A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 6, 2007

In the Course of a Lifetime, A Family Does Matter

Filed under: Adoption,blogging,children,Culture,Family,General,Inspirational — avoiceofreason @ 7:43 pm

As you know my wife was adopted, and I have posted about the trials and trevails that this has brought to her and at times to myself as she has dealt with the confusing, but oh so real emotions that an adopted child has about their place in the world any everything.

My wife knew nothing about her biological family and had been searching for information off and on for the past 25 years.  In some ways, in a very minimal way, I hope she has felt that although she is alone in this, that she has felt some support.

Recently, the drive and need to know had been growing within her.  For the past few years I’d been telling her to hire a detective agency and see if that would yield any information.  She would resist, citing money problems, which are often real, but really I believe showing a fear that maybe they wouldn’t be found, or what to do if they were found.  Last week, I guess she had reached a point and told me she had been saving money for this end.  I told her the hell with saving money, just do it, hire the agency.  She balked at the cost, and I asked her, in the course of a lifetime what does the money mean as compared to knowing.  She contacted an agency, and within 48 hours, she had a family, a name, a past, a mother – who does not yet know she is found, a sister and brother, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.

The next step is establishing contact.  This is not as easy as it sounds, and this is nerve wracking for her – as there is always a very real possibility of rejection.  There is also a flurry of information that she has – a past – complete with the knowledge of the job that her biological great grandmother did – she worked  in a poultry store, the county in Ireland where her great grandfather emigrated from in 1914.  She has even found on the internet photos of her family.

My role in this is minimal.   I occassionally post about adoptees, and it is because of my own thin connection with my own wife that I  am made more aware of how it touches my own family’s life.  However, this is not about me, nor my family, nor is it wholly about my wife.  Though I am happy for her, I know there are many who are in the same shoes she was in out there, and maybe some few happen across my blog when I post.  All I can share is that, I am happy for her, and I hope that you are successful if you are an adopted child, or a mother who surrendered a child, and now yearns for contact.  While it may take great effort, and it may even cost three to four thousand dollars, ask yourself what I asked my wife, “In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter”.

In the course of a lifetime there are probably few things that matter.  I think finding out that you have a famliy is one of them.

If you have exhausted all means, please leave a comment and my wife or I would be able to give you a list of resources to use in finding your birth family.

22 Comments »

  1. Nice post. Just a caveat that a professional searcher should only be employed in the most stubborn of closed records states when each and every accepted search option has run into a dead end. There are literally thousands of free searchers who can give someone a hand. And if a professional is employed, there’s only one that is recommended in adoption searches. I don’t want to do a commerical for them but most in the adoption search movement know who they are. They are the one and only.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 6, 2007 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  2. Your role is not minimal, you have been a hug support for you wife. If she or you want to read about people in reunion please come by my blog and have a look at the adoptees and mums on my links list.

    Comment by reunionwritings — May 6, 2007 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  3. I mean huge, not hug.

    Guess I don’t get the job as a typist….

    Comment by reunionwritings — May 6, 2007 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  4. Another opinion:

    …and I’m not trying to be a downer, but some families would NOT want to be found, and it’s COMPLETELY their right to not be found.

    I am adamently opposed to abortion and would prefer to give my child up for adoption. You can be certain that if the child were conceived under bad circumstances (i.e. rape) that I would HATE to have that child find me. I would also want to, if possible, give birth in a closed record state – and would sincerely hope that a private detective or an activist court would not later remove my right to not have that child in my life. I mean, does the mother have ANY rights here? How can a mother who doesn’t want to be found exercise her right to such?

    If your wife is under the age of 34, it was entirely legal, in every state in the country, for her biological mother to get an abortion when pregnant with your wife. Rest assured that invasion of privacy, post-adoption, will make abortion a more viable option – and no one wants that to not happen more than the spouses of the unplanned children.

    Comment by theobromophile — May 6, 2007 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  5. Abortion and adoption should never be confused in the same basket, a little respect please….

    There is a myth or misconception that we mothers don’t want to be found. We do want to be found. You will have the cases where a mother refuses contact or vice versa, an adopted adult refuses contact with his or her mother. Sadly that can happen.

    Open records, honesty, and access to family members are not going to encourage abortions because adoption has nothing to do with abortion.

    All the mothers on my links list are delighted to have their children back in their lives including me. I am overjoyed to be in reunion with my daughter.

    I never even considered abortion, it has nothing to do with adoption. Trust me, I am not just another opinion I am speaking from life experience.

