Dear Adoption, You Are Always With Me
I tell my kids they aren’t adopted. I know that is a strange thing to say. I ask them what it is like to look at each other and look alike and go to school and be called by one of their siblings names by their teachers. I think this is so awesome and special, but it isn’t. It is normal.
As much as I loved being pregnant the first time, I didn’t associate being pregnant and giving birth with being a mom. The events were disassociated so much in my mind that on my daughter’s first birthday at her birthday party, my husband started talking about her birth. And I could not figure out why he was talking about the day our daughter was born on her birthday. Then I realized that her birthday isn’t just about her getting older, it is also about me too and that we share this day together. I still have to remind myself each year that I was there on my kids birthdays. And it has happened 38 times now.
Once I was older and out of school I thought I was OK. Family tree projects and genetics projects were over. I became comfortable at my medical appointments saying that I am adopted and don’t know my medical history. And I was so sure I was OK but then my first prenatal appointment came along and I said my usual line. But then the doctor said “what about your husband?”. And she proceeded to ask me questions about his family medical history. Answering his questions and not having answers to mine really made me angry. Because I thought, she isn’t even born yet and he can give her more than I can.
So Adoption, as much as I want you to not be a part of my life and as many times as I wish I was OK, what I realized when I spoke to a birth relative for the first time (besides my kids), was oh I get it…they just lost one person, me, but I lost all of them. How can I be OK with that?
Jenny, I have a question for you but I was wondering if it could be private?
sure – email@example.com
Thank you. I can so relate.
You highlight what so many of us experience, and that is our children being the first in our lives to resemble us, something non-adoptees cannot understand not having ever been unaware of who they are.
In truth I knew that I had siblings , but due to great trauma, could not remember their faces or their names., until 2011 when I traveled cross country to meet a paterna uncle who I had no recollection of but who remembered me and my sibs very well, and had preserved photos of we three form 1948-the last time he saw us. When I saw my small sister’s photo, I saw my daughter who had died in 1969 staring back at me. My brother and I looked like twins Knowing from whence we came helps us to discover who we are and gives us a strong footing for our lives beyond the system of adoption.
My brother died before I could locate him; my sister is presumed to be living but due to closed and sealed adoption records I will not find my younger sister, unless she does DNA testing on the data bases I am in.
At your age, you do have much of your own medical information, and with some DNA testing companies you can get a medical profile.
If you are not aware of this, you have the right to petition the court in which you were adopted for access to your OBC ( if you were born in OH) and perhaps for your adoption files. Here is a brief summary of the current regulations for Ohio Adoptees from Adoptee Rights Law website:
‘Ohio has implemented nearly every confusing tool of OBC access that legislators can muster: disclosure vetoes, redaction, tiered access, and a donut hole that carves out exceptions for access based on date of adoption. While Ohio law has settled down a bit after legislative reforms in 2013, significant legal restrictions remain, including redaction and disclosure vetoes.
Here’s how it all currently breaks down, depending on the date of adoption:
•Adoptions prior to 1964: you have unrestricted access to your “adoption file,” which typically contains the original birth record;
•Adoptions from January 1, 1964, through September 17, 1996: must be at least 18 years of age to request the adoption file. Identifying information may be redacted if a birth parent has previously filed a “name redaction request.” Birth parents could file name redaction requests only until March 19, 2015, and previously filed redaction requests may be withdrawn at anytime.’
You can contact OH Department of Vital Statistics for further information. I have a contact person who works with adoptees (odh.oh.gov) if you should need it. Please contact me by PM on FB or leave me a note on my blog.
You can also check the entire update on Ohio law concerning adoptee access to records & OBC at https://adopteerightslaw.com/ohio-obc/ (for others reading this the link is specific to OH, but all states are in the data base-just remove ‘ohio’ and type in your state.
My brother-who was not adopted- and I were born in OH; my sister was not. Long before OH changed its law regarding access policies, I was fortunate to find Vital statistics willing to listen to my narrative and to go beyond the then curren law to help me obtain the OBC un redacted so that I could know who my parents were … OHD is till very willing to help ,,,
In any event, love your children and their father for they have given you the inheritance of you! If you and your children do DNA, you may well find cousins who know more of your story ,and if you are really fortunate, you may find a close family member… or a parent-child match. Teh latter happens only about 2% of the time with adoptees.. who are, ironically, only 2% of the world’s population.
Best wishes, my dear!
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Yes, our families only lost one person, they still have each other. I don’t think they really get that. They act like it’s no big deal.
But is is. It really is.
Thank you for sharing your story
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…”they just lost one person, me, but I lost all of them.” Thank you for giving us this perspective of being adopted.
Thank you for the comment and for reading what I wrote.