I’ve been heavy into Adoptee Literature* lately, trying to preview feelings my children may (or may not) have. On one hand, I want to prepare for issues that may arise, but on the other, I don’t want to plant any where they may be none.
A.M. Homes’ writing is so stark. No frills. It’s easy for me to put moving pictures to her narrative. Her words and emotion mirror what some adult adoptees have expressed on various bulletin boards I frequent.
On the book tour, participants are given a set of questions, from which we each pick three. Here are mine. Directions for following along, or for joining the next tour, are at the end of the post. Make sure you click on the link below and visit the other reader reviews.
A feeling of the “subtlety of biology,” a lovely aphorism, is not something that Homes necessarily welcomes. I sometimes feel that biology raps me over the head when I look at biologically-related family members. How has infertility affected our feelings about the “subtlety of biology”?
I can’t remember what it was like when I still thought we were fertile. Did I study people’s faces? Look for signs of biological connection? Or perhaps I did not give it much thought.
Now I am a face-looker. When I see kids at school from the same family, I notice the facial shape, the arrangement of the features, the portion of teeth showing in a smile. I look for these connections when the parents come around, too.
I wonder which families share biology, and which families, like mine, share biography.
Most adoptions from the 1950s’ and 60s’ are closed, with birth records sealed except upon a courts’ finding “good cause” to open them. In light of Homes’s experiences, does this seem to be the appropriate method for handling adoption records?
I see open records as a civil rights issue. It is morally wrong to allow access to original birth certificates to everyone EXCEPT for one class of citizens who are in this group simply by circumstances of their birth.
Some argue that a birthparent’s right to privacy trumps an adoptee’s right to know. I disagree. But my bias is toward open adoption, which greatly eases this issue.
For our children, we were issued two birth certificates each: their original ones and their amended ones.
This summer, adoptee rights groups are going to address the National Conference of State Legislators in New Orleans in order to influence open records legislation in all 50 states. Click on over to offer your support.
The author talks about searching for information on her ancestors and realized that many of the people searching were not adopted. She realized from that the question of “who am I” is not unique to adoptees. At what point in your life, have you felt the same way?
Shortly after we got married, my husband and I began videotaping (back in the day; it was a HUGE, shoulder-crushing camera) stories told by our grandparents. My grandpa grew up in a sod house in Nebraska. Roger’s great-grandmother arrived in this country after literally being tossed (as a baby) onto a ship leaving Ireland.
Eventually, we will transfer these videos to DVD and pass them to our children for when they begin to question, “who am I.”
These stories, after all, are the roots of their family tree.
Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (with author participation!)
* another good selection in the Young Adult genre is A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life.