Closing The Door

From a domestic infant adoptee, now 35, who has been contemplating changing her name to her real last name. Also possibly changing her first name too. The more she’s worked through her life experiences and struggles, the more she wants to close the door on who raised her. She goes on to admit that – they were probably decent parents. But I don’t recall any feelings of love, attachment, safety or comfort. I’ve harbored resentment for them both and as I try to work on myself, it only gets worse. She says, I’ve gone through all the phases of trying to be ok with my story. But I’m not ok with it. I can’t forgive them. I realize that I actually do hate these people. My first name is nothing special. She heard it back in high school and liked it. Her biological child has full family “heirloom” name. When I hear her say my name, it makes me grind my teeth.

Another adoptee notes – a name change is a very personal decision, one you have every right to make for yourself !! If you connect more to your birth name, then I say go for it. It’s probably a very empowering feeling to go do this for yourself.

Another said – If you know your true name and you want to claim it, CLAIM IT!!!!

One shared –  I’m in the process of socially changing my name right now while I wait for the funds to legally change it. I’m changing it back to my birth name because it’s a name I’ve always loved and it’s a bit more androgynous and I don’t like my feminine name. I really knew I had to change my name when I couldn’t bear to tell my son what my name was.

It’s hard to get used to hearing a new one but it sounds better in my brain than my old name. Lots of friends/family are resistant to calling me my new name and that’s been pretty hard. My adoptive mom threw a fit basically. Trying to explain why I’m changing my name and why they should respect that and call me my chosen name has been very difficult because they just don’t understand and think I’m being ridiculous.

I feel a sense of euphoria when I meet someone new and I tell them my (new) name and then they call me that. I started trying my new name out online or for take out orders and stuff before I took the plunge, just to see how I’d feel, and once I realized I liked it I started going more mainstream with it.

Yet another adoptee admitted – My adoptive parents translated my name, then shortened it. I grew to really dislike that name. I have “reclaimed” my actual name and everyone calls me that. I truly wish my adoptive parents had never altered it. My name was really the only thing that I had that truly was my own.

It is easy to see why a lot of adoption reformers are suggesting NOT to change your adopted child’s name. Better yet, chose guardianship rather than adoption if at all possible.

Secrecy v. Privacy

I belong to a group that almost 20 years ago divided into a “tell/don’t tell” perspective. I often wonder how that has worked out for the don’t tell group. And if it has served, at what point might their offspring do a inexpensive DNA test and thereby learn the truth – that they were lied to their entire childhood. I’m glad we never thought to go in that direction.

My blog today is inspired by an article in Psychology Today LINK> Secrecy v. Privacy in Donor Conception Families, subtitled Walking the fine line between privacy and secrecy is inherent in donor families. Some of the differences – Privacy is the choice to not be seen, while secrecy is based in fear, shame, or embarrassment. Privacy involves setting comfortable and healthy boundaries. Carrying a family secret is a heavy burden. Donor families based in honesty and transparency have more meaningful and deep relationships.

In that group I mentioned, we each recognized a right to privacy for each other and honoring their right to privacy demonstrated our respect for their choice and was a foundation for trust among us. Withholding information for fear of the consequences implies a negative kind of secrecy. Secrets require a lot of emotional energy and are a heavy burden to carry. Secrecy undermines trust and is therefore harmful within relationships. Privacy, which includes creating healthy boundaries is generally beneficial. Learning when and how to create boundaries is a good lesson to teach one’s children, especially in this age where information seems to flow so readily and once out there, can’t be taken back.

The stigma of infertility is still very present in society and is often the reason why a couple may not want to be open about how they were able to conceive their children. Yet there is also a sense of social responsibility that has mattered to me from the beginning. Women are generally NOT fertile beyond a certain expiration date. When someone conceives at such an advanced age as I did (46 and 49), that could give the wrong impression to another younger woman that they have more time in which to begin their family desire fulfillment than they probably do. There are always exceptions to anything age related but that is a general rule. Much harder to conceive after the age of 40. I conceived very easily in my 20s.

Many children not told the truth about their origin – whether it was adoption, a donor facilitated conception or an illicit affair – still feel that there was something being withheld from them. When they discover the truth, they often feel anger. Even with the more modern openness, such origin stories are still not the norm. Many who are aware of their status may have little opportunity to talk about it to others who understand. Some may not have the language to speak about their experience.

