Saturday, December 13, 2014

Xmas Memories

Xmas Memories

Recently, I found myself thinking about an event that happened maybe 15 years ago. This was before an event that we call "The F@ckmass Event"and that is for another Xmas themed blog entry. 

Why do you have 2 trees?

Back to my Xmas memory-  This  memory begins with my asking my adoptive mother why she had 2 Christmas trees in her house this one year.   

So it beings with  my adoptive brother's girlfriend had a 5 year old boy, and they lived together. At the time I had met the girlfriend and young child before, and the child was a really cute little boy. 
Flash forward to several weeks before Christmas. Adoptive mother goes tree shopping with my adoptive brother, and they pick a real tree out together for the apartment he shares with his girlfriend. This isn't a fake tree, this a cut live tree... you know the ones that loose needles like the second you bring them home,  and you are hoping you don't burn your house down... yeah, one of those.
Back to the story:
 I'm not clear on the exact details of what took place, but days before Christmas they break-up, and she asks him to leave on short notice.  The adoptive parents help him move out since he has so little notice.   Now, my adoptive mother is telling me this story, about how they ran over with their SUV and started taking a few loads of belongs back to their house Then she looks at me with this look of glee in her eyes, smiling... she tells me how she looked at that tree she had helped her adoptive son buy... and proceeded to remove every ornament from it, and ever bit of tinsel,  and leaving it all on the living room table.... she tells me like this is come great accomplishment.....like she has just cured cancer....  and then proceeds to tell me how she took the tree with her.... In the SUV.... back to her house...
 

“And with the child’s Christmas tree in hand- she walks out of the house – Just like the Grinch who stole Christmas on that cold and snowy night.”


She looks at me, smiling... she is so proud of herself. She thinks that she had just shown up this girlfriend who dared break-up with her adoptive son the week of Christmas. 

I say to her "But what about the little boy? Did you even think about him coming home to find his Christmas Tree gone? How that is going to make him feel"  Adoptive Mother is unmoved, and doesn't care.  But to this day I am shocked by this. I mean these people are @assholes, but this takes it to a whole new level... Class A professional @ssholes!

And I know that little boy, a boy no more... has this really $hitty Christmas memory of the day he came home and a Grinch stole his Christmas tree.

And I think about how some people proclaim that adoptive parents are somehow better than other parents, because they adopted.... it's just insane logic... Adoptive parents are not super hero's, or angles... they are simply people who had the resources to buy adopt a child... or two.... plain and simple. The act doesn't make them any nicer, or special... in fact i'm convinced that adoption attracts an element of humanity that has no business raising children.  My adoptive parents had no business being parents... that is for sure.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A War on Adoption? Opinion of an AP on #FlipTheScript

A War on Adoption? Opinion of an AP on #FlipTheScript

For those of you who might have missed it, Tracy Dee Whitt author of the blog lovin'adoptin' saw some of the #FlipTheScript tweets on twiter, then lost her $hit and wrote a blog post entitled “the war on National Adoption Month”.  This latest installment of my blog is a response to Tracy and why she needs to educate herself.



Adoption is Beautiful! Dammit, don’t say otherwise!
 The opening on her blog post states:
Adoptees are “flipping the script” during National Adoption Month, sharing the other, unattractive side of adoption. It’s their right. I’m not an adoptee and can’t speak for them, but part of me doesn’t like seeing this opportunity of beauty turned into something that’s looked down upon” (Dee Witt, 2014).

So let me get this, the adoptee voice has been ignored and marginalized during the entire history of #NAAM, a campaign is developed by adoptees for adoptees to speak up and have our voices for the first time be heard during #NAAM and you are upset that we’ve tarnished the “beauty of adoption”?

Sure as an Adoptive Parent (AP) I can see that you find adoption “beautiful”. After all you get what you wanted, a child. And if you want to look at adoption in the highly simplistic way that you do, yes a child gets a new set of parents….. BUT the child is also losing a lot in the transaction. The adoptee loses more than the AP in this. It doesn’t matter if they come from a background of abuse or not, they lose:

  • 1.     Their identity
  • 2.     Their family
  • 3.     Their history
  • 4.     Their Culture
  • 5.     Medical background information

*and more

Like you said, you’re an AP and you have no idea what it’s like to be adopted… therefore, let us talk! You might learn something, and perhaps become a better AP!

Get your own month Adoptee, leave my beautiful #NAAM alone!

“I don’t want to belittle anyones experience, after all, it’s their own. I can’t speak as an adoptee. Maybe there should be separate months, one for National Adoption Month and a month for adoptees to share their feelings, like an Adoptee Awareness Month” (Dee Witt, 2014)
You just cannot make this stuff up, yes Tracy you said it. First off in one of my #FlipTheScript posts I used my time on a national adoption blog to discuss things in adoption that AP’s can change. This as an Adoptee, I know what needs to be changed. Things that are really hurtful but many AP’s are clueless about. To me that is what #FlipTheScript is about, addressing misconceptions and maybe affecting some positive change instead of flooding the media with old narratives and harmful misconceptions.  Get our own awareness month? Nope, we aren’t going to do it. Because you cannot have a conversation about adoption without including us. Yes it’s been going on for years, but never again… we are here to stay!

