Dead Man Walking

10e69fa3-a9d8-4595-8c54-edcea92296f8

I began searching for my birth family as soon as I found out I was adopted around 5 years old. Everywhere I went, I was searching for HER, my birth mother. As I reached my early 20’s I had already found my birth mother.  

But what about HIM? 

Where was my birth father…

When I asked my birth mother who my birth father was she said, “He didn’t know anything about you, and he wouldn’t want to!” She refused to give me any information, and that was that. I learned quickly if I wanted her in my life, I better never ask about him again. 

Soon after our very first meeting, she shut me out and I never heard from her again. I was heartbroken. I didn’t give up and I still very much wanted to learn who my birth father was. Occasionally I would call her home, to see if she would answer but she never did. Her husband answered on one occasion and we had a brief conversation. What did I have to lose?

I was never giving up in finding my truth. 

He expressed knowing who my birth father was, but that he was sorry to tell me he had passed away, and he heard that he had been shot many years ago. I asked him his name, but he said he couldn’t remember. He said there was no reason I needed it because he didn’t exist in this world, he was gone, forever. 

This was in 1996 when we didn’t have the internet, social media or DNA testing. Believing my birth father was dead never set well with my spirit. Deep down in my heart, I said to myself, “If he’s dead I still want to know his name, and I still want to see his grave.” I was never giving up on finding him, until I found my truth. 

No one would help me.

No one supported me. 

 I was up against the world and the legal closed adoption system. Born in the state of Iowa, these laws have been sealed since July 4, 1941. That was 79 years ago. This is 79 years of adult adoptees fighting against the grain for their truth.  It’s 79 years of living lies. It’s 79 years of secrecy and shame with adoptees plagued by the stigma attached to unplanned pregnancies, paying the price of this life sentence and even when we find our truth, the magnitude of the loss impacts every area’s of our lives. 

And we’ll find our truth If we’re lucky that is. 

Over 20 years had passed of no contact and I received a Facebook message my birth mother had passed away. I made the choice to go to her funeral, after I was invited by my birth sister. In 2011 I buried the woman I met once, who I dreamed of knowing my entire life. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was introduced as “The daughter she gave up for adoption” and invisible from her obituary as if I didn’t even exist. It was beyond hard. 

Being surrounded by her friends & family, I started asking questions. I was able to get confirmation of who my birth father was, who his family was and how he was tied in to my birth mother. I was told he was a friend of the family, and he was about 10 years older than my birth mother. He lived off the land, with his brothers and parents all living in Leon, Iowa close to the Missouri border. I was told he was married at the time of my conception, and he knew nothing about my existence. But the real question was, IS HE STILL ALIVE?

“Yes, yes he’s very much still alive.” said a friend of my birth mother. 

So you mean to tell me I was told he had passed away, but that was a lie? That’s very much the way the story goes in my journey. It happens to adoptees all the time! The same trip to Iowa for my birth mother’s funeral was the same trip I drove to Leon, Iowa and showed up at my birth father’s doorstep.  

I will never forget November 11, 2011 arriving at his door and seeing his face for the first time in my life. It was a surreal experience. The man I had been told was dead, was very much alive, walking and talking. The internal nagging and turmoil of the unknown had come to an end, and I was looking at his face. Our visit lasted about an hour. He expressed he knew nothing about me, but if he knew about me he would have kept me. He wasn’t accepting of me, and over the last 9+ years I’ve given up hope on us having a relationship. 

I now have my truth. 

I know my truth. 

I have seen my truth for MYSELF.

I had to fight like hell to get it.

I would like to encourage my fellow adoptees to keep searching even when you’ve been told they have passed away.  Don’t give up! I encourage you to get DNA testing to make sure the person you’ve been told is your biological family FIRST. And if you’ve been told they have passed, I wouldn’t believe it until you know by DNA that’s your people, and then you are standing over their grave. 

I’ve seen countless adoptees be given falsified information by the adoption agencies, time and time again. I’ve seen outlandish stories written in identifying and non-identifying information that’s turned out to be completely false in attempts to throw the adoptee off from finding their people. I’ve seen this same paperwork say the biological father has died in a tragic accident yet they are found very much alive. 

I’ve seen it all.

Many adoptions are rooted and grounded in secrecy and lies. 

Please don’t believe what you are told. Verify with DNA your father is who they say he is. If you’ve been told he’s passed away, never give up until you are standing over his grave, but ONLY if this is the person who your DNA says your father is. This goes the same for biological mothers but it seems with many of them relinquishing without our fathers consent, it’s usually our fathers we’re told are dead, vs. our mothers. 

