Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2013

I am participating again this year. Last year I was paired up with an open adoption adoptive mother in Australia. I enjoyed connecting with her and am curious who I will get paired with this year. Below are details from the site page.  You should consider.

The Interview Project pairs up adoption bloggers for personal, individualized interviews. This will be the fourth time we’ve gathered together to share our stories and share our blogs. You can browse the 2010 interview pairs, 2011 interview pairs, and 2012 interview pairs to get an idea of the (amazing) end results.

The Interview Project is open to any individual blogger who

  1. writes at least occasionally about adoption,
  2. is interested in meeting a fellow writer with (possibly very) different views and experiences, and
  3. wants to welcome someone into their own online space.

Use the registration form (lower down on this page) to sign up by Sunday, October 20.

Sign up details here.

Pick A Topic Day

Two things happened recently that have me befuddled.  Writing to think more about them perhaps dialogue here as I would be curious to know your thoughts as well.

Topic 1 – That Football Guy and His Mother
First Mother Forum has a post about Colin Kaepernick and his first mother being in the news again. Go read it at FMF and come back if you wish.  I will admit this dudes situation has annoyed me since he became news.  I wrote a post months back that I never published for upon reading it out loud it felt like more of a bitchy venting rant than anything useful for this blog. I opted not to post.  Yet here he is again on my reader and I am pondering him and his mother(s).

I feel for these people (first mother and son) and wish the media would leave them alone.  Such a very painful personal matter dragged through media makes me feel ill largely because I could be, and in some ways I am, Hiedi.  I think how I would feel if I that were me and I know I would feel pretty sick and confused and angry and want to tell people to feck off and mind their own business.   I know (on a much smaller scale) what it is like to have outsiders interfere in your adoption reunion.  I am quite confident (though I have no proof) that certain adoption online “friends” have stalked and harassed my daughter.   I take ownership of that. I made the mistake of friending people (online only) and trusting them with personal details of my daughter. I shared her name and online sites with select friends BEFORE she told me I was not allowed to share her existence or our connection. These people later turned out to be, well, not what I thought they were and I distanced myself. Distancing came too late and likely at the expense of my reunion (or whatever chances there were for one in the future). I never outright called these peeps on their suspected behavior as I did not have the luxury of tracking data, etc. but something in my gut tells me I am spot on. Others also agree with me.

My mistake. I get that. I trusted people I shouldn’t have. This may be a lesson Colin’s first mom is now learning – thinking people are kind and want good things for you and your child when in fact all they want is to either a) punish you for being a dumb stupid barftmother or b) to exploit your situation for their own selfish means (and that includes projection and transference and all that other psycho shit that happens in adoption circles.)

Yet she says (at least the FMF article says she said this) that she is speaking out for others.  I agree with that sentiment.  I agree with sharing her story so that others may benefit from it (and by benefit I mean benefit from the knowledge and be prevented from making the same mistake OR if they make that choice benefit from the knowledge of what MIGHT be in their future). Those who don’t learn frm the past are condemned to repeat it or something like that, you know?

How can we have activism and change things if we are not able/willing to share our very real stories?  I have pondered this before.  Guess I am doing so again.  Is it enough just to leave the other person’s NAME out of it when the media and others can track that down even without our sharing it? One of my blog trolls/harassers sent me an email once claiming that while I never shared my daughter’s name on the blog they were able to figure out who she was due to other information I shared. Really?

Topic 2 – Zip It Conundrum

So I run a registry for individuals separated via the Kurtz network of adoption “agencies”. No news there.  Have reunited over 200 people. Don’t know real count. I stopped counting as it seems like a data point rooted in vanity. I don’t care how many I help. I am simply glad I can.  Here is the conundrum.

Mom registers details with me. Some months later I am contacted by adoptee. Adoptee says “I think that’s me”.  I check what info she has against what I have and it appears to be a match.  I don’t contact Mother at all during this. I was not sure. I later learn adoptee had already confirmed this on her own (through other postings the mother has made elsewhere).  Adoptee asks me never to tell her mother as she is not sure she wants to deal with this particularly since she found out some not so nice info about the mother.  I say “Okay, it is your info.  You know who she is and how to find her if you wish.  Good luck.”

You see any problem here?  The adoptee strictly said (in her own words of course) “you do not have permission to give her my information even though I have hers.”

I agreed and yet I feel like I am being sneaky or disloyal or morally/ethically corrupt somehow because I now know where this mothers adults child is but I am not going to tell her because the adult has not given me permission to do so. I believe in allowing adults, most importantly adoptees, to hold the cards but I have never been asked to be a silent partner in the transaction.  I feel like one of those dirty confidential intermediaries that I so dislike.  Mind you, the mother has no idea I know this.  So the point may be mute, sort of.  At least until she pops up again and says “Hey, I want to actively search. Will you help?” Or “Do you have any more information?”

