Taking My Adoptees Connect Hat Off

Photo: by Joshua Coleman / Unsplash

For now, but not forever.

Disclosure: This article does not mean I’m quitting Adoptees Connect, Inc. It means I’m taking the Adoptees Connect hat off when I share certain things about my journey, as well as when I write here in my blog.

One of my biggest struggles over the last few years of my life is the Adoptees Connect hat I wear. It seems the role I have taken on with Adoptees Connect is such a significant role, sometimes I’m wearing that hat more than my own personal hat. This is one of the reasons I’ve been working hard at setting some very consistent boundaries for myself.

When Adoptees Connect launched in January 2018, I truly had no idea what a commitment I was taking on, or how this would impact me personally or professionally. All I knew was that adoptees were dying, and they needed an in-person space to call their own. The internet was great for some things, but when an adoptee is at ends rope, ready to leave the world it’s unrealistic to expect them to have enough energy to get online and ask for help.

I set out on creating in person communities of others who understand their pain. I didn’t want this for ONLY my community, I wanted it for every adoptee community. I knew it was life or death for adoptees everywhere. Whatever I was taking on I knew it was worth it, because I finally found purpose in all the pain I had experienced in my life. It brought glimmer hope and healing to myself, as well as my fellow adoptees.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

I’ve learned that even setting personal boundaries, and having an in person adoptee community that sadness can still set in, as well as complex adoptee issues. One of the many hard parts for me is having to wear the “Adoptees Connect” hat and represent Adoptees Connect, Inc. which has sometimes shadowed over my own thoughts and feelings. I’ve had to put Adoptees Connect first along with the vision and mission. In many situations that has caused discord with people for the simple fact I’ve felt like I’ve had to protect my vision, especially when I feel it’s been threatened. I absolutely hate this part of my role in Adoptees Connect. It’s been the worst part for me because I don’t like or enjoy discord. I do realize it’s a part of life but I will never like it.

I’ve learned that different people love what Adoptees Connect is about, and they want to be a part, and make commitments but when it comes down to doing the work they aren’t committed. I’ve learned that different people love what Adoptees Connect is about, but they have their own agenda which doesn’t necessarily align with the vision and mission of Adoptees Connect, Inc. They attempt to apply their vision to the Adoptees Connect vision and when it’s not in alignment, it creates discord, disconnect, and hurt feelings. It’s been very draining to say the least.

At the end of the day I’ve felt more times than I can count how many times I’ve had to confront people that due to our visions not being in alignment, and the outcome is it’s best we disconnect from partnership. This isn’t an easy thing for anyone to do, but to keep the commitment to the AC vision, it’s had to be done.

In my own personal life, this load has taken a toll emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Never once have I wanted to throw in the towel on Adoptees Connect, but sometimes I want to take the Adoptees Connect hat off when I share my feelings. Especially here on my own website when I share my feelings on my own personal journey.

I’ve always felt like my dedication and Adoptees Connect “Hat” has taken the forefront, even before my own personal life. I’ve kept a lot quiet because of fear of how others will respond to my struggles, and the role I play within Adoptees Connect, Inc. I can no longer do this for my mental health. One of my fears is, “What will others think of me?” “How will they respond that I’m feeling the way I am?”

This article is sharing that moving forward, at least on my website I’m having to take the Adoptees Connect “Hat” off so I can share my own personal struggles and experiences. I have promised myself I would be true to me, and in that I want to be able to help other adoptees with different struggles they might be having as things are so significantly changing for so many of us in our lives.

I hope my articles moving forward will help someone, and I hope others will give me grace in understanding that I’m human too like the rest of you. We’re all experiencing things differently than we ever have and allowing space for the different hats and changes we all wear is important. We should never have to hide pieces of ourselves to make others comfortable or out of fear. Thank you for understanding that making these changes for myself is a part of my self-care and personal boundaries.

Thank you for reading and I hope you are making changes in your life to accommodate your emotional and mental wellness at this current stage of your life.

Be easy on yourself.