I have given my children the gift of 23 and Me testing and accounts. Both their egg donor and their genetic father are there. This has led to questions from relatives of the donor to one of my sons. My advice to him as tell them to ask their donor about whatever they are curious about. When one donates genetic material, they must be aware that questions may arise in the future. It is only natural. Still, it was my perspective it is up to her as to what or how much she wishes to tell one of HER own relations about the circumstances. Having the 23 and Me channel gives my sons a method of privately communicating with their donor. I also frequently show them photos of her and her other children, so they are more aware of these persons with which they are genetically related. Distance prevents closer, in person relationships at this time, though they have met her in person more than once. I have an interestingly close, psychic and emotionally connected, relationship with my sons. My belief is that it comes from a combination of carrying them in my womb and breastfeeding them for over a year plus being in their lives pretty much 24/7 for most of their childhood (though there have been brief absences for valid reasons).

Why?

One of my newest and quickly a favorite, adoptee writers is Tony Corsentino. In this essay, LINK> Wtf Is Wrong with That? he shared the Tweet imaged above. He writes, “I took to Twitter in what might have looked like a fit of pique, though for once I wasn’t piqued.”

Every adopted person who searches for their biological parents could answer – why. His answer ? “I decided I needed to learn the identities of my biological parents because, after being diagnosed with cancer and, soon thereafter, becoming the father of two children, I realized that I was no longer content with telling doctors that I knew nothing about my medical history.” I remember those days myself and both of my adoptee parents could never tell medical professionals about their own medical history. This is one of those inconvenient truth about being adopted in a closed, sealed record type of adoption. 

“All men by nature desire to know.” ~ Aristotle I certainly wanted to know, my mom certainly wanted to know, my dad claimed he didn’t. He cautioned my mom against opening a can of worms. I think he was afraid to know.

Tony notes that this knowledge is forbidden. Certainly, my mom tried and was forbidden to know by the state of Tennessee. Tony notes, “I decided, somewhat in the manner of Huckleberry Finn, that if I was courting damnation to do this thing, then so be it, let me be damned.” You have to love that spunk !!

I remember long ago learning not to ask questions but to let people tell me what they wanted me to know on their own initiative. Tony says, “Questions are not obnoxious or offensive in content, but as asked in particular contexts. Imagine being asked if you cheat on your partner, or why you don’t have children. If you and I are more or less strangers and I put those questions to you out of the blue, you would of course be right to protest that it is none of my bloody business.”

Tony suggests that “question intrudes on a zone of privacy that people should respect. There may be no knowing what pain lies underneath an adopted person’s relation to the decision to search, or not to. To ask the question could be a trigger. Compare this to ‘Why did you terminate your pregnancy?’ or, of course, ‘Why did you relinquish your child for adoption?’ Whole histories of hurt might have preceded, and culminated in, these decisions.”

He goes on to share his thoughts about justice and power –

He adds – “To the extent that severance causes such harms, and that discovering one’s genealogical identity can help (or even be essential) to assuage these harms, then we can give real content to the idea of needing to know our genealogical identities.” Then adds, “part of what I was suggesting in these tweets is that we must separate needing to know from deserving to know.” ie Normative ideas grounded in our overall picture of human dignity and freedom.

He concludes by saying “if people better understood how deeply adoptees like myself are committed to reclaiming our moral dignity, and how central to that dignity the question of knowing really is (and is it really that difficult to see?), then we would not need to practice so much forbearance.”

Tony did have more to say than I have shared. The link is at the beginning of this blog if you care to read it all.

A Potential Egg Donor Asks

A woman asked for perspectives today in my all things adoption group (basically they are about 100% against and I understand why). Here is her story –

Since before I was an adult even I have felt so sure I wanted to donate eggs, the desire and resolve only grew stronger over about a decade but I wanted to have my own child first. Now I have and coincidentally found this group around the same time. It has made me completely rethink egg-donation. I had a kid and I don’t have much time left to decide due to age, so I have to decide. I know there are some donor-conceived people in this group as well and I’d so so much appreciate your thoughts on whether it’s even an ethically okay thing to do? Anyone that wants to can answer of course. Would I inevitable cause trauma to the resulting child by donating eggs?

Extra info in case it matters to anyone’s perspective: I live in a country where I won’t get paid for it except medical expenses covered, and the law says the children will get their donor’s identity if they want at 18. The family services and all related health and social carers (they are excellent here) will strongly encourage all recipients to tell their children of how they came to be from the very start.

