Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Other Side

I just finished a book called A Little Bit Engaged by Teresa Hill. Kate is an uptight professional who loves to make lists and fix everyone’s problems. Pastor Ben is young, his secretary thinks he lacks the skills to be a good pastor, and he tends to screw up when trying to help people. Kate falls for Ben when they team up to help 15 year old, Shannon, through her unplanned pregnancy. In the end, Shannon gives her baby to a young married couple who are unable to have children on their own. Kate and Ben surprise Shannon when they announce their engagement and their desire to adopt her because Shannon's mom and grandmother passed away and her dad kicked her out.

Adoption has been a large part of my life. I have a couple of friends who were adopted, I babysat for a family who adopted a little boy, and one of my sisters adopted a little girl. During the search for my biological parents I met-online-adoptees, birth mothers, biological siblings, and even a birth father. Every so often, on Soaring Angels, we'd see a reunion. Some went great, some were a disaster, and some would need time to work out.

The stories were heartbreaking. The desperation of children longing to find the parents who conceived them, mothers desperate to find the baby they cared for and nurtured for nine months, even a birth father who so desperately wants to hold his daughter. The laws are clear in most states. Adoption records are sealed. Period. In most states adoptees can receive non-identifying information. It's very vague but sometimes there is enough information to start a search. Searching is emotionally exhausting. Sometimes you get a lead, you get your hopes up, and then find yourself at yet another dead end. I've seen people who are still searching after thirty years. There are times when they do eventually find family members but are told their mother has passed away. In some instances, the biological family embraces the adoptee sharing stories of the woman who gave birth to them. In other instances, they are shunned.

Many adoptees have the support of their adopted families, like I did. However, I recently met a woman who does not have that support. Her brother was also adopted but he doesn't want to search for his biological family. Her mother is strongly against her searching. I admire her for being strong and going against what her mother wants. Fortunately, she has the support from her fiance who was also adopted.

Members from all sides of adoption are in support of opening records. At the very least, we would like to have our original birth certificates. I've jumped through hoops to get mine. I had to have a notarized form from myself, my parents, and my biological mom. I'm still waiting.

I'm not really sure I have a reason for this post. Thoughts started flowing after reading the book and I just started typing. I guess I'd like for people to be educated on the other side of adoption. Not the cute baby being placed in a loving home with a beautiful family, but the heartache many adoptees go through growing up not knowing where they came from and our struggles to find our biological parents. I'll touch on this again from time to time, further explaining aspects of adoption that most people are not aware of.

Slacker Fattie Tip – Go on a walk. While on your walk… jazz things up a bit. Skip, jog a few steps, stop and do jumping jacks, walk backwards (just watch where you’re going!). Walking is a great way to lose weight and jazzing it up will boost your results.

Sexy Meal Plan Tip – This is kind of an odd tip, but one that works for me (it actually came from my friend, Kris). My family loves chocolate chip cookies – as do I – so they are often lying around calling out to me. Occasionally I give in and take a bite of one. I'll chew it for a few seconds, and then spit it out. Gross, I know, but it fed my craving and only allowed a few select calories to sneak in.

Waist Watchers Countdown - 29 days
Sexy by Summer Countdown - 62 days

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