How to send Africanized bees on vacation and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I coast, slowly … everything is quiet and still, except for what is on the inside.  Outside, blank stare – inside, thoughts acting like Africanized bees; chasing something.  Maybe it’s the frustration over a relationship, which now has to become a fringe one.  I exhale, “Add it to the pile.”  I’m seeing more and more fringe in my life, I realize.  “Fringe may come and fringe may go…” (You gotta laugh right?  What else can you do?)

Maybe the bees (and I think these should be spelled, beez…) are chasing around fear? That would not be surprising.  I can share all day long the importance of not having fear in your life.  It’s the opposite, or absence of faith.  I know that, but for some reason I tend to disguise it and let it in.  And then the beez move it around until it’s too tired to continue, or until I realize it is indeed fear.

The beez really know how to work on, “The great unknown.”  (Think loud male voice, bit of an echo.)  One may think that the great unknown is space, nothingness, or a void.  But this specific unknown, as it pertains to my simply wonderful created family, is the GREAT unknown.  The word great meaning – of high importance and also conveys the great-est things in my life, my kids.   AHHH… young adult kids can be challenging, they can be so amazingly spectacularly great, but then hard at times too.

I do believe that so much of my inner challenge today, i.e. beez,  is adoption related.

Before I confirmed that I was adopted, I was pretty-calm on the path of: I did my best, raised my kids with love, and now they’re adults and have to find their own way.  I always hoped to have them in my life, often as possible, and be close.  But, it was somewhat like watching a newly born butterfly soar from his chrysalis.  It was filled with a few winces, but faith and amazement were a big part of the view.

Now – Oh my prayer-flattened knees, it feels so desperate sometimes and, well, shhh… I think I’m “too” crazy about THEM! Thankfully I have two kids, and they seem to ebb and flow at the right times with challenges, or quietness – alternating for the most part.

Wow, amazing how the beez leave or give up, just the thought of MY TWO.  They are so different, yet were so similar growing up.  Just pondering the key strokes to press to brag about them, gives me peace.  Huh… the beez have left the cranial space.  Or at the very least they’re on vacation, on little insect lounge chairs sippin’ a cold one.

As we near Thanksgiving, and the end of November (say it with me, National Adoption Awareness Month) please join me in being thankful.  However you get there; through the good the bad the ugly, end trails you have to squish through… whatever  to get to the happy-tracks in life, may we be thankful.

Things I’m thankful for:

Foremost, God and faith, without them I’d be lost.

Mike, Ash, Hayden – easy ones… gotta shoot them out first.

"Shootin" Mike, Ashleigh, & Hayden

People in my kids life who love them and care for them.

Family, new friends, old friends, and those “fringe” friends/relatives.

A book deal ~ woo hoo!

My four-legged family: Bicki, Arby, Ozzie, and … well not really so thankful, he’s been a pain, but because my mom loved him – Petey aka The Kraken.

But mostly – Bicki…

Bicki

Bicki

And all the totally great every day things in life, no matter how small; thick fuzzy warm socks, peppermint mocha creamer, No. 2 pencils, multi color file folders, vanilla chai tea,  giving the dogs a bone first thing in the morning, Brooks shoes, tv shows, great books – currently “The Help”, wine, Burt’s Bees lip moisturizer, music and dancing through the house, coffee, painting something, the way Bicki perches on my shoulder, Sunday morning paper, pancakes, and Facebook. (Yes, it’s true fb.)

What has touched me most this year, Hayden – without a doubt.  While I know he’s Mike’s best friend and everyone who knows him likes him, he has grown very special to me.   I have my girl, Ashleigh – the child of my heart, my daughter I adore.  But I never expected this great thing with Hayden. He has been a shining light of warmth, compassion, and love.  Best thing of all is, he “gets me” and he’s a 21 year old guy!

He doesn’t just listen when I talk about something “adoption” he cares, he understands it, and I can see he feels it, as it does involve him also.  (While I may not know who my dad is, he also doesn’t know who (one of) his grandfathers are or even if he is alive.)  Hayden asks questions and talks with me about things I never imagined.  He’s wise beyond his years, and shared his financial plans the other day and it was impressive.

Nothing holds a candle to hearing your son share how devastated he would be if something happened to me or his dad.  I was speechless, listening to him talk and explain. And that doesn’t happen very often.  I was so moved inside, and had no words or gestures on the outside.  I wanted to say something to him, or get up and go over and hug him… but I couldn’t.  We were outside by the fireplace and it came up as part of a different discussion. As the conversation carried on between he and Mike, I could not.  Didn’t hear a word that was said for about 20 minutes.  I just stared at him and thought, You have no idea how your love fills up my soul!! Shifting up to the stars I lay my head back, with tears falling down my face. Thank you God for this incredible gift in my life, my son.

Whew!! Enough gushing – I don’t want to make all your kids look bad.  ; ) Ha ha!

