I haven’t written a post here since Nov of 2011 for a number of reasons.
I’ve needed the time.
Back on May 10th, 2010, the day before my birthday, I received a copy of my unamended original birth certificate.
Even the day prior, I had bemoaned the regressing state of Bastard rights, decried the “Faustian bargain of access for some at the direct expense of the rights of others”, and acknowledged the sad reality of my personal circumstance:
somewhere out there, (if she’s even still alive,) is a Mother who gave birth on Mother’s Day to a daughter who eventually disappeared into a sealed records adoption.
Finally holding that piece of paper after struggling for decades through four requests to the state, to receive it both changed and reaffirmed everything for me.
It was a very emotional experience, and came at a point when I had almost given up all hope of ever seeing it.
Obviously, it, and the aftermath thereof has also affected both my blogging and my voice here on the blog itself. I placed a brief “update” at the bottom of my about page, and by and large spoke little to my personal circumstance, even as I threw myself into the work and NaBloPoMo-ed every day for two months straight in October and November of 2010.
I wasn’t ready or able to talk about it, in part, because within hours of finally holding my original birth certificate, I learned that my Mother was dead.
She had died at age 50 of late stage colon cancer, a little over two blocks away from the house I grew up in.
Neither of those first two requests succeeded, but two of the four were made while she was still alive.
My Father was left a blank line on the form.
I have no information about him at all.
There’s more, much more, but to me, some of it is simply personal/no one’s business by my own. That may be part of what is different about my blog.
Much of what I write here simply is not about me or about my feelings, or autobiographical bits and pieces. The blog is about adoption and the politics thereof.
But I have a voice here, and I come from a perspective, and as my circumstances have changed over time, it’s important to me to honestly share some of those changes with my readership in order that they may understand both my insights and biases.
Other parts of it, while yes, still some version of personal, also inform that voice and part of that politic. Some of it I may chose to write about, in time.
Being able to confirm my brief stint in foster care, and piecing together what appears to have been what today would be considered a border baby circumstance, born in a hospital, but apparently never taken to my mother’s home upon discharge are important aspects as well.
All of these changes obviously affect my voice here, and what little personal narative I have shared here to date.
Now, almost two years later, I’ve mourned and I’ve done some of what I’ve needed to do.
That has taken many forms, from visiting her grave to finally getting through to a colonoscopy, a medical procedure I had requested in light of my lack of a family medical history, only to initially be turned away precisely due to that lack of a family history.
First screenings should be done 10 years prior to a family member’s initial diagnosis, but of course, until all of this came about, I had no means of knowing. By the time I got through to the actual screening, I was years beyond that recommended initial date.
Fortunately, thus far, in terms of colon cancer at least, scary though this was, I appear to be fine.
That said, I remain absolutely steadfast in my opposition to utilizing any demand for “family medical histories” as a tactic in the effort to restore Bastard rights.
As I’ve reiterated over and over again, here for example-
“Let’s be clear, those willing to sell out Class Bastard in their personal rush to (possibly) gain access to their own, (provided of course, they don’t find themselves on the receiving end of a contact veto, now repackaged as a “contact preference”- precisely the form of “contact preference form” creep that again, I’ve warned about for years now) are not part of the genuine adoptee rights movement.
Their willingness to over and over again, attempt to ‘justify’ their hope that (some) records might be restored to their rightful owners by turning to tactics such as the insistence that ‘need for medical history’ as the basis of their call for legislative ….something, (rather than standing firm on the simple demand that equality alone is enough, that all of us must regain that right we once held) has in fact worsened the preexisting quagmire NJ’s adoptees ALREADY find themselves trapped within.
NJ-CARE and its allies through their support of this bill have worked to construct a new system that will compel mothers to turn their otherwise legally protected personal medical histories over to the state.
As a longtime abortion and women’s reproductive health advocate myself, who understands that many of the modern origins of consent and consent forms as well as personal privacy and freedom from unwarranted governmental intrusion (rooted in Eisenstadt v. Baird, not Roe and Doe) I’m appalled at NJ-CARE’s support for yet FURTHER government intrusion into women’s genuine medical privacy rights.”
Perhaps, now more than ever, not despite my own medical experiences, but specifically due to them, I remain absolutely committed to precisely that rejection of government schemes to compel family members to surrender their medical histories.
