Posted by: amazonadoptee | June 14, 2010

Graduations & Reunions

In the weeks leading up to my Master’s Graduation, I became increasingly more and more nervous, not just because I have no clue what I am going to do work-wise to pay back the $80,000 I owe the government, or the fact that I have been a student for approximately 21 years, but because I had invited my family to my graduation. My entire family.

Adoption complicates things in every way. Three years into my reunion I have a decently solid relationship with my first dad and my little sisters and a shaky-at-best relationship with my first mom’s side of the family (have seen them twice altogether). But this time I wanted it to be different. I was tired of parceling out myself to different family obligations. I was tired of making excuses for myself and for others, because damnit I’m adopted and everyone just needs to get the fuck over it and deal with the fact that I have several different families. And because they love me I demand that they get over it.

So I invited everyone and told no-one (save my a-sis, SIL, hubby and all my schoolmates). I didn’t want to answer questions or give excuses or placate other’s feelings on the matter. It’s my graduation day damnit and by God I wanted everyone there. Plus, I need to give people the chance to act like adults and recognize the fact that I was the only one who didn’t ask to be in this strange position.

So there they were. All of my family under one stadium roof. It came out at brunch with my a-fam and inlaws that my first dad was going to be there (he came to my wedding and that turned out just fine) so the news wasn’t shocking at least.

I sat through the painfully long and boring ceremony (I was like the 2nd person to get my diploma) and waited. After the ceremony I walked up the stairs to be greeted by my first-mom, my maternal first-grandparents, my aunt (first time meeting her), my half-sister and my half-brother (first time meeting him). I got roses and a present and many many hugs. Then up walks my first dad and my little sisters. The first people to greet me were my first parents, which was surreal at least.

We all then go outside to this beautiful fountain to take pictures. And there the love-fest began.

My parents meeting my parents. 
My grandparents meeting my grandparents.
My siblings meeting my siblings.
My in-laws meeting everyone and mostly trying to stay out of the way.

This is the life of an adoptee in reunion. And it is fabulous. In one Twilight Zone moment all of my worlds collided and I was whole, in the most fantastic way possible.

Enjoy a few pictures from the day:

My Maternal Side of the family:

My Paternal side of the family:

Me and my sisters (a-sister with the long brown hair, n-sister with the headscarf)

All of my siblings (a-sibs, n-sibs, and in-laws)

My parents:

Sigh.

I feel so loved.

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Posted by: amazonadoptee | October 17, 2009

Just call me Nancy Drew…

By 10 o’clock the next morning, I had pretty much wrapped it up, that the name NAWSR had sent my way was in fact Father J’s co-worker’s long-lost daughter.

Father J called me at work and we were both giddy on the phone as we talked about how cool it was and how excited T was at the prospect of getting to know her daughter. She had actually said, “I emailed her at 3 am this morning, could she really have found her that fast?” and Father J said “well, she’s a bright kid!”

Those words melted my heart. I am a bright kid. I am his bright kid. And it’s fun to know he’s proud of me as his daughter.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In addition, we are heading into our 2nd Halloween together, which is exciting. We planned the day so that I can watch my two little sisters play in their soccer games. I just got word, too, that I’ll be meeting one of my aunts at her house, because she always throws a Halloween block party. This is exciting, and a little bit nerve-wracking for me!

Posted by: amazonadoptee | October 15, 2009

I’ve been enlisted to help…

My first father (who I think of as Father J in my mind) passed along my information to one of his co-workers, who gave her daughter up for adoption in 1986. She was 13.

Her heart is breaking now and she wants to find her daughter, and so Father J enlisted my help in making this possible.

Unfortunately, I feel as though it’s a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack adventure. I’ve worked with little information to go on, but a birthdate and the hospital isn’t much to really go on. And yet, I still want to try.

So I enlisted help with NAWSR, and have been combing through voter records and googling/myspacing/facebooking like crazy, and I’m frankly exhausted.

This isn’t my first time searching for someone else. Earlier this summer I searched for both my a-sister and a-brother and successfully found both of their families with little information to go on. With my a-bro, I only had the first names of his first parents, and some ages. I found his family, and with the help of a few special people located their new address and a blog my a-bro’s mom had written for her classroom.

Both of my a-siblings are happily in reunion, and a month ago my whole a-family got to meet my a-sister’s mom, as she came to visit for a brunch. It was such a happy reunion, and so fun to see where my sister gets her smile, her laugh, and her cankles 🙂

So what did I think, that I was a miracle worker?

Sure I found my brother’s family with 2 first names, but can I really help this woman find her daughter with only a birthdate and a hospital?

Sigh.

I hate closed adoptions and the system I’m trying to navigate through. I hate that she can’t go down to the agency and update her information and have her daughter easily contact her, because the ways laws work here is that if the daughter tried to contact her mom, she’d have to write a letter, and the adoption agency would forward it on. There are no guarantees. There are CI’s and headaches and frankly it sucks. The system is keeping two grown adults from getting to know each other, or even the chance to know each other, or even the chance of wanting to get to know each other.

So if anyone knows a female adoptee born on 2/2/86 at Tacoma General Hospital…send her my way 🙂

Posted by: amazonadoptee | October 13, 2009

Looking back to look forward

Dated June 20, 2008

…and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

Her name is E, though I’ve known that for 25 years. Her hair is bleached blonde and she said she’s stuck in ‘some era, I’m not sure what,’ and I wonder if she’s maybe stuck in the 80’s, and if the year is 1982. She smelled of stale cigarettes and perfume, which triggered memories of Christmas presents wrapped in cigarette/perfume smelling tissue paper. It’s heartbreaking, really, to sit across the table with my first mother and yet to see the empty shell of who she is and who she could have become staring back. A beer wrapped in paper was nestled snugly in her knit purse, and the response she had to certain questions made me mentally rifle through my internal DSM-IV for a diagnoses. Alcoholism is a nasty disease that takes people’s lives.