    Comment by reunionwritings — May 6, 2007 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  6. Well i’m happy for your wife, and that is an understatement. I can’t imagine how surreal it must be! One of my previous women’s groups leaders found her daughter she was pregnant with very young. When she got older she was married and had 4 more. It hasn’t been a story book meeting- the reuniting… but family never is! That’s the love and beauty of it all, its not always easy, but I believe as you, that it is importnant to know where you come from. I imagine most people feel that need. My girlfriends that got pregnant young all hope that one day when their birth children are grown ups, they will get to meet them.

    Comment by mommyzabs — May 6, 2007 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

  7. Thanks for the feedback.
    My wife was from PA and in a county that was horrific with even giving out non-identifying information. She had tried almost every avenue.

    While I do understand that some birh mothers don’t want to be found, from what we’ve read it’s between 5% and 10%, it’s a risk she’s willing to take. With regard to the invasion of privacy, that dog doesn’t really hunt, in my opinion. While those who choose to surrender their children for adoption have their reasons, it really isn’t so invasive for the either party to let the other party know they exist, and see if some type of interaction is something both parties wish to pursue.

    Although I’m sure my wife would be hurt if the contact is not received, I know she wouldn’t push the envelope. Her feeling is she is hurt already, and I can’t fully judge it as I don’t walk in her moccasins, but she is willing to take the chance. Trust me, she’s halfway between surreal in happiness – knowing she has a past – and terrified that she’ll be rejected.

    I guess it’s just another joy of living with her. But she ain’t so bad!

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 6, 2007 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  8. Hope this is taken in the spirit in which it’s intended, as one of education. Once someone is over the age of 18, they are adults, and shouldn’t be referred to as adopted children any longer. Also the term birthmother is no longer used. It implies someone who existed only to give birth for other people. A kinder term to use is first mother. I’m not trying to criticize you because this is a nice post. I hope it didn’t come off that way.

    I feel bad for theobromophile that she would HATE so much to have a grown child seek her out. No matter how a baby is conceived, they are a blameless human being with a heart, a mind, and a soul. No one should hate on them. I hope she’s not a mother. And that part was intended as criticism.

    Comment by Another Anonymous — May 7, 2007 @ 12:41 am | Reply

  9. Just a word in defense of Theo, TheBromophile, she’s a really wonderful person, so please don’t be harsh towards her.🙂

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 7, 2007 @ 12:54 am | Reply

  10. I was simply pointing out that many people do not want to be found, and, frankly, such is their perogative.

    Furthermore, adoption and abortion are interrelated to the highest degree – both being done with a child that one cannot raise. One option, IMO, is the most unselfish and wonderful things a human can do. I do not, however, think that a birth mother/first mother is under any obligation to be found, and think she has every right to organise her life so as not to be found.

    Feel badly for me all you want, Anonymous. I would not kill my child unless my own life were in danger, but would not think that giving birth is a license for said child to invade my life against my wishes. Closed record adoptions, if arranged as such, should be respected. Does anyone really think that the biological mother is unaware that her child exists?

    If your wife is rejected by her biological parents, such is not a slight against her – in fact, giving her life and a healthy, loving family is a fantastic gift. It is merely the fact that, for reasons unrelated to her, she is a painful reminder of the circumstances surrounding her conception.

    Anonymous – do you condemn abortion? Because last time I checked, we reserve, as a society, very little condemnation for women who abort but condemn, in the highest degree (as you in your condescention have done to me) for mothers who do not want their biological children in their lives. My point is that those attitudes ought to be reversed. Also, if we want to promote adoption (which, as an adament pro-lifer, I do), we ought to make a world where a woman need only give nine months of her life to her child, if she so wishes.

    As for not being a mother – well, be happy that I’m not. (Thank you, Voice.) If I were raped, I would rather die than condemn my own child to death, but would also hate to see the face that is a mixture of mine (and my family’s) and that of the man who visited one of the worst crimes possible upon me. Pardon the romantic in me, but there’s something really beautiful about a child that is conceived out of love and resembles, in part, each of its parents – the union of that love, if you will. The child of a rape or drunken sexual assault is the combination of a victim of a heinous crime and its perpetrator. Such a child deserves life, IMO, but we cannot foist it upon an unwilling parent.

    I say that not as one who lacks any empathy, but as one who feels terribly for a woman who suffers such a crime and has nothing but admiration for her bravery in continuing a pregnancy. Do not forget that even South Dakotans wanted to change their law to allow an abortion exception for rape: we find even pregnancy to be too horrible a thing for a raped woman – to carry her rapist’s child is beyond the pale. Why not extend the same sympathy in allowing her some modicum of privacy after many years? If she wants to unseal the adoption records, hire a private investigator, or contact the adoption agency, such is her perogative.

