According To Addie

Angry adoptee

I Wonder If The Lady From Holt International thinks I’m Stable?

Ok, yeah I know, it’s been a while.  Let’s just say I’ve had a lot going on, and I’ll get to that.  But forst I need to tell you abou the end of our Holt experience.  

 

Lillie asked the bad Holt lady about reunion when adoptees became adults.  that is to say what she meant, it took a few tries for the Bad Holt Lady to quite get what she was saying.  first, we found out that it was completely wrong, as well as impossible for children to be reunited.  Duh, we get that part.  I’m not sure it had ever occured to Bad Holt Lady that adoptees actually grow up. 

When Lillie really pinned her down and asked the Bad Holt Lady, very slowly and and using very small words, what she thought of adult adoptees reuniting with their firstparents she said something like, “Well that would be up to the parties involved…if both parties thought it was alright, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt..”  Bad Holt Lady looked very confused at this point.  And by both parties she meant both sets of parents, it seems that the adult adoptee should have nothing to say about this.  

When pressed harder she thought it would be OK if “both parties were stable.”  By this she did mean the first parent and adoptee.  I found it a bit odd that she would even think that any All American perfectly adjusted adoptee would have any chance of not being stable, I guess the Bad Holt Lady missed that contradiction too.

Take what you want to from what I’ve written about this experience.  It is presented as it actually happened.

More On The Holt Experience

When we were on the subject of the birthmothers reliquishing rights, Lillie asked exactly how did they try to determine that the mothers had truly wished that their child be put up for adoption.  The Holt Lady said that many times they put ads in local newspapers looking for the mothers of these children and if they do not respond, the child is relinquished.

I do wonder how many mothers have time, means, or knowledge to access to these newspapers.  I wonder how many mothers return to these orphanages when their situations improve and find that their child is gone forever.  I wonder how many know this may happen but have no choice.

I wonder if this woman who has had to leave her child imagines that another woman on the other side of the world would be assured that there is no way the mother would ever be able to find her child.  I wonder what this mother would think of a woman who would feel reassured by this.  Thinking about this makes me sad.

The Holt Lady showed me a fold out chart that detailed all the countries that I could adopt from.  It had waiting times, availability, etc.  She thought the best country for me might be Ethiopia.  I have no idea why.  I noticed that Guatemala was still listed there.  I asked if they still were working there.  She said no.  And went on to say that they had absolutely nothing to do with anything that went wrong there.  That other unethical agencies had “messed it up for everybody and it was so unfair”.   Her voice raised about an octave and got quite a bit louder at that point.  She turned and began to talk to Lillie about something else before I could ask any more questuions on that subject.

With being a bit nervous and fairly pissed off by this time I may be off on my sequence of events, but I think this was about the time we were invited to adoption camp.  The Holt lady had been pushing us pretty hard to come to the seminar that was sceduled for later that day, and we had asked waht other programs they had avaialble.  she told us about their annual picnic and said that we were welcome to come and talk with the parents and children.  And mentioned that they had a yearly culture camp.

I mentioned that we were in Iowa after all, do the kids have any trouble adjusting?  the Holt Lady said that they had very little trouble at all and that these kids are very much American.  she then said that the kids seem happier at culture camp, where they can be around other kids like them, than anywhere else.  the fact that she had just said they were so very much American and in the next breath happiest when around other kids like them, seemed tiotally lost on her.  I didn’t even attempt to say anything, it would have been pointless.  She did mention that we were welcome to come by the camp and see how well the kids were getting along.

This kind of bothered me too.  This woman knew absolutely nothing about us.  Yet she was inviting us to come interact with these kids.

Next, Lillie brings up open records…..

The Adoption Camp Saga Continues….

The bad lady from Holt was all smiles when she approached us.  I think she must have thought she had a couple of live ones when she saw us.  I’m in my early forties and didn’t have a kid with me.  I imagine I fit the profile perfectly. She went right after us.

I was pretty nervous and it was very loud and hot in the building so I may not have the sequence of events or exactly who asked what straight, I’m just going do my best as I recall.

Holt Lady asked us if we needed any information.

We said we did.

Holt Lady then asked us if we knew anything about adoption.

We both answered that we did.