Here is my own response –

I can only speak from experience. Back in 1998, after 20 years in a marriage where the understanding was that he was glad I had been there, done that (I have a grown daughter and 2 grandchildren from my first marriage), my husband sprang on me that he wanted to have children after all. We did ovulation predictors, were referred to a doctor who does assisted reproduction and got a booster shot when I saw my last egg. No pregnancy resulted. Then, he told us about another way – egg donation.

We did everything ourselves. Vetted potential donors by email. One said something that reminded my husband of something I would say. We chose her. She already had 3 children of her own. But she had promised another couple first. In the end, they treated her very badly and I thought she would change her mind about us but she did not.

We have always respected her and what she did for our family. After our first donor conceived son was born, my husband immediately wanted another. I had a cycle between our two boys where my womb failed to develop a good lining and had a D&C. Our donor moved from the location of the first doctor – who only did 4 procedures that year with only one success – ours. We followed her to the new location with a doctor who was one of the first in this country to do these procedures. We succeeded in having our second son. Donating was not physically easy for her. We did what we could to alleviate what we could post-extraction.

Our boys have met her more than once. I show them pictures of her or her children sometimes via Facebook because distance prohibits a closer relationship. She did 23 and Me, so I bought a kit for my husband, then for our oldest son and then for our youngest son. She is shown as their genetic mother there. 23 and Me provides a private messaging channel should they want to communicate with her. She has said she is open to that. I send her photos about once a year and updates when appropriate.

I’ve only known about issues related to donor conception since I went on my first roots discovery journey in 2017 after my parents died (they were BOTH adoptees). Fortunately, we have been honest with our sons about their conception since day 1. The 23 and Me results allowed us to fully discuss their conception now that they are much older and more mature. They understand they would not exist otherwise.

Knowing what I do know about in utero bonding, I am grateful they gestated in me, I breastfed them each for 1 year + and I have been in their lives pretty much 24/7. They are now 18 and 21 and seem well adjusted. Only twice have they indicated their perspectives to us – once my older son asked if he was supposed to be grateful to her – we said No, but we are. The younger one asked if she was his mother at a very young age. I explained that I am his mother but that without her, we would not have him.

I think the respect we have for her and she has for us has been an important factor. I think our willingness to be transparent with our sons was crucial. Back in 2000, some of the mom’s in my donor egg mothers group chose not to tell. With the advent of inexpensive DNA testing and matching, I wonder what their experiences have been and whether they have any regrets but we don’t communicate as frequently or openly as we once did.

Closing An Open Is Common

Don’t believe the promises. Today’s story.

At 16 years old, I found out that my father and stepmother had given a child up for adoption. I believe that happened about 8-10 years prior to my finding out. I’m 39 and so, I think, she’s 31 now, according to a people search but it may not even be her.

It was supposed to be an open adoption but the adoptive parents quickly stopped that. They made it impossible to see and or contact her (I only recently learned this part). So I know who adopted her and a general idea of where they live(d). I don’t know anything more than that except that they’re deeply religious, like very hypocritically so.

Around the time that she was 16, and it still wasn’t legal for me to try and initiate contact, I found her on Facebook. I made a public post expressing my desire to meet and get to know my sister. I also PMd her, saying “I can’t tell you who I am directly but I hope you read my public post”.

Well, her adoptive father saw it and wrote back. I cannot remember exactly what he said but after that, contact was abruptly cut. (Not sure if it was me or him who did it – it was so long ago.)

Not sure how much later but I found out my current (and new) stepmom had found her and even friended her on Facebook. I seized my moment and sent her a friend request and a message explaining who I was. I do not remember the exact details but we did text a few times and the last time we spoke I was telling her she might be an aunt (I never did go through with that pregnancy unfortunately – I was 24ish at the time). If memory serves me accurately, she mentioned me to either her adoptive mom or dad. Then, I suddenly lost contact again (my guess is they made her cut contact with me). I never was able to contact her again and she didn’t contact me.

Fast forward to the present day, I am truly heartbroken. I want to know what happened so long ago. Does she even want to know me or know that she’s an aunt to two crazy kids ? I don’t know what crap her adoptive parents have put in her head about me. I want so much to approach her adoptive “father” and demand to know the truth.

What’s fucked up is that her entire childhood she grew up one street behind our father (out in the country, so actually a good 5 miles apart). Her adoptive father owns a local HVAC business and I know where it is.