You aren’t alone.

R.I.P. RECOVERY

img_0181Never in a million years would I think I would be at a place where I would be writing about this topic, let alone feel like it is a piece of fabric intertwined into my journey.

So much has changed in my life in the last 6 months, like it has for most of us. For me, the good seems to outweigh the bad but that does not mean there was not a lot of pain to get here. I think if we are all honest Covid-19 has rocked our worlds to the core, followed by the racial injustices and racism we continue to see that is dominated the news and our worlds in the recent weeks. Let us be honest, it has always been there, we are just now seeing it at this magnitude.

I have been thinking recently about everything I have learned along my recovery journey all the way back to my childhood being in treatment at 15 years old. I have heard many times that once you consider yourself in recovery, you will always be in recovery. Like the saying, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. I have heard that one too. I remember that one of the significant steps towards recovery was accepting that my recovery journey was a way of life, forever.

Ball and chain, ride or die recovery for life! 

One of the most wonderful things about growth is the ability to see ourselves differently from the person we used to be. For me, everything has changed in the last 8 years. On August 13, 2020 I will celebrate 8 years sobriety and let me tell you – It is a day I celebrate. It also happens to be my birthday. The day I came into this world and the same day I was separated form my birth mother forever, is the same day I celebrate my sobriety birthday. It might not be for the reasons you think, so let me share a little bit.

The last day I drank alcohol was the day I truly started living. That is when the shit got real, and adoptee issues smacked me straight in the face. They had always been with me, but alcohol numbed the pain at least temporarily. The last drink I ever had, was the end of the old me and I was welcomed by being an Adoptee in Recovery. It was a rebirth, a new life, and it has taken me 8 years of blood, sweat and tears to get to the space of arrival to where I am today. I could write for days at all the work I have put in to get here, but I don’t have time to write it and I’m sure you don’t have time to read it.

The reason I am celebrating that day is not because I was born that day. That is a very painful piece of my story, as it is for most adoptees. I gifted my kids a new mom that day, and I gifted myself a new life. That is why I celebrate that day. I also celebrate it as a reminder of all the heartache I had to go through to get to the place of sobriety for 8 years. I think I will always celebrate this day, and it means something different to me than almost everyone else. It is accomplishment, freedom, joy, and pain. I cried years of tears and sat with a lifetime of adoptee pain to finally get to a place where I can finally say “I’m Okay.”

That does not mean I do not have bad days or bad hours. It just means that I have accepted I am adopted and there is not anything I can do about it. I have accepted both my birth parents rejected me and my adoptive family was abusive and there is nothing I can do about it. I have walked through good days and bad days, and still process this pain daily. I have accepted that the pain is here to stay, and although it might get easier on occasion, I know it will always come back around because I will always be adopted. The layers of pain are just too great to disappear, so I have learned to welcome it and learn to sit with the pain.

Let me be clear, I will ALWAYS be recovering from the damage adoption has done! I will always share that damage, and my journey so other adoptees are inspired, and so they don’t feel alone. 

I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.  

I think recovery is something we move through. Some of us attach it to us for the rest of our lives, and some of us can move through it and let go of the label when and if the time is right. Whatever works for each of us individually is all that matters. It’s not a life sentence and I refuse to accept it is any longer.

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I no longer have a desire to drink, and quitting the alcohol was the easiest part for me. I have been asking myself lately why I must attach the label “RECOVERY” to my life forever? Because they said so? Those in the recovery realm have told me that is what I need to do to stay in sobriety? Yes, that is part of it. I have learned for years that the minute I no longer consider myself in recovery, is a pathway to relapse to my old life. This has truly been embedded into my mind and I have always been ride or die recovery because of it. The THOUGHT of removing that label has never entered my mind until now.

I learned in the recovery world, that working the 12 steps was an ongoing process. I remember working them back to back for years. One day it was like a light switch went off and I realized years had passed me by and I was on this merry-go-round ride going around and around on the recovery wagon nonstop. Countless time invested that I can never get back, however I would not change a thing. These experiences have brought me great understanding and wisdom not only about myself, but the world we live in.  In this flip I switched, I made more changes in my life. I withdrew from Celebrate Recovery to “find myself” outside of the rules and regulations of this ministry and recovery program.