An opportunity for education, but you don’t get it!

But instead you dig your hole deeper, and you write as a response on your blog that
I don’t want adoption to be wrought with talk about how wrong it is, but the fact is, there is pain surrounding adoption. In most cases it isn’t in the adoption itself that causes pain, but in the events surrounding the adoption. Yet, there’s so much that is beautiful about adoption, and I feel it’s beginning to get lost in the muddle, in the anger, in the “political correctness.” Want to know what’s politically correct? (Dee Witt, 2014).


So let me understand this, you only want to focus on only the ‘positive’ aspects of adoption, and ignore everything else? You realize this is called DENIAL? Right?  At this point I’m going to say in my opinion, you really have no business blogging about adoption in any way shape or form. This is exactly the kind of attitude that is harmful to adoptees! Rehashing old outdated narratives that have no bearing on reality!  To illustrate my point, Dee Witt (2014) further writes:
 That’s why “flipping the script” on adoption day is so painful. The world is taking what is often a positive event and turning the tables, focusing on those who don’t feel it was a good thing for them”.
 
If anyone has ever wondered what we mean by the Adoption Industries “Kool-Aid” this is a great example above.  We realize that while adoptees only make up roughly 3% of the population, but they have an increased risk of:

 
1.     Depression*
2.     Mental health issues*
3.     Substance Abuse* (40-60% of those in treatment are….ADOPTEES)
4.     Eating disorders*
5.     Harm or Death by those they are living with*

 (Edited 12/9/14 to add: This is by no means a complete list either, only the data points I was able to pull together quickly. We haven't even talked about Suicide or Learning Disabilities. On average adoptees carry a 4 times greater risk for everything listed above than their peers in the studies in the reference section. In some cases  it is higher, but on average its a 4X higher risk factor than their peers in the study- As a data analyst I am making this generalization )

 
Imagine that, I’ve had #1, #4, and #5 – Wow don’t I feel all beautiful and lucky and grateful! And chances are if you are adopted, you will also be able to check off at least one of the 5 listed above too.

So you could focus on listening to what adoptees have to say, OH MY GOSH and maybe learn something… Like gee why we have these increased risks for so much! But instead…. Well you said it 
All the adult adoptees I’ve met and know personally are very happy, having been adopted, they aren’t searching for more meaning, and frankly, they’re grateful. I don’t expect my children to be grateful, but what if they are? Is that wrong?” (Dee Witt, 2014)

OH you did not just pull the Grateful card on us? Oh you did…. Please refer to #1 on my list. 


I’m a member of the Triad, like it or not, and I’m talkin’

So what’s the big deal? In a nutshell, by only focusing on the “positive” aspects of adoption you are creating an unrealistic and harmful portrayal of adoption for all those PAP’s (Prospective Adoptive Parent’s) and AP’s. Why in the world would you not want PAP’s and AP’s to be better educated on the psychological and emotional impacts that adoption has on adopted children? Why would you want to continue the harmful adoption myths that adoption is nothing but positive rainbows and unicorns? Because simply this is what you do, writing about adoption. The gritty reality of  adoption when it comes to adoptees isn’t very good for your readership.

So, as the backlash grew, and adoptees descended on her site, Dee Witt (2014) added the following statement to her blog 
“National Adoption Month, as I thought I had stated clearly, but others seem to miss the point entirely, was created to find adoptive families for the children who need it. When the voices of adoptees sharing their negative (only referring to those negative ones, not all #flipthescript) is the only thing prospective adoptive parents hear, they may be scared from adoption. Hearing things like, you will never be their real family, my family is waiting for me in my country, I never felt at home with my adoptive family, doesn’t make people want to adopt. Those stories can be shared, there are truths that only adoptees can tell us adoptive parents, however a balanced perspective of adoption should be shared, as there are a plethora of both. If you’d like to hear more about adult adoptees views on this matter, see #flipthescript on Twitter”.

So, for #NAAM 2015 I suggest that WE adoptees, strap on our helmets on October 31, 2015 and prepare for battle, since now just by even bringing up the reality of adoption, and trying to effect change we are tarnishing the institution of Adoption in the opinion of Ms. Dee Witt. Because If Ms. Dee Witt thinks that by speaking we are declaring   “…War on
National Adoption Month” well heck, give me my helmet and keyboard… I’m going in!  And I bet my fellow members of the Bastard Nation are ready too-

Because you have just ensured that we will be even more determined to effect the change that is desperately needed within the adoption industry.