What should I do next ? As far as I can tell, I cannot find a Facebook or number. The only address I can find is that people search one, which may not even be her. I don’t want to just roll up unannounced. My only option is to approach her adoptive father and I am admittedly extremely terrified. I’m 100% positive he’s followed me over the years (my various social medias) and hates me, as I’m clearly pro LGBTQ+ and an atheist. Everything he stands against, as a Orange clown voting douche canoe (LOL). Anyway…

I’m lost. He could either be all “I’ve been waiting for this, here’s her info” or a big old FU “you’ll never meet her” and the anxiety is killing me because I fear I will absolutely curse him out and make a major scene, if he denies me.

Do I have any right to try and establish contact ? I don’t want to push anything on her but judging by the past he’s going to be a major roadblock – he always has been. I don’t know how to approach this.

A response (and I really like the humor in this one) – If she’s 31, you have the exact same legal right to meet her, as you do any other legal adult. She may choose to ignore you – due to the influence, manipulation or other coercion by her adoptive family. My unethical life pro tip (I have used this successfully, though never in an adoption scenario) is to approach dad*. Your name is <most common girl name of your generation, region> and you went to high school with Sister. You’ve just moved back to this area and you remember her as so kind and she taught you about Jesus and you’re looking to reconnect. Could he please pass on your phone number to her? *If he knows what you look like, or you don’t look like you could have gone to high school with her, have a friend do this instead.

Another suggestion was this – I would send her a letter, but if she still lives with her adoptive parents and they know your name, then I would actually put a different name on the return address. It may even be a good idea to use a different return address. if possible. One where the adoptive parents wouldn’t be able to search it and see you or your parents name connected to it. Maybe even get a PO box.

In your letter, explain the situation exactly as you remember it, making sure that she knows that you only found out about her years after the adoption took place. Let her know that you’ve always had a desire to meet and know her. Just be honest and share your feelings. Let her know that you’ll respect whatever she decides but that you fear her adoptive parents have been making the decisions regarding allowing contact with you. However, maybe that’s not the case. Maybe it’s actually been her decision all along. Let her know, you’ll respect her wishes but you just wanted to reach out to make sure that neither of you were missing out on a much wanted relationship.

And of course, do a DNA test !! It certainly helped me in my own family genetic roots discovery journey.

Like A Sick Joke

Some adoptive parents want to celebrate what is generally a sad day for most adoptees. I read this comment from one adoptee – People are just out of touch with reality. Why would an adoptive parent send treats to school, so their adopted child can celebrate “Gotcha Day,” even after the child has beg them not to ?

From a mother who surrendered a child to adoption and also adopted one – This poor child. I never use that term with my daughter and honestly that is because I know the pain and trauma of being coerced into giving my baby away. In my home, we acknowledge the pain and trauma of adoption, the reasoning behind her adoption (ours was private with acquaintances) and I’m happy to give her compassion and hugs and a lot of love. I also am happy that the people who adopted my daughter never celebrated the “gotcha” day. That would be extremely painful for me as well.

On a website titled LINK> Considering Adoption, I found an article titled The Controversy of ‘Gotcha Day’.

How do you feel right now after seeing “Happy Gotcha Day” in my blog photo ? The debate is contentious, and it can get heated.  Reactions vary wildly across the adoption community. For some, the language is highly problematic. For others, the entire concept is an issue. Still others have only good feelings about “gotcha day” and celebrate it annually with their children.

The goal in my blog today, is not to ignite a fiery debate, but rather to share a better understanding of the positions some hold. Gotcha Day is believed to be a celebration of the day a family adopted a child. Some families decide to mark this anniversary on the day of placement; others celebrate on the day the adoption was finalized in court. The name of this day and even the existence of the celebration has become a point of controversy for several different reasons. Let’s look at the most common positions.

The language we use when we discuss adoption must be sensitive and respectful. We’re talking about an adoptive family, the original mother and the adoptee. We have to choose our words carefully to ensure we respect the full dignity and autonomy of everyone involved in the process. Language that commodifies the adoption process is a problem. Adoption is not buying children. Children are not the product.