Most of you reading understand my love for nature but I will be clear, I did not reconnect with this love until after I left the church and the recovery ministry all together. They were two things that sucked my time bone dry, and I did not have time to do anything else. Fast forward to now and it is 2020 and all I want to do in my spare time is escape to nature and I have found it to be the greatest aspect to my healing journey yet to date.

What if I have worked so hard and so long at recovery, that I really feel okay with my life now? What if I have pulled out all my root issues and worked on them for years and I have moved forward with my life? What if I am no longer stuck? What if I have decided I want to write my own pages of my story and I have finally decided I no longer want to refer to myself as being in recovery? What if I am comfortable with this?

What if the recovery world does not support me or if they judge me or tell me I am making a bad choice? What about Adoptees in Recovery? How will I identify myself moving forward? What will people think? Can I still share my recovery journey with others? Can I still celebrate my sobriety?

The moral of the story is, I genuinely do not care what anyone thinks. These fears have been on my mind off an on over the last few months, and I am finally ready to let them go while I make a public declaration that I am saying RIP to RECOVERY. Being an outsider looking in, although this is a piece of my story, I have noticed this label has hindered me in many areas of life.

I am determined to not let this change the fact that I am always growing and moving forward. I am always striving for greatness and continuing to improve my life in all areas, mind, body, and spirit. I truly feel all I am doing is dropping the label because I have put in all the work and effort that if I want to drop it, I can. I don’t like how this can be a life sentence. It’s up to us to write the pages of our story, not one is going to do it for us. No one has the right to try to confine us to commit to any label for the rest of our lives.

I want to just live my life.

I want to be happy and free from all the rules and regulations that go along with recovery and what that even looks like depending on what recovery program I am a part of. Yes, things still hurt sometimes, and they always will but I’m no longer interested in continuing with the ride or die, ball and chain link to the recovery world that I’ve invested so much time in for the last 8 years. Recovery has been such a huge part of my life for so long, it is going to take me some time to stop using the terminology but if I am being honest that is all it really was. Nothing is going to change aside from removing the lifelong life sentence of the label. I hate labels, all labels. They can and do cause a lot of damage, so one by one I am removing them.

Can’t I just be someone who doesn’t drink alcohol?

Sure I can!

I don’t have to cling tight to a label for the rest of my life to do this. 

I am writing my own story, and today I am Pam and I am happy internally. I’m healing daily, I am moving forward and growing. Instead of saying “I’m Pam and I am in recovery from LIFE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE” I am going to start sharing that “I’m Pam and  I have finally found a LOVE FOR LIFE!”

With this, I must go live it!

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Until I did the 8 years of time recovering, this would not be possible. I do not regret a thing. I just want to enjoy life; do the things I love and spend time with those I am close too. That is, it.

RIP RECOVERY

TODAY I’M FREE

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Is Open Adoption The Answer?

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Time to seek input from those of us who have the most expertise in the adoption constellation- The Adult Adoptees!⚡️

The topic of OPEN ADOPTION keeps being brought up as a solution to closed adoption, and I’m seeking wisdom from the adoptees here to share your input on open adoption vs closed adoption. Of course none of us have been able to live both, but we do feel adoptees still have the best advice based on living adopted. They certainly have more experience than the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys and adoptive parents. As well as the birth mothers who make this choice thinking it’s the better option.

To the adoptees here, Is one better than the other? Why or why not? Do you recommend open adoption? When someone asks you if it’s better than closed adoption, how do you respond? Share as little or as much as you like!

Comments will not be censored! Here are responses from 22 adoptees who had enough courage to chime in on this topic. Thank you to each of you!