    But I guess I’m a lousy person……

    By the way, Another Anon, there’s a difference between hating on a person and hating to have them in your life. Are you friends with all of your exes? If not, is it because you hate on them, or because having them in your life makes you unhappy? I would not hate my own child – if I did, why give it life and try to find a wonderful, nurturing home for her? – but I would not want her in my life. You confuse the issues, which I guess is YOUR problem.

    Simply because a human is blameless does not mean that we want them in our lives. I take it that you open your home to refugees from around the world, right? Why not? Are you hating on humans with hearts, minds, and souls? Or is it simply that you feel compassion for them but don’t want them living with you? Wow, you’re a lousy human… I hope you aren’t a parent. [/sarcasm]

    Comment by theobromophile — May 7, 2007 @ 1:55 am | Reply

  11. One problem with adoptions from the early 1960’s is that many who surrendered their children were told never to seek out their child again, even that it was against the law.

    Another problem that my wife happens to face is the ridiculous nature of the law in the county where she was born. She has been unable, despite trying for years, to get non-identifying information which is vital to her health due to buereaucratic resistance.

    Like I said, there is a possibility that the mother indeed doesn’t want contact, but my wife still would at the very least like that information about medical history, and I think that basically trumps the other person’s desire for privacy.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 7, 2007 @ 2:37 am | Reply

  12. Medical history should be a part of adoption procedures, IMHO. I would hate, though, to be “tracked” and recorded for years if I happened to give up a child for adoption. Biological children are not allowed access to medical records; adoptive children should not get superiour rights.

    I’m not trying to attack your wife, just pointing out that some people may not want to be found. Ideally, we would have a system whereby parents could choose to never be found, to be found if the child so desires, or to keep in contact with the child & adoptive parents. Right now, though, ten times as many women abort as families who adopt children (120,000/year adopt, but many are from overseas), so there’s little need for such legislation, sadly.

    Comment by theobromophile — May 7, 2007 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  13. In this enlightened year of 2007, it’s interesting to see the shame and stigma still attached to adult adoptees. Bring up adoption reunion and the first things that come to people’s minds are rape, abortion, or intrusive adoptees showing up unannounced on people’s doorsteps.

    And you wonder why we post anonymously.

    How about two adults with a private matter between the two of them. If someone doesn’t want contact, all they need to do is tell that to the person on the other end of the phone or the letter. Is is sad? Yes but it’s between an adoptee and his or her mother. No one else.

    Comment by Yet a third anonymous — May 7, 2007 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  14. I’m happy for your wife. Hope things go well and she gets to meet her “new” family.

    I can’t begin to imagine what it is like for her. Thank you for supporting her and her ways.

    As a husband, there are times when I don’t understand my wife (and very few times when I do). It must have beeen difficult to deal with her wanting to know, but not wanting to take the steps necessary (hiring a detective) to puruse. I pull my hair out when my wife does this, but I love her just the same. And I politely smile and say “whatever you want dear.”

    I think that part of the job may not be written in the job description, but should go alog with “love, honor and cherish”.

    Congratualtions!

    Comment by Randy — May 7, 2007 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  15. Well, Randy, marriage is like the analogy of buying the field. You get whatever lay in it. Thankfully, in the end it’s pretty good!