“The most basic aspect of it — its name — is also the disturbing aspect of it… There is also the fact that G-Day, like re-homing, has its origins in the pet rescue lexicon because it implies caught or trapped. Is this really what we want to model?” ~ author Mirah Riben

The other side of every adoption story is that an adoptee “lost everything” connected to their family of origin. From Sophie, who was born in China and adopted by an American family when she was 5 years old: “It’s been said that adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where everyone expects the victims be grateful and appreciative… Gotcha day feels like a day of fake smiles if we don’t acknowledge that it’s also about loss, not just gain.” Having a celebration intentionally denies that loss.

Adoption is acknowledged to involve loss at some level for every adoptee. The felt impact is understandably different for each. There are often confusing questions about heritage and identity for many adoptees. It is important to allow space for both any joy in general and any felt loss when it comes to an adoptee’s day of having become adopted.

Every person is inherently, and without qualification, deserving of respect. Each member of the adoption triad is living a unique story. Each has their own struggles and challenges.

One adoptee shares – I hate the phrase gotcha day. It feels patronizing and inhumane. It’s also not ok if the child is embarrassed or doesn’t want to. My adoptive parents celebrated my Adoption Birthday. Kids were jealous of me that I had 2 birthdays. I just laughed and rolled my eyes – No one wants to be adopted. I enjoyed my 2 “birthdays” and knew that other people really didn’t understand. Gotcha days and whether the adoptee consents are huge issues.

Another adoptee admits – I HATE “Gotcha-day” if you want to celebrate the day you became a family, I think that’s great, but should be family, you should discuss adoption and how the process went (similar to a mom who tells her child about their birth). It should not be a day to praise these “wonderful” people for taking in this child that “no one wanted”. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be gotcha day. That’s what they say at the animal shelter !!!

Yet another said bluntly – I was forced to have this. It embarrassed me and I hated it.

It Can Be Hard To Reconcile

Consider this. You are an adoptee. You are highly dependent on your adoptive parents’ good will. You have already experienced what felt like abandonment or rejection, regardless of whether that was the truth of your adoption circumstances. This reluctance, and often even an inability to get to the honest truth within one’s self, is true for many adoptees. It is even possible for them to be happy with the people who adopted them – I know that my parents were, and that as the “grandchildren,” we loved and respected and cherished those people.

One comment on this graphic image admitted – “Shit it took me until I was 25 to even have this conversation with myself.” Another said – “took me until my early 50’s.” or “35 for me!” And this – “Going through the fog was unlike anything I could imagine. Isn’t it nuts? I’m 31 now and I’ve only talked to 2 people honestly about it all.”

More – “I’m only 55. So it’s still only been a few years and I’m still reeling some days.” Or this, “The last couple years I would think I was through, only to be thrown back in even deeper.”

I have also read The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier – I would recommend it to anyone with adoption within their own family background. I found it balanced and fair in her perspectives as the mother of an adoptee plus a biological child, and not only that, as a therapist to families with adoption related issues.

So this one resonates with me – “40 for me! And that was only after my birthmother died and a fellow adoptee gave me ‘The Primal Wound’ to read.” 

One wrote – I want to share this on my personal page but I know my adoptive parents will be offended. In response, another person noted that this is how so many adoptees feel. They’d never risk sharing their feelings. Going public on Facebook is brave. I do it and then most of the time I get annoyed – it’s crickets and so I delete it.

A Product Of A Product

I read an interesting thread this morning that I thought reveals some really important perspectives and so, I share this.

Things I find odd: in the decades following discovery, none of my adoptive family asked about or acknowledged the existence of my half-siblings.

Nor did they either ask how I felt about being lied to for over thirty years; lies they participated in telling. I don’t say this to shame them. I am not even naming them here. As children, they were emotionally abused in that they were told to lie to a family member, every single day. They should not have been asked to do that. I don’t fault them for remaining silent prior to my accidental discovery of my adoption. What I find completely baffling is the continued silence.

What does that say about the nature of love, respect, compassion and connection that adoption supposedly creates? You may say; most adoptees know, so your experience is an anomaly. If so, there are thousands and thousands of anomalies running around these days. There are STILL adoptive parents posting on social media who say they haven’t told the adoptee, don’t know when or if they will. In transracial adoptions, adoptive parents can’t avoid the truth of adoption, but many make a practice of dodging questions, fabricating stories, joking about the adoptee’s pain. And I add, knowing a good number in the donor conception contingent of family creating, there were many who did not ever intend to tell their children. Of course, that was in the days before inexpensive DNA testing. Oops.

I guess odd is not a strong enough word. Cruel, maybe?

