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.
Twenty years ago I was living this movie. I’d met my Mr Wonderful but we weren’t making babies. We had to get help making babies. We never did make babies. My ovaries became my most thought-of organs and my marriage was tested to its core. It was a painful chapter of my life in so many ways — physically, emotionally, financially, and relationshipally.
Not many people knew what we were going through back then. At the time, infertility felt like a shameful and dirty secret, so we endured our journey largely alone, relying only on each other and close family.
I wasn’t going to write about the travesties revealed by the film Three Identical Strangers, which my husband and I watched recently when it was on CNN.
I wasn’t going to until I read a defense of the practices of the researcher, Dr. Peter Neubauer, who conspired with Louise Wise Services to separate twins/triplets and research their development without the knowledge or permission of their parents. And until I got an impassioned email from my friend, an adoptee activist who will remain anonymous here.