Tag Archives: closed adoption

Birth Father in Reunion: Mike Milton & His Sweet Baby James

I’m so grateful to the adoptees who participated in Adoptee Month in November. Canadian Mike Milton, a longtime commenter and friend here, read the entries and offered his own essay as a birth father (Mike is also a late discovery adoptee, but that’s a story for another day.)

This month I’m pleased to share with you Mike’s experience of becoming a birth father, The Plan he and his son’s mom devised, what it all cost him, and what came back around.

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Cut from the Same Cloth

I am a birth father. It was 1971, and we had named our son James. I remember him as sweet baby James after the James Taylor song from that same fall. We had a photo taken with him at a foster home the last time we saw him, with the only toy he had while still James.

His mother made most of her own clothes, had made her maternity clothes, and had repurposed the fabric to make the elephant doll for James. It was in the back of her mind that she might identify it later, if she should ever see it again. That was certainly my thought, as well.

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Living in the Ghost Kingdom with Playwright Maggie Gallant

It’s the week of Halloween, the time of year when we love to scare ourselves. Who hasn’t had a run-in with a ghost this time of year? Or even been one?

People in adoption live with ghosts year ’round. Not the kind that cause physical harm, but those that affect our psyches. These ghosts can be so omnipresent — and therefore powerful — that we can’t afford to even acknowledge them.

Betty Jean Lifton, PhD, a renowned psychologist and adoptee, called this the Ghost Kingdom of adoption. Her idea has resurged since the hit NBC series This Is Us featured it on Episode 513 as the backdrop to exploring the inner life and identity of adoptee Randall Pearson.

I’m pleased to present a guest post that further explores the Ghost Kingdom, by playwright and adoptee Maggie Gallant. Maggie’s new play, which delves into the Ghost Kingdom, is called Betwixt & Between, and it premiers in early November at the Adoption Knowledge Affiliates (AKA) 2021 Conference. You can witness the premier! Tickets to Maggie’s event can be found here. I’ve got mine, and I hope to “see” you there.

More details on Maggie after this fascinating essay about her Ghost Kingdom — and the Ghost Kingdoms of her parents.

My Ghost Kingdom

“The ghosts who trail everyone in the adoption triad make up a shadow cast of characters. These ghosts are too dangerous to be allowed into consciousness. Instead they are dissociated, consigned to a spectral place I call the Ghost Kingdom. It is not located on a map, but in the geography of the mind.”

— Betty Jean Lifton, PhD, 1994

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Hate to Break it to You: As of Now There’s No Such Thing as Closed Adoption

Actually, I love breaking that to you. Truth and transparency will always be better in the long run than shame and secrecy. How could it be otherwise? How could we be more afraid of the truth than of lies?

At least truth is… you know… true.

Earlier this week The Adopted Ones (TAO) highlighted an article about adoptees who use DNA testing to scratch the itch of wanting to know their ancestry — like so many people do. Genealogy has been called America’s fastest growing hobby.

TAO is reacting to an article about how DNA testing is changing the world of adoption, which she found on an adoption agency site. She chose not to link to it, and neither will I. This agency isn’t unique and it isn’t the problem. It’s just indicative of the problem, so pitchforks won’t help. But perhaps you can get the gist from these screenshots.

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