There were 4 children in my family; two of those were adopted. First a biological, genetic daughter, then the adoptee girl – me – and an adoptee boy, then a biological, genetic son. My adoptee brother died when I was 13. He was 12. The oldest daughter always knew. The youngest son learnt in high school. Yep; both of those were told to lie. Apparently it was important for them to tell other friends and acquaintances that I was not their “real” sister. I, however, was never told.

What a way to set family relationships up to fail. The refusal to engage with me now “post-discovery” reveals how deep that failure goes and it does increase the pain that I felt as an adoptee to an almost unendurable level.

In their defense, I don’t think they ever learned, nor knew how to learn, how to engage emotionally in a healthy way, not just with me but with others. Some of this was the result of being raised by adult children of alcoholics and a great deal of death and dysfunction occurred in the course of our upbringing. How much of that dysfunction can be attributed to being taught to lie ? It could not have helped the circumstances.

This brings on additional sharings of a similar nature.

Thanks to a friend recognizing my now ex husband was a functional alcoholic, I got into Al-Anon. I was also fortunate to find a couple adoptee support groups at that same time and found that there is a lot of overlap!! Dysfunction doesn’t discriminate. The ex was the son of a violent alcoholic. I dated men who had drug or alcohol issues. My adoptive parents were the youngest in their pre-Depression era families and we’re definitely not what we would refer to as “healthy” today. Add adoption to the mix…

My adoptive mom’s dad was a violent alcoholic. My adoptive dad’s dad was more of a gentle alcoholic, I think. They came out of hard times. Add the pressures of infertility during a time when women’s primary role was parenthood ? So much pain and suffering.

You are right about silence being cruel. Speaking as a first mom… losing my baby to adoption at 17 years old … I was told I would go on with my life, as if nothing had happened. My family never spoke to me about it. It’s traumatizing and cruel to pretend it never happened. I’m sorry that any of us are here having this discussion but we must talk about it, if we are to heal. I was in the adoptee fog for 43 years… & now 12+ years in reunion… I won’t be silenced any longer.

And by sharing such personal thoughts about personal situations, maybe some who encounter people living with such pain will be a little kinder. Until you walk a mile in my shoes . . . seems to fit. Always give the benefit of the doubt and consider the kindest possible explanation for whatever seems “off” is also good advice.

Endthepatriarchy’s Blog Comment

At the end of this comment, the person wrote – “I am truly astonished you have read this entire comment. You must REALLY care. Thank you for reading.” I do – REALLY CARE.

This appeared in response to the blog titled Adoption Is A Selfish Act, which I posted back on Nov 25, 2020.  I write daily so that is going pretty far back.  I am surprised to see that blog had 23 views because I am lucky to get a couple of views on any single day.  I did go back and read it again.

And I did read all of your long comment and found it sincere and thoughtful. 

Your comment went into my spam folder because of your using MY Gazing In The Mirror WordPress website address. This troubled me right away.  How you could even do that is beyond me but obviously it is possible.  BTW that blog has nothing to do with this one except they have the same author.  I attempted to email you to clarify this but it bounced.  It appears to be related to Greenbrier Schools in Greenbrier, Arkansas. My paternal grandfather’s family is deeply rooted in Arkansas.

I was inclined to approve your comment anyway but have decided, to instead address your comments in this new blog, and feel that you may see this one too.  I always try to not only be honest but respectful and considerate of anyone who comments. So that you have hidden yourself makes me sad. Maybe you do not have confidence in yourself enough to present yourself to me honestly.

I will make a few responses but because of all of the above will not show your entire comment.

Certain references to saviorism, which often does drive adoptions – especially on the Evangelical Christian side of religion, seem to have troubled you. I can understand that you feel an emotional objection to that as you state that you are a Christian.

As to overpopulation, at one time I was more worried about that but it is expected to peak at 8 billion in 2040 and then decline. Overpopulation article on Vox.

Regarding “Open Adoption”, unfortunately a lot of good intentions going into such an agreement fall apart – either sooner or later. Most do not succeed in living up to the promises.

The identity issue you dismiss is real and I don’t think it is brought on by being treated differently due to adoption (except in cases of transracial adoption where the difference in race between the adoptive parents and the adoptee stands out). Fact is, babies are born with a name given to them by the conceiving parents and in adoption, most adoptive parents change the child’s name to something different that they like better. My parents (both adoptees) used to tease one another with their birth names – once they had been able to even learn those. An adoptee lives under an “assumed” name much like a criminal on the run might.

