Sunday, September 19, 2010
A Tale of One who is Adopted and one who is not
Alex was born in the 1950's.
Haley was born in the 1980's.
Alex's mother found it impossible to continue on living with her alcoholic husband. But back in her day, women couldn't always just take their children and leave. Divorce and single motherhood were heavily stigmatized and treated harshly by surrounding society. So she left tearfully one day and moved across the country, leaving two-year-old Alex and his younger brother to be raised by her husband's mother.
Haley's mother experienced an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager. Unable to qualify for welfare because she was considered the dependant of a family who themselves could not qualify for welfare but could not readily afford to raise a baby without assistance either, Haley's mother sought out the help of an adoption agency. But the agency pressured Haley's mother into thinking that the only way to do right by Haley was to surrender her to a family that could raise and support her.
Alex's mother remarried and started a new family.
Haley's mother graduated high school, married, and started a family.
Alex's mother's identity was never hidden from him. It was never questioned whether or not he should be able to know the name of his mother. Correspondence from his mother was in a letter here and there, rare, and discouraged by his family.
Haley's mother's identity was hidden from her. It was questioned whether or not she should be able to know the name of her mother. Haley had no way of contacting her mother and her mother was forbidden from knowing who Haley was or trying to contact her.
Alex saw his mother again for the first time since age two when he was 21. He visits her every other year with his wife.
Haley saw her mother again for the first time since she was a few weeks old when she was 24. She talks to her a couple of times per week.
Alex does not need permission from the state to speak to his mother. His birth certificate is his own, the state makes it available to him without question, and no one can revoke it from him. Alex is seen as normal for embracing his roots and loving his mother. People treat him like a normal person, with normal reasons for accessing his birth certificate, and a normal son of his mother.
Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, MSS, LSW is a social worker, author, and speaker serving the adoption community through individual and family clinical work, groups, writing and teaching, and policy advocacy. She has participated in more than a dozen publishing projects, including authoring, The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist. Amanda is the founder of Lost Daughters, a collaborative writing project featuring more than 30 adopted women, and the founder of Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights, a grassroots policy advocacy movement. Amanda was featured as an activist by Yahoo!Voices in 2009, and is listed in Adoptive Families Magazine’s Top 20 Adoption Blogs.surrounding systems.