25 June 2005

Being a Bastard, Pt I

From what I understand, somewhere between one and two percent of the U.S. population is made up of bastards (a/k/a "adoptees"). I have been trying to find a good source to back up that claim, but I'm not finding one this evening. We'll have to take it with a grain of salt. Besides, depending on who you know, you may have run into a much higher percentage of people you believe to be bastards. :) Where do I get that figure then? It was mentioned a few times when I was involved in searching for my birthfamily several years ago.

The topic of adoption in a group of people will usually engender all manner of positive comments. These usually center around some idea that the kid will have a "better life" than s/he would with their birthfamily---a claim that is just as shaky as the data from the first paragraph. How can anyone possibly know how a life would have turned out if a decision had been different---and that it always would have been "better"?

Looking at adoption from the inside, I can tell you that there are a lot of things about it that most people either don't know or don't think about. For example, in most states and provinces they have no right to their birth certificate. There has been legislation routinely brought up in the US Congress to criminalize searching for birthfamily---meaning that a person who happens to be adopted and does any kind of genealogical search could be fined and/or imprisoned. If an adoptee communicates with the hospital where they were born, they will most likely discover that they are not allowed access to their medical records. How many of you who aren't adopted can do these things (get a copy of your original birth certificate, medical records, and do family history) without roadblocks?

Who would you be if...you took away all the times someone told you that you had the same nose/chin/eyes as someone in your family...you never saw anyone who looked like you or had the same mannerisms? Would you be the same if you never knew any of your genetic or medical history? Where your "people" were from? I bet you'd feel a bit adrift.

I'm not here to knock adoption---much as it may seem. But what I have tried to do in the years since I started the process of searching for and reuniting with my birthfamily is to get non-adoptees to think a little harder about adoption in general. And in particular about the adoptee. Adoption is great for everyone at the beginning, I suppose...but eventually that baby is going to grow up. Shouldn't it have the same rights as other adults in this country? Why should it endure discrimination simply because it was adopted?

Perhaps someday I'll write a bit more about my own search and reunion with my birthfamily. It was an incredible journey. Tomorrow, my b(irth)mom and a(dopted)mom will be meeting for the first time. Quite a personal landmark for all of us.

1 comment:

Wraiths said...

Here are some stats to get you thinking;


Noticed you haven't posted in a while, and as a fellow adoptee, I would love to hear about your search and reunion.