What I want to share is that even when there’s beez and fringe issues, or deep sadness that’s adoption related, you should always look for and accept the wondrous things in your life.  This crazy ride moves me around, and way up… then very far down, so when I feel the “up,” I cherish it.  As, this too shall pass.

(Unless I could convince Hayden to film his undying love for his parents… hmm I could watch it every day!  I bet even the dog would want to poke her eye out at about day 3.)

Happy Thanksgiving!  May you find your blessings, whether adoption is a part of your life, or if your blessings are many because adoption has added to your life.♥

Advertisements

Lets shake things up… is it possible?

Sometimes a unique perspective gives birth to a great idea, a dream for the future.  It takes a calm, smooth-spot on this ride (life) for a dream to grow.  And aren’t really good ideas born from dreams?  While I can see a big hill ahead and not sure what’s on the other side, this is what came out of the calm, smooth-spot.

While adoptive families want to provide a child with a home and a forever family, they should carefully consider how the lie of an altered birth certificate may affect their child one day.  Maybe it’s the day they sign up for a sport, or get their driving permit, there will be confusion about what their birth certificate states to be true.

Adult adoptees want their original birth certificate and currently only 6 states provide a copy upon request.  If states refuse to allow adult adoptees their record of birth, then why not remove the procedure of altering ones birth certificate once they are adopted?   Adoptees deserve one or the other, but mostly they deserve the truth and to be treated just like non adopted people.

This embossed official certificate documents a human birth, the beginning of life in the world, and this should not be copied and altered.  It is about the adoptees birth, plain and simple.  It’s not about what the birth mother was going through, it’s not about abuse a year later, and it’s not about the family who is adopting.  Ideally, this document should never be altered, for any reason.  It’s an archaic practice that only serves as a token reminder that the child is part of the adoptive family. In addition, there have been instances where a clerk upon copying the information on a birth certificate has made mistakes when preparing the new one.

Possibly, an amended birth certificate serves as a catalyst for the adoptive mother to believe that the child was actually born unto her.  Of course the mother knows the adoptive child did not grow inside, nor was he/she created from her egg and her husbands’ sperm.  It may have been a dream of some adoptive mothers to give birth, and it simply was not possible for medical reasons.  However, after the adoption is final she receives in the mail a birth certificate which states that the child was born to her.

Even she knows it’s not true, but the Certificate of Live Birth says otherwise.  Anyone can see how unhealthy this circumstance is and the potential for it to lead to problems.

Sometimes the deceit gets firmly planted and sets in motion a life time of lies.  This is the case for late discovery adoptees, like me, who are lied to about our birth, adoption, and history.

Standard practices after adopting are for the adoptive parents to share openly and honestly, as soon as possible, that the child is in fact adopted.  This is according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.  And this is not new information, it was mentioned to my parents (and written in the home study) back in 1964.  This recommendation comes from years of research which states that openness and honesty is key to the future relationship with your child.  “It is in the child’s best interest to know the truth about their birth.”

Yet all states and countries  amend and falsify the official record of birth to create the appearance that said adoptive parents gave birth to their adoptive child.

Many believe that this document is not only harmful to the child, as it is false, but also provides the opportunity for an adoptive parent to lie – thus keeping important information such as medical family history from the adopted person.  In addition, a host of other traumas exist for the late discovery adoptee because of the length of time and depth of the lies.

No one can control how a child is raised, whether they are told the truth or not, but the states can provide an alternate form documenting the adoption of a child.  A birth certificate should remain a true factual document of the day a baby is born, even if you are adopted.

In 2010, trying to pass legislation in states to allow adult adoptees their OBC is not enough.  The right thing to do is to stop the practice of falsifying an official document.

The question I ask, is this dream possible? Not this year or next, but sometime in the next decade can we move this direction? Why or why not?

Separate question…I wonder if there are any other late discovery adoptees who would like to sue the state in which they were born for being complicit in perpetuating the lie?  You know, for pain, suffering, the cost of therapy, health issues,  family damage, etc. etc. and so on.   If the state did not follow up to ensure that a child knew they were adopted then they are responsible for providing the golden key to the crime (an altered birth certificate.)

I mean if you’re the passenger in a get away car after a bank robbery you will also be arrested for having taken part in a crime, right?  Or maybe an insider trading analogy would be better… not sure, but you see my point.

Anyone know an appropriate lawyer to ask?

Okay, back to the issue;  adoption is part of our society, and always will be, however, we can do it better with more concern for the adoptee (who is only a child for a short portion of their life.)  I also dream that all men are created equal (fist bump – blow it up, Thomas Jefferson) and should be treated equal at birth and upon adoption.

The Declaration of Independence says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and so on….

Ahh… Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness while having your OBC like everyone else.

What if you couldn’t have your birth certificate?

Or what if you thought you had the “original” but then learned it was not, rather it was altered by the State of Arizona?  Then how would you feel if you learned that new birth certificates are literally copied by a clerk and often times they make mistakes or leave off things?  While zooming around on this roller coaster called life, it seems to be a small issue for some.

