So how does this work?
By Trace L Hentz (excerpt from One Small Sacrifice)
Was I like a lost-and-found item in a department store then put out on display? Did strangers come in, spot me and point, “I’ll take that one.” How did they know it was me they wanted? Why me in particular? It’s not like an interview if I can’t talk yet.
Actually, my parents didn’t choose me. I was available and the Catholic Charities people brought me to them and sold them on me. After this transaction, I became invisible, unidentifiable and perfectly suited to blend in with all the other children. I was in a real sense legal property, given a new name and identity and supposedly matched to look like my adoptive parents.
How strange, really. Then I’m supposed to thank them and love them for buying me and giving me a home. Of course I did.
There must be a rule book on this somewhere, right?
My birthmother Helen was Catholic. Marriage was an institution, central to many religions. Had this religion instructed everyone to judge a woman with an illegitimate child? Make this baby a sacrificial lamb? Did they say to her, “You get a do-over if you abandon your baby…No one will ever know they existed….You’ll never find a husband with a bastard kid.”
It was different in Indian Country. Native women would choose a father for her children and if he didn’t work, she’d choose another one. For many Native mothers, the rule book changed when organized religions took over. Native mothers had many things working against them, like poverty and oppression, and the wrong ideas about savage Indians.
I finally saw the myths created for me. Gratitude is easy when you’re young. Impossible when you’re an adult. My gratitude silenced me, almost permanently.
When I reached adulthood, the words “this was done in your best interest” felt like pure nonsense.
Clearly that wasn’t enough information to build a life on.
I was not their legal property but a human being.
[I am working on my memoir again... adding more history]