Right now I am hoping the information overwhelms the adoptee in question and she chooses to make contact on her own.

Tell me I am right. Or tell me I am wrong if you think so. Or tell me I think too much.  Befuddled because I have never had this situation before. I don’t like secrets and lies and yet I feel like I am complicit in one somehow since the adoptee has asked me not tell the mother their info and yet it was the mother who registered with me first.  Over thinking?  Doing the right thing? Over identifying with a mother whose daughter is keeping her at bay?



Mothers and Sisters Day

When I told my now 15 year old son about his half sister, he was about 7.  The conversation happened right after I found her and I was full of emotion and hope.  I believed back then there was a chance she might meet me and by extension, him.  I did my best explaining to him. I cried while my son sat listening, watching, questioning and later, overwhelmed with the information, spinning in his chair. My ex-husband, his father, sat by and said nothing.  The entire experience is documented in my post, Telling Children.

I never held such a conversation with my youngest son, soon to be 11.  I had hoped, at least in the early days that my daughter, his sister, would be common talk in our house. I foolishly hoped he would grow up with an awareness of her and that I would not have to make a big production about it.  Read any of my old posts and you will see how foolish I was in those days. The naiveté, the hope, the ignorance.

As my reunion slowly turned from what I hoped it would be to what it is today, the talk of my daughter, his sister, also turned.  I put away her pictures. I stopped sending her gifts (at her request); I stopped sending cards signed by her brothers and me. Gone were the days where my oldest son drew her pictures, asked about her, and told me she was a total “hottie”.  In its place came silence, tears, and stilted conversations.  Despite my best efforts to encourage dialogue, my oldest son picked up on my angst.  While I never told him to, and never would, he stopped asking.  As a result, the free flow of information I thought would find its way to the eyes, ears and soul of my youngest son also stopped.

I have been aware of this. There have been opportunities to have that conversation, again, yet I let them pass. I have seen what my reunion did to my oldest son. I saw his confusion. I answered his questions like “why doesn’t my sister want to know me?” and “what did I do to her?” and finally “If adoption was so good for her, why isn’t she happy about it? Why isn’t she nice to you?” as best I could. My answer was almost always “I don’t know sweetie. I hope some day you can ask her.” For that is the truth, I don’t know. Only she knows. I am aware that anything I say will influence his perception of her both now and in the future so I avoid the questions, cease the conversation, and go on.

Yet in doing so, I left my youngest behind.  I want to think I was, or am, protecting him. Today, on mother’s day of all days, I came to the conclusion that I have to find a way to tell him something. I have to accept that another one of my children will make an installment on the loan of my heart taken out by Easter House.  Only now, it will be my youngest sons’ heart I offer up to the emotional bank teller.

It’s the same question each time. A statement of utter confusion with big brown eyes looking anxiously up at me.

“I have a sister?”

Today the question came while we were sorting old photos.  My husband and I had recently cleaned out our basement and I had three Rubbermaid bins full of photos, papers, books, and more from my first marriage.  My sons loved sorting the photos, asking who was who, laughing at my bad hair and excessive weight and the mullet their father sported in college.

Photos were being tossed into various piles when my youngest son says “Who is this?”. I look over and see him holding a picture of my daughter. The picture was taken on her college campus. I had saved the picture early in reunion when she once gave me access to her Facebook.  I had scoured those photos, saved every single one of them and later printed them all at my local Walgreens.  Most I had put into a large scrap book, again, early reunion.  A few extras seem to have escaped the album and were now mixed in with all the other family photos, much like they should have been all along.

“That’s your sister, [Amended Name]” I say.

“What? My sister? I have a sister?” he says thoroughly confused.

My oldest son utters a sound of exasperation and begins to grab more photos. As I struggle to respond, he does it for me.

“Uh, yeah. You have a sister.” He says in a lower, somewhat uncomfortable tone.  He is protecting me. I can feel it.  He wants to shut the conversation down.  He knows that I have told his brother this before. He is likely annoyed his brother is asking again but further annoyed that it is going to bother me, and presumably him as well.  What he does not know is that he was given a lengthy conversation, time to ask questions, time to talk about his sister where as his inquisitive brother was not given such an opportunity.  Mommy expected him to pick up the news and figure it out all on his own. Bad mommy.

“What, you mean, like Sienna? But she is my stepsister..,” he says even more confused as he mentions the child of his father’s new wife.

“No. Not her.” Oldest son says with a tone of annoyance.  He has that brotherly duh.shut up.stupid tone to his voice. He is jumping in and attempting to quash the conversation.

I should have jumped in here. I should have said something. The good mother I am supposed to be, I think I am, the one I try so hard to be, would have used this as an opening to that long overdue conversation.

I couldn’t.

But I will.

I just need to find the words. New, age appropriate, developmentally on-target words.  While I have told him many times before, I clearly need to tell him again, in a different way.

Yes, you have a sister.