She's Adopted

They just didn't tell her


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Adoption: Writing the Letter That Explains ‘Why’ to Your Child

They Will Want to Know Where They Came From

Giving up a child for adoption can be very trying, even for the strongest person you know. Whether you did it so the child could have a better life, or so that you could, every child deserves to know why you did it. All cases are different, being that some adoptions are closed so the option of communication between the child and the biological parents isn’t allowed. But then again, when that child turns 18, they can look you up. And when they do, you should be ready. So whether it’s closed or open, there will always be one thing both cases will have in common, and that’s the curiosity of that child.

Put yourself in their shoes. If you were adopted and brought up around a family that isn’t biologically related to you, you would want to know. You would want to know where you came from, what your biological parents were like, where you get those freckles. As the woman that carried that child for nine months, or the man who helped father the child, the least you could do is take the time. Take the time to think about this child that has spent years in the dark not knowing. Take the time to write down some words that explain why.

I recommend doing it when the child is at an age where they can understand the information you will be giving them. Before you even start writing the final letter, its always best to brainstorm or chart things that you want to cover in the letter. Don’t be afraid to share how scared, selfish or how not ready you were at the time. Details won’t always be pretty, but expressing the truth is where it’ll all count in the end. Start from the beginning, explain to them who you are first. They will want to know what kind of traits you had, how good you were in school and if you excelled at sports while growing up.

Secondly, whether you are the biological mother or biological father, talking about the person who helped you create the child is perfectly okay. If you want, you can explain how you met each other. Let them know what kind of personality they had and what kind of relationship you had with one another. This will let the child tap into a part of your life that led up to the time that they were created. I imagine it would put them at ease to know who you are before they find out your reason(s).

Next, it’s time to go into the time when the adoption took place. Go deeper than the surface and really touch on things that help them understand you completely. Take yourself back to the time when it all happened. Remember the emotions you felt at the time. If you weren’t ready, explain the circumstances that made it so you weren’t ready. If the thought of raising a child scared you beyond belief, tell them that. If you were young and selfish at the time, you have to let them know. Being able to admit being selfish is one of the most grown up things you will do in your life.

After that go ahead and tell them how you’ve grown as a person after it happened. How the whole situation impacted your life. Tell them your goals not only with your own life, but with them. Lastly, let them know where you stand. If you want to work on building a personal relationship with them, tell them so. Even if they are not interested in going that route, you will feel a weight lifted for trying. If you just take the time, then they will know.

I am actually about to write my own letter to my daughter. She will be 10 this summer and I feel it is the right time to do it. The night that I decided to write my letter was a night that she stopped by my dad’s house with her adoptive mother (one of our close family friends) and asked my dad, “Do you know where my birth mother is?” Luckily I was right up the street at work and she surprised me with a visit and her beautiful smile. She has always known me as her “Tummy Mommy,” and for that I am grateful. But now it’s time for her to really know me. I’m excited to get to it. I hope this has inspired you to do the same. (by )

Suggested reading:

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

Amazon Price: $7.73

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Will Adult Adoptees Ever be Treated like Grown-ups?



Is anyone else as disgusted as I am at the slow pace of the adoption reform movement — specifically the state-by-state efforts to allow adult citizens who happen to be adopted access to their own birth certificates?

The New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education (NJCARE) tries valiantly year after year to get an adult adoptee access bill passed, and year after year it is thwarted by last-minute back room deals driven by the opposition — Catholic Bishops, NJ Right to Life, the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) and the NJ Bar Association.

These groups continue to oppose adult adoptee access even though we now have years of experience from the open-access states and from other countries that shows their fears are completely unfounded.  Meanwhile, everyday people who have an ounce of common sense just shake their heads in disbelief when I explain to them that most fully-grown adoptees have no access to the document that records their true and actual birth.

Apparently, by law, adoptees in this country are still expected for life to be somebody other than who they really are.  When a child’s adoption in the US is finalized, an amended birth certificate is issued that lists the adoptive parents as the child’s mother and father.  The original birth certificate is “sealed” by the state, and adoptees must petition the court and show “good cause,” a condition that has never been legally defined, should they desire to know the truth about their own genetic roots.

Of course legions of adoptees search for their origins in spite of the legal obstacles.  Search angels and some private investigators specialize in the field.  But isn’t it ridiculous and unjust that an entire class of people must jump through all kinds of hoops in order to find out the most basic information about themselves?

The adoption industry has been quite successful in convincing people that the practice of adoption is just fine exactly like it is.  Their propaganda, aimed at selling the concept that adoption is a win-win situation for all the parties involved, has been effective.  Most people seem to assume that adoption is always a wonderful and positive option that leads to happily-ever-after endings for all.

The lifelong loss that so many original mothers feel?  We don’t hear so much about that.  The identity struggles that many adoptees face as they come to terms with their relinquishment?  A secondary concern.  How much easier it is to just assume, as I did as a child, that love will conquer all.

My guess is that most people aren’t even aware that the original birth certificates of adoptees are sealed for life in most states.  And if they are aware, they probably assume, incorrectly, that adoption has always been conducted this way, and that the secrecy is necessary for the “protection” of birth parents.  Those who oppose adult adoptee access talk a great deal about the need for birth parent protection, although hordes of original mothers have come forward to tell us that they were not promised, nor did they ask for “confidentiality.”