She then pointed out the tired looking new adoptive mom sitting in the chairs, and I asked her if she had just adopted.  She said yes they had just returned from Korea.  She had a little boy, I’m not sure how old, but he was just wearing a diaper and was dozing on adopto mom’s lap.  He looked absolutely exhausted and stunned.  I felt sorry for him.  I tried to engage her in conversation, but she didn’t have much to say.

About this time Holt Lady went into what I assume is the standard spiel they give all PAPs.  How long Holt had been in business, how they started in Korea and now offer children from many countries.  How ethical they are, blah, blah, blah.

At some point one of asked about medical histories for the children they placed.

Bad Holt Lady started going on about how healthy all the kids were.  That they were all checked out at the orphanages and that we didn’t have to worry about alcohol or drug exposure.  She said that all the children were AIDS tested since that was such a worry.

I tried to clarify and say that I was asking about family medical history.

She enthusiastically assured me that all the birth mothers were 100% healthy in every way.  She mentioned no drug exposure again.  She did say if there was any diabetes or heart disease it would be noted in the child’s file.

I asked how medical information was updated, mentioning that some things haven’t shown up in the young mothers yet.

She said there was no way that could be done since most mothers disappear after giving up rights to thier children.  She said there was no way that they could be found ever again.

It was subtle but the way she said that the mothers could never be found again sure made me feel like she was telling me that I’d never have to worry about the birthmother coming back into the child’s life.  I tried not to show any emotion, but I’m pretty sure that I did.  Bad Holt Lady must have thought that I was worried about birthmother involvement because she was saying something about how poor the countries were, and how they just couldn’t relocate these people.  She said this in a very cheery way.

More later….

In Which Lillie And I Get Invited To Adoption Camp

I got to meet the beautiful and Lillie last weekend.  We met at the Iowa State Fair, and we had a mission.  Holt International Adoption Agency had a booth there.   We had some questions for them.

It was a hot crowded day at the fair, the scent of corndogs was in the air when I found my friend along with her husband and two wonder children.  We made introductions and decided to take care of our business with Holt first thing.

Lillie, her son, and I headed into the Industries Building where hot tubs, vinyl siding, emu oil, and children are sold.  It took us a while to find the Holt booth, all the way my friend’s son asked where we were going, we told him we were looking for the bad ladies who steal children.

After much searching and only being hit by a few strollers and one guy on a rascal scooter, we found Holt’s booth.  They didn’t have a sign, but we could tell we had found them because they had many pictures of cute children from a variety of countries.

There were three people in the booth, a new adoptive mother with her brand new child, and an agency worker.  The agency worker looked to be in her thirties, attractive in a athletic kind of way, with the slightly stunned look that comes from drinking too much of the adoption Kool-Aid.

We approached the booth and began to look at the literature that was laid out.  Lots of stuff about the beauty of adoption and how it would fulfill all the dreams of a perspective adoptive parent.  There was also an emphasis on the savior aspect of international adoption, lots of pictures of sad looking children presumably only waiting on a well heeled American couple to come save them.

They had bookmarks, I took one.  One one side it has a picture of a laughing woman holding a child. On the other side it says:

Faith
is the substance
of things
hoped for,
the convictions
of things
not yet seen.

-Hebrews 11:1

Holt International
finding families for children
1.888.355.4658
www.holtinternational.org

Then the agency worker approached us……..

Craps

“Let’s say that it was 24 hours before you were born, and a genie appeared and said, ‘What I’m going to do is let you set the rules of the society into which you will be born. You can set the economic rules and the social rules, and whatever rules you set will apply during your lifetime and your children’s lifetimes.’ And you’ll say, ‘Well, that’s nice, but what’s the catch?’ And the genie says, ‘Here’s the catch. You don’t know if you’re going to be born rich or poor, white or black, male or female, able-bodied or infirm, intelligent or retarded.’

The above quote has been attributed in recent times to Warren Buffet though I’m sure it’s been said,in some form, from the earliest days of human society.

The point is that the course of our lives are very much determined by our births and that is very much a crap shoot. We are pretty much stuck with how those dice come up.