*References

Dee Witt, T. (2014, November 20). The war on National Adoption Month. Retrieved from http://lovinadoptin.com/2014/11/20/the-war-on-national-adoption-month/

Feigelman, PhD, W. (2005). Are Adoptees at Increased Risk. The American Association of Suicidology. Retrieved from http://www3.ncc.edu/Faculty/SOC/feigelb/adopsuicide.pdf

Festinger, T., Jaccard, J., Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research November 15, 2012. Volume 3, Issue 4, 280-295 ISSN 1948-822X DOI:10.5243/jsswr.2012.17

Hjern A, Lindblad F, Vinnerljung B. Suicide, psychiatric illness, and social maladjustment in intercountry adoptees in Sweden: a cohort study. Lancet. 2002; 360:443-448. - See more at: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/adoption-and-mental-illness#sthash.09wh3YBM.dpuf
 

Holden, NL. Adoption and eating disorders: a high-risk group?, Br J Psychiatry. 1991 Jun;158:829-33. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873634

 
Juffer F, van Ijzendoorn MH. Behavior problems and mental health referrals of international adoptees: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2005;293:2501-2515.

Kaplan, A. (2009). Adoption and Mental Illness. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/adoption-and-mental-illness
 

Keyes MA, Sharma A, Elkins IJ, et al. The mental health of US adolescents adopted in infancy. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162:419-425.

Kreider RM. Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2000. US Census Bureau. Issued October 2003. www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/censr-6.pdf. Accessed October 6, 2008.

Laidman, J. (2013, September 9). Adoptees 4 Times More Likely to Attempt Suicide. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/810625
 

National Council For Adoption. Adoption Factbook IV. Sterling, Va.: National Council For Adoption; 2007. 2.

Sigvardsson, PhD, S., Bohman, MD, M., Cloninger, MD, C., & Von Knorring, MD, A. (1983). An Adoption Study of Depressive Disorders and Substance Abuse. JAMA Psychiatry.

Stiffman, MD, MSPH, M., Schnitzer, PhD, P., Adam, MD, MSPH, P., Kruse, PhD, MSPH, R., & Ewigman, MD, MSPH, B. (2001, September 27). Household Composition and Risk of Fatal Child Maltreatment. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/4/615.abstract

Sunderland, P. (2011, January 1). Lecture on Adoption by Paul Sunderland. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3pX4C-mtiI

http://lavenderluz.com/2014/11/flipthescript-tracy-hammond.html


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dear Adoptive Parent #NAAM #Flipthescript

Dear Adoptive Parent  #NAAM #Flipthescript

(screenshot published with permission of How Does it Feel to be Adopted FB group)

Just when I thought I was done with my #Flipthescript efforts, this gem came across my screen.  So Adoptive Parent, this post is just for you.

Betrayal & Lies

 Dear Adoptive Parent,

I realize that after you asked your question, that you had a hundred responses on this Facebook page all basically yelling at you.  I know that you might have felt like you were being made into a villain. I’m sure you thought you might find some understanding from the adoptees on the Facebook page, and when you received such a raging backlash…maybe you thought denial would be the best method to deal with this…. and maybe you haven’t had this conversation with your daughter yet.

First, you have “carrot and sticked” your daughter all along with this promise of “when we get the money, we’ll get your records unsealed” when all along you know who her mother is.  I’m sure you think this has been OK, a way to gage her interest in seeking her family… But. It. Isn’t. OK. It. Is. Far. From. OK.

Why it’s far from OK

So the crux is this. You’ve lied to her every day of her entire life.  You’ve withheld information that is crucial to her, that is about HER- and NOT YOU.

The totality of what an adoptee loses because of adoption is something that you Adoptive Parent will never understand. Imagine if you will- that you find out you were switched at birth. You find this out today, you frantically call the people who are your biological family, only to find out that they are all DEAD. You never get a chance to meet them, to talk to them… You never get the chance to even start to form a relationship… you find they are so much like you, or really interesting people… people you’d like to know….. But this has all been STOLEN from you. 

Being an adoptee is much like this. We don’t know “who we really are” and that can be a very hard thing. We also don’t know why we were surrendered for adoption, the stories of our origins. And no matter what the narrative is of our beginnings, good or bad… we all have a right to know this truth… the truth of us.

You do not have the RIGHT to keep this information from your daughter. This is not your RIGHT.

I know you fear that this will destroy your relationship with your daughter, and maybe you haven’t told her the truth yet- out of fear. That is the very reason I am writing this post… because I fear you haven’t told her yet.

OWN UP TO YOUR ACTIONS

You have to make this right, and you have to do it NOW.

WHY?

Because you’ve just robbed your daughter out of even starting a relationship with her family because of your own selfishness and insecurities. You don’t know who has died, who she’ll never be able to meet. And its every death of a relative… a relative she will never meet… never form a relationship with… this is what your lies and secrecy have taken from her.

Maybe she will be lucky, and no one has died yet. But in the very least you have robbed her of several years of being able to start a relationship with her family… because of your selfish actions and because of your own insecurities.

Will your relationship survive?

This is what you fear…. Who knows, but you did this… this was your doing. You know it’s wrong, otherwise you would have not posted the question on the Facebook page. Imagine for just one moment this was you…. How would you feel?

