gallery Dear Adoption, “Whisperings”


Dear Adoption, “Whisperings”

Your whisperings chased me into a corner of my brain. I shook at your sound vibrating the small hairs of my inner ear. Your hordes invaded my mind. I slammed my hands over my ears hoping to make life safe, even for only a moment in time. I shuddered and cried, fearing the battle lost.

“Where are you? Will you always be hounding me in the back of my mind?” I run and run and run until the park trail dead-ends—anything to get away from your virtual synapse repeatings. Your voice is a loud muffle. I couldn’t understand what you were saying. You whispered like cockroaches pursuing their prey. I swatted the air around me. You delivered your ego-smashing punches.

I turned to face you. I’d made a decision. “I’ll no longer run,” I said, with uncharacteristic conviction.

You and your horde wavered. The speed of your threatening mumblings slowed a fraction.

I jumped at the chance to ask, “What did you say? Slow down so I can hear you.” Your murmurings fluctuated. They became clearer. “I will not allow you to suck me dry of my life’s energy.”

Your adoptive hordes quivered.  “You’ll burn in hell,” they whispered.

I began to understand. “Better to burn than to be pursued endlessly into a hell on earth,” I replied.

They shouted, “You ungrateful bastard!”

I smirked at them. “Isn’t that just like you, blaming others when you don’t get what you want?”

As if in a downward spiral, you repeatedly whispered in my ear. “No one wanted you. Your mother was a whore. You can’t do anything right.” And my personal favorite, “You’ll never have anything I don’t give you.” Each statement exploded in my skull, leaving a residue of agony.

I would not be deterred. I put on my big-girl pants. “So that’s why I should love you?”

Your noxious breath blasted into my ear, “Look at EVERYTHING I’ve given you!”

A growl grew within me. “Having material possessions is no match for having self-worth.”

Your angst blew hot. “You think being a bastard gives you self-worth? You were nothing before I came along. Zip. Nada. An illegitimate bastard.”

Fear raced up my spine—from my tailbone to the crown of my head. Will I let you—the horde of adoption—defeat me? I thought about that. I struggled with an answer. When it materialized, it seeped into my bones and became a part of me.

“Your words condemn who I am. I am a beautiful forever soul. It has been with me since the beginning of time. It will always be a part of me.”

You laughed. “Lots of good that will do you with sealed records.”

I saw a brick wall in front of me. Time was on my side. It occurred to me that no surface was impenetrable. All atoms have empty spaces between the nucleus and electrons. “Just watch me.”

The murmurs became a faint whisper. “We’ll be back.”

Emboldened with courage, I gazed into your face and saw the arrogance of adoption. From my vantage point, there was ugliness about you. Perhaps it was the narcissistic quality of your whisperings. Or maybe it was the obsessive-compulsive attributes that your minions exhibit, playing God over the lives of others. In any event, I realized I could no longer walk the same path.

The road divided. I would reach for sunshine and light. “You, dear Adoption, can go your merry way, whispering your dreaded speech to others.”

“If you come back,” I said, “I will change the channel of my mind, just like turning off an offensive television program. I can choose to think about happy things. And I will—over and over and over. Until you leave forever.”

I watched you and your whispering hordes slink away, hopefully to drown in your own suffering. Amen.

Mary S. Payne is an adoptee and an adoption rights advocate for adults who were adopted as children. She began to lobby the Oklahoma state legislature in 1995.

She’s written a two volume set, entitled Adoption’s Hidden History (Volume 1 / Volume 2), available from both Amazon and Kindle. She is currently writing a middle grade novel, based on the life of Lyncoya, a real Indian boy found on the Tallushatchee battlefield next to his dead mother. He was adopted by Andrew Jackson and his wife. 


  1. From reading your bio, Mary, and as an adoptee probably older than you, I can almost guarantee that, without the events in your life and the pain you carry decades later, you would not have accomplished what you have. And whether or not you were born out of wedlock, you are still the product of your DNA-50% from your mother and 50% from your father, not of the adoptive parent(s) who apparently became your captors rather than your nurturer(s)/guardians. Your parents may well not have been married -for whatever reasons, but you are THEIR child, something no court can eradicate with the stroke of a pen or the creation of a birth certificate with adoptive parents’ names and your adoptive name and no definitive place of birth … all to obliterate your real identity. Court documents tell lies; genes and chromosomes extracted from you DNA never deceive!

    We of our generation were at the mercy of the state/county and of the systems which denied us our birthrights-the right to know who we are and from whence we came, and no judge than or now has the right to deny our rights regardless of how they continue to deny us access to information that is ours and not the county’s/state’s. I was 36 years of age before I located the state in which I was born and was able, with the aid of a woman who listened empathetically to my narrative and went beyond bounds to help me to obtain the document of birth I so desperately needed to obtain a passport. I petitioned the court in the sate I was born-which was not that of my adoption- and received a copy of my original certificate much to my elation and surprise. the judge could have provided an adoptees certificate, but amazingly he did not. To this day I never allow some so-called authority to deny me what is my RIGHT to secure.

    A few years ago I was able to petition the superior county in the state of my adoption for access to my file. I provided copious documents with my request, documents which told the court that i9t was foolish to deny me access since I already had documents confirming my real identity. the court granted my request and provided me with copies of the final adoption and nothing else. There was no mythical contract between state/county and relinquishing parent which precluded my access, nor -not surprisingly was the mythical birth certificate included in the documentation-after all, who carries birth certificates of their children as they travel? Had I waited even a month to submit my plea to the judge, the few documents would have been purged -and irretrievable because the county neither microfiched or digitalized the file because of its age. And because my adoption was handled in concert with another county-the one in which I and my sister had been abandoned in 1948 -when I was barely 2 and she was not yet a toddler- there were missing pieces-pieces which, much to my chagrin, had just recently in that time been purged. Because the state is the most notorious one of the 36 which continue to maintain sealed documents and closed adoptions, I may never find my missing sister.

    An adoptee in search almost never has an easy time of it. But with DNA analysis readily available, one can regain one’s identity -and if not those who gave them birth, cousins who may know the pieces of your story. And who knows? You might find a sibling you never dreamed or even considered having.

    Or …. you might discover, by way of creating a family tree, that one of your relatives is well known in the annals of US or other history. I just recently discovered that a daughter of my paternal 7th great grandfather William Averill, Sarah (Averill) Wildes, was hanged-unjustly- for the crime of practicing witchcraft in Salem Massachusetts Bay Colony New England on 19 July 1692 . Sarah was no witch, but she was a martyr.

    Best wishes to you, Mary, and good luck to you and others who search.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Madeline, We are truly moved by the words that fill the page. Your thoughts and grown up vision and experiance is impressive. Knowing the details of this ordeal has certainly changed my views of our system that’ll truly needs to be reviewed, but more than likely will never be. You are a strong lady who I am sure will use this experiance to better your upcoming life experiance for your upcoming family. Thank you for your words. Thank you for your family.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s