Adoption, to some extent attempts to change that, to give us, and everyone else involved a do-over. They can take us to a different economic level. They can’t change our race, but we can be given the advantages of being raised within a more privileged one. They can’t change our sex, but they can see that we will be put where we may more fulfill the roles that society has laid out. They can effect the shape and fuction of our bodies through medical care we might not have received. They can see that what natural intelligence we have has a chance to develop. But they really can’t change us.

We are what we are. We can take on the mantle of someone born to something other than what we were. But that’s all it is, a covering, and many times an ill fitting and uncomfortable one. It’s not the effects of the so-called advantages adoption afforded us, we do benefit from the education, the place in society, many times those are the very things that allow us to pull this poor outfit off at all. It that this thing doesn’t fit well and we are always overdressed for the table. We are a house mark, and everybody but the suckers can spot us a mile away.

When it’s our turn to roll, everybody that knows dick bets Don’t Pass. You see, they can get us to the table, but they can’t load the dice. So it’s on to the next shooter.

Einstein was right, God doesn’t play dice. And others are foolhardy to try.

I Have A Brand New Plan

Well with every adoptee rights bill introduced in the current Missouri legislative session either withdrawn, on hold, or revised into a total piece of shit, it’s time to move on.

But how do we do that?

I’m glad you asked. This is where the new plan comes in.

What we are doing just ain’t working. We are going to ditch the kicking and crying, the victim attitude, the constant whining, and the Queen For A Fucking Day adoption beat me up so bad I can’t go on bullshit. We will also be jettisoning the back biting, the self-congratulatory boasting, and the goddamn circle jerk that the adoptee rights movement has become.

If you want to talk about your feelings, if you feel the need to cry into your dish towel, take a walk right now. You ain’t going to do that here. There are places for that, heck I administrate a couple of them, that’s the place for it. Go heal yourself and please come around when you are feeling stronger. We do have a place at the table for you, when you’re ready.

Now if you can put the pain aside and act like a grown-up for at least a little while, and truly desire your rights, let’s talk.

First let’s be honest, we aren’t even close in the state of Missouri. It’s going to take a lot of work and more than likely a lot of time. A lot of people would tell you that open records are just around the corner, it just ain’t so, right here, right now. All you have to do is look at what happened to all the bills that were considered this session to see that.

That’s not to say that it can’t be done, it can. But getting everybody’s hopes up over something that was obviously going to amount to nothing does no one any good. Expect to get beat up. There are very powerful people who do not want us to have access and the truth be told, those that do support our cause have shown no inclination to go to war recently.

We need to give the people that can help us a reason to champion our cause. While our cause is a noble one, and almost anyone can be convinced of that fairly easily, someone else’s noble cause is rarely a reason to go to war. We need to give them a real reason to help us out.

One of the best reasons I can think of to help someone is that they have helped you out in the past.

The first step in The Brand New Plan is not-so-random acts of kindness. We are going to help out those that could help us out. First go here..

Missouri Leggie Look-up

Find your legislators. Many of them are up for re-election this fall. You can go here to see if they have filed..

Who’s in the running

If they have filed, call their office. You are going to be the best johnny-on-the-spot volunteer they have ever seen. You are going to make phone calls, knock on doors, fetch coffee, eat dirt, what ever, and talk to everyone you know about voting for your candidate. You will impress your candidate with your dedication and nobility. Study up, know all the issues, not just adoptee rights. Let them know that you aren’t one dimensional. That you are a citizen concerned with all aspects of life. They will hopefully see you as the real and noble person that you are.

When you come to them later you will be more than one of the many people who wants something, you will be someone that has helped them. This may help to incline them to help you. You are noble and dedicated after all.

This approach will be most effective in the House races. The House candidates always have less people working for them. State Rep races just don’t have the glamor of the national races, you will have less other people performing not-so-random acts of kindness to compete with.

We need to focus on the already friendly leggies first, of course.

Davis in District 42

Roorda in District 102

In the State senate races, the once and maybe future friendly Connie Johnson has filed for the seat in district 5.

I’ll be throwing myself at my incumbent state rep hoping to curry favor.

This is only the beginning. We need to present ourselves as adults, with some knowledge of how things work in order to be treated as adults.

We are starting all over here folks. This is the first step.

