Reshma McClintock, adoption reform activist and founder of Dear Adoption, came to Denver on a recent Saturday. She was here for a special screening of a documentary that follows her inner and outer journey toward integrating pieces of her identity. That film is called Calcutta Is My Mother, and I recommend seeing it.
If you’ve ever listened to an adoptee explain their decision to search for the beginnings of their story, chances are you’ve heard them start with the disclaimer, “Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents. They are wonderful people. I just want to know more about me.”
The disclaimer seems necessary because historically, the adoption narrative has been crafted largely by adoptive parents. We are the ones who benefited from adoption, and our feelings are the ones our sons and daughters sometimes feel the need to protect.
I listened to testimony on a bill making its way through the Texas legislature that would impact people like my son and my daughter. HB 2725 would restore access to an original birth certificate to adults adopted in Texas.
At about 5:29:30 (listen if you’d like), one of the committee members says in response to previous testimony, “I’m curious about the rights of the adoptive parent. Part of the reason the law was designed this way [sealed birth records] was to protect and nurture the legal construct that the adoptive parents are the parents…I haven’t heard anything from the side of the adoptive parent.”
That got me thinking about the rights of the adoptive parent. And for this gentleman, a Texas Representative asking thoughtful questions during this hearing, I weigh in.
Question: Some kids in my adoption community have history, sometimes unhappy, harsh, and/or abusive history before they joined their families. The kids sometimes talk about their history with their adoptive mothers who attend a support group I host.
Is that enough? Or is it better that these children work with a therapist? If these children talk at a young age and their mothers comfort them, will their teen year be better? Or will they still have tough teenage years?