Just a Little Adoption Rant.

Two days after confirming my adoption with my (adoptive) dad, I mailed in the paperwork to receive a copy of my original birth certificate from the State of New Jersey. This is something that is very important to many adoptees, because our “actual” birth certificates are not truthful accounts of our arrival on Earth. They are simply legal documents changed by a court order to reflect the new identity we were assigned. And here begins the web of lies that many adoptees are all too familiar with.

In most states, adoptees are not allowed to access their original birth record due to outdated laws, intended to “protect” the adopted child. The problem is adopted children grow up and will inevitably learn about their past, and desire truthful information about their origins. Despite becoming adults, adoption laws see adoptees as perpetual babies, incapable of handling the truth about our own origins. The system is designed only to  protect itself, not the “children”. Just Google Georgia Tann, one of the most prolific child traffickers of the 20th century, who used her government connections to influence the creation of these laws to help protect herself, and to hide what she was doing. (many of these laws are still in place, BTW!)

Some people argue that these laws also protect the identity of biological parents, who may now want to be found (for whatever reasons). Thirty years ago, this made sense. The problem is today we have the internet and consumer DNA testing. ANYONE can do a DNA test (hello, me?) and find out who they are genetically connected to. Is is better to simply have knowledge of the two names (or maybe just one name) of the people who are your biological parents–OR–would people rather adoptees contact their genetic cousins on Ancestry, and start asking lots of questions? In lieu of the most basic information about ourselves, that is precisely what is happening. People go to sites like Ancestry to find people they are genetically related to, so they can communicate with people they hope will have knowledge of their origins.

For Example:
“Hi, We are a match on Ancestry. It looks like we are 2nd cousins. I grew up in Boston, but I was adopted in New York in 1963. All I know is my mom’s name was Nadine, and she was 19 at the time. Do you know anything about this?”

Obviously, providing adoptees with their original birth certificate (and bio parents’ names) would eliminate most of this–whether the biological parents wish to communicate or not.  Many adoptees have no desire to reach out to their bio families. Some only want health information. What we ALL want, is TRUTH.

I am very fortunate to have been born in NJ which, as of 2017, allows adoptees access to their records. I’ve read lots of frustration from people who try to obtain their own OBCs, sometimes waiting months or years without any word or update (though their payment has been processed, of course). I guess I am one of those people who will just remain in waiting now. Of course I already know my biological parents’ names, but it’s the point of having it that matters to me. So much about myself and my identity was taken from me, so this piece of paper would mean the world to me. I don’t know what I would do with it–stare at it for hours and cry, frame it, put it in a safe deposit box, file it–I have no idea. Anyway, I hope I get to see it someday…

Thanks for listening to my rant.
(seriously, Google Georgia Tann)

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Ancestry Holiday Sale

Thinking about giving Ancestry.com membership or DNA kit as a gift? Ancestry is currently offering the following gift promotions:

Ancestry Gift Memberships 20% off (Offer ends November 23. Offer available for new subscribers only and not for renewal of current subscriptions. Discount available only on 6-month and 12-month gift memberships.)

Ancestry DNA – $79, each additional kit $69 Please read the Ancestry DNA Terms & Conditions.

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Nov. 2017 Ancestry DNA Giveaway

This is my first monthly Ancestry DNA giveaway! I’m very excited to be able to help other adoptees learn more about their origins!

In order to participate, you must meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years or older on date of entry
  • Located in the United States or Canada (I cannot mail to any addresses outside of the US or Canada)
  • You must be adopted (This giveaway is not open to individuals adopted by a step-parent, a blood relative, family friend, etc. Thanks for your understanding!)
  • You have not previously communicated with your biological family (or have not communicated with them since the time of your adoption)
  • You have never conducted a consumer DNA test on yourself (ex. Ancestry, 23andme, etc.)
  • You want to learn more about your genetic makeup, such as your ethnic background (genetic health information is not included in this test)

Things To Consider Before Testing: If you choose to contact any of your Ancestry DNA matches, there is the possibility they will not want to communicate with you, or that they will reject you. There is also the possibility that their life circumstances are very difficult, such as medical problems, addiction, mental illness, crime, legal problems, financial problems, etc. I’ve read so many adoptee’s stories about the heartbreak of secondary rejection, and the stress of dealing with their biological family’s problems. Although we all hope for the best when searching for our biological family, these types of circumstances are, unfortunately, very possible.

What The Winner Will Receive: This month’s winner, selected by me, will receive one Ancestry.com DNA testing kit, currently valued at $88.95 (including shipping & handling). No additional purchase is required to view your DNA report. Ancestry.com membership is not included with this gift, and is not required to view your DNA report.

To enter the giveaway, please complete the entry form by Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 9:00 am EST. By entering, participants agree to the terms & conditions of this giveaway. The winner will be announced on this site on November 23, 2017–which is Thanksgiving in the US. For privacy reasons, I will only identify the winner by first name and last initial.

ENTER THE NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY!

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Monthly Ancestry DNA Giveaway!

In September 2017, I discovered I was adopted after receiving strange results on an Ancestry.com DNA test. Since then, I’ve read many adopted individuals expressing an interest in doing the Ancestry DNA test, but don’t have the money to spend. I’ve decided that each month, starting November 2017, I am going to give away one Ancestry.com DNA test each month to someone who is also adopted and wishing to learn more about their biological origins.

