Dead Man Walking

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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! 

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Secrets & Lies in Adoption EXPOSED.

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I asked my fellow adoptees to chime in and share some of the secrets and lies they have experienced regarding their adoption experiences as a way to bring awareness to the realities of what many adoptees face in adoption. 

I also asked them to share how these secrets and lies impacted them. 

Here are their responses. 

All entries are kept anonymous. 

  • Way too many lies to list here but the biggest ones that have hurt me the most. I always asked my adoptive mom about my birth mother growing up. I don’t think a day passed I didn’t ask about her! In a way to detour me she always said “When we get enough $ for an attorney we will get the sealed records open but right now we don’t have enough $” This went on for 21 years then she decided to “Come Clean” and admit she knew my birth mothers name. Trust forever broken.
  • My adoption was illegal because my birth father did NOT consent to anything. I was kept a secret from him. His rights were stolen. My adoptive parents and adoption attorney must have not even asked any questions about him because he wasn’t even considered a factor in my adoption.
  • I was told my birth father was dead! That was a cruel lie. I found him and met him. He knew nothing about me! Fathers have rights too!
  • I was told my birth father was married when I was conceived this is why adoption was “chosen” for me. That was a lie. He was not married. Truth is WE ALL DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH! ALL THINGS IN DARKNESS WILL COME TO LIGHT. Get right with GOD and COME CLEAN! Adoptees are HURTING because of all the lies. John 8:32.
  • Here’s the deal. I can handle the truth; it is the secrecy and withholding that is thoroughly egregious.
  • People can say anything to me; but If it’s a lie… (as a closed adoption adoptees), I can detect bullshit to the ‘enth’ parts per million.
  • Yes, I was lied too. We all were in some way that is what adoption is/was predicated upon in the first place. It has fundamentally always been assumed that we couldn’t handle the truth.
  • While I always knew I was adopted, my adopted mom had told me that my birth mother and father couldn’t afford to keep me and didn’t want to have kids. Once I found my birth family last year, I discovered the truth. My birth mother wasn’t given a choice. Her parents sent her to a home for unwed mothers to have me. Since finding out the truth, I’ve dealt with a lot of anger towards my adopted mom for keeping all this from me. She had to have known at least some of this info. Truth is I believe she was scared and afraid of losing me and that’s why she hid information from me. What all that has done to me is it made me very guarded with other people and it takes a long time for me to trust others. Feelings of abandonment and loneliness have been a struggle.
  • The adoption agency lied to me and my adoptive parents. The adoption agency told us that my birth mother never went to try and get me back, I did not have any other biological siblings that were also adopted, my birth mother never tried contacting me over the years. We found out all those things to be false. A week after I was born my birth mother went back for me, I have a younger biological brother that was also adopted through the same agency, and my birth mother went back three times over 25 years to try and get information about me. Even when I was reunited with my birth mother and learned all these facts, the adoption agency still denied them.
  • My adoptive parents didn’t tell me I was adopted, even when I asked after the birth of my first child. I was 34 when my birth mom found me and I discovered the truth. My adoptive parents told me everything they knew…the young and unmarried story… They also gave me paperwork which was accurately filled out by my birth mom when I was 16 and everything on my OBC (which I requested last year) was exactly the same as my amended one (except, of course, for parents names). So, the truth was always told. HOWEVER, the biggest and most damaging lie is that a 19 year old isn’t a fit parent. Or that money is a factor. The industry is perpetuating lies which are believed by vulnerable women and that is where the problems lies. There will always be actual orphans and kids who honestly don’t have fit parents. Let’s be stewards of these needy children, and stop creating ‘needy’ children with lies.
  • I believe I found my father after 13 years of searching. 29 years I grew up thinking he had passed away before I was born. Got my non-Identifying information and it also said the same thing. That he passed. So for an additional 13 years I accepted the fact that he’s passed but I may find his family. Well. 3 days ago we believe we found the family. Yesterday morning I get a message saying “You might be my daughter, get back to me”. WHAT!!!???? Yea. Everything about him in my paperwork has so far been a complete lie. I spoke to him and I said “well, you’re supposed to be dead”. We had a good laugh about it, but we were both stunned with the lies that were told from the birth mom and how the agency let it happen. I guess this is the reason why she never wanted to reunite. She couldn’t face me because she knows she lied.
  • Only an adoptive father left, we’re estranged. One of the reasons I’d because he still lies, even knowing how important it is for me, while at the same time, scoffing at me why I just don’t leave it alone and move forward. I want the truth. I’m so over lies and I want a chance to be whole! No agency, I was handed over on the street. There was a birth mother, her father, and a lawyer for both sides. Don’t even know what nationality I am. My mom’s favorite threat was sending me away to boarding school. She killed me. ..I didn’t kiss them on the mouth, drink from their glass or look at them in the eye. I hate the sad fog that covers me every day.
  • Though my parents were pretty honest with me about my adoption there was a “lie by omission” in my case. I found out at 16 years old, the first time I ever had the guts to really ask questions, that there had been a 2 legal sized paper, back and frontboth sheets, letter from my birth mother that came with me. My adoptive mother burned it so I never got to see it. I eventually found my birth parents and happened to get a copy of that letter in my file. If only I’d had the info growing up, it would have gone a long way to helping me sort out who I was, even if it gave no identifying info for search.
  • I was lied to way too much to write about here I guess the biggest were when I was youngest and was told natural mum didn’t want me or love me but I was also told adoptive mom had a hysterectomy which she never did. I was told that she had remarried had other kids and moved on why would I ruin that for her. I was even told I was found under the gooseberry bush and that was some of adoptive parents lies. Then my natural half-brother lied to me for a year about knowing natural moms whereabouts. The social service reports said I had two brothers when I had a brother and a sister.  There’s a lot of conflict between the stories I got from my social service reports compared to what my natural mum has told me but she also told me she is so traumatized in my first five years she doesn’t remember frown emoticon.  My truth is still elusive to me even after reunion. I did try to contact my dad but no answer there yet. The lies did a lot of damage to my life and they also prevented me from searching when I was 16 and took off the travel and be abused around the world. I could of found my Mum sis and Bro all in contact at that time instead I took off round the world searching for something and I didn’t even know what it was. Now my brother is missing and no one seems to know what happened with him. I found my sister with mum though even they have lied to me too. Adoption is all about deception in my eyes and my trust is shattered.