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  • In some ways, yeah. But on the other, growing up, I just wanted to be “normal”, and “normal” wasn’t having 2 families. I still struggle with that idea and feel like I need to be “rid of” one of them. At the end of the day, I don’t think adoption is an answer at all because there’s no win situation for the adoptee. – Alexis

 

  • Phuck adoption. Adoption needs to be killed. Legal Guardianship. That’s the answer – Danny

 

  •  I don’t believe it is the answer. It is a band aid over a bigger situation. The only thing with open adoption is that the child has the opportunity to know where he/she comes from. But in the end there is still trauma for child. Confusion. And again it is not in the best interest of the child. – Elva

 

  • Guardianship is the answer. Whereby contact to parents is open where its safe to do so, where the child keeps his or her birth certificate & identity intact and where the child isn’t Gas Lighted into believing adopters are the birth parents. The Guardianship concept isn’t likely to happen anytime soon so where open adoption isn’t the answer , its better than nothing . But legislation needs to put in place so that adopters cannot close an open adoption. Legislation allowing the child to return to his or her mother and or father should be put in place to remove the permanency of closed or open adoption. And with open adoption, I believe it is in the child’s best interest to not only see their mother often & with regularity, but that mothers should be encouraged & welcomed into the child’s home environment too. Not keen on the idea of an adoptees mother being shut out of the child’s home. It must feel odd & strange that a mother or father is kept locked firmly out of the child’s home. If it is safe for the child to have contact to their mother then it is safe for the mother to be welcomed into the adopter home so to create a stronger working relationship between mothers & adopters which in turn would make a child feel much more at ease & therefore happier. – Gordie

 

  • No, it most definitely is not. Legal guardianship is. – Janice

 

  • I cannot imagine how heart wrenching it must be to see your mother periodically and then watch her go back to her life and family without you over and over again!
    I was in a closed adoption so cannot speak from experience, but, in my view it would be unsettling to say the least. Let’s just reform adoption to be a last hope Guardianship only when a child has been proven unable to live with any of their own family. And if possible should lead to help for parents and eventual return to family. Let’s make adoption work for adoptees instead of hopeful family builders. – Kimberly

 

  • I wish there was no adoption at all. I can understand that there will always be those who are unable or unwilling to parent their child and I would rather see the child with a family than an institution. What I have a HUGE problem with is stripping away a child’s identity. Furthermore, forcing a child to pretend that they are from the adopted family. Because of this, if there have to be adoptions at all, (and why cant there be legal guardianship instead of adoption?), I would rather see open than closed. I feel closed adoptions should be eradicated completely. I wish more than anything I would have been able to grow up knowing my siblings. That hurts me to my core. I am grateful to know them now, but I will never have that shared history with them, and it is very emotional and hard to see them interacting with each other and with my parents in a way that I can’t. Children deserve to know where they come from and who they come from. They are entitled to see what their parents look like and know how to get ahold of them. Adoptive parents should never be able to close an adoption or stop contact with the bio family. My two cents worth. – Denise

 

  • I’ve never understood how open adoption is the right choice for the child. Wouldn’t that cause more confusion and anger for the child? – Krystyna

 

  • No. Just no. No adoption until a child is old enough to choose. – Sammy

 

  • My adoption 60 years ago was Gray Market. Not totally legal baby selling ring people who made arrangements to traffic babies between Maryland, NY and NJ. I grew up in NY. The baby sellers often falsified much of the information (names, ethnicity, etc.) Found out in an argument when I was 15 that I had been adopted. They gave me the information, yet took away a great deal of trust + given the shock of the news shared in anger. Not to say these ring folks placed babies in bad homes, however, they got in serious trouble for their extensive role in the practice. Met the Lady that gave birth to me. Nice, open, vulnerable, kind, lost, and not ‘mother’ material, therefore open might not have mattered, plus my parents might have felt insecure given all of the dynamics. – Roxan

 

