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.

Breathing and birth certificates

When was the last time you really thought about air? Not air in the abstract, like the part of the Earth’s atmosphere that humans may be warming and polluting.

But the concrete. The air that you’re breathing right now. The air that’s in your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen. The air in your Jeep, Honda, Chevy. The air on the bus, at your office, in the gym. The air in the grocery store, at Costco, surrounding the baseball field (oh, that’s right. Only Colorado and 2 other teams are still playing baseball. Ha Ha!).

You haven’t thought about the air you breathe in the last day, week, month? That’s because YOU HAVE IT.

If all the air were to be sucked out of your home, your Honda, your Costco, then would you think about it? You bet your sweet bippy. You wouldn’t be able to think of anything else. Thoughts of air would consume you.

Now. When was the last time you thought about your birth certificate? That tired and rumpled old document that says the date, time and location where you were born. That shows your height and weight. That shows your parents, and thereby infers your very identity by virtue of the underlying ethnic background and health history.

What? You haven’t thought about your birth certificate since the last time you applied for a passport or driver’s license? And even then you didn’t really study it?

Then, you must not be an adopted person.

Adopted people in many parts of the United States are prevented from having access to their original birth certificates. I can have mine. You can have yours (unless you were adopted). But a class of citizens — through circumstance of birth — are denied the right to see and have the document that shows their identity on the day they were born.

Check out this video compiled to a Dashboard Confessional song and visit the site. Our country, founded on equal rights for all, should not tolerate the treatment of second-tier citizens. Support Open Records in your state.

Another Reason Open Adoption Works for My Children & Me

no medical history in adoptionMy childhood friend Juli tells me that one of the worst things about being adopted is going to the doctor. The nurse always asks about her health history, including her parents’ health history, to see what kind of risks to watch out for.

She draws a blank. Each and every time. She has no clue if the experiences she’s had with her body and mind are rooted in her genetic makeup.

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A friend had some bad news recently: her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer  (caught early; the prognosis is good).

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So what does this have to do with open adoption? My children will know.

Tessa will be able to ask Crystal at what age she started her period  — did you know that before age 12 is a risk factor? She’ll know if and where cancer may occur in her genetic line.

Reed will have access to heart and lung, skin and kidney, prostate and stomach history and everything else. And if he ever has a daughter (or a son), he’ll be able to tell about the presence or absence of breast cancer in his genetic line.

adoptee blank medical chart

I want my children to have dynamic information about the health of the people whose DNA they carry — not static information about the health of their birth parents at age 20. Open adoption enables Tessa and Reed to know over time what goes on with their birth relatives, clues to  what their own medical puzzle may look like.

What my friend Juli wouldn’t give for that.

Image by OpenClipart [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Lori Holden's book coverLori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.

It’s a matter of perspective

Remember when I wrote about the Drama Wheel? The short play where one person is the villain, the victim and the hero?

Well, there are other examples, as I’m finding, of stories in which two opposing parties are forced to see from the other’s viewpoint.

Here are two movies my kids have been watching lately. Check out the general theme of…

Seeing a situation from multiple perspectives

Tessa likes Freaky Friday. Mom thinks her teenage daughter is self-centered and incapable of thinking about the people around her. Daughter thinks mom has no idea how difficult it is to be a teenager because the Mom is so wrapped up in her own life. They argue with and rage at each other, missing each other’s point of view because they are so stuck in their own.

Through a magical fortune cookie, one freaky day they trade places. The daughter inhabits the mom’s life and the mom lives the daughter’s. Finally, in walking in the other’s shoes, they each can more fully love, respect, and appreciate the other.

Reed is into Brother Bear. Kenai is mad at a bear he thinks was responsible for the death of his brother, Sitka, so he hunts it down and kills it. But Sitka’s spirit has arranged for Kenai to learn about the connectedness of all life. So through the bear’s death, Kenai becomes a bear.

A third brother, Denahi, now hunts the bear for revenge, thinking the bear killed his two brothers. He doesn’t realize that he’s hunting his own brother!

What’s most fascinating is that when we see the bear through Denahi’s eyes, he looks like a National Geographic bear — all fierce and ready-to-kill. When we see bears through Kenai’s eyes, they look like Disney bears — cuddly and ready to have good-natured fun.

Kenai has to face something horrible he did because of his limited perspective, and both he and Denahi become wiser for their experience.

Whenever I see conflict in Adoption World (or in my own world), I wonder what would happen if the parties in conflict could trade places. Oh wait. Maybe in this lifetime we ARE trading places.

Could I have been a first mother in another reality? Might I have experienced what it’s like to have been adopted? How compassionate was I with the others in my constellation? How compassionate am I now?