Does it change who I am sitting her at the computer? No.  It doesn’t take away Ashleigh or Hayden, change how I view the world (rose colored glasses and all) or what I plan to do tomorrow.

In the quiet spaces, or on occasion when a baby is born, it does however make me wonder if the date/time are right.  Or if my weight/length on the back (in pencil) is correct.

Moreover for me, the birth certificate issue marks the beginning of an enormous deception which has kept my medical history from me.  This copied lie provided a wide comfortable base for my parents to deceive me.  It was the permission slip for adoptive parents around the world to hide the fact that their adopted child was in fact – adopted!

If all of the states in this country were like Kansas, who from the very beginning has provided adult adoptees a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC) upon request, possibly no adoptive parent would keep such a secret.   Like me, many late discovery adoptees report “knowing” deep down inside.  In which case, anytime after we turned 18 we could have requested a copy of our OBC. Found out for sure, so to speak.

This truth, with all of its emotional baggage and identity issues would have at least allowed us to find our biological family and learn our medical history.   It’s not about a romantic dream of a “real” family, replacing anyone, or even finding someone who looks like you.  It is about the basic need to know where you come from and know your own family heath history.  Everyone comes with medical family history, its biology – whether it is shared or not.  Doctors, researchers, the federal government, and geneticists state that knowing both your mother and father’s medical history can save your life.  At the very least it can make you aware of major life threatening genetic diseases that you need to watch out for.

My path on this topic began today because of a story in the paper (and it was also in the Washington Post.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/09/AR2010110900627.html

I want to do the best I can to have the healthiest life, I don’t know about you?  But because I was adopted, I will most likely never know the medical history of my father and what I know about my mother has come from stories that have been marginally shared.   How would you feel?

Well, this is how I feel:  the following letter was sent to the Washington Post.

Dear Lauran Neergaard,

Your article “Family health history: ‘best kept secret’ in care” appeared in my local newspaper, The Arizona Republic (also online at The Washington Post) and I wanted to encourage you to address the issue of adoptees and their lack of information.  November is National Adoption Awareness month and this is a huge issue for adult adoptees.

Most believe that in the world today you can simply find your biological family via facebook or other internet sources and get your medical history very easy.  This is most often NOT the case.  Only six states allow adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificate (OBC); Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, & Oregon – and if you don’t have your birth mother’s name it is near impossible to find her.  Some states have mutual consent registries where birth mom and adoptee can be matched up, but they are very low tech and it only works if both parties participate using correct information.

There are many organizations, such as American Adoption Congress, trying to encourage states to allow adult adoptees their OBC.  It is just as important for those adopted to have their medical history as it is for non adopted persons.

In my case, because OBCs are altered and a new certificate issued – that piece of paper precipitated the secret of my life, my beginning, and kept my real medical history from me.  I’m what is called a late discovery adoptee, only learning of my parents deception at the end of my mother’s life when I had a DNA test done to resolve this nagging voice in my head.  The results showed that I was not biologically related to my mother.  My birth certificate showed that my mother and father had indeed given birth to me, which is the story they stuck with for all those years.  When in fact, I was born to a young woman who was sent to a nearby town to give birth in secrecy and then was adopted about a month later.

My story is long and involved and filled with great sadness and loss, however it is not unique.  Late discovery adoptees is the largest growing sub group of adoptees in this country and not only do we have to deal with the deception, but suddenly in mid-life we are set on a journey to discover our medical history.  I am 45 years old and everything I’ve shared with my doctor about my medical history is wrong.

During my last visit I told the doctor, “Well, you can delete all of that history – I found out I’m adopted.”

While I have learned some things about my birth mother, I have no information about my birth father.  Sadly my birth mother passed away in 2000 and no one in her family can recall who she was with her senior year of high school.

Please consider doing a follow-up story regarding adoptees and hopefully together we can encourage other states to join those who allow us copies of our OBCs in search of our medical history.   We feel discriminated against, solely because we were adopted and states are slow, often struggling to change antiquated laws.

I can send you research, provide other late discovery adoptees to talk with, and any other kind of information necessary.

Thank you so much for your consideration on this important topic!  Susan

On days like today, it’s as if the brake pads are worn down and stuck on to the rotors making a horrible screeching sound and not allowing forward motion at all.  Some days the coaster feels so great; wind in your hair and your face hurts from smiling so much.  Other days, its noisy and frustrating and you finally have to just take the time and fix the damn breaks and replace the pads!  It’s the right thing to do, follow your heart and try to make people aware of problems in society.  It may not lead to a thing (so I am learning in my rose colored glasses) but I feel better having tried.

Now just to wash away the dirt and debris from the wheels… onward!

Just 20 more days in National Adoption Awareness Month, glad it’s here to spread awareness from an adult adoptees perspective, but I will be emotionally lighter come December 1st!