Action Steps
1.     Tell your daughter the truth- right now.
2.     Give her the funds and resources to find her family, and to visit them when she is ready.
3.     Stay out of the reunion- this isn’t about YOU.
4.     Get down on your knees and beg her for forgiveness.
5.     Hope that it isn’t too late… hope that no one has died.. that she hasn’t been robbed of the chance to meet a family member because of your lies and insecurities.
6.     Understand that if your relationship with your daughter doesn’t survive this, that it was your own actions that caused it. Back away gracefully… let her go.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bouncing Doors and Other Strange Phenomenon

National Adoption Awareness Month
The summer is over, and the fall is upon us. My favorite month of October is now over
and the depressing month of November is here. I don’t like November for many reasons, but the chief reason is that it’s ‘National Adoption Awareness (NAAM) Month’. Seriously, if I was any more aware of my adoption, I’d be on billboards.  This year for #NAAM, blogs and features by adoptees are being featured in an effort to #FlipTheScript and bring a spotlight to the other side of adoption- Adoptee voices.
My blog is a very honest, brutal look at the closed adoption and abuse was subjected to. I have no doubt that the abuse I suffered was primarily due to my being adopted, I do not believe that had I been the biological offspring of my adoptive parents that they would have subjected me to the abuse they did. My blog details what I think the cause of the adoption going south, that I wasn’t what they wanted. I was adopted during an era of “blank slate baby” theory and you can mold the baby into whatever you want.  We now know that genetics play a much larger role in the formation of our personalities and abilities then once thought.  So in honor of #NAAM I give you the next installment of this blog.

Bouncing Doors and Other Strange Phenomenon
I do not recall what the argument was about, all I do remember is my adoptive mother
yelling at me with such force, that it scared me and I ran from her in fear.  I do know that I was 15 at the time, and this was before the Red Nightmare.   As my adoptive mother yelled at me, she got up and walked towards me. She had rage in her eyes and she started to raise her arm. The fight or flight response kicked in, danger signals hit my brain and I ran for the only safe place I knew- my bedroom. As I ran up the stairs, I heard her yelling at me to come back. Then I heard her on the stairs behind me. I had just made it to my room, shut and locked the door.  She was there at the door a moment later pounding on it, screaming to be let in. Soon she started trying to break it down.  I heard my adoptive father pleading with her to stop, she did not.
The door started to bouncing on its hinges as she threw herself against the door over and over and over again. Fear coursed through me, I held the door knob and pushed myself against the door to keep it from breaking apart. The door bounced on  its hinges, and I started to hear wood crack, I backed up and the door came flying open.
I stood there, not knowing what would happen next. My adoptive mother just staring at me. In a heartbeat she was on top of me, punching me.
She grabbed my hair, and yanked. I could not go anywhere, she had me. As she hit me with one hand, she gripped my hair with the other. My head jerked around as she punched me. I heard my adoptive father in the background begging her to stop, she did not.  Something inside me snapped, and the fight or flight mechanism kicked in again. Adrenaline surged in my system, my first attempt at flight did not work. My body was telling me to fight. So I started to push her back, which didn’t work because she had my head by my hair.  So I grabbed for the only thing I could, I grabbed her hair and pulled as hard as I could.  She responded by punching me in the neck. And so there we were, my adoptive mother beating me, and me trying to fight back. My adoptive father, began to beg ‘US’ now to stop. In the end he finally pulled my adoptive mother off me. And as he did, she still grasped my hair tightly- pulling me with her. I cried out in pain as he pulled her away, she hanging on to those last locks of my hair, red faced, screaming, and in a complete rage, unwilling to end the physical confrontation. 

Lessons learned
 After this day, I learned that I wasn’t safe anywhere in that house. And when my adoptive
mother started to yell, I walked out the front door- and would keep walking. My goal was always to get to the train station, if I could get on a train I could get away from them. I kept a $20 dollar bill in my shoe under the insole, so I could always pay the train fare.  My adoptive father would try to catch up with me in his pick-up, and bring me back to the house.
I made it on the train once, I made it to the end of the line. I ended up taking the first train back because I simply had no place to go.
It’s a pivotal moment in my life, because after this event- in a desperate attempt to gain some sort of control in my life, I stopped eating. This was the start of a 10 year struggle with bulimia.  I was fully in the grips bulimia and anorexia when the Red Nightmare happened.

I wish I was adopted & You’ve just had a bad experience
These are two phrases I am sick of hearing when I recount my closed adoption and abusive experiences. They are both designed to shut down the adoptee voice and change the subject.  Those who proclaim they “wish they were adopted” are fellow abuse survivors who clung onto an adoption fantasy as a way of surviving. They don’t want to hear that adoption isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.  And those who discount me by saying “you’ve just had a bad experience” and not all adoptions are this way… are almost always adoptive parents, or the general public who is had led to believe that adoption is some kind of selfless act. They don’t want to hear the truth.
The truth is that children living with adults they are unrelated to are 8 times more likely to be killed in that home. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/4/615.abstract

So let's have an open honest conversation about adoption this month, instead of propaganda put out by adoption agencies. Because it's an effort to make more money with an increase in adoptions. I hate that I am was a commodity in the economic adoption model. I hate that #NAAM is nothing more than supply-chain management and free advertising for adoption agencies trying to increase profits.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"I deserve better" A Mother's day rememberance

Mother's Day remembrance

I cannot think of Mother's Day without this memory coming to the surface, the two are forever linked in my mind. Now some of you might be a little shocked by this story, I know everyone I've ever told it to has been. But for those of you who have been reading my blog will realized it's just 'par for the course' of my childhood.

