If It Saves Just One Child

If it saves just one child, it will all be worth it. Nope, I’m not talking about adoption. I’m talking about an adoption ban.  Because this…

3-year-old Russian boy killed by American adoptive mother in Texas

After being brutally beaten by his American adoptive mother, who gave him psychotropic medication for an extended period of time, a 3-year-old Russian boy named Maksim has died in Texas, Russian diplomats have said.

This is not the first one. It probably won’t be the last. It’s not just Russian kids.

It’s time for a moratorium on all international adoptions. If American born children were being murdered by adopters from outside the U.S., you can bet your ass everything would stop.

This speaks to the real value that American society places on children, especially foreign born children, and adoptees in general. We aren’t worth much.

I talk a lot about adoptee rights, I don’t don’t talk a lot about basic human rights. Maybe I should.

If I can save just one child…

Adoption Doesn’t Feel Real (all the time)

A lot of adoptees pull back from adopt for periods of time. They head back to “real life” where they are like everybody else. I do it. It makes sense, being adopted can be exhausting. All the searching, activism, and thinking about hard stuff can wear you down.

Society, adopted family, our friends, our significant others, the government tells us our adoptions are something we don’t need to think about. It’s done, it’s over, it’s not relevant to our lives. It’s easy to believe, even comforting, but it’s also dangerous.

Adoption is real, it does matter, it is relevant to our lives. Every single adoptee could have truly been someone else. Think about it. More than just having a different name, we all so easily could have been someone else. Real life would be a different life. When we are engaged in being adopted, or ignoring our origins, we are always in real life. It just doesn’t feel that way.

I think that’s why when adoptees refer to their “real lives”, many times it’s a life they have built much more for themselves than most people. Most adoptees are very aware of the circumstances leading to where they are, be it for good or bad. We are much more aware  of the  conscious decisions that contribute to the way we live. We attribute less to luck, accident, or faith and for this we pay a price.

We think everything is our fault, and rarely take credit for the actions that lead to positive things. That makes it easy to return to “real life” where maybe it’s not all our fault. We can’t see things are no more our fault, in real or adopted life, than in anybody else’s life. We don’t have a real life. We just have a life.

Choice and Want

Sometimes I really want to write something great here. I have it all worked out, then it just doesn’t come out right. I just don’t have the strength to make it clear, to knock down the objections, close the holes that could put me in danger of being misunderstood, distill my thoughts into something someone would want to read, much less debate intelligently. I’m not 100%.

Today I was inspired by Amanda and Claudia, I wanted to write about choice, and want. But I just can’t. I can’t get my thoughts organized, I can’t get them down here, I can’t lead you to the place their thoughts took me. I don’t have the words right now, I can’t choose the ones I need.

I haven’t written down a decent thing for a year and a half. I’ve had a thought here and there, I haven’t chosen to write them down.  The prospect of doing it has been too daunting, I’ve settled for just existing. I’ve even felt good about that. Just existing. Maybe that’s the point, why thinking about choices, and the ability to make them struck me.

Hell, I don’t know. Just see this a link post and go read them. I’ll be over here, breathing.

God Fucks Up Again, Film at 11

I’m an internet news junkie, so I’ve been reading a lot about God lately. He seems to making the news at least a couple of times a week letting us know exactly what he intended. Most of the time it has something to do with women’s bodies. From what I can tell, God has a hard time talking to girls, so he does the spiritual and/or physical equivalent of beating them up to lead them to what is best for them.

Just today an Indiana Representative, running for the Senate said that pregnancies resulting from rape were something God intended to happen. It’s not hard to imagine this guy’s train of thought would lead to the the statement, “they can just give it up for adoption and allow a deserving couple the right to raise a child.”

This is very dangerous thinking, and not just in te obvious God-thinks-rape-is-OK way, which is as bad as it gets. It’s dangerous in the God-lets-very-bad-things-happen-to-some-people-so-other-people-can-have-what-they-want way. While rape is one of the most heinous examples, this kind of thinking extends to everything. If you believe if one good thing comes out of a bad situation, it must be OK, it can lead to allowing all kinds of bad things to happen. Things like human trafficking, war, and limiting the rights of certain groups start to look like something ordained because, in some horribly obvious, or roundabout way, something good comes out of it.

Bad things aren’t OK, alright? If something bad happens to someone and they later say they are stronger for what happened, doesn’t make it alright. I have no doubt those stronger people would still not wish the bad thing had happened to them, or anyone else. Bad things must be recognized for what they are, not the good thing that may have resulted from the situation. This is especially true when the perceived good result benefits someone else. Just saying, “Oh well, at least, blah, blah, blah,” is dismissive, and often cruel.

I’ll shut up now.

All I Want for My Birthday is My Original Birth Certificate and World Peace and a Puppy

Activist Peeps and photo courtesy of the fabulous and recently reunited Jeff Hancock.

Today is my birthday. You know what I want? World peace and a puppy. A cute little puppy that doesn’t chew on things, never piddles on the floor, and never grows up.

Neither one of these things is going to work out, I’m sad and disappointed.

You know what might make me feel better?

My freaking birth certificate.

If I (and all other adoptees), could get their original birth certificate today, it would be the best birthday ever.  I’d be singing from the rooftops and whistling Zip-ee-dee-do-dah out of my ass.

I don’t imagine the Original Birth Certificate thing is going to work out today either.

But since it is my birthday, you can do one thing for me.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to the Adoptee Rights Coalition webpage and find out what this is all about.