The what ifs swirl around in my mind. What if she hadn’t given me away? Would that have helped? Would J have married her like he told me? Would they have gotten a divorce? Is her fate inevitable. Is any of our fates inevitable? If not my relinquishment, would there have been something else to drive her to the bottle? Or had she started on the path long before the choice to give me away? From a scrap of non-identifying medical information I know she drank and smoked and smoked pot while she was pregnant, and didn’t get a dr. apt. until she was 6 months along. I wonder if I would have had the same fate as her other two, a life with mom, but being bounced around from family members houses and with live-in boyfriends. I wonder if I, too, would have moved out at 15 and into a friend’s house? Or, as the oldest, would I have been another little mother in another lifetime, parenting siblings as I’ve somewhat tried to in my own family.

The questions aren’t easy to ask. It’s a typical adoptee response, to wonder ‘what could I have done?’ is it ‘my fault that she’s had the life she had?’ And yet, what person would bestow the responsibility of the world on the shoulders of an infant? Who could blame a child for the fate of the parent?

It was pleasant, not terribly awkward, but not entirely comfortable either. Family and yet, not family. It’s a strange situation all around. It’s not that I was ever ungrateful to have been blessed to grow up with my a-parents, it’s just that I need to know where I come from, perhaps in order to know where I’m going. There aren’t enough words in the English language to adaquetely describe what this is like.

And it makes me angry and sad to be adodpted. But to be honest, it makes me angry and sad that I am not my parent’s natural child. Why? Why was she able to get pregnant at 17 and not my parents? This makes me very sad, because they have been excellent parents. I wish I looked like them. I wish I could say that my great grandma really was Anna Christina , and that I could inherit a portion of the farm, but the truth is…I’m not. They are my parents but their ancestors are not my ancestors and this makes me very sad. I am sad that I have two moms and two dads, that I have to use 1/2’s to distinguish my siblings to others, or to say ‘birthmother’ in order for strangers to know what the hell I’m talking about. I’m trying to have a large heart and love the situation, but it’s freaking hard. No, it’s fucking hard.

The lines, ‘and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,’ popped into my mind and I thought how fitting it is. And I’m almost positive, that what I’m looking for no longer exists, at least in the way that it could have been.

The best part of it all, though, is I feel beautiful. I’m looking forward to meeting my birthfather tomorrow. This process has helped me feel more real and whole, but meeting my maternal side has helped me feel beautiful. Perhaps it’s seeing something of myself reflected in others…

Posted by: amazonadoptee | October 13, 2009

little sisters

Peanut: “Daddy is your daddy, but mommy isn’t your mommy.”

me:  “You’re right, I do have a different mommy. I have 2 moms and 2 dads.”

Peanut: “Yeah, I know.” (stated matter-o-factly)

Kids get it, so why don’t adults?

Posted by: amazonadoptee | October 13, 2009

A rose by any other name?

One of my favorite ideas to think about is written so well in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, first in the His Dark Materials trilogy. This idea that fascinates me, is that whenever we make a choice we continue on into the outcome that choice created for us, but at the moment one thing was chosen (and therefore the other was not) there is a split in the universe, which creates an alternate reality. In this alternate reality exists the outcome of the choice not made. We go along as though nothing has happened, but somewhere exists us, living the life we did not choose, continually splitting and splitting the universe into many parallels.

What attracts me so much to this idea is that it seems to very adequetely explain my very existence.

Because out there, somewhere, even if only existing in a universe thought up in my own mind, or in my natural-mother’s mind, exists me…by another name…which makes me wonder, is she me at all?

Who is this woman that I could have become? I know her name, Ejypt, which isn’t a misspelling of the country, but rather an endearing acronym my natural father created to show how I was a combination of him and my natural mother. I did not learn this name until I was 25, and well established in a parallel life, and the questions of ‘can I go back?’ ran through my head.

What struck me most, was that all through my adolescence and young college life, I was always searching for the right name, one I dubbed “my hippie name,” and could never quite get my tongue loose enough to remember it. I combed baby books and internet sites, trying out “Bliss” and “Willow” and all of them stuck like jello nailed to a tree. Nothing was right until that day I got an email from my 1/2 sister, who I had already sorta been in reunion with for awhile, who nonchalantly passed on both the last name of my natural father and the name I would have had if I hadn’t been given away.

I recognized it immedietely. It snuggled up inside me like a cat resting on my chest. It felt warm and right and me…

and yet, at the same time…

not me.

By this time I had already legally changed my name to a variation of my “birth name” (and by birth I mean adopted name). In anticipation of my wedding, and knowing I wanted to have my maiden name used as my middle name, I went to the courthouse and got all the legal paperwork figured out.

It was empowering, especially because I had always hated my “birth name,” and despised my middle name even more. To look down on the paper that showed I was no longer limited by that name, that I could choose to live into the name I had given myself, that was very empowering.

But universes seem to be bumping up against one another. I remembered my first name and, like looking at a mirage, I can faintly make out the person I could have been. Do I like that girl who could be me? And how can I get her to come just a little bit closer through the mist?

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