 We know DNA is changing the game for adoptees. If you are still searching, I truly hope you find the answers you are looking for. Everyone on earth deserves to know where they come from. Don’t give up! 

d5a71516-b8fb-4335-9634-67a7c487301e

She Loved You So Much…

It has been more and more on my mind that my birth Fathers rights were taken from my biological father and this is the reason he knew nothing about me until I was 37 years old. This has had a major impact on my life.
  The first and last time I met my biological mother, I asked her about my birth father. Her words were “He knew nothing about you and he wouldn’t want too.” I wonder why I couldn’t just take her word for it. I always believed  my birth mother “Loved me so much” because I was told this over and over again growing up. Hearing these words contradicted her actions. She shut me out after meeting just one time and wanted nothing to do with me after. What this has lead me to believe is that she truly didn’t love me at all. I honestly feel like it always made my adoptive mother feel better saying that because she wanted to make me feel better as well as society in general. In all honesty this only made my pain worse. I will never understand how you love something and hand it over to strangers. I can’t comprehend that. I don’t believe it. When my birth mother shut me out this was heart wrenching to me because I will never understand how a mother does that to their child. My heart will always have a missing piece, and I’m finally able to emotionally deal with this as an adult because I don’t have society and my adoptive parents telling me how to feel. I’m able to express my own feelings.
Thinking about my birth father and only getting to meet him two times, so many emotions come to mind. He too has shut me out, and this has also left me heart broken. I can’t help but wonder about how things might have been different if times were different and adoption laws in earlier years acknowledged the birth father as having parental rights. Would he have wanted to keep me? Based on his current actions maybe my birth mother was right? I know he was married at the time, and he had a drunken affair with my birth mother. That was the end of the story from what I was told. She was ashamed and he knew nothing about my existence. I have had to accept this is the truth about my conception. I was not planned. I was not created out of love of two people. I was a mistake. This is the truth I know, God planned me. But I needed to truth about my birth parents so I could accept this and move forward at a chance to heal.

WHY WAS THE TRUTH KEPT FROM ME FOR SO LONG? WHY DID I HAVE TO FIGHT AND DISCOVER IT ALONE ON MY OWN? If everyone “Loved” me why didn’t they HELP ME THEN?

If my birth mother kept me chances are I would have ruined a marriage just by simply being born. I feel now after knowing the TRUTH that she made the best decision she knew how but that doesn’t mean she loves me. Her actions after I found her show me otherwise. I think this is what has had me so messed up for so long. She gave me away to strangers and shut me out after I did locate her because I was a reminder of her pain. Of her shame and guilt. Not because she loved me. Love is patient and love is kind. She showed none of that and I have come to a place of acceptance that she didn’t love me at all. She wanted to get rid of her dirty little secret she hid from everyone.

I can’t be mad at my birth father, but I am going to write him one final letter and let him know how I feel. His irresponsible actions still play a major role in my life. He needs to take accountability. I am not holding onto any hope I will even get a reply but at least I am working up enough courage to share with him how I feel.

The adoption industry led my birth mother to believe she was making a selfless decision and the best decision for her baby. In the 70’s unwed mothers were less common than they are today but they increased in years to come. The truth is her shame and guilt for her actions and the stigma of that ear was greater than her love for me. She just wanted to get rid of me. I truly believe she never wanted me to find her or return into her life. The part I was struggling with is HOW SHE LOVED ME SO MUCH but SHE SHUT ME OUT AND REJECTED ME. I kept thinking about it and everyone else around told me she loved me, but she never did. Everyone in society is speaking for her but that is more lies to add to the pile of lies in adoption. Adoptees can’t heal from living a life of lies. I have had to uncover every single detail about MY LIFE ALONE. But the best part is; now I am able to heal because the LIES are exposed and I have found out the TRUTH on my own. God heals. I know this, but you can’t heal living a lie.

Maybe adoptees who had good reunion stories have a different way to look at their experience. But for me, I don’t think anything in life can top the pain from being rejected by your biological mother and father. That’s just the after effects of the original trauma of being separated from my first family at the beginning of life. Then another aspect is being raised in an abusive home that was not a better life. With adoption no one can promise a better anything. You can’t heal unless you know the truth!

Have you been lied too about your adoption? Were your biological father’s rights considered? How has this impacted you? What ways have you been able to heal?