While there is no guarantee that taking an Ancestry DNA test will connect you with living relatives (especially if you were born outside of the US and Canada), it will tell you more about your ethnic origins and heritage (ex. West Europe, Africa North, Asia East, Native American, Scandinavia, etc.) For the past 40 years, I believed that I was Greek, Italian and Ukrainian (because that is what I was told) when in reality, I am English, German & Swedish. My Ancestry DNA test confirmed all of this.

It is also important to remember that if you are matched with someone, there is no guarantee that they will want to communicate with you, or what their current circumstances are. I’ve read so many adoptee stories about finding a biological family member (or members) and being rejected, mistreated, or finding there are lots of family troubles such as addiction, crime, mental illness, financial troubles and more. I’ve even read some adoptees expressing regret about finding their biological families because of the stress related to being rejected, or that the family’s problems. It’s just something to consider prior to doing a DNA test. Ultimately, even if you don’t wish to connect with anyone in Ancestry’s database, you will still learn your ethnic origins. That has been very exciting to me because I’ve always been very interested in genealogy–even before I learned I was adopted.

I will post information about how to enter this giveaway shortly. Thank you for visiting!

 

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I Met My Parents & Sisters!

Last weekend, I met my biological parents and my three full sisters. It was amazing! Everyone was so nice and welcoming, and I definitely felt like I fit in–despite being mildly overwhelmed and nervous. There were more smiles than tears from everyone, which was great! We are meeting up this weekend again, but will include more relatives: it will be my biological parents, my three sisters, the husbands & kids of each sister, three grandparents, one uncle, two aunts, three first cousins, and some other cousins. I am really looking forward to it, especially to meet my grandparents! I am a bit overwhelmed, but I am also very happy. It’s just going to take some time to get used to all of this.

I will most post more about our first meeting soon, I’m just a bit short on time. Thank you for listening, and for all of your support.

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I Still Can’t Believe I’m Adopted!

Since my last post, there have been many developments. I spoke do my dad (adoptive dad–still weird to say that) and told him about my frustrations and feelings about never being told I was adopted. He apologized, and said he wishes he could change how this was all handled. It’s an awful feeling to carry because on one hand I am angry, feel betrayed and lied to, but on the other hand I have three young children who love their grandfather and deserve a normal relationship with him. So, despite the enormity of the situation, I feel like I can’t really stay mad at him over this–for the sake of my children.

My biological parents and sisters have been communicating with me on Facebook and text messages. We are all “Facebook friends” now. LOL. My biological mom sent me a lovely private message in response to a letter I wrote for all of them. I also have become Facebook friends with my mom’s sister and her sons (my first cousins). My aunt (weird to say that) told me that she is so happy they “finally found me”. I thought that was such a lovely thing to say. She also joked with me that she always worried one of her sons might unknowingly date me. Haha! I hadn’t thought of that until she mentioned it. Thankfully, I never dated anyone in my biological family (though that would make quite a story–ha!)

Three days ago, my biological parents and my mom’s sister met with my maternal grandparents to tell them they had found me. My sister (the one I DNA matched with and look the most like) sent me an IM with my 87 year old grandfather’s reaction. Through tears, he said he “prayed he would meet me before he died.” They were so happy to learn this news. This was the first time I broke down and cried since this entire situation started a few weeks ago. I was so moved by his words and emotions. I just wish I hadn’t received the message while I was in Hobby Lobby. LOL!

So on Saturday, I will meet my biological parents and my three full biological sisters. No husbands, no kids–just the six of us. I am excited, anxious and nervous and incredibly overwhelmed. This still feels like a dream, or like I’m writing about someone else’s life. I don’t know what to say or what to call anyone. Like, do I walk in on Saturday with open arms and say “Mama!” in a dramatic southern accent as I throw myself into her arms? (I’m picturing Carol Burnett’s character, Eunice, from Mama’s Family. LOL!) I honestly don’t know what to do or say to any of them. I imagine there will be a lot of tears, but happy tears. This is, overwhelmingly, a happy story despite two very young parents not knowing where their baby has been for the past 40 years. I am really looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them all. On Sunday, I will (hopefully) be meeting my mom’s sister, and my mom’s parents. They are both 87 years old. What a treasure it will be to know them!

Thanks for listening and for all of your support. Writing about my story has been very therapeutic for me. I genuinely appreciate all of your kind messages and comments. All of this support has helped me thrive during what is, without a doubt, the most challenging chapter of my life so far. Thank you!

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Telling the Other Sisters

Today it has been one week since I found out I was adopted as a newborn. Today has been my most difficult day yet since all of this began. I’m not sure why exactly, but I just felt incredibly overwhelmed and anxious. I couldn’t accomplish anything, and just floated mindlessly through the day. I think the initial shock may be wearing off, and the reality setting in. I feel like I a ship that has unexpectedly lost its anchor and navigational tools, and is gently floating adrift on calm seas. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Yesterday, my biological parents met with all three of my biological sisters to tell them about me. According to my one sister (the one I had the Ancestry DNA match with) it went very well. Everyone was shocked, but happy and excited. When the initial shock wears off, we are going to make plans to meet. Soon after their discussion, I began receiving Facebook friend requests from all of them. I’m now friends with all of my sisters, their husbands, and even my biological mom! Ha! So that part of this situation has been really great and exciting.

xo

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