What We Have Learned From Carolyn Pooler

If you’re wondering who the heck Carolyn Pooler is, check these links out..

 The Missouri Compromise

and

Carolyn Pooler Come Out And Play

The short answer, not much.

The longer answer, quite a lot.  We’ve learned that reform isn’t always about what’s best for everyone, sometimes it’s about desperation and clinging to things that no longer work.

Nobody is really sure if we heard from Carolyn or not, though I’m pretty sure that we did.  Twice.  There’s a good lesson.  If you are not willing to take credit for your actions and defend them, you probably shouldn’t be working on anybody else’s behalf.  You have to believe in what you’ve done enough to put you name on it and claim it.  Hiding behind different screen names and posting from public computers, so you can’t be traced isn’t going to inspire a lot of confidence in what you have to say.  So from Carolyn we learned to be ready to explain your actions and claim them.  If you’ve managed to fuck up royally, admit it.

I suppose there is a an argument riding into town, hoopin’ and hollerin, killin’ all the women and rapin’ all the cattle.  Hell, I’ve done it myself.  But if you are going to do that, you need to case the place you are ridin’ into first.  Carolyn didn’t do that.  And because she didn’t do her research, all she managed to get done was fall in a pile of shit.  Hell my blog was right there.  If she had even read the previous post to The Missouri Compromise, she would have found that I’m staunchly anti-whining.  As to the other folks she managed to insult, she didn’t check up on them either.  There’s a lesson.  Do your research.  I don’t imagine she’s researched adoptee issues, or the current state of reform actions, any better than she researched me.

Lastly, and most importantly, we learned the price of alienating those that can help you in your cause.  I can tell you it will be Frozen Margarita Night In Hell before I’d piss on her if she were on fire.  I’m guessing there are a few others that feel the same, most of them in a better position to help her than I am.

Yes,The Carolyn Pooler Affair, as it will from now be known, because I say so.  Has been an excellent lesson to us all.  All the lame newbie internet insults, all the pathetic kicking and crying aside, Ms. Pooler has given us something to learn from.

There will be a test afterward.

Carolyn Pooler Come Out And Play..

I’m still waiting here.  See this post The Missouri Compromise.  So far absolutely no explanation. And I’m not the only one who wants one.

Amy wants to know.

Gershom wants to know.

And Marley really wants to know.

Oh and these folks are curious too Nullius Filius.

Along with a lot of other people.

Exactly who do you claim to represent? Are they all Missouri adoptees? Were they all on board when you refused to support Representative Connie Johnson’s bill?

Oh and is it MO CARE that you represent, like you signed your letters with, or is it more like mocoare? Because through a typo I did find that group, with 5 whole people in it. Which is it?

Or are you speaking for the American Adoption Congress? Or Adoption and Triad Support Network? Or The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks? I can’t tell. And you don’t seem to have any friends that are forthcoming.

C’mon set me straight here. Educate me. And everybody else.

BTW, I see you’re having a meeting Thursday evening. Would you be more comfortable explaining this to me in person? I promise to listen very slowly.
Again comments section is below.

Tama Janowitz, My Canidate for Mother of the Year

Can you believe this wonderful woman has been blocking comments from adoptees?

I can’t either. It must be a mistake, so I’m going to allow adoptees to comment here.

The Real Thing

My husband Tim and I adopted our daughter Willow, who is now 12, from China when she was 9 months old. We were told by the adoption agency that once the process was complete and the three of us were back home, many people would stop to inquire about our daughter’s Mongolian features or why she did not look like us.

It may be that having a child of a different ethnic background from yourself is more difficult in other parts of the country. And certainly that may lead to problems. But In my neighborhood in Brooklyn I see black women with half-Asian, half-black kids and I see kids with dark skin and blond hair — the mother is white, the father is not. There are Indian fathers and Caucasian mothers with their offspring. There are families with two dads. There are also Hasidic families with ten kids and Muslim women dressed in full burkas who have dressed their daughters the same way.

So here in New York City, we haven’t attracted too much attention.

Well, O.K., sometimes.

It is true when she was a baby, if I took her out on my own, sometimes people did ask me, “Is the father Chinese?” If I said “yes” the usual response was “Good for you!” This puzzled me, so then I just said, “Either Chinese, or some black dude – who can remember?”