New Friends, New School

After I had become 'damaged goods' and enrolled into special education, I was sent to a different school district in the next town over. The school was known for a good special education program, and it was
thought that I needed to be completely removed from the other children who had been harassing me at my former school.  There were just two other girls in my new special education class, and we became fast friends in a class full of boys. I had never had so many friends as I did in this class, and I was able to settle in. I spent two years at this new school, and it was during this time when I was 10 or 11 that my Mother's Day remembrance takes place.

Sleep overs

I had spend a Saturday night sleeping over at one of my new friends house. With time I have lost when this exactly happened, but I'm fairly certain I was in the 6th grade so I was around 10 or 11 when this happened. Like most children, we don't keep track of specific holidays unless it has something in it for us. It's no great surprise that I wasn't aware that Mother's Day was the next day after my sleep over. Normally a parent will assist a child with procuring a gift or card for Mother's/Father's day, or at least help remind the child of this date. So Sunday afternoon, my friend's mother piles everyone in the car and we stop at Walgreen's on the way to dropping me off at home. My friend then says she is going to covertly buy her mother a card and gift while we are there, it's Mother's Day!  Now I'm a little surprised to hear this, I wasn't aware. But one thing is that I do not have any money on me at all, and I'm not about to ask my  friend or her Mother to loan me any money.... that isn't even a consideration in my mind. I start to devise a plan on what I'll do when I get home, and hope that I have enough time to make a gift for my Mother. After all I have no money at home, and I doubt I'll have enough time to procure a last minute gift for her, even if I can devise funds and transportation to a store when I get home.

Crafty Conceptions

When I'm dropped off, no one is home. However, my adoptive mother has left me a note declaring that it's Mother's Day in case I wasn't aware. If I had been older, I would have read the under currents of this note to realize I was already in trouble, because I simply wasn't there when Mother's Day started. But instead, I start looking for supplies to make a gift for my adoptive mother. I had decided that I would paint wooden plaque with a poem I had started to compose in my mind at Walgreen's. I'm sure I was inspired by all the Hallmark cards in the store. I rummage around in the garage, in the wood scrap pile looking for something suitable. I had envisioned something roughly the size of a sheet of paper, but the wood pile was mostly full of 2"x4" scraps. In the end I settle on a 2"x4" scrap that is about 12" long, and I know I can make it work. It has some rough edges, and I rummage around for sand paper and I sand down the rough edges.

Fruits of labor

Being a creative child, I start drafting out my concept. Using pencil I write the poem, draw where the flowers
will go, then mix the paints and start to decorate my 2"x4" length. Through trial and error, I realize that red lettering and border with white/red flowers and green vines/leaves will look the best for my project.  I take my time, being careful to make this look as good as possible, hoping that my creative labors will transform this length of 2"x4" and please my adoptive Mother.  Of course I make over-the-top declarations of  'how much I love" my adoptive mother on the wooden plaque. While the paint dries, I pull out construction paper and start making a card for her. I cut and create paper tulips, and glue them to the front of the card. I am really pleased with my efforts, and I'm sure that my adoptive Mother will appreciate my artistic labors.

A Crappy Piece of Wood

As I double check to make sure that the paint is dried on my plaque, and see if the glue is dried on my card, I hear my parents arrive home. I am really excited at how well my home made gifts have turned out. With not much time, and limited supplies I really feel like I've pulled off something special. I'm excited to give my home-made gift to my adoptive mother.

I come downstairs, find her and ask her to sit down while I go get my gift.  I come back down with my card and gift which aren't wrapped, as I really didn't have any time to considering searching for wrapping paper. I had her the card first, then the gift once she is done reading it.

I'm not prepared at all for her reaction, and now as a 44 year old, I'm still shocked by it.
My adoptive Mother goes into a rage and starts yelling at me. I simply respond that I don't understand why she is upset, I have a gift for her. In my naive mind I think the only reason why a parent would be upset would be if you didn't have something to give them. But in this case my adoptive mother starts yelling at me that I "didn't plan" and it's obvious. I try to explain all my labors, but she says to me "I don't want this crappy piece of wood!" "I deserve better!" "I want a store bought gift, not some crap you've tried to make!"
She hits me a few times, and I start crying. I am really shocked by this outburst. She sends me to my room "so you can think about what you've done".

After the fact I wondered what I could have done differently, given that if I did have any money it was change. The other factor was transportation, I had a bicycle, but the nearest store where I could have bought a suitable gift was Walgreen's and it was 1 mile, one-way on a bicycle. I was doomed from the beginning.

