Mama Carrie Makes


Truthy Tuesday, Adoption Lasts a Lifetime

I am an adult adoptee.

I was permanently separated from my mother at birth. I don’t know if she held me or fed me or counted my ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes. (I like to presume she did, because mothers love their children, right?)

I didn’t know her name until this summer. I don’t know what she looks like, what her voice sounds like, where she lives, if she’s funny, like I am. Crafty, like I am. Broken, like I am.

I don’t know the story of my conception and birth.

I know what I’ve been told, but as an adoptee you learn that people lie: to protect you, to preserve the image of adoption, to make themselves feel better, to hide the fact that they don’t know the answer.

I may never get to meet her or hear her story.

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Truthy Tuesday, Adoption in 1978

There has been much movement in my current adoption story over the past week. I had this post ready to go a few weeks ago, and I’m gonna stick with it. I don’t feel ready to discuss the current news so quickly, but be on the lookout for an update a little later this summer.

Until then, please enjoy some random snippets from my “Petition for Adoption”, written in 1978…

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Truthy Tuesday, Adoption Stigma

I am so tired of the trope that all adopted persons are damaged, other, not like us.

This rant follows an evening of Law & Order: SVU. I started the episode halfway through, after the revelation that the adopted child had orchestrated the murder of her younger sister, the biological child of her adoptive parents.  The adoptee had been abused by her bio dad, and was taken away as a pre-teen and then adopted by this family. She was portrayed as a sociopath, describing herself as dead already.

I have no doubt that childhood abuse can break people, can create a blackness so deep that the real person never emerges. But adoption is often shorthand for damaged, rejected, defective.  How messed up do you have to be for your parents to give you away?

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Reading this article about the ‘Primal Wound‘ I had one of those moments, those ‘holy crap, how did the author peek into my life to research this theory/paper/case study?’ moments.

For love to be freely accepted there must be trust, and despite the love and security our daughter has been given, she has suffered the anxiety of wondering if she would again be rejected. For her this anxiety manifested itself in typical testing-out behavior. At the same time that she tried to provoke the very rejection that she feared, there was a reaction on her part to reject before she was rejected. It seemed that allowing herself to love and be loved was too dangerous; she couldn’t trust that she would not again be abandoned.
Adoption: The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier, M.A.

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Linkfarm – Adoptee Stories

Quantam Parenting – Hearts in Exile: A Story of Reunion by Marcy Axness, Ph.D.

It would be years yet before I came to the belief that an adoptee approaches the reunion with a birthmother on two levels—the adult searching for missing links, medical information, a face deeply familiar; and the child-in-limbo, who’s waited a lifetime to reach out again, this time not to a crushing void, but to Mommy. Not Mommy who wiped my nose and tucked me in and embarrassed me in front of friends, not the everyday Mommy of everyone’s understanding, not the psychological Mommy of whom clinicians speak. I mean the primal Mommy.

The Mommy whose abrupt absence creates spaces so huge we don’t see them as spaces, but as part of what’s so for us. Part of what is us. A reality so fundamentally different for us than for all of our friends and family as to make us strangers in a strange land, lacking even a cognitive and symbolic context through which to make sense of our alien status.

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Adoptions Information Act Statement

“I hereby request…my birth parent’s name and most current address shown in CDSS or agency records. I understand that my birth parent(s) must have consented in writing to the disclosure of his or her name and address before the information may be released.’

I have to get this form ‘witnessed’ by a representative of the California Dept of Social Servces, a California licensed adoption agency, or pay for a Notary. To obtain the name of my first mother.
The reason this enrages me: I did not consent to be put up for adoption. I did not get to choose, and I have the right to know where I came from. I believe it is every human being’s right to know the name of their birth parents, whenever possible.  Whether those parents consent or not.

Being Adopted

33 years ago my mother gave birth.  If what I have been told is accurate, she is 49 years old now.  I don’t know if she held me, or even saw my face, before I was placed with a foster home until my adoption was finalized.

As I age and grow into my own parenthood, I think about her more and more.  Right here on this blog I had a revelation: what if my first mother didn’t have a choice?  Is it possible that she still hurts?  Has missed being in my life, wonders about where and who I am?

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From Another Mother

I have always known I was adopted.

It was never an issue.  Just a matter of fact.  We all look alike, however, so most folks who discovered I was adopted say, “Really!?! I had no idea!” with open mouths.  Many have questions for me.  Have you ever considered searching for your birth mother?  Why not?  Do you have any siblings?  Are they adopted too?

I am a very open person, so I usually answer these.  It’s quite intrusive to ask such personal questions, but I didn’t always have the awareness of personal boundaries that I have now.  I’m also a talker, which helps.

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