But as always, if you don’t have one kind of problem, you will automatically be given another.

There are more than enough for seconds! Even fifths!

One thing I figure, whether adopted, mixed race, religious, non-religious, whether your child is biological, whether you send her to Hebrew school or piano lessons – there is no one who does not resent his or her parents, We all have this in common. Indeed, it may be what makes us human.

Everyone feels they are doing the best possible job as a parent. But apart from the most obvious types of abuse, there is little that is clear-cut in regard to child rearing. Some discipline their kids and refuse to allow them to go to school dressed in a tutu. Others allow them to eat McDonald’s. Even if your house is tidy, this could be a mistake in child-rearing! So could being a vegetarian! Or serving meat!

A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: “Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!”

And she says — as has been said by children since time immemorial — “So what, I don’t care. I would rather do that than be here anyway.”

My friend has a biological kid who said one day, “I hate you.” She cried and cried and told the child how deeply hurt she was.

I have heard those words, too, and my child is not biological. Like, I care? Hate me or love me, I am her mother and she knows it and since she is not getting a reaction out of me she almost immediately revises her opinion.

Is it my fault she is still angry because I kept coming home with another dog? I would have been thrilled, if I was a kid, to have six poodles! How was I supposed to know she would turn out to be the type who didn’t like dogs? And she says even if she did like dogs, she only likes mixed breeds!

“You should keep a list of everything I’ve done to you,” I have often suggested, “That way, later, you can read it to your therapist. Otherwise you might forget.”

Sometimes I think, Well, maybe I should be more of a disciplinarian. But what am I going to do, lock her in her room? She has an ensuite bath, a computer, cell phone and a Game Boy and if I say, I will take those away she says, “So what, who cares?”

Same with TV privileges. “Go watch TV!” I tell her.

“No, I don’t want to.”

“You will watch TV, young lady.” It’s no use.

I know that there are some women who have given birth who believe that the type of love they have for their child is more intense, more real, than the love I have for my kid, because they hatched it themselves. This argument makes no sense to me. After all, the fathers (until recently) never could be sure that it was their sperm that made them the dad.

You might as well say, “Listen, Daddy-O, you had ten minutes max of involvement in the creation biz, and you didn’t even get to pre-approve the winning sperm, And if your kid is the product of the fastest sperm in the bunch, that is just plain pitiful. How could you care about the child?”

However I would no more say this than ask someone with a baby if they were certain the father was human.

I also know women who never really bonded with their kid – biological, or adopted.

I figure, Willow, she’s my kid, she just got here differently. I don’t remember floating around in my mother’s womb, or coming out of the vaginal canal – but I still know that person is my mother, even if she is a little off.

And my kid knows I’m her real mother.

Not biological, but real. It doesn’t get any realer than this.

http://relativechoices.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/12/the-real-thing/

Have at it folks.

Go To the Light, Boy

There are many things in this world that make an adoptee feel short changed.  Closed records, denial of ethnicity, the list goes on.  I wonder if these things ever end, even in the afterlife.

We’ve all heard the stories from those who have been clinically dead and revived.  The white light, the feelings of complete peace, grandma standing there with a plate of cookies.  It all sounds very nice and reassuring.

I’m not sure if I believe any of it, I am unaffiliated as faith goes.  In fact I am much more likely to believe that death is just that, death.  We don’t go on.  No part of us remains after the synapses quit firing.

But what if I’m wrong?  What if we do go on?  Is the adoptee experience unique even into our leaving this plane of existence?

I’m sure everybody gets the white light, but who’s waiting?  Do I get my dear a-grandmother or the b-grandmother I never knew?  If they didn’t know me or know about me, will they show up?  What the heck would they have to say to me if they did? Do they have to show up if they want to or not?

Will my a-relatives be able to get in to my premere in the after world?  If not, will they even be notified?  Is there a list they can sign up for?

What if I don’t want to see them?  Will I have to put up with their presence like someone that you feel obligated to invite to events in life?  Can I have them escorted out? Is there the possibility of a free for all, knock down drag out fight?  If so, would anyone get hurt?

Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

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