Note from Trace: Because of spam attacks, I am reposting this and deleting the original. Can I win the war with spambots? I guess I will try by deleting the old posts and win that way.
Von Coates interviewed me about my adoptee and my writing experience in my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE, published in 2009 - I wanted to share an excerpt of this interview:
VON: In your life was there a pivotal event that changed you from being a victim of adoption to a survivor?
|Trace, 1st grade|
Trace: That is a great question because lots of people won’t recognize there is a definite shift from victim to survivor.
laws restrict opening adoption records, these policymakers make us
victims. There are many adoptees ready to know their family name, meet
relatives and have reunions, but cannot because of adoption laws. Other
adoptees, lulled by gratitude, may fear upsetting their adoptive
family, and may not see themselves as victims of a corrupt unjust
adoptee moves from victim to survivor when they decide to break the
law, when they decide to regain and restore their own identity, and get
their name. That’s a giant leap forward.
becoming a survivor happened in stages, in a sequence of events. As a
child I grieved. I promised myself as a teenager that I would find
answers but it looked impossible with sealed records in Wisconsin. I
felt overcoming my low self-esteem was first. In my 20s, I realized
there would be “emotional processing” I’d need to do, slowly, over time. Opening
my adoption records was very important in 1978 but troubling since I
had no help to locate my parents. This was before the internet. I also had to face reality that I might not find them or my parents might not be willing to meet me. I
never met my mother Helen which felt like a second rejection in the
1990s. I was 38 when I met my father Earl in 1996. Reunions (or not
having a reunion) take time to process. Over
the years, other adoptees were great teachers for me since there are no
guidebooks for dealing with adoption and the trauma. There is so much
to understand, obviously.
and remembering everything again and research changed me most – like a
light bulb went on. I started to see adoption as an industry and a
measure of control over a mother’s maternity and placed orphans in a
state of emotional disgrace. Recognizing
adoption as an institution, one that has outgrown its purpose, one that
is damaging for mother and child, was perhaps my biggest transforming
moment. (It was actually magical…)
say in your book adoption involves many traumas, not just the one of
the loss of a mother. Many of the things that happen to us, the damaging
relationships, breakdowns and illness result from those traumas. How do
we move from being vulnerable, to strength and survival?
my book, I mention four distinct traumas for adoptees and I know there
are more. Adoptee and natural parents are vulnerable to the billion
dollar adoption machine that still manipulates us. I felt manipulated.
Restricting us from meeting, laws which prevent our meeting, then add a
dose of shame, judgement and misunderstanding, all deeply affects and
even harms adoptees. I do write about this in depth.
Adoption is very isolating. Many
adoptees like me suffered in silence. I see many adoptees create
stories for their missing parents. If they do not know the truth, and
never meet them, adoptees can stagnate emotionally and get trapped in
illusions, lies and excuses. That is a very hard way to live. It’s very
difficult to tell an adoptee what to do, or how to heal and overcome
this vulnerability. I took small steps on my own and finally realized that there was only one solution for me – find the truth.
closed adoption is the ultimate act of disruption. Because of my
disgrace and orphan-status, I was not living emotionally well. I was not
empowered as a human since the very act of adoption removed my
identity. I made a decision to
not live this way or accept the fantasy-land my adoptive parents and
adoption industry created for me. I had to open my adoption, period. I would not give up.
took me a long time to see how I failed myself with very troubling
decisions and blamed Helen my birthmother for misery I had as a child. I fought the idea of being a disgrace. I fought feeling rejected by Helen when I finally found her. I fought very hard to heal myself, know myself and release judgment. Even as a teenager, I thought it was ridiculous to be expected to live a fantasy and project gratitude.
Finding the truth and meeting relatives moves you from feeling vulnerable to empowered, from victim to survivor.
ENDNOTE: I view adoption as torture. It's cruel and inhumane to force adoptees to live this fantasy life, with lies, with falsified records.
The blog Once was Von was actually deleted by Google because of complaints from anonymous readers who were in disagreement with Von's views on being an adoptee.
It might happen to me, too, but I hope not. Trace
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