Comfort in a closet

The small walk-in closet in my bedroom had long since become the place I went when I needed to find
comfort. I could hide completely in there and not been seen. I often wished so desperately that my mother would come rescue me  from these people I was living with. I so desperately wanted her on this day, as I realized that these people who had adopted me really didn't care for, or love me. I felt unwanted and disposable, but unable to verbalize these complex feelings since I was only 10 or 11 at the time. But I knew the way I was being treated was wrong, and I knew that I did deserve better. As a child you don't understand what a closed adoption is, or that your mother has no idea where you are... or that she has been threatened with legal action if she ever tires to find her child in the TPR (termination of parental rights) paperwork she's signed.  A chunk of my soul died this day, I would be lying if I said this hadn't left some emotional scars on me. Your first mother has already rejected you, now the 2nd one is rejecting you because of a hand-made gift.

You're making a big deal out of nothing

After this, I was very careful to ensure I had a proper store bought gift and card for my adoptive mother each Mother's day. In fact I never made her another hand made gift again. If I made something in school or at home, it was never given for a holiday... it was just something I brought home.
I made sure that each Mother's day / holiday / occasion going forward, and  I took care to mention that it was a store bought gift and card, and inquired if she liked it, or if she wanted to return it. When she would chastise me for acting this way, I would bring up the home-made gift and her reaction to it. She would then tell me I was "making a big deal out of nothing" and to stop mentioning it.  But it was a real concern on my part, would she punish me if my store bought gift and card were not to her liking? Would I be rejected again if it wasn't good enough?

As an adopted child, we realize our adoptive families/ homes are not guaranteed.  We've already been given up by our first set of parents, what is to stop the 2nd set from doing the same?  And now with the new practice of re-homing adoptees by adoptive parents, I have no doubt that my own adoptive mother would have done this to me if she'd been given the chance, I was never what she wanted in a child. I was never good enough for her, ever.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When you get married....



When you get married

While I was making $5 dollars and hour, struggling to pay for school, car repair bills, car
insurance, clothing, and my own expenses my adoptive mother in an effort to make my life even more difficult declared one day that “If you ever want us to PAY for YOUR wedding, then you need to start paying rent to live here”. I was 19 years old and struggling, I could barely afford gas money. I tried my best to explain that I just could not afford even $5 dollars a week, as I was just barely making it. I wondered if this was her effort to make me quit school. My adoptive mother wasn’t exactly a supportive person, and she would often make comments to under mind my self-esteem. She’d make comments like “you know you can’t do math, how are you going to take a Math class?” A narcissist is a master of manipulation, and she knew I had very low self-esteem to begin with. If you keep telling someone they aren’t smart enough, or good enough to do something… then eventually they start to believe it.
In the end I was told that since I could not afford to pay rent, they would not pay for my wedding as I was…. You guessed it….. “you are on your own” to pay for it.  So what did I do when I did get married in 1998? I didn’t tell them, I decided that my adoptive parents didn’t deserve to attend. It wasn’t like we had any money to have any kind of wedding party. So we kept it simple, we were married by the Mayor of Montgomery Ohio and that was it. I also knew that cutting them out would result in them disowning me, so I chose not to tell them and my husband was “the boyfriend” for 8 years after we were married.  I also knew that the inclusion of my adoptive parents would be a horrible mistake, as they would do everything in their power to destroy it.

A College Education part deux

A few years before I was disowned by my adoptive parents, my adoptive mother had struggled with breast cancer. I recall a conversation we had where she complimented me on never asking for help of any kind…ever.  I told her that wasn’t entirely true, I had asked for help twice and been told “NO” twice. She asked if I resented them not helping me with school. I simply said that “because I don’t have a college education I will never make as much money as I could. Not having a college diploma decreases your income”. She started to cry and asked if she had been a “bad mother”. Everything in me wanted to scream “YES YES YES” but she was on chemotherapy, and just had surgery. I felt that if I were to tell the truth, it would be like kicking a dog when it was down. I told her what she wanted to hear, I said “No, you weren’t a bad mother”. But for the record, she was a HORRIBLE MOTHER!

An act of rebellion

Holding my Associates degree diploma
After I was disowned, I re-enrolled in school. It was almost like an act of rebellion. A college education was something that was important to me, and I wanted it desperately. But without support from my adoptive parents, it became impossible when I was younger. In the days before online classes, working full-time and taking a college class were very difficult to do. In 2007 I re-enrolled in college, partially an act of rebellion against what I was told “was a waste of time” and that “you aren’t smart enough” to do. It was also something important to me. Without the negative influence of my adoptive parents, I found the self-esteem needed to go back to school. It’s amazing how bad people can drag you down and eat way at your self-worth. I’ve been enrolled continuously in classes for over 7 years now, using my employer’s tuition reimbursement plan to pay for my education. I only get 5 thousand dollars a year, but I try to maximize my money by using a community college with an online program for some of the lower level classes I need and taking the upper level classes at the the University I’m enrolled with. School takes a lot of time, but it’s always been important to me and I make it work by taking 1 class at a time.
I’ll have just 7 classes left after the fall semester until I’ll have my degree. I finished an Associates degree in Business back in 2010. And with a little luck I should have my BS in Business Administration, with a minor in Human Resource Management next year or in early 2016. I have a 3.75 GPA, which isn’t bad for someone who was told they “weren’t smart enough for school”.



