Poor Reviews For Addie’s Story

As most of you have noticed, I don’t write about my personal experience with adoption much here.  There is a reason for that.  I don’t know what my personal experience with adoption really is.

I know what I experienced, but I don’t know why it happened.  I’ve never assumed that I know others motivations.  Without knowing why people did things, I don’t feel like I can give an accurate account of my own experience.  

I’ve heard the stories surrounding my adoption.  They don’t make sense to me.  I know the players, the time line, the basic events.  I just don’t know their motivations.  It’s like a movie without direction.  There is a story, but there is nothing to make me care about the characters.  It comes off as one dimensional.  

There would be no Academy Award nominations for anyone involved in my adoption biopic.  The actors all seem to be totally without conviction.  They speak of desires, regrets, and deep feelings, but come off cold.  It’s as if they are only reciting.  

Maybe they had told to the story too many times before I could ask.  Maybe it was over rehearsed.  

It is hard to pull off a piece where the title character doesn’t speak.  It leaves the other characters to struggle for relevance.  It is easy for the actor to forget that it really is about them, not the title character.  They forget that it’s all about their reaction to the situation.  The title character is only a catalyst.  They approach the role not realizing that it’s an ensemble piece.  It makes for a poor performance. 

Whatever the reason, I am unmoved.  

If I had known, I would have never taken the role.

Really Bad Titles For Adoption Books

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month I was perusing the adoption titles available at Amazon.  I’m not planning on reading any of them and certainly don’t recommend that you do.  I just wanted to see what passed for kiddie grab lit these days.  I just have one question.  What the hell were these people thinking?  


A Blessing from Above  (Little Golden Book) by Patti Henderson and Elizabeth Edge

Seems to perpetuate the stork myth.  Well might as well, at least from an APs perspective, hell babies might as well grow on trees, money trees from their perspective.

The Complete Adoption Book: Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond Godwin 

Yeah right, get back to us in about 20 years.


I Wished for You – an Adoption Story by Marianne R Richmond 

Well if wishes were horses….blah blah blah


We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families by Todd Parr

Yeah, just keep telling yourself that…


The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step by Step Guide to Finding Your Child by Dawn Davenport

Does it come with a map?  How about both hands and an ass?


Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae

Seems to combine adoption with DIY, interesting concept.  Did anyone tell them they can’t just pick up baby’s in front of the Home Depot every morning?


Happy Adoption Day! by John McCutcheon and Julie Paschkis

Do I even have to comment here?  Come up with your own.  It’s just too easy.



Adoption Is for Always (An Albert Whitman Prairie Book) by Linda Walvoord Girard and Judith Friedman

Unfortunately they are right.


I Don’t Have Your Eyes by Carrie A. Kitze

No, you don’t.  Duh.


Adoption for Dummies by Tracy Barr and Katrina Carlisle

Well that should make them feel comfortable.

Raising Adopted Children, Revised Edition: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent by Lois Ruskai Melina

Because we all know that it’s the APs who need all the reassurance. 


The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Adoption: Everything You Need to Know About Domestic and International Adoption by Elizabeth Swire Falker 

Funny, I wasn’t consulted.  Guess I’m not really an insider.  


The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforseen Challenges of Adoption by Karen J. Foli and John R. Thompson

All I can say here is just shut the fuck up.  Please.


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adoption, Second Edition by Christine Adamec

Seems that there are lots of idiots and dummies adopting these days.  It’s a second edition, did they lose the first one?  


Who Are My Real Parents? by D. L. Fuller

Let me guess.  


All About Adoption: How Families Are Made & How Kids Feel About It by Marc A. Nemiroff, Jane Annunziata, and Carol Koeller

Please tell me ALL about it.  Especially how I feel.  I can’t fucking wait.  


Adoption: The Essential Guide to Adopting Quickly and Safely by Randall Hicks

Wouldn’t want to get a paper cut.  


Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul: Stories Celebrating Forever Families (Chicken Soup for the Soulby Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and LeAnn Thieman L.P.N

Are forever famlies subject to salmonella ?


So I Was Thinking About Adoption…: Considering Your Choices by Mardie Caldwell

There you go thinking again, don’t hurt yourself.


Launching a Baby’s Adoption: Practical Strategies for Parents and Professionals by Patricia Irwin Johnston

Isn’t baby launching still illegal in several states? 


Riding on Angels Wings: My Spiritual and Physical Pregnancies: The Tale of our Two Sons by Cynthia Mae Burris

There is so much here I really don’t want to know.  


Sasha’s Little Red Box: An Adoption Story by Sandra Jones

Hmmm…sounds dirty and not in a good way.


Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent 

No thanks, I just ate.


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:

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

-Hebrews 11:1

Holt International
finding families for children

Then the agency worker approached us……..

Fathers Day

Ah Fathers Day,  brought to you by Craftsman Tools, Hallmark Cards, and the American Necktie Marketing Institute.  That one day when dads reign supreme.  The day when no one messes up the Sunday paper and mom serves dad’s favorite for dinner.  We couldn’t have mom using up all of our discretionary gift giving income, now could we?

As an adoptee this day should be big for me.  I have two fathers.  I should be concerned with how I’m going to divide my between my two dads.  Be rushing around trying to find just the right present for both of them, wondering if I can get away with getting them both the same thing.  But it’s not quite like that for me.

As my constant readers are aware, I’ve got a whole lot of dad in my adoptive father.  To describe him as a strong personality is an understatement.  He’s hard to buy a gift for.  One can only have so many flashlights shaped like a large mouth bass and lifetime subscriptions to UFO Journal (they ARE among us).  I’m always at a loss for Fathers Day gifts for him, but I’m at even more of a loss when it comes to my natural father.

I have no idea if my natural dad is into fishing, UFOs, or the Chicago Cubs.  I don’t know him.  There was a time that I thought I knew who he had been.  I was told by my natural sister (mom’s side obviously) that he was a man that had died many years ago.  After my n-sister found that I had contacted his family, I was told that it couldn’t have possibly been him, and in this she was honest.  Upon further questioning, all I could discover is that he was most probably “some guy named Eldon”.  Apparently “some guy named Eldon” had a family and they must be protected at all costs, though she didn’t know him well enough to recall his last name.

My sister’s devotion to this guy named Eldon is incredible.  I cannot imagine depth of feeling involved that would make you choose Eldon and his family over a blood relative.  All I can come up with is this Eldon must be a hell of a guy.  Heck, I’m feeling kind of left out, he is my dad after all.  If Eldon has the power to inspire someone who can’t even remember his last name to silence for over 40 years, I think he might be able to handle meeting me.   Maybe if Sis thinks this would come as too much of a shock for this guy named Eldon, I should inform her that I am fully trained in CPR.

I can’t see any other reason why Sis would be protecting Eldon.  It couldn’t possibly be about appearances, after all she had nothing to do with any of it.  She surely couldn’t be so embarrassed about her bastard sister to think that it would reflect on her so many years later.  She couldn’t be thinking that Eldon and his family are more important than me.   I’m pretty sure Eldon didn’t do anything for her, other than make a big impression.  She couldn’t be that self conscious or uncaring could she?

I’m an optimist, and like to think the best of people, so I’m going to go with my “this guy named Eldon must be a hell of a guy” theory.

I wonder what Eldon would like for Fathers Day?