Ward Of The State (Slight Return)

Due to my recent employment situation, I am again dependent on the state.

It’s triggering.

As an adult adoptee most of my contact with the state has been adversarial.  I want my original birth certificate and they refuse to give it to me.  This because they think of me as a child that cannot understand my position.

The fact is, I understand my position very well.  Obtaining my OBC will not change a thing about who I am or what has happened to me, but it will make me feel like an adult.  It’s simple, but they won’t help me.  I’m  supposed to be fine with all that.

The state does  feel that I might need some help with my joblessness.  It’s been explained to me that losing a job can be very traumatic.

I get that.

The state has told me that’s it’s unfair and I shouldn’t be able to understand my situation.

I think I have a pretty good grasp on the situation, actually.

They tell me that I may feel like my identity has been taken away.

Um no.  I know what that feels like and this isn’t it.

They say this could be the most significant transition in my life.

Trust me, it’s so not.

They want me to know if I start to feel out of control or that I fear I might hurt myself, counseling is available.

Oh where have you been all of my life?

They even offered to set up a “rap session” for us to dicuss what we are going through.

No, in the name of all things holy, no.

I’m not trying to minimize  job loss here, it is hard, but it’s not like the end of my world.

Honestly I’m offended that they take unemployment so much more seriously than adoption.  I lost a job here, not my biological roots, not my name, not my identity.  I’m supposed to be just fine with being adopted and not require any kind of assistance dealing with it, but lose my job, and it’s time for intensive intervention.

What the hell ever.

Adoption and Adaption

First off, tweet for adoptee rights and a free Mary Gauthier “The Foundling” CD today with Claudia and The Adoptee Rights Coalition.  Good cause, free stuff, why wouldn’t you?

Second, get to work on your submissions for  Pieces Of Reunion.  A chance to tell your story, and get published, why wouldn’t you?

Now, what have I been up to?

I don’t even know where to begin.  Let’s just say that the next few months are going to bring a lot of changes for me.  Good changes, I hope.

But one thing is never going to change, I’ll always be adopted.  I can change my shirt, my hair color, my religious affiliation, my status on Facebook, but I can’t change that.

Some folks seem to think that they can deal with all the adoption shit and move on.  The thing is dealing with it doesn’t change it, it just gives you a different perspective.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately.  Events beyond my control have forced me to to.  By no decision of my own, my life is going through a major rearrangement. I wouldn’t have chosen this right now.  I would have been just as happy to continue as I was, for at least a while.

I knew things would have to change eventually.  It just never seemed like a good time.  But changes  never seem to happen in good times, and because times are bad, I’m out of a job that I’ve held for over 20 years.

I never meant to stay there this long, when I started I thought I’d be out of there in less than 6 months.  It’s complicated, and it involves my adoptive family, and I couldn’t explain it in less than 100,000 words.  Let’s just say the whole situation of late has left me feeling very adopted.

But, I’m OK with it.  I’m unsure, nervous, but not devastated or paralyzed.  I’ve no choice but to roll with it.  I wonder if some of this feeling of acceptance has something to do with being adopted.

My life has been subject to change from the very beginning.  I was born into one family, and through circumstances beyond my control I was given to another.  That’s as big a change as I can imagine.  I don’t think that being too young to remember this kept me from learning from it.  What are adoptee issues but the universe telling you that some adaption is in order?

As adoptees we are hyper vigilant, always looking out for something that’s different, something that’s changed.  But just because we are aware of changes doesn’t me we have problems reacting to those changes.

I’ve seen adoptees handle life changing experiences almost as if their plans for lunch had been canceled.  I suppose once you take away someone’s identity, they figure they can handle just about anything. Not to say any of these changes are easy for us, I just wonder if many of us have developed mechanisms for dealing with change, through our experiences.

Maybe I’ll get through this alright, maybe I won’t.  But I know it will be the circumstances the event brings on, not the event itself, that cause any future breakdowns. That may seem like a slim distinction, but it’s not. I don’t fear change.  I’m OK with uncertainty.  I expect it.

So I’m off to adapting again.  I’ll figure it out.  I’ll probably subject you to a lot of my figuring it.  I have learned that I’m not alone.  That’s been a lot of my adaption of the last few years.

I have over 20 years experience in retail, and over 40 as a bastard. The job market should be my oyster, huh?

Stay tuned, this could get interesting.

Adoption Reunion Stories Needed

You’ve probably already heard about this since Claudia is the Undisputed Queen of the Internet, and beat me to it, but we’re going to edit a book.  A book about adoption reunion.  A book that is going to feature stories from you.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  When I started searching, I found a lot of information on how to find my birth parents, I got lots of help from search angels, first parenrts, fellow adoptees, even a social worker and an adoptive parent or two.  I would have not found my first mother without them.  They gave me a map, let me know what to expect, and provided me with a sense of community. It was good and I’ll forever be in their debt.