  • I was 21 when I learned that I was adopted. I had hunches but it was only confirmed when my foster mother died. I felt like my whole life back then was a lie and it didn’t help that my real parents were unloving and uncaring up until now I still feel the stigma of being adopted which is synonymous to being unwanted I guess. The worse part was being lied to.
  • Let us not forget about the secrecy in our birth families. If they don’t tell us something and they know about it, that is a lie in my book.
  • My birth mother kept me a secret from her younger two sons.
  • My birth father kept me a secret from his wives and my paternal brothers.I think part of the reason I don’t have a close relationship with my maternal brothers is they did not know about me. I met one paternal brother in 2011 and the other in 2015. The youngest one I was afraid to meet because of his mental and rage issues. Sadly he committed suicide in November 2015. I was not encouraged to attend the funeral because my birth father won’t acknowledge me. Meeting him at the service could have been an explosive situation. I wanted to go but I value the relationships with my paternal family who has accepted me.
  • My birth mother didn’t bother to tell anyone that I was allergic to milk. I spent years being forced to drink milk. Later in life, after I found her, she lied to me about my birth father. She told me his family were all dead and that he was a “dangerous man” that I shouldn’t try to find. He’s pretty harmless, and it turns out she lied to him, too.
  • The only truth is my birth mother placed me for adoption at birth.
  • My adopted parents lied outright and by omission. Adoption was a hugely taboo subject so was not discussed. I had a memory of it being mentioned once when I was about 4, so when I was an adult I searched for information on my own. I was adopted in theUK so was able to get my OBC and some information from the adoption. I told my adoptive parents about this at the point when I had searched and found my birth siblings and was about to meet them. I asked them at that time to share what information they had but they denied having anything at all, including my original name. According to standard practice at the time, they would have been given my original name as it was my legal name until the adoption was finalized which was several months after they had custody of me. I was given their copy of my medical records which started immediately after the adoption finalization date. When I asked about the previous records they said they were ‘lost’. Actually they must have tossed them as they would have been under my original name. My younger sister, also adopted was never told at all about her adoption, I didn’t know either if she was adopted but assumed she would know. I tried to find her birth/adoption record so found out that way. Later, I realized she didn’t know so I told her. At that point we realized the extent of the lying to support the fact that they hadn’t talked about adoption. Like on her passport they put their home town instead of her true birth place and when asked about medical history by the doctor they gave theirs instead of saying they didn’t know.
  • I was adopted in 1959, born in May of 1958. The lie, well one of the many lies was about my race. I was told that I was some kind of Native Indian. They never told me what nation I came from but that I was an Indian. Turns out my mother is German and according to her, my father is Puerto Rican! This is not true either. I’m lost. I am just so desperate to know the truth. Who am I? Where did I come from? Whose blood do I share?
  • Catholic Charities lied to my adoptive parents saying my mother had died and I was the only child. In other words move on never look. But what I found out was that my birth mom was 22 and was raped on a street corner in St. Louis by 8 men. She wrotea letter to the agency saying she wanted to connect with me if I ever contacted them. They refused to give me info until I got a court order. My adoptive parents wanted me to know her.
  • More than half of my non identifying information was a lie. It was my birthmother. Not the agency I have discovered. Very disappointing.
  • My real mother was lied to, coerced, and forced to give me up. Let’s start with the lies related to breaking down a vulnerable young pregnant woman with the nonsense that she wasn’t good enough to raise me, that she would be selfish to keep me. That theripping apart of a willing mother and her child was the best and only option. The women, who lost their children in the 60 era, and their children, seem the saddest to me. Very decent but vulnerable women treated like criminals, begging to keep their children and having them stolen from them for no good reason. No good reason at all. What happened to them is way beyond cruel, yet our society ignores this complete unethical injustice, and the same practices continue today with a carefully calculated new spin. They use fear and shame to manipulate the mothers. I’m an adoptee and the same fear and shame was used to manipulate me. What is the reason behind all this lying? Why was it necessary? Who did it benefit? Well there were these infertile people that just really, really needed a newborn and would do anything to get it and keep it. Including denying me of any personal information or history. Including denying a dying woman’s request to see a non-identifying photo of her young daughter just one time before she died. Including ignoring a lost little girl’s needs, and criticizing her all her life because she wasn’t like her adoptive parents. I didn’t need to be adopted. I wasn’t unwanted at all, I was desperately wanted. My adoptive parents weren’t secure enough to tell me the truth. My adoptive mother cruelly denied me information that could have made my life better, even as an adult. But sadly my true life story didn’t suit her adoption fantasy, so I suffered the loss, for my adoptive mother’s emotional comfort. Her comfort was the reason for all these lies. She needed to own and control me, and I didn’t turn out like she hoped. In fact I turned out just like my real mother as it turns out. Some adoptions are truly needed. Mine wasn’t, and the treachery and lies involved in taking a child from a perfectly good mother and selling me off to someone who wasn’t very good for me caused a great deal of damage to myself and my real mother. All for another woman’s need to acquire an infant and so her feelings weren’t hurt. She needed someone’s baby to fix her problem. The fact that it was all so unnecessary and all the focus is on not hurting the adoptive mother feelings that is the deepest wound to me. It probably sounds like I hate her for adopting me and I have felt that at times because she has been quite cold and cruel to me. But I still love my adoptive mother and father very much. I understand that they didn’t realize the sinister nature of the baby scoop era. The wanted to be parents. The fact that I still feel the need to tack on this disclaimer that I love my A parents, is a true testament to how incredibly much focus is put on the feelings of the adoptive parents. I do wish my feelings and interests had been considered as much, and that I had at least been provided with all the information they knew. Keeping it from me caused the deepest issue between my adoptive parents and me by far.

