Category Archives: Adoptee

Articles that explore the viewpoint of adoptees, as well as ideas of special concern to parents who are raising an adopted child.

#flipthescript 11: Abuse to Adoption to Addiction to Affirmation

Only recently did Michael Schwerman realize that being adopted at age 12 by a step father was not nothing — as he’d always thought — nor was the difficult relationship he’s had with his mother. He’s figuring out that instead, the circumstances around his adoption and rejection shaped his life and affected his future.

Adopted people are taking over the microphone in this space during November for National Adoption Awareness Month.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

The Adoption

I have very few memories of my bio dad, Lyle. I know that he served in Korea, was a little league coach, and led a quiet life.  He was a general laborer who lived paycheck to paycheck. He and my mom split up when I was little.  My bio dad was a good man, despite his drinking and womanizing. Of course it made sense I’d follow in his 6’6″ footsteps.

My mother remarried in 1974 to a salesman from Chicago whom she met in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. My step-father, Ron, had swept her off her feet with his big city ideas and plans. She would never have to work another day in her life for he believed that the man of house provided for his family. He adopted me in 1976 when I was 12, which means Lyle, for some reason, had given up his rights to me.

The Abuse

Like Lyle, Ron was a basically good man. Fair, yet firm. Protective, even. Who did he protect me from?

Continue reading #flipthescript 11: Abuse to Adoption to Addiction to Affirmation

#flipthescript 10: I Guessed My Birth Mother’s First Name

Lenore Paletta found out she was born Giuseppina Morellato in Italy. With aching candor, she shares a portion of her search for her identity.

The #flipthescript series gives adoptees the microphone during November, National Adoption Awareness Month.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

When I Think of Searching

I guessed my birth mother’s first name. Yes, I really did. I was sitting in the social worker’s office just weeks after meeting her at the first ever held in Pittsburgh adoption triad conference.  I met the social worker after asking the private detective they had hired to speak on ways to search for your birth family. I timidly raise my hand and asked, “What about someone who wasn’t adopted from the United States?”

He draws a blank. Some women in the row in front of me are talking among themselves and one of them says, “Well what agency did you come through?”

Continue reading #flipthescript 10: I Guessed My Birth Mother’s First Name

#flipthescript 9: The Healing Power of Open Adoption

Paula Fahey was born, relinquished, and adopted during the closed adoption era. She experienced the happy/sad of adoption — she loved her parents yet she wondered about her birth parents. She’s now also on the birth family side of an open adoption and weighs in on the element of openness.

The #flipthescript series gives adoptees the microphone during November, National Adoption Awareness Month.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

I Felt Both Welcomed and Curious

I am an adoptee, born in the early 1960s, at a time when adoption was shrouded in secrecy. I was raised by loving parents who always did their best to make me feel wanted and welcome. As a young child I fantasized about who my parents might be and wondered if one day I would meet them. Sensing that questions about my birth family made my mother uncomfortable, I tried to keep them to a minimum. Sometimes though, my insatiable curiosity won out, but my mother never had any answers for me.

open adoption by closed adopteeI reunited with my birth mother when I was 26 and it was magic. Continue reading #flipthescript 9: The Healing Power of Open Adoption

#flipthescript 8: Adoptees Are In Reunion Whether They’re Searching or Not

Lesli Johnson, author of the helpful and repeatedly viral post, 10 Things Adoptess WantYou to Know, is flipping the script today. Adopted people are taking over the microphone in this space during November for National Adoption Awareness Month.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

What Adoptees Do

are you my mother adoptionDuring a recent presentation at an adoption conference, I had attendees participate in a quick exercise.  I asked them to walk around the room and find the person they thought they most closely looked like.  The room instantly filled with nervous laughter as the participants met each others’ gaze, searching for facial similarities.  After a few minutes I had them take their seats and we talked about what that experience was like. 

I explained that this is what adoptees often do. They walk through the world, searching for their lost “twin” or someone they resemble.  Like the little bird in the popular children’s book, adoptees look at others and wonder: Are you my mother?

Continue reading #flipthescript 8: Adoptees Are In Reunion Whether They’re Searching or Not