Sunday, May 20, 2012


A friend is writing about her experiences as an adoptee. I have strong feelings on the topic of adoption. My sister is biologically my half-sister. My mother was pregnant when she graduated from high school. The father refused to accept that he impregnated my mother. My mother managed to meet and marry my father in her third trimester because he was willing to rescue her. Officially he didn't have to "adopt" my sister but there was a lot of noise about how she wasn't "really" his. He thought of her as adopted. Loudly. My father raped my sister for many years. When she was a teenager she went and found her biological father and his family. Her biological father didn't like who she became after years of being raped and he was a nasty son of a bitch to her. She may have been better off not finding him.

I know a lot of people who were adopted. Sure, not that many in a cosmic sense. I don't work in adoption so I don't meet that many. I think that kids get to go find their parents. No matter what. This is not a universally popular opinion. I can live with that. It's an opinion not an incontrovertible fact. I don't care that parents don't want to be found. Do I think it can be intensely painful for the parents, oh God yes. I still think that kids get to go find their parents if they feel they need to.

The sad fact about adoption is that while most (maybe) relinquishing parents do it because they want their child to have a better life than they can provide (at least this is the polite fiction) they don't know what happened. They are happier never knowing what happened. I can understand that. I just don't give them as much room in my brain. I don't think that a relinquishing parent gets to feel ok about their decision while a kid has been raped for a few decades. But the statute of limitations has run out! The parent shouldn't be held accountable or have to feel guilty! It's not their fault, right? Oh of course not. It is never anyones fault.

I think there is no such thing as a statute of limitations when it comes to dealing with damage in your emotional life. Sure, maybe you can't prosecute people for a crime (although I found it galling that when I prosecuted my father my sister, brother, and aunts all had similar stories and they were inadmissible because they were too far in the past) but that doesn't mean you don't have to deal with the emotional repercussions. Lots of people confront rapists or molesters years after they can press charges. I digress.

In my judgmental opinion you cannot sever the responsibility you have for your crotch fruit. You just can't. There is no knife in the world strong enough to cut out a child's desire for his/her mother. Many adoptees reach a place of peace where they don't want to know their biological family. I respect that. I think it is probably a healthy choice. Many don't. Many adoptees spend their entire fucking lives hurting because they were given up. I think they have the right to meet the people who gave them up. I believe that with all my heart.

I am the product of rape. I wish I had not been told that when I was five. I am glad I know it now. I think that people should get to grow up and ask questions about themselves. That is a very powerful belief for me. Not everyone shares it. I can live with that.


  1. Bah, I want to post but this site doesn't like my iPhone and this airport doesn't have free wifi. I'll comment when I get home.

  2. Do you have stats on how many adopted people track down their biological parents? I'm not adopted but the idea seems foreign to me. They wouldn't know me and I wouldn't know them. I'd likely have more in common with a stranger. I'm much more on the side of nurture vs. nature so the fact that they each contributed to half my generic make up doesn't mean a lot to me.

    1. I do not have such stats.

      I wasn't "officially" adopted but I was abandoned by my father's family after the divorce. I want to know about them. I want to know who I look like. I want to know why they thought I wasn't worth keeping.

    2. Sometimes you'd really want to know, say if you're having kids, because there are a lot of genetic diseases and other variables that are really important.

      "Should we test for Tay-Sachs?"

      "Um... No clue. Maybe?"

      There are also a lot of other personality factors that are weirdly similar. Oh, I'm not like my parents in this way. Is that because of who my bio-parents are/were? Or am I just personally, randomly weird?

  3. A genetic history would seems the most enticing reason to track them down. But don't most adoption agencies keep a record of that? If not, then they really fucking should. That's important information. I spent the weekend hearing about all those kinds of diseases.

    Maybe next time I see my mom and dad, I should get a blood sample and put it in the -80 just in case there's some new test down the road that relevant to me. Hmmm.