 Some people find that holding others back is the only way they can feel good about themselves. Removing the negative influences in my life has been hard, but it was necessary so I can strive to achieve my goals. Adoption only provides a different family for a child, not a better one. 

A College Education?

A College Education?

The difficulty of a College education has been one of the more impactful events on my life in general. The after effect has been lasting. I think the majority of people will agree that those with a college degree will earn more than those without one. Obtaining a college education was something important to me, and without the support of family I found that it becomes incredibly difficult goal to reach.

When I was a junior in high school I received a scholarship and invitation to spend the summer studying at the Savannah School of Art in Georgia. I can remember how astounded I was when one of my art teachers handed me the school packet and check. The sum would cover summer tuition at the school I was told, however it did not cover the cost of room/board… that would be a cost that I would have to cover if I wanted to attend.   I will never forget how my adoptive mother reacted to this offer I received.  Now a ‘normal’ mother might be proud, happy, or excited…right? Well not my adoptive mother. Her response was this….”If you want to go to college, you are on your own… we’re not giving you one dime of our money… and don’t ask us to fill anything out either…we’re not helping you at all…. It’s a waste of time and money” She made it clear that this statement went for any college, not just art school.  So I took my packet and check from the art school and put it in a box with my other important papers, it was just a keepsake… a memento….not an opportunity or future. So as my high school education started coming to an end, my classmates would ask me what I planned to do after graduation. With college now not an option, I said that I was planning to take a year off and work. It was hard having everyone else I knew making plans for school with supportive parents helping them… and me on my own.  I didn’t even have a driver’s license or a car when I graduated high school. I had my part time job at the local library, but that was it.  

Money and the Struggle

I had written before about how I had been forced to sign over my savings bonds to help

pay for my adoptive brothers first car. However, when it came to me I had been told I was “on my own” and I had to pay for my own car, and I would not be getting any help, or as my adoptive mother put it “not one dime”. So I’ve graduated, and if I even want to think about going to the local community college I needed a vehicle. So that summer I start working full time in this horrible small office as a receptionist. I still had my part-time job at the Library. I can recall when I had to go shopping so I could have a wardrobe for the receptionist job. I hated withdrawing money from my savings account to buy the clothing… this job only paid five dollars an hour.  It was a horrible office, and the office manager didn’t like me. She set out to make my life as difficult as possible. It was a very small office with just four people in the office. I worked there for about 5 months before they decided they didn’t need a receptionist anymore. While I worked there, I finally got my driver’s license, but had to rely on my adoptive parents to pick me up and drop me off every day. Three days a week I went straight from one job to another, often with no dinner. I was still suffering from bulimia at this time, and not eating was normal.  After I lost the receptionist job, I had a hard time finding another. I only had a high school education, with only five months of full time work on my resume. I struggled. My adoptive mother was upset that I didn’t have a full time job yet, and I would often be targeted by her because of it. My two friends were away at school, and I was alone. After several months of looking for another job, I was able to get a job at an answering service for five dollars an hour again.  Because I had kept my part-time job at the library, I finally had enough money to buy a used car. My adoptive father picked out a ‘84 Ford Escort that I would buy. It turned out to be a bad car that at 5 years old, broke down all the time. I paid for the car in full out of my checking account, and paid for the registration and tax. My adoptive parents paid for the license plates because I had just spent every penny I had.  They had gone to great lengths to help my adoptive brother buy his first car, and the help they gave me was minor in comparison. Had they wanted to, they could have made the situation easier on me… but they chose not to.

Community College

My higher education aspirations were modest in nature, I enrolled at the local Community College. When I had my meeting with the financial aid office, I found out that without my adoptive parent’s cooperation to help fill out financial aid paperwork, I could not apply for any kind of financial aid.  I was told that I might qualify for a Pell Grant which was free from the government, but I would need my parents cooperation. I knew not to ask, I had already been told that “you are on your own, and don't ask us to fill anything out” and “it’s a waste of time and money”. So with modest funds and expectations, I enrolled in classes. When you only make five dollars and hour, and are paying for your own car insurance, repairs, gasoline, and clothing, coming up with money for tuition and books is incredibly difficult.  Shortly after I had enrolled and started classes, my adoptive mother approached me one day. She was angry at me and I didn’t understand why.  She said to me in her nastiness tone possible “Your father seems to think we should help pay for your books if you are paying for your classes”. I hadn’t asked for any help, I knew better. But this offer took be aback, of course I could use some help but I didn’t understand why she was telling me this in her nastiness tone possible. It’s one thing to have someone treat you like shit when you ask for help, another thing entirely to have someone treat you like shit offering a helping hand. While I could have desperately used the help, any help…. I was sick of my adoptive mother treating me like a piece of shit.  I got angry and I said to her “I’m quite alright on my own, I don’t need your help” when in reality I needed all the help I could get. She had a surprised look on her face when I said this, I mirrored her shitty tone right back at her.  I wasn’t her doorstep to walk on, and I wanted her to know it.
I was only able to make it three semesters before I just wasn’t able to financially afford school and a car.  I had to find another job that paid more, the used car I had purchased broke down all the time and the bills were increasingly larger. I cried for weeks when I had to quit school, it was one of the saddest times in my life.