  • I don’t feel that open adoption is a solution to closed adoption. Adoption, in its entirety needs to be overhauled. Adoption should not be an “option” to “build a family”. Buying a womb wet infant is baby selling, plain and simple. Guardianship and kinship placements should be considered first if in fact there is a pregnant woman who really and truly cannot, shouldn’t or won’t parent. I believe in most instances, mothers do want to parent, but may be in a temporary situation that makes it impossible or impractical to parent. Help with the temporary hardship should be the goal of every social worker out there. A birth certificate should never be changed, parents should never be replaced with lies. An OBC and a court order if guardianship should be enough documentation to register for school, get a license, passport, SS card, etc. Why is a falsified piece of paper proof of your identity? Closed adoption is horrific because there are so many questions, so much missing information, that it can be hard for a child to feel “real”. Open adoptions are potentially more problematic in that the child is repeatedly ripped from their natural family and may wonder why they aren’t good enough to stay with them or a myriad of other feelings of otherness. There is no win-win for children in these scenarios. – Daphne

 

  • I can’t imagine how an open adoption would feel as a kid growing up. I was in a closed adoption so can only recount that experience and hazzard a guess about open adoption. Whilst I wondered and made up stories of my birth mother it wasn’t something that affected every waking hour. It wasn’t every moment I looked on a mirror or got told off for being naughty. Indeed it really was as I grew older into adulthood that I started to explore how I felt more deeply. I’m fortunate to have reunited with my birth mother so the circle was closed with no gaps. She was adorable. I never thought after meeting her that I’d wished she’d kept me for my life would not be what it is now if things had been different. I sat on an adoption panel for many years and to place some of the children in an open adoption would have been harmful to them. I like the idea of letterbox contact which we do in the uk. Exchanges of letters and pics maybe twice a year via the adoption agency. Both sets parents remain anonymous but the kids get to keep in touch with their history. I think open adoption would work too if both parties are open and caring enough not to let their egos fight over the child. I used to explain to my own kids that their are so many sorts of families and parents and that each had reasons for being as they are and that is how the world works. I am happy with both open and closed adoption as long as it’s the adoptees interests that are at the forefront of any decision. – JoJo

 

  • All adoption is abuse of a child’s human rights. There is never a need for adoption for a child who is genuinely in need of (frequently temporary) care. Kinship care (never adoption) should be sought in the child’s father and mother’s family/extended family so that a child can grow up within their own family, having mirroring and feeling grounded. Knowing who they are, their family, place and culture. Failing this, a Legal Guardianship is kindest to the child; puts the child’s welfare first and has regular checks. Adoption has become a multi billion dollar industry by supplying babies who belong to one family to infertile people who feel entitled to a child when they can’t have their own children naturally, or to saviour attention seeking types. That a person could even think like that, ie, that they are entitled to someone else’s child, is beyond me. Adoption involves child trafficking and skullduggery of every kind and lies and deceit. Infertile people go to great lengths, fundraising on facebook, having bake and garage sales to buy a baby. How disgusting. There is never ever a thought for what the baby would want, only what they want. Adoption: First, it severs a child from the mother the child already knows and is waiting to meet. A baby knows their own mother by scent. Second, it cuts a child off from all that is rightfully theirs by birth. Their name, their birth certificate (is replaced with a fake birth certificate naming strangers as their parents), their family, their neighbours, their place, their history and heritage, their culture and country. Third, it forces a child to live a pretend life. Pretend these strangers are your parents. Pretend you are their son or daughter. It forces a child to try to be what the owners/adopters want, as adoption promised them the child would be “just like them,” and they truly believe, delusionally, that if they cajole, manipulate and bully the child enough, it will be moulded into what they want. The child tries to cooperate because he or she fears further rejection from the owners. This child usually develops Stockholm Syndrome and is loyal to his or her captors and parrots all they tell her. “Adoption is beautiful”, oh yes, adoption is beautiful! For this child to look at the truth of what was done to them is too painful. When a child is just him or herself, this is unacceptable to the owners/adopters as it reminds them they are really NOT the child’s parents. The child is being true to his or her own inherited traits and it really upsets them and they feel they were conned and didn’t get value for their money. This child is the black sheep, the receptacle for the narcissists vile projections. So many adopted people tell of their lives being destroyed by adoption and by narcissistic adopters. Recent studies have shown that most female adopters are narcissists. The amount of adopted children worldwide who are being abused in every way but especially sexually, who are being beaten, starved, imprisoned and murdered by their loving adopters should be enough to get this barbaric practice stopped, but its not. Too much money is being made off the backs of innocent children and mothers. Adoption has no follow on checks so adopters can do what they like to the innocent children they got their hands on. The idea that someone else’s child can be legally owned by infertile or other types of people who ‘want children’ is beyond appalling and reprehensible. The child loses their mother/father and family and the life they should have had all because some strangers want a child? More regard is given to puppies and kittens than to human children. Its outrageous and it needs to be seen for the child abuse it is and outlawed. Legalized child abuse. Taking someone else’s child is NOT a cure for infertility. Acceptance is the cure for infertility. Surrogacy is another breach of children’s human rights and we are seeing many of those purposely created children now with broken hearts just like adopted people have…. longing for their fathers and mothers. The same people who shouted about children being separated from their parents at the border have no problem coveting and taking someone else’s child themselves. They disgust me. – Geraldine