But once I found my first family, I felt like I was on my own.  There were a few blogs out there, a few folks on message boards who were talking about their reunions, but at that time it was still pretty thin.  I couldn’t find many books that dealt with how to handle reunion, so many just stopped at found.  So I proceeded without much of a map.

Luckily when things really started to go south in my reunion I had found a community.  At the time there weren’t many of us but enough to get me through a rough patch. I think those folks saved my life.

Now there is a lot more information out there.  More people are talking about reunion past the first hugs and honeymoon period, more people are blogging, more people are sharing.  That’s good. Their stories are wonderful, painful, amazing, inspiring, crazy making, and every other feeling imaginable.

I wanted to bring these stories together, in one place, for those just going into reunion, and for those who are finding their way through reunion.  Some of the best stories can be hard to find, and I know, there are new stories out there that need to be heard.

I knew that I would need help with this, another perspective, someone knowledgeable that had been through the experience.  Claudia was the first to come to mind. She was a first parent, in reunion, and has a deep understanding of issues surrounding adoption.  She’s also a hell of a writer, gorgeous, and way cooler than me.  I wasn’t sure I could get her on board., but I thought I’d give it a try.  I was pretty sure if she thought it was a dumbass idea, at least she’d tell me nicely.

She liked the idea and we were off.  I had contributed an essay to Pieces Of Me; Who Do I Want To Be, the teen book from EMK Press.  I loved that book, it let adoptees say what they needed to say, it was honest.  I wanted the reunion book to be like that.  So I put on my confident writer persona and brought the idea to Carrie Kitze, the publisher at EMK Press.  She’s way cooler than me too, so I figured if she thought it was a dumbass idea, she would also tell me nicely.

Carrie liked it.  I can’t thank her enough for giving all of us this opportunity to tell our stories.

So now we are really off.  I need your help too.  I need you to write about your reunion, the good and the bad.  I need you to be honest and not hold anything back.  I need you to tell others what you wished you had known.  This book is about you, and your experiences, your feelings, your stories.

Help me out here, please.  I know we can do something wonderful.

Below is a link to the call for submissions, it will give you some ideas, and the information you need to tell your story.

Pieces Of Reunion-Call for Submissions

Thank you.

Did You Know…

..that there are at least 37 distinctive types of dinner forks?

..that in order to get a certificate of ‘no tax owed’ you have to be in the state system?

..that you have to have a certificate of ‘no tax owed’ to get into the state’s system?

..that a flea can jump 350 times it’s body length?

..that Grown In My Heart is planning a big Mother’s Day giveaway?

..that deSoto was the first white guy to see the Mississippi River flood?

..and that the natives weren’t a bit surprised?

..that some cats will eat cheese?

..but not mice?

..that I spend way too much time at Adoptee Fried Chicken?

..that Europeans are adopting american children?

..that adult animals usually make better pets than puppies or kittens

..that puppies and kittens usually make better pets than children?

..the the first SUCCESSFUL parachute jump was made in St Louis, Mo.?

..that there are 500 different kinds of bananas

..but the only one you are familiar with may become extinct in our lifetime?

..that you can get a certificate of ‘no tax owed’ if you say you already have one?

..that no one ever follows their grocery list?

..that I’m getting tired?

Post Racial Adoption Society

This post is part of the Grown In My Heart Adoption Carnival. Anyone can join in.  If you’ve got something, anything to say about Adoption and Racism, get over there and participate.  Just click on Mr. Linky near the bottom of the page.

Like Claudia, I have some reservations about writing about racism in adoption.  I’m at least as white as she is, maybe more.  Try to keep that in mind.

Beyond the obvious, you know, white babies cost more than black babies.  That whole stupid thing that doesn’t make a bit of sense.  Especially since most perspective adoptive parents declare they don’t care what the baby looks like, they just want to raise one.  If that were true, folks would never pay the premium for white kids.  Oh but they do.

I’m not going to get into that.  It makes my head hurt.

I’m not going to cite instances of racism in adoption that I’m all too familiar with.  Other folks can address this better than I can.

I will say that there is a subtle feeling of racism with all things adoption.  I’m not saying that all adoptive parents are racist, or even that most adoption agencies have any kind of overtly racist agenda, I’m just saying it’s out there, and I think it’s something many of us feel. It’s that insidious non-specific kind of racism that comes all mixed up with privilege and money.

You hear a lot about how we are living in a larger post racial society.  I think that fact is, as best, debatable and more likely total bullshit, at least for a good portion of the population.  I know we aren’t in a post racial adoption society. In adoption race issues are obvious, and discussed frequently.  We know color blind doesn’t exist, we know everybody doesn’t come into the game on equal footing, we know it’s more complicated than that.

I think we know this because we have to deal with it.  We can’t just declare that we are done with all that stuff.  Maybe that’s good, we are at least not BSing ourselves.

Do we have any kind of understanding?  I’m not sure. But at least I think we are trying.

We should try harder.