#flipthescript 12: A 1970s Adoption Story

A friend from high school reached out to tell me that her biological mother had died. She told me that the whole thing had been a nightmare and that I should write about it. 

Here is Cheryl’s story, part of November’s #flipthescript series in which adoptees take over the microphone.

adoptees flipthescriptImage: Tracy Hammond

How I Got Informally Adopted

Cheryl: My memories start at age 5. My mom, Connie, had four more children after me: Viki, twins Mark and Mike, and Richard.

Connie was a partier and was gone most nights. My siblings and I were hungry, we were dirty and we were neglected. I once almost killed my little sister Viki by giving her a bottle of baby aspirin because Connie was out lookin’ for love.

Eventually social services stepped in. Connie kept Viki but gave up the twins and  Richard to Colorado Christian Home. As for me? A couple who eventually became my parents had seen me at their church, where Connie would send me to beg for money, food, whatever. This couple informally adopted me with Connie’s blessing. Connie kept trying to get money from them for years. Eventually  my adoptive parents got a lawyer and fought for me.

Continue reading #flipthescript 12: A 1970s Adoption Story

#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

I Got Jackassed. TWICE.

The parking lot was not full when I drove up. I slid into one of many available spots, grabbed my mat and headed in to a yoga class. I got some exercise, met my physical and mental edge, practiced staying present, and closed with a moment of stillness.

That last step was important.

Because when I came out  to my car, this is what I found.

park like an idiot

My zen evaporated and a rush of anger come over me. I stormed back into the gym, thinking of all the ways I wanted to make this jerk pay for their transgression. Jackass.

Continue reading I Got Jackassed. TWICE.

#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

Open adoption parenting & mindfulness