 

  • What’s the saying? Knowledge is power! When important facts are hidden or lied about to the adoptee it can have disastrous consequences. I didn’t find out the truth until I was almost 45 years old and let me tell you it has been really tough. There wereseveral things my adopted mom kept hidden from me or lied about. She has been deceased for over 10 years so its not like i can confront her about any of this. I fight the battle over guilt, shame and abandonment. Telling the adoptee the truth not matter how hard it may be in my opinion is always the best path to choose. Let the adoptee decide whether or not to pursue any kind of reunion.
  • I am sad I was lied to and manipulated by my adoptive family and the government and even members of my natural family I am sad they thought it was ok to poison me against and alienate me from my natural mom.

 

  • Without the truth how can we live? I mean really live? It’s like wearing a mask, all day, every day, forever. If Illinois did not change the law regarding OBC’S I would still be living with that mask. My reunion wasn’t the fairytale I had dreamed aboutfor 45 years, the rejection almost killed me. BUT, I know who I am! I no longer going through life like a ship with no anchor. All I ever wanted was the truth and I’d do it all over again even knowing it would be painful! No one should have to go through life wondering who they are. It’s a gaping wound that never heals. It touches every little piece of your life and robs you of the simplest of joys. Finding my truth has been the best thing that ever happened to me! The truth wins above all else!

 

  • I think many adoptive parents are insecure thinking that children will love the birth mom more. I believe it took all of them to give me life. One to bring my life into the world and the others to sustain my life. I live in total gratitude to all who made my life possible including those who got my mom to a safe place to give birth.
  • My own adoption was closed. My birth mom sent a letter to Catholic Charities telling them if I wanted to find her she wanted to connect. They NEVER gave me that letter NOR did they even want to give me any information. I had to get a court order and still they didn’t want to give it to me. I told them if they didn’t they would be in contempt of court. I showed up an hour after the phone call.The woman I spoke with was no happy. We talked for a while and then she said “if you’re going to find your mom you need to know about THE DAD!. Well I hadn’t given it any thought. She leaned over as if to throw up on me and angrily said “YOUR MOTHER WAS RAPED” While many might think it was better not to know God had and still has so many plans that humans can’t understand. My mother prayed for 48 years to one day meet me again. She loved me and placed me for adoption because her mother didn’t believe she was raped by 8 men and insisted on my death. My mother fought for me and I’m alive today with 2 married sons and 6 grandchildren.
    I’ve founded Choices4Life to help other moms pregnant or raising children after rape conception. YES I am very glad to know the TRUTH.
  • From a medical standpoint, you are assumed that every disease and cancer may run in your DNA since you have no family medical history. As an adoptee, I was subjected to extra testing and early detection (ie mammograms) because of it.

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If you are an adoptee and would like to add to this post to help raise awareness about the lies you were told and how this impacted you please feel free to inbox Pamela Karanova or send me an inbox on How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

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