Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Andy's Story

Andy is the contributing editor for the Adoptee Perspective. She is also a mother through adoption. She writes daily at Today's the Day.

I was born in 1970. It was a time when there was a stigma to being a single mother and expectant women were often sent away in order to avoid the shame that their pregnant bellies would bring to their family. And this is what I grew up assuming was the story of my beginnings. A young girl, pregnant, with limited resources and support placed me for adoption so that she could get on with her life. Turns out that this wasn't quite what happened.

After 10 years of searching on and off, I was finally "reunited" with my mother, with a Children's Aid social worker acting as our go between. After all the obstacles that I overcame to find her - sealed records, lengthy wait times to have my file even looked at - I was finally going to have my questions answered. Who did I look like? Why didn't she keep me? Alas, there was one more obstacle to overcome. She didn't want to meet me or have any further communication, so please don't ever call, thank you very much, have a nice life.

Crap. Now what?

Growing up as an adoptee in the era of closed adoptions has given me an insight into adoption, loss, relationships and family that really, no one should ever have to have. Knowing what I know now, there was no "real" reason for me being placed for adoption. I wasn't in danger, my mother wasn't the homeless crack-whore that the made-for-TV movies want you to believe all first mothers are. She was a single mom with a seven year old daughter. She owned a house and worked full time. But society being what it was at the time made her feel that we would all be better off if she chose adoption for me. Did I end up "better off"? Not really. My life ended up different then then one I started out with, but not better or worse, just different.

And here I am now. I will always have the label of "adoptee". I can now add the title of "reunited adoptee" since my mother eventually overcame some of her fears and that has allowed us to have contact and to get to know each other. I am also a mom through adoption. I am re-navigating the emotions of growing up as an adoptee as my six year old son begins his own journey of awareness and understanding.


Lori said...

Hi, Andy. As an adoptive mom, I very much appreciate your perspective.

One reason we chose open adoption was that we wanted our children to never need to do the search and reunion thing. Time will tell if we made a good decision, but so far it seems to be working.

Thanks for sharing your story, and I look forward to reading more.

SeaStar said...

Your post hit close to home, Andy. I was adopted in 1950 in an adoption unusually open for then. i got names and stories as i grew up, and was told wnat my first mother had named me. I attended a lecture my first mother gave once in college and I've talked to my first mother on the phone. I didn't pursue more connection and neither did they, I think on my part because I knew what seemed to me like enough. i don't check obituaries but I do wonder if they are still living - definietely in their early eighties by now.

luna said...

andy, thank you for telling your story here. I'm glad you were able to make a connection. I imagine you are a wonderful mom, especially with the shared empathy you must have for your own son.

My name is Andy. said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I am going to try and chronicle the story of search for and finally meeting Iris. It would be nice to have it all in one spot.