What is interesting is that you seem so passionate about these issues – when you admit that you are not adopted and that you don’t even have children yourself nor do you want any. If you could be open with me about who you are, I’d be happy to discuss whatever in more detail with you. As it is, I have written about almost everything to do with adoption or foster care so much – that I’ve probably all said it all before and am always in danger of repeating myself. I wish you well-being and happiness.

Both Genders Drive Adoption

For some time now, my husband has been making use of old photos to create slide shows as a screen saver. I enjoy looking at these . . . memories. One of my current favorites is of my husband lying on his chest looking at our oldest son as a 3 month old infant lying on the bed. They are both smiling at one another. Clearly, there is a real connection between them, an energy. And it is true, while my husband does honestly love both of his sons, he does a lot of work around our farm with the older boy. They seem to be in-sync so well. Of course, the older one, now 21 years old, is more mature but over the last several years, they have replaced roofs, planted trees and both worked for the 2020 Census and could share stories each night when they got home. Just as I saw with my in-laws respect for my husband’s opinions, there is a respect on my husband’s part for each of his sons’ perspectives. It is a beautiful thing to see. For my part, I am inspired by both of them and who and how they are developing into maturity.

Becoming a father came at the right time for my husband in his own maturity. When we first married (my second marriage), he was not interested in having children. He was glad I had been there and done that – so no pressure on him. And it is also true that because I gave birth to my daughter at the age of 19, I had already known motherhood. Indeed, she has made me a grandmother twice. She was there for me each time one of my parents died (only 4 months apart) and through the challenges of being the executor of their estate, including giving me the benefit of her expertise in real estate selling and negotiating the final contract with a buyer.

Even though my early motherhood was a good experience for me, I was totally blown away when after 10 years of marriage, my husband did a 180 on me and wanted to become a father. Unfortunately, it turned out that age had produced in me secondary infertility and we had to turn to assisted reproduction and an egg donor to have our sons. 20 years ago, no one saw inexpensive DNA testing and the matching sites 23 and Me as well as Ancestry becoming so popular in use. Fortunately, we have handled the situation of having two donor conceived sons as well as any ignorant parents could (both had the same genetic sources and so, are true genetic and biological siblings). By handling the situation, I mean we have always been honest about their conceptions with our sons. They really did need to become older to understand the details. Getting their DNA tested at 23 and Me (where their egg donor also had her DNA tested) gave us the opening to fully describe the details, which does not seem to have troubled them at all. Before we had theirs tested, I also gifted my husband with a kit from 23 and Me.

For me, having lost the privilege of actually raising my daughter when she was 3 years old due to my own poverty and her father’s unwillingness to pay child support (and even so, he ended up paying for her support by raising her himself) – these second chance opportunities to prove I could mother children throughout their growing up years has been a true blessing for me. Experiencing motherhood now has healed much – including a decision to have an abortion after my daughter’s birth and the subsequent discovery that I carried the hep C virus – thanks to pre-treatment testing related to my oldest son’s conception. (BTW, this week I will finally complete, after living with this virus for over 20 years, a very expensive treatment regime which required a grant for the co-pay as well as Medicare Part D because otherwise, I still could not have afforded to have that virus treated).

All this just to share that this morning, I was reading an accusation about infertile women driving adoptions. One woman noted this – “we seem to be letting the guys off scot-free. The dudes who want a Daddy’s Little Girl or to play football with their own Mini-Me. I am not saying that childless woman are not a huge factor in the adoption industry, but I am saying that we live in a patriarchy and men also have a macho thing going on from birth … carrying on the family name, the stereotypical being the breadwinner for their very own brood instead of watching other guys’ families from the sidelines as a failure. And sometimes it isn’t the woman’s inability but the guys’ faulty minnows and that is definitely a macho & emasculating situation that they can rectify by sheer force (IVF or adoption are ways no one else will really be the wiser if they keep these secrets). They can be saviors and still be Daddy Dearest at the same time win-win.”

I know that in the case of infertility, the “blame” is statistically equal – one-third of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive issues, one-third by female reproductive issues, and one-third by both male and female reproductive issues or by unknown factors according to the National Institutes of Health. Clearly in our case, because 50% of each of our son’s DNA clearly establishes that their father’s sperm did the deed, the problem was my age. We didn’t start our efforts until I was already 46 years old.