As I have written in other posts, allowing adopted adults access to their original birth certificates is not a novel and untested concept.  In England and Australia, adult adoptees have had access to their own birth documents for over 30 years!  Here, a few states have opened up access, but progress across the country remains slow, and the quest for adoptee rights is always a frustrating, uphill battle.

What is really galling is that the press for the most part does not challenge the propaganda of the power brokers in adoption.  These groups insist that original mothers were promised anonymity, when an examination of the history and of the surrender documents themselves shows clearly that records were sealed to hide the identity of the adoptee, not the identity of the original family.

And why are birth records sealed for one of the most common types of adoption, that initiated by step-parents?  In these cases, and in adoptions out of foster care, the children for the most part already have their original information, and yet still, their original birth certificates are sealed.  Domestic infant adoptions actually comprise just a tiny portion of all adoptions finalized each year, yet the power brokers in adoption ask us to accept that original birth certificates are sealed across the board to preserve the “anonymity” or privacy of original parents.

The most telling statistic, of course, is that fewer than 1 percent of original parents have a preference for anonymity, according to combined statistics from those open-access states that maintain records (American Adoption Congress, Statistics for States Implementing Access to Original Birth Certificates).  Just who is it that adoption facilitators are so intent on protecting, even as they continue to violate the rights of the person that adoption is supposed to serve — the adoptee?

It is apparent to me that they are either trying to protect themselves by keeping their files under lock and key, or they are responding to the desire of some adoptive parents to begin with a clean slate, adoptive parents who want nothing whatsoever to do with the original families.  Whatever the motivation, it is clear that it does not center around the best interest of the child.

Sometimes, I wonder whether I am wasting my time writing these posts, when we see so little progress in the legislative arena.  I am a rational, logical person, and it drives me crazy that the opposition to Adoptee Rights Bills is not based on any established fact.  As far as I can see, the opposition is based on a misguided ideology, power and money.

Will adult adoptees ever be treated like grown-ups by law?  Sadly, I am beginning to doubt it.


Article written by Susan P. @ (Susan, you’re awesome!)


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Who is Entitled to my Gratitude?


Have you ever seen an adoptee bristle, or felt yourself as an adoptee prickle, when someone mentions that adoptees need to be “grateful?”  Where does this reaction come from, and what’s wrong with being “grateful” anyway?  Gratefulness is a wonderful attitude to have for life and blessings in-general. However, there’s a distinct and unfortunate stereotype of “gratefulness” that adoptees tend to encounter.

The “gratefulness” seen in family systems causes one generation to look with fondness and care on the previous generation, if they were well cared for by that generation. The adoption-stereotype-gratefulness takes this to an extreme.  It expects adoptees to leave things behind so as not to “upset” some invisible apple cart people imagine adoptive parents to have.  What we may be expected to leave behind are our original families, original identity, a quest for reunion or original documentation, or mentioning any personal feelings of loss in adoption.

This is an unrealistic “gratefulness” is directed at adoptees, and their families, often in an unkind way. In reality, adoptive parents, like all parents, shouldn’t want their kids to put aside what may be important to them. It is the job of every parent to nurture the interests, feelings, and ideas of their children. No one, adopted or not, needs to be any more grateful than anyone else is to their parents for doing what parents are supposed to do.

When my adopted identity within my adoptive family exclusively indicates that I need to be grateful, and that gratefulness determines what can and cannot be important to me, I’ve been made out to be a little less human than everyone else.
I am grateful everyday to be the mother of my biologically-raised sons.  I do not want a different standard held to me and all of my parents because I am adopted.  My sons are entitled to my gratitude for the opportunity to be their mother, but I am not entitled to their gratefulness in return.

Very simply, no child has to be “grateful” when their human rights are met. When children receive love and care, it is not by sheer “luck” or “fortune.”  It is justice they are entitled to by nature of being human.

Written by Amanda from The Declassified Adoptee
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Sabres4jeff's Blog


March 28, 2010 marks a rather unorthodox event for me. It’s the three-year anniversary of the day in 2007 when I learned I was adopted. I was 41 years old at the time. On that day I became unknown to myself. I became an adoptee who could no longer claim to know his heredity, family health history, ancestry, or much of anything else.

Those who know me best are aware that I’m not a traditional-style blogger. My last blog was nearly three years ago when I chose to share my adoption story. Now as I approach the three-year anniversary of my discovery, I feel the need to again put pen to paper.

Since my initial essay, not much has changed in my search for family; they and I are unknown. After three years of waiting I still have no non-ID information from the social service agency that placed me…

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Sabres4jeff's Blog

In late 2006 it all started simply enough, as I requested my birth certificate from my mother. I bugged her for weeks to send it to me. She kept saying she’d look for it, and that she was not sure she had it anymore. In reality, she knew where it was; locked securely in my sister’s safe! I was 41 years old then, and needed my birth certificate for a US Passport application. I have a close friend, my college buddy Kevin, who lives in Canada. I visit him as often as I can. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security planned new passport requirements at that time that were to take effect by 2008. Either I get the required paperwork; or Ontario, Canada would no longer be my personal retreat.

Eventually, after weeks of requesting my paperwork, Mom called Mary Anne (my wife) at work. It was in spring…

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