Category Archives: Adoptee

Dear Abby Misses the Mark on Adoption Question

Dear Needs Help in Indiana,

It must feel like walking on eggshells for an adoptee to live in an Either/Or world. If you even think about your birth mom, some will judge you as disloyal to the woman who is raising you.  Because, y’know, there is room for only one set of “real” parents in Either/Or world.  About the anger you’re feeling toward your birth mom, you’re told — by Dear Abby, no less — to wait until you’re older to search for her, and in the meantime to just get over it (which is not all that helpful unless the advice also includes how to do so).

dear abby

I wish for you and my own similarly-aged daughter to instead grow up in a Both/And world. In this world, we don’t need to negate one mother in order to legitimize the other. In this world we acknowledge that both biology and biography have value in making a person who she is. In this world we encourage our kids to claim and be claimed by both their clans. In this world we strive to give our teen access to all her pieces (even if that means just wondering and talking about those missing pieces) as she does the hard work of building her identity.

It’s my belief that allowing for healing that split will, in itself, ameliorate some of the intense emotions you’re feeling.

I’m sorry that you are struggling and feeling angry. I wonder if being able to talk openly about your anger would ultimately help you release it. You are wise to see that unresolved anger can spill over into your relationships with friends and family members. Instead of stuffing down your feelings until some later date when you search for your birth mother, my advice would be to enlist your parents’ help* now to find an adoption-competent therapist.  To start your search for one, check with  Brooke, Judy, or Sherrie, all in Indiana.

Bring this book to your first therapy appointment and ask your counselor to read it, if s/he hasn’t already.

Come to think of it, maybe I should send a copy of Adoption Therapy to Dear Abby.

Being 13 is hard. Being 13 and having complex feelings about adoption and no one to process with is super hard. Please. Find someone to talk with you about it. There are people who know this path and can help you along your way.

Best wishes,
Lori in Colorado

* If you think they might not be open-hearted about this, ask them to read this book first.

Image by Benmckune at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Triumph in Ohio

Another One Bites the Dust

Remember when I predicted that glasnost would come to adoption? That the walls erected in the name of shame and secrecy will inevitably fall, state by state, thanks to the hard work of adoption reform activists around the country –because anything built on a foundation of shame and secrecy simply isn’t sustainable?

Well, another wall has fallen, and the number of closed states in my original post just last year is off now by at least 3 (click here for a current count). ohio opens birth records to adopteesAdd Ohio to the list of state legislatures that have restored civil rights to adult adoptees.

#OHadopteelaw

I’m participating in this week’s social media thrust, tagged #ohadopteelaw, to highlight a bill that was passed in 2013 and goes into effect March 20. From organizer Adoption Network Cleveland (and my friend Linda Schellentrager):

In 2013 Adoption Network Cleveland achieved a major success towards our long term legislative goal of gaining the right for all Ohio adoptees to have access to their original birth records. This new law gives 400,000 adult adoptees adopted between 1964 and 1996 access to their original birth certificates. For a historical overview of this process, click here.

What are the implications regarding original birth certificates?

What does this new law mean for adoptees  who were placed in Ohio? Find answers at this adoptee access timeline. And how does this new law affect birth parents who placed in Ohio? Find answers via the birth parent decision tree. The 400,000 people adopted in Ohio between 1964 and 1996, as well as the people who love and support them, will find the video below of interest, as it explains what the new law means and how to request one’s own vital (and accurate) record of birth — something many non-adopted people have probably not given a whole lot of thought to.

Walking Through Ohio’s New Adoption Records Law

Also of interest to those who have followed the struggle for civil rights is this video by filmmaker and activist Jean Strauss. She tells the story  of Betsie Norris, Executive Director of Adoption Network Cleveland. Along her journey, Betsie discovered that her own father had inadvertently helped create the very laws she was trying to reverse.

An Adoptee ROARed in Ohio – the Betsie Norris Story by Jean Strauss

This week let’s celebrate the liberation  of sealed birth records in Ohio. And next week, let’s turn our attention to remaining legislatures that still need to right this wrong. The walls must fall. The walls will fall.

Please visit these other #OHadopteelaw posts (and add your own link if you’re writing about #OHadopteelaw).


get the InLinkz code