 

  • I think it’s the best way to go. I wish mine had been! – Courtney

 

  • Open Adoption Well for a start in N.Z there is no such Legal Law. Its only on the word of the Adopting Parents which they can break at any given time. Then on the other hand the Birth Mother can also walk away, perhaps she has a new partner, so that new family is her main concern, or new partner says NO to contact with her first child. Its a very mixed bag. Its like everything some work most don’t. Again the Adopted child pays the price. – Josie

 

  • I don’t recommend any adoption but open is better than closed. I grew up with no real information about my parents. The non-identifying information did not answer any of my questions and only prompted more questions. I didn’t even have a photograph of my parents. I had nothing and that was horrible. I would have appreciated having access to my parents, siblings and grandparents. But since my APs were abusive what I really needed was to return to my real family. Adoption of any kind can really mess with your head but having access to information would have been better for me. – Lorene

 

  • No – Julia

 

  • I have already read and heard many stories about the so-called “open adoption”. Often the mother is persuaded to agree to an “open adoption”. She is presented with a fantasy. However, in 99% it is turned within 1 year so that a closed adoption is approved by the judge because the adoptive parents convince the judge “that the contact is very confusing and slaughter for THEIR child. !!! The mother has no right to speak, so all adoption is bad for mother and child. – Barbara

 

  • No adoption is the answer be accountable for your actions. – Elizabeth

 

  • ONLY if the CHILD wants to be. Why can’t you can’t adopt without changing their names? Without stripping them of their identity? Without taking away their relationships with their families? – Britney

 

  •  I think abortion is the answer. If a woman doesn’t want, or isn’t able to keep a child, she shouldn’t have it. – Kris

 

  • Open adoptions aren’t any better IMHO. Can you imagine being ripped away from your biological mother over and over again? Every single time that happens a trauma occurs. All relinquishment, open or closed is rooted and grounded in trauma. We have to stop co-signing for trauma. The only way to eliminate such trauma is abolish adoption as we know it. Only in abusive situations we need to focus on keeping the child in the family first, (kinship) and if all options have been exhausted in that area then guardianship should happen. In guardianship, no names are changed, histories aren’t sealed and our lives aren’t based on secrecy and lies. Our truth AND ALL OF IT must stay in tact! This idea of “protecting us” from the truth needs to be stopped because it’s killing adoptees! We can’t heal from secrecy, lies and half truths no matter if its closed or open adoption. I can never support adoption or open adoption until 100% of our truth is disclosed. We also need to be 100% for family preservation NOT adoption separation. Open adoption is not better than closed adoption. Abolish it, and stop keeping secrets. The truth needs to be mandated and the truth means nothing hidden. – Pamela

 

Are you an adoptee and have thoughts on this?

Please share below, we want to hear from you!

Please consider sharing this article the next time someone asks if open adoption is the solution to closed adoption.

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