Dear Adoption, I Know You, Now. I See You
I’m not that baby long ago trembling, motherless, unloved, while strangers decided my fate. In a crib, maybe in someone’s arms, clearly not standing in a courtroom while others spoke in my “best interests.”
I asked my first mom late last year if she’d like to “unadopt” me. She said, “Yes!” On my birthday this year, I went back to a courtroom to be adopted.
We reunited 12 years ago after living my whole life not being told, even relinquishing my first son. That discovery led me to a world where blood relatives aren’t legally recognized. So I sought “Unadoption.” My mother and I found that some states permit adult adoption. We filled out the paperwork, turned in the forms, and planned to restart our journey.
We sat in the courtroom with the judge looking at the paperwork. I watched as he looked at the top sheet and then flip hurriedly to other pages. Back and forth, flipping before eventually saying, “No matter how many times I look at these dates, I can’t help but notice that today is ACTUALLY your birthday.” I never felt like he took it lightly, but seeing the matching dates, I think it deepened the meaningfulness.
He asked us to raise our right hands and being so nervous that something was going to happen – she would change her mind, someone would burst in the doors and object, or my adoptive family would show up and call it a farce (I remembered a moment when I was 11 and sat in the doctor’s office as they looked into my ancestry for a clue as to what was wrong, my adoptive mom sat and related to me her medical history, passing it off as my own) – that I actually raised my left hand. I hope that doesn’t have legal implications. The judge said, “Affirm that all parties want this adoption to happen.” Or something like that. I really don’t know because my mind was running 8 million miles per hour, but I remember thinking this had all happened before.
But last time it wasn’t me. It was someone speaking for me. I wonder was I in a carriage, a blanket, arms? I imagined someone reaching over to me and picking up my chubby clasped hand. Raise it on up to testify. Did someone do that? Or was it just them affirming on my behalf? Suddenly it was now AND 46 years ago. Except this time, I determined my best interests. The paperwork was signed and I was adopted again, but this time I am really “unadopted;” we undid that original fateful decision.
I choose. I raised my hand. I testified for me. I choose my name, my path, my heritage, and my legacy.
Read Ridghaus’ Letter to My Inner Child here.