The Weston A. Price Way

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Adoption and Truth

I wrote the story of finding my birth mom ("Angels, Angels, Everywhere!"). I still hope to divide it into chapters, edit it wonderfully and find a publishing home for it. But I was on the site and found that there are others looking for the encouragement stories like mine have to offer, so I let them 'borrow' the story.

I put the story in last night sometime between eight and nine p.m....And already this morning in my e-mail, I found two responses to the post. People want to know.

I don't think I'll spend a lot of time posting on this subject but I think this is where I'm supposed to go today. I was up early and got a nice cup of java to accompany me as I read a devotional for grandparents. Honestly, I have several devotionals and this one was on the top of the pile today, so I grabbed it and opened it randomly.

The section I came to was about Heritage. The author generously included a quote among the several Scriptures given in that category. The quote is written in larger print than the rest of the page, so it stands out. The one facing me today was a Chinese proverb..."To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."

I understand adoptive parents' desire to protect their adopted children from harmful information. I remember being told of a young man's adoption story by his father. This young man's mother was halted in the midst of attempting to drown her newborn baby in the toilet. The baby was taken from her, of course, and later adopted by this father. I knew the adopted child well, one who had been told all his life, like I had, that he was especially chosen by his adoptive parents. As true as this was, this child's father didn't want to reveal the whole truth to the young man. I remember thinking, when the story was told to me, that he was right...the son should never be told.

I was wrong.

The truth, be it good or bad, helps us understand our purpose and helps anchor our direction.

Although it is a wonderful thing that adoptive parents want to share their heritage with their adopted children, it is so important for adoptive parents to keep the door open for their children to question their biological heritage. A child in a loving home will never love an adoptive parent less after finding a biological parent, and adoptive parents need to get past such fears. Dwelling there and using it as an excuse to hide the truth is unfair and manipulative.

In my home, while the knowledge of being adopted was wide open, investigative queries were learned silently and at a young age, to be taboo. Parents can always answer their children's questions as they do sex questions...give what the child is ready for at the time. It's also good for adopted children to know that many times, especially in closed adoption cases, the adoptive parents really know very little.

If this is the case, the adoptive parent should tell the child they will be glad to help them find their biological parent(s) at a mature age. I wouldn't recommend a promise of a particular age, protection is still important and if a child is strung out on drugs, now may not be the best time. If the parent is serious, they will begin to learn themselves how to prepare their child for both the good and the bad of what may be discovered in the future. They should use wisdom and try to block out emotional responses as much as possible...If this is difficult, the parent may want to consider finding a professional counselor to help them walk through the steps.

In my case, I knew there was a heritage out there that was specifically mine. Over years, I learned it might not be what I would hope heritage could be a sad one, but regardless, I needed to know. As a Christian who believes in spiritual roots as well as biological ones, I also wanted to know if I had anything 'passed from generation to generation' that needed to be cut at the roots through prayer.

When I did discover more about my family heritage than most non-adopted people know, I found I had a grandfather who was deeply involved in the KKK. I was so sick at heart that the thought actually occurred to me that I wished I'd never found my biological family. But getting over the initial shock and outrage, I realized that knowing helped me to better pray, and regardless of the grief I had over this tidbit of information, I was still quite glad to know about other facets of my very interesting heritage.

Now, in regard to all the mumbo-jumbo surrounding closed adoptions. It's time the books were opened. If we're in such a time of change in our nation, this needs to be one of the positive ones.
The more recent open adoptions are a good start, but certainly not enough. Adults should be able to find their roots, if only on paper....NOT paper that has legalized my birth certificate...but the real stuff, like the information I found in my 'non-identifiable information' after I figured out how to see what was under the parts inked out.

Please understand that holding a falsified document of such importance in your hands...reading the lies written there...this can make you doubt a whole lot about a whole lot. I knew I was not born in the town my birth certificate said I was born in. I knew the people listed there as my biological parents were my parents, yes, but not biological.

I began to think that if the powers that be could lie on a legal document about something of such fundamental importance and get away with it, what other lies were there? Maybe I wasn't even born the day, month, or year that they put on the certificate. Maybe this. Maybe that.

Maybes are not securities.

For those of you unaware, let me tell you what many adoptees are thinking:
Don't speak to me about someone else's idea of humanitarian legalities. Speak to me about my truth. I am a human, too, after all.

My adoption story is a quasi-good one. I grew up in a country environment among other adopted siblings as well as some naturally belonging to my adoptive parents.Although I rarely felt the love of my mother, I grew to understand in later years that she'd done as she was able. My father, years after my mother's death, gave his blessing on my search for my biological roots. Although I didn't even embark upon that search for many more years, I did eventually make the journey and I have never regretted it. My bio-mom had a renewal of faith that carried her a few years later to a peacable death. She needed to know my fate as much as I needed to see her face.

I will not cry over the spilled milk of unknowing years. I believe God's timing is perfect. I know His plans are perfect. But I also know He's a God of Truth... fact over fiction. He was with me in my search, yes, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, He's been with me from the beginning and no matter who's house I happen to live in, He's my home.

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