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 8, 2007 @ 2:00 am | Reply

  16. Never heard that analogy before. I have to think about it, but I think I like it…

    Comment by Randy — May 8, 2007 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  17. I AM A ADOPTED CHILD WHO DID NOT KNOW TILL I WAS CALLED BY A “DO GOODER SEARCHER” WHEN I TURNED 18. I WAS ASKED DOB COLOR OF HAIR AND EYES AND WAS TOLD BLUNTLY THAT MY MOTHER WAS FOUND. I DID NOT ASK FOR THIS NOR DID I WANT IT. I LOVE MY PARENT MY MOTHER NOT THIS BIOLOGICAL WOMAN WHO DECIDED AT A OLDER AGE SHE RATHER PARTY AND HAVE A CAREER THAN TAKE CARE OF A CHILD. SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING AND MY PARENTS PAID FOR HER APARTMENT AND DOCTER FEES. I ASKED MY PARENTS AFTER THIS HORRIBLE CALL AND THEY CRIED AND TOLD ME THEY JUST DIDNT WANT ME TO FEEL DIFFERANT AND NOT THEIRS. I TOOK CARE OF MY MOTHER TILL SHE DIED AND MY FATHER TILL HE DIED. I HAVE A FAMILY NOW AND AFTER HIDING FROM THIS WOMAN WHO IS MENTALLY UNSTABLE SHE HAS FOUND ME AGAIN. I HAVE BEEN NICE TO HER AND HAVE EXPLAINED AGAIN HOW I FEEL I HAVE SENT HER PICTURES OF MY CHILDREN AND MYSELF BUT NOW I WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE. I CANNOT MAKE UP FOR HER BURDEN SHE IS PLACING ONE ON ME NOW. I HAVE CONTACTED HER FAMILY AND THEY HAVE CONFIRMED THAT SHE HAS ISSUES. WHY MUST THE CHILDREN BE BOTHERED IF WE ARE CONTENT. IN RESPONSE TO THE COMMENT OF HER AS A MOTHER NO THIS IS NOT SO. A MOTHER IS ONE WHO TAKES CARE OF YOU, SITS UP WHEN YOU ARE ILL, LOVES YOU, NOT JUST GIVES BIRTH. I AM SO SICK OF THIS POOR ME BIRTH MOTHER MOVEMENT. GET OVER IT LIKE WE DO.
    BETTER LEFT ALONE

    Comment by wanted child — May 29, 2007 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  18. And the purpose for posting that little diatribe on such a beautiful, loving, personal and moving post was…?

    Comment by O Rly — June 8, 2007 @ 4:24 am | Reply

  19. Ridilin La

    Ridilin La

    Trackback by Ridilin La — June 26, 2007 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  20. OH IM SORRY YOU DIDNT GET WARM FUZZIES FROM MY VIEWS AND THOUGHTS BUT NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE FOUND ESPECIALLY BY A STRANGER NOT “MOTHER”

    Comment by wanted child — July 5, 2007 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  21. Hi again🙂 so in the end did she end up making contact ?

    And omfg ! to some of the comments here. I invite you and your wife to come read my blog. And as for some of these others yes you too come read my blog and have your EYES OPENED
    I can not believe how backward some people are truly!

    Please email me adoptedjane at hotmail dot com I’d love to know how your wife got along🙂

    There are only 6 states with open records but rest assured there ARE many People working to get ALL States with open records. Every PERSON Deserves the RIGHT to know WHO they are. Being Adopted is NOT who you are. You were born with genetical markers and traits and all Individuals have a right to know that information regardless.

    We do not live in the dark ages. (although sometimes I wonder) Nothing good ever comes from SECRETS & LIES and those that believe that adoptees records should remain closed for every are ignorant

    Please, to those that do think that way do this l:

    Think of your name that is what you are called by. And then take it away and be known as Jane Smith or John Smith

    Think of your Home and visualize it how lovely it is, and the street and the country you live in and now transfer yourself to another far away country NEVER To see that home or street or country again

    Think of your family and friends how loving they are how much you love them, and now immediately understand that you will NEVER See them ever again

    You will never know your name, your home , country, family or friends again.

    BUT

    There is a way …..but its locked up in a vault that you can never access EVER

    Would you like to see your loved ones again ?

    Tough shit you cant !

    But wait oh look there is a group trying to fight for your right to know who you are ….but you just want to crap all over them…

    Far fetched ? yeah probably but its about the easiest way to make ignorant people to try to understand why its so important for an adoptee to find their roots

    Comment by Jane — June 21, 2008 @ 3:06 am | Reply

  22. Jane,

    In this country, it is legal to kill your child until the sixth month of gestation. Now, if a woman decides to not do that, should she not at least have some rights? The abortion advocates insist on talking about only the rights of the woman; people like you talk about only the rights of the child. If the price of your life is that you don’t get to meet your biological parents, then suck it up, honey.

    By the way, there is a huge distinction between people you already know and people you’ve never met. If parents want to be contacted, they can find a way to do it. Otherwise, if they don’t want any part of their children’s lives, then their children need to grow up and not stalk them.

    Consider that an ex-boyfriend might want one more chance, or to stay friends, or the like – but if the ex-girlfriend has made it clear that it’s over, we call it “stalking” when he persists. The situation of adoption is no different. There is no right to nose about in people’s lives and force your way in. Often, the circumstances surrounding adoption are ones that the mother would prefer not be broadcast about the world – drug use, teenage pregnancy, abusive boyfriend, rape. The right to privacy far trumps the right to stalk.

    Comment by theobromophile — June 21, 2008 @ 2:28 pm | Reply


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