Reclaiming The Adoption Story

Ashley Billings

I’ve been running behind on everything all week and today is no exception.  Running out of time to do a blog today, I thought I would share Ashley’s own blog with you as she is an adoptee with her own story to share.  I met her through this blog and I follow her own blog too.

In her “About” section, she writes that she is 17 years old and was adopted at five days old. She describes her adoptive family as the most amazing in the world.  However, she also admits that being adopted has definitely brought up many issues and feelings. She says that she has found adoption is often told from parent’s and family’s perspective. Way too often, people don’t consider what the adoptee is feeling and going through. Most resources are geared towards parents and families.

She wants her readers to know – EVERYONE’S feelings are valid.

She wants other adoptees that find her to know that they are not taking this journey alone. She acknowledges that everyone’s story is unique.  Her purpose in writing the blog is to reclaim the adoption story by voicing her own journey through adoption.

Her latest entry is titled My Perfect Life. She writes that while everything on the surface of her life appeared very good, it was weird to her how she was still so sad all the time.  For her, discovering God through a friend has helped her continue forward with her life.

In another blog – I’m A Foster Aunt – she describes how she has struggled with a fear of being unwanted. Because she was given up for adoption, she always felt like, “Well, if my own mom didn’t want me before she knew me, why would anyone else?”  Many adoptees have abandonment and rejection issues.

In What Is My Tattoo – she describes it as right under her ankle and is It is a heart and a triangle overlaid one another. To her represents the love between the child, birth family, and adoptive family during the adoption process. She says it is a constant reminder to her that no matter what she believe at any moment, love went into her adoption. She says “I know my adoptive family loves me, but often I question if my birth family does.”

Adoption is complicated and every triad is different.  I can’t answer her question about her birth family but I sincerely hope that someday she knows the answer herself.

What’s Done Is Done

I think that I need to add some context.  What I seek is to promote reform in the methods of securing for children who need that, a loving and stable home.  It is not my intent to pass judgement on anyone who has adopted a child and is raising that child.  What is done is done.

I would hope that any prospective adoptive parents reading this blog would pause in their headlong rush to acquire someone else’s rightful baby.  One suggestion would be to read The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier.  Actually that is good advice for people who have already adopted and would like to understand their adopted child better.  She says of her book – it is written for the adoptees, birth and adoptive parents as a bridge to understanding their child(ren) and to promote the healing process for all of them.  Rearing an adopted child is different from rearing one’s biological child.

Ms Verrier is the mother of two daughters – one adopted and one she gave birth to.  She also has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is in private practice counseling members of the triad.  I learned about her by being in a private Facebook group of adoptees, original mothers and adoptive parents.  I have learned a lot from them, especially about the effects of adoption as adult adoptees begin to wake up and speak loudly about their experiences.  I know how it feels not to raise my own precious daughter, so I have a sense of what birth mothers feel and that pain of separation as well.  Navigating the complexes of interacting with a second mother who is more mother to my daughter than I am.  It is not an easy path.

I am not an adoptee myself.

My parents were both adoptees, both of my sisters are birth mothers who surrendered a child to adoption and one of my sister’s lost her child in court proceedings.  So there is a lot of observation of life experience to cause my interest in ALL things adoption.  I have read many books and articles and I listen to the wounded in the private group.  Two years ago, I would NOT have said a word against adoption.  Today, I realize how lucky I am that I was not given up when my teenage, unwed mother discovered I was growing within her.

It has been a journey in which my perspectives on adoption have changed radically in only about two years time.  There is no going back for me and I cannot promote or cheer on adoption as it is mostly practiced today.  I know too much now.  No more unicorns and rainbows and I have woken up from my own kind of adoption fog.

So here is where I am at regarding FUTURE loving homes for the children that need it.

Guardianship (kinship if possible), no name changes, no birth certificate alterations, total transparency in an age appropriate manner as to the child’s biological/genetic family and full access to the complete medical histories of their parents. Reform is needed. Making MORE adoptions possible is NOT what I support at all. Loving homes – yes – non-abusive circumstances – absolutely !!

I also support ALL mothers who want to raise their children being financially supported at least until the child(ren) reach maturity.  That would have certainly helped me and at least one of my two sisters remain in our childrens’ lives as we expected when they were born.  If we can obscenely support rich people and corporations and huge military budgets, we could actually support families. That our society does NOT is a travesty with mental health and self-esteem impacts.