Asking for help



Adoptees in general are self-sufficient, at an early age we realize that we have to take care
of ourselves. For me asking for any kind of help is difficult, I will go down every avenue to solve a problem on my own before asking for any kind of help.  Only twice in my life have I ever asked someone to help me financially. Both times I asked my adoptive parents to loan me $50 and then $40 dollars so I could cover a car repair bill when I was between paychecks. I said that I would pay them back when I was paid the next week.  Both times I was told a resounding “NO”. I can honestly say that my adoptive parents never load me as much as a dollar for even a day.  Imagine now needing your car to make it to work and school, but you have to pay the $300 dollar repair bill to get the car out of the repair shop and you are $40 short.  You get up enough courage to finally for once in your life ask for financial help, a modest loan… and you hear “NO”, not because they didn’t have the money… but rather because they didn’t want to help. Now, if I had been the kind of child who was always asking for money or loans I could understand being told no. But this was the first time I had EVER in my life asked for a loan or financial help of any kind from them. In the end I wrote a check for more than I had in my checking account, knowing that I’d have to pay an overdraft fee. Just a few months later the car broke down again, and I was confronted with an even larger car repair bill, this time was $50 dollars short. I asked one more time for a loan just until I got paid. My adoptive mother actually laughed at me said “NO” and turned her back to me and walked away. I started crying to her turned back as she walked away from me. I really didn’t know what I was going to do this time. The overdraft fees had cost me a lot the last time, and I needed to figure out some other option. When I didn’t have a car, I would ask to borrow hers. She started to resent this and would tell me to “take the bus you cannot have my car” which is easier said than done. I can recall that it took me three hours by bus to make it to school and work one day. By car it was 30 minutes round trip. I ended up leaving my car at the repair shop for a few days until I got my paycheck and could cover the bill, taking the bus to school and work a few times and being “allowed” to borrow my adoptive mothers car after I explained that I’d have to walk 4 miles at 11pm at night to make it home after I was done working 2nd shift at the answering service since the busses would not be running at that time of night. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mixed Messages


I’ve heard people talk about something called ‘unconditional love’ but I seriously doubt that exists. I know that there are always conditions put on love. If my husband or I were to have an affair, that would be a condition and it would most likely end the marriage.  Perhaps unconditional love is something that a parent has for a child, but it’s something I’ve never experienced and therefore I doubt it exits. During my childhood I received mixed messages from my adoptive mother. Often she would tell me that “I don't like you, it doesn't mean I don't love you, but I cannot stand you.” I don’t understand why a parent, even an adoptive parent would tell a child this repeatedly, but she did.  I’ll never understand why she would say that to me, but she did at least once a week for years.  At the same time she would chastise me for not ‘having a closer relationship’ with her, like it was my fault. How could I seriously want to have a ‘closer relationship’ with someone who openly disliked me so much, and openly abused and neglected me.  

passive-AGGRESSIVE


Looking back I know understand, my adoptive mother is very much passive-aggressive. Those with a narcissistic personality will often display the character trait, my adoptive mother was just very blatant about it. Telling me she loved me but could not stand me in the same breath. I still cannot understand why she did this, and all it did do was make me want to stay away from her as much as possible.
It's a hard reality

They love the dogs more

When I was in my early 20’s, two of my girlfriends made an observation when we were out one night. I guess it was a bit like an intervention, because they were concerned. I’ll never forget what they said to me. We were at Glencoe beach which overlooks Lake Michigan, on warm summer night. I had attended the same high school with Kristen and Jenny, and they were my two closest friends at this time. I had known Kristen longer, we both worked at the public library together for several years. As we sat there high up on the scenic  overlook on benches, they both tentatively started speaking. They had both observed my adoptive parents treatment of me for several years now, and had come to the conclusion that they didn’t care for me, let alone ‘love’ me. Simply put, Kristen said “You realize they love their dogs more than they love you. You get this, right?” It was an honest observation of my situation, and it was truthful. It’s a hard reality, you try to survive as best as you can with the situation you’ve been dealt, but hearing someone else tell you what you feel but never speak is hard.

I can recall telling my adoptive parents what my two close friends had said, I had hoped that my adoptive parents would maybe realize that they didn’t treat me very well and that others observed this. Maybe I hoped for some sort of introspection on their part, or maybe an apology. The actual response I received was this, without even looking up from the television my adoptive mother said half distracted “no we don’t” and that was it. Nothing more.  Your adult daughter, obviously upset tells you that her best friends have observed that her ‘parents’ love their dogs more than they do her, and your adoptive parents response is a half distracted “no we don’t”, and nothing more. Not even a second thought as to how they treated me that would prompt others to make that observation.


Now years later, I can say honestly that yes, my adoptive parents liked and loved their dogs more than they ever did me. They took better care of them, they received regular medical care, and resources that I was never given.

Reality is hard, and never giving.
Adoption is like an arranged marriage, there are no guarantees that strangers will get along... even if one of them is an infant. Shared genetic connections give a shared commonality within a family, adoption eradicates this.