If you know all about what I’m talking about, go to the Adoptee Rights Coalition webpage and get caught up on the latest news, find out how to get involved, make a donation.

If you really know what I’m talking about, write to one of your lawmakers today. Tell them to support Original Birth Certificate access for all adoptees.

Hey, I’m sitting all alone, without a puppy, and it’s my birthday. Help me out.

 

 

 

The Adoptee Rights Demonstration

Something very special is going to happen soon. Adoptees, and those who support them, are going to gather in Chicago at the National Conference of State Legislators and fight for every one of us.  Not only will there be a demonstration, but they be on the convention floor, speaking to the people who can give every adoptee access to their identity, making our case, and, in a real way, changing the lives of US adoptees.

All of this is a huge effort, I know, I was part of it last year. It’s very much a labor of love and commitment to the cause, by organizers and attendees. They all deserve your admiration and support. Go here and learn more. Adoptee Rights Coalition.

Sometimes I Feel Like an Athiest

A FaceBook friend of mine posted the clip below. It’s from a public access TV show in Austin called Atheist Experience. This episode is hosted by Tracie Harris and Jen Peeples,both are calm, well-spoken,  and offer sound arguments for their position. The caller seems to be willfully ignorant. It wasn’t so much the subject of the exchange that struck me, but the tone, it all sounded much too familiar.

Te clip was like too many discussions many of us have had concerning adoptee rights. First, the caller assumed the host had had a bad experience, that they just hadn’t found the right church, because if they did, they would agree with him. Sound familiar? Ever been accused of having a bad experience with adoption? When Tracie Harris mentions that she actually had some good experiences in church and her atheism was the result of knowledge she had acquired, it was so much like an adoptee rights activist telling someone that they do love their adoptive parents.

Moving on to the “Why do you even have to have this show?” section, I got that one 100% too. How many times have we been asked the same thing. Just like the hosts, when we point out all the wealthy, well-established institutions (many of the same institutions the atheists are pointing out, in this case) who promote adoption, and justify our right to express our own differing position, it doesn’t matter. We still should just shut up and go with conventional wisdom, because they say so.

Then there’s the whole “it’s a miracle that Gabby Giffords is going to live and recover” thing. To my ear this sounds so much like the “if we can just save one child” argument. I agree with the hosts, it’s great Mrs. Giffords is going to be OK, but it’s no miracle, it’s a tragedy. Many people aren’t OK because of that act, they matter too. The caller just can’t see that. Much like many adopters can’t see that they participated in a system that hurts many, that their little miracle doesn’t make that OK.

Anyway, here’s the clip…

So, anybody else feeling like they’ve been there, done that?

 

 

The Widow’s Debutante Ball

I made it through yesterday, through the last year. If on this day last year, you asked me if I be around in a year, I couldn’t have been sure.

Like so  many milestones, I don’t feel a bit different after its passing. Now I don’t feel the all encompassing, debilitating, agony of fresh grieving, I still grieve, and it still hurts. I can go to the store, club meetings, doctors appointments, without feeling like everybody is looking at me, feeling sorry for me, watching to see if I’ll lose it. I’m no longer the woman whose husband just died, I’m just a widow.

I still don’t know what being just a widow means. Since a year has passed, I know I’m supposed to rejoin society, whatever that means  I almost feel like I should have some kind of weird widow’s debutante ball.

At this ball people could gather and wait for the widows to enter. We’d all be veiled and covered in black, once entered we would remove our black garments to reveal colorful and stylish clothing beneath. We would be welcomed back with dances, gifts and good wishes. Everyone of us widows would be gracious and smile. But the smiles wouldn’t be because we were truly happy or ready to rejoin the world. We would smile because we all would have learned to take anything offered. We would know how little we have and to never turn down any act of kindness, they are few and far between. We would smile because, for one night, we would be distracted from the loneliness that is, and probably always will be, our constant companion. After the party we would go home and everything would be the same.

OK, the above is too bleak, too negative, too dark. I have moved on. I’m not alone. I do really smile and laugh. I’m blessed and loved. Loved more than I could ever imagine, and I can return that love.

But part of me will always be at that ball.

 

Being Generous with Character Flaws

Everybody says they never want to say anything bad about a family member. They say that, but I’m not sure it’s always true. I’m working on a novel written by an author who has based all of his characters on real family members. It’s reading flatter and every bit as boring as the the Kansas turnpike. He knows this, but still doesn’t want to attribute bad qualities to people he loves.

Yesterday evening we discussed solutions to the problem. I suggested he redraw his characters to make them less recognizable, and that’s what he probably end up doing. But in the discussion, he came up with an interesting suggestion. He had thought about asking the family members what less than flattering attribute they would like to display, dishonesty, greed, tendency to infidelity, etc.  I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t help the author out much in the end, he would still end up pissing everyone he wrote about off, but it would be fascinating to see what flaws folks might pick out for themselves.

Being allowed to pick out your own flaws, as your story is written, is a very generous concept. Controlling how we are perceived isn’t something we are ever allowed in real life. The most basic things about us come with preconceived notions about our flaws. Woman, adoptee, birth parent, adoptive parent, all have their own set of flaws, according to your perspective. It’s natural that we try to use our good points to neutralize the perception that we don’t like. I wonder if this makes us come off flat, set up to be given another set of attributes that are no more accurate than the others.

If you were asked to come up with a fictional character flaw, what would you choose?

I’m think I might like vanity. LOL.