Rather than trying to build new forms of data collection with the government or its subcontractors set in the role of mediator, and thus preserving the sealed records system by building some pathetic substitute “work around” to objection handle Bastards’ lack of access, I continue to support nothing less than the complete elimination of the sealed records system itself.
Adopted people and our families must receive the same treatment under law as anyone else. No one must be compelled by the state to surrender their personal medical information, such can only be shared consensually. Removing the walling off barriers of the sealed records system that stand between Families and Bastards restores equality, and ensures that just like anyone else, we gain information or not as individual family members chose to divulge.
Ironically, that process of getting through to the colonoscopy led to a personal medical odyssey of sorts over much of the past year, bringing up several issues, some of which may or may not be genetically based.
In terms of my ability to work, the most substantial issues affecting me in the day to day were rapidly growing cataracts, one in each eye, that made it impossible to read normally sized text.
Since January, I’ve been through two lens replacement surgeries, so in a very literal sense, I’m seeing through new eyes. Well, plastic implant lenses at least.
That perspective, and time away, much of it spent unable to even read a book, has given me time to contemplate the long view.
The big picture (as I’ve written shards of in the past) when it comes to adoption, isn’t pretty.
A great deal has also happened in my time of blog silence, be it the Australian “apology” I and others have harshly criticized as a pathetic substitute for criminal prosecutions, the role of the church in the Spanish babynapping resale schemes, the ongoing pathetic and damaging antics of the “do-something!” adoption deformers, or the endless headlines worth of dead Bastards, abused Bastards, and baby buying run amok.
My own resignation from Bastard Nation and grappling with the aftermath of such, how it effectively left me without any group as a Bastard political home has also been part of that long period of blog silence. It’s taken me time to get my head around that as well.
But as a GDI, a god-Damn-Independent, finding my footing after the initial shock and finding not only my voice rooted in these personal realities, but discovering my voice newly unencumbered by fear has also been a part of this time of contemplation and personal regrouping.
Readers, in the past, I’ve carefully couched some of my criticism to the point where while it was certainly possible to see where I stood by the occasional post or by reading between the lines, there have been other points where I’ve either pointed across to other bloggers doing some of the heavy lifting (such as Wayward RADish) or to some extent, pulled my punches. In those latter moments, I’ve failed you.
I spoke recently with 73adoptee about some of my reasons why. Much of it for me, came down to not feeling fully at liberty to say what I needed to, not due to the fact that my adopters are still living, (that alone paralyzes many Bastards) but in that when a Bastard has no access to their paperwork and is reduced to begging for such from the state, the (unarticulated) constant threat of such being “lost” or destroyed, or otherwise fucked with can sometimes in moments of weakness, quiet the authentic Bastard voice.
Judges are every bit as capable of typing our names into google when our requests come before them as anyone else.
So long as we are reduced to needing something so basic that was confiscated from us, we are left in a position of vulnerability that others simply cannot comprehend.
For many Bastards, they get their paperwork and are placated, disappearing off into silence and their personal worlds of either angst or reunion blogging, devoid of any understanding of their class Bastard status. Oblivious to how reunion naratives all too often devolve into nothing more than fretful, pathological torment-ridden personal whining, isolated from any broader political context or external consequence.
For me, gaining my original birth certificate unleashes me. It unleashes my voice. It leaves me free to speak freely, a luxury we left-behinds almost always die without.
A luxury non-Bastards can scarcely comprehend, let alone the ways by which we maim and muzzle ourselves out of that fear.
It also places upon me an even greater sense of responsibility as one unleashed by holding the paper itself, but whose access status remains to some degree in potential limbo, to speak out about the ways in which our authentic documentation is still held hostage and how that continues to silence and self maim so many.
So bottom line, I’m some version of back to blogging, on my own time frame, and if you found this a cynical, disgusted, seethingly furious blog, contemptuous of those hiding their crimes behind the artificially imposed sealed adoption records system, as well as the rotten to the core system itself, and equally contemptuous of those who in their genuinely damaging deformer efforts to “do something” about the predicament Bastards and our Families find themselves forced into result in nothing less than the creation of new and ‘innovative’ legislative catastrophes and black holes from which so many never escape, well, let’s just say you ain’t seen nothing yet.