cyr name come from
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“Adoption created this mess and my adoptive parents are fully responsible.” These are true words written by Ms. Lima. Our governments are also responsible: for advocating for adoption and providing tax incentives; for not requiring full documentation on supposed orphaned or abandoned young people; for condoning coercion and bias against single and/or poor mothers. Our celebrities are responsible for glamorizing child acquisition through adoption. Our lawyers, judges, journalists, university professors, and legislators are responsible for being part of a prestige class that wants what it wants when it wants it and will go to any lengths to fulfill their family-building desires. Ms. Lima, you deserve to know who you are and to meet your people and if possible have meaningful relationships with them. Why wouldn’t you want this? Why would anyone voluntarily agree to be randomly re-homed to strangers and be satisfied living in ignorance of their biological kin? Do DNA testing with all four companies if you can. DNA testing is changing everything. I pray that you build on the good relationship you have with your aunt and keep building your family tree. For myself, I found recovery from relinquishment into closed adoption through working the 12 steps, a framework for recovery that’s helped millions around the world. Blessings to you, sister, and may we go from strength to strength.
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Hello Adoption thank you for introducing me to a person of international adoption. I am black, I was raised by black parents in a white neighborhood. I resonated with your story because your questions lived in my heart for most of my life. Naturally my questions were slightly different but they were of the same essence. I would love to speak with you. I am serving as a life coach and once I complete my Certified Professional Life Coach certification and have met the International Coaching Federation requirements I will be fully certified as a Adoption Community Coach (currently offering services because my niche adoption and life experience has given me uncanny ability to connect.
If you’re willing to set aside some time to engage I can be reached: firstname.lastname@example.org – and my twitter handle is @sobazee03 – please let me know if it’s ok to share your story. God Bless, Sharon
I, too, am adopted, but I cannot imagine going through what you have. To say my heart breaks for you isn’t enough. I know that nothing will be. The search and the uncertainty rock all adoptees to the core, I think.. but to have this amount of uncertainty and deception is almost unfathomable. I pray that you are able to find the answers you are seeking and thereby find some peace.
Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive…..It matters not where the deceit originated but that it is entangled in our core and like any weed is almost impossible to dislodge. The worst skein is that which the self has added to the strand which others seeded and still others perpetuate.
When we cloak ourselves and others in the myth that melanin levels or some locality or some language makes us different, or worse superior or inferior to others we have been done and do a great disservice to humanity, as well as to ourselves.
When others or even we ourselves advertise that because we or they -by some great miracle or gift or alien being have all of the answers to all of the issues involving adoptees-be it education, experience, the spirits (liquid or phantom) we confuse and worse con ourselves and those around us.
It is very pretentious to believe or to instill in others that an abandoned child responds or reacts to that because of their so-called ethnicity or location or season of the year… an abandoned child responds the same no matter how he/she is labeled or who does the labeling. He/she is frightened, nay! terrorized. The same is true of any abuse… abuse is abuse, just as a desert is a desert be it sahara, Gobi or Kalihari. Snow is snow whether from the Alps, the Rockies or the Atlas or Djudjuras. Brutality is brutality no matter from whence it comes or how it is administered. And, because this begs to be said loving adoption is akin to the Stockholm syndrome.
It is a waste to fret over what is out of our control. We need to concentrate on what we can control and what we can with effort change or at least ameliorate. We cannot force the relinquishors to see us or to welcome us with open arms, nor the other family members including our own sibs. We do have the right to know the names of our parents and the same right to access to adoption, court and birth documents. Some of us have overcome great obstacles to obtain our documents, others have not been able to do that. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again was my mantra for decades as I fought the systems letting no one tell me NO! I created my own miracle long before their was a computer, or an I-phone, or digitalized records, or online sources. And Crick and Watson hadn’t defined the reality of DNA and RNA and the double helix-little did they or we know what a true miracle those combinations and re-combinations
would be- especially to adoptees.
But the proverbial ‘when things get tough, the tough get going’ is never truer for the adoptee in search, and when all else fails-ir even before it might-have your DNA analysis done, and don’t settle for just autosomal DNA, get mtDNA (females) and Y-DNA*males *who also have mtDNA* analyzed as well. Have multiple labs if possible to be on as many databases as you can. You will find out a Haplogroup with the ancient Y- and mtDNA and scare up cousins who may know a thing or two which can help solve the biological parents and maybe 1/2 sibs. Parent -child matches are rare finds for adoptees with only about a 2% probability to find mum or dads. You will be amazed at who you really are ….
There are 36 states in the US with sealed adoption files and off limits to adoptees’ birth records-but a few will entertain petitions to the court handling the adoption for access. Caveat: If you were not born in the state in which you were adopted, there will be no certificate on record. and in most states there are criteria to be met to obtain the record. Check with the Departments of Vital Statistics regarding their procedures for procuring the information you seek.
Start a family tree with what you know.. but do not list adoptive parents, their children or family-unless on a separate tree. As you come across more information add it along with your spouse and any children.
Above al don’t despair and keep fast to your faith and hope. As the Sufi proverb says: What you are meant to have can not be denied you. To paraphrase MLK: We are NOT th hue of our skins or the shape of a nose or the shade of hair and eyes, but we are our characters’ contents and our behaviour in consequence. Beat wishes for a positive outcome and a better life.
All sorts of truth. Everything rang true for me. Do you have a post, or can you speak on your journey to finding your biological relatives? That’s where I’m at. There are a few FB groups as well with Haitian Adoptees. Please reach out to me if you have a chance.
THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!