Never underestimate the power of the written word..you know the old adage.”sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!.You know that’s shit right? Words can hurt more than physical violence if aimed correctly.
I speak as I find and often get it wrong BUT there is always something positive to be found behind my words. No harm intended but I hold up my hand if it’s taken wrong
Which brings me to words and phrases used in an Adoption Birth File.
Many of my fellow Adoptees know how words can wound even from days gone by.Past references to our early life can hit us like a knife in the heart. It’s fair to say my life has been blessed but it’s also reality that I’m triggered now more than I ever was as a child.
You know why?? Because now I am old enough to comprehend nuances. Educated well so I understand how to translate the meanings of the shorthand used in the 60s. What was not meant to be read by us is now available in a semi redacted form so as to allow us to piece together the information. The sad truth is we are still not privy to everything..as if we are too fucking fragile to deal with facts ..some not so pretty …we are not given the same right to reply as our non-adopted peers yet the writings on those thin flimsy pages with old-style typeface are veiled as if to protect us. However, and I know many Adoptees will agree, we NEED this information to be whole. To feel complete. To move on and heal. A happy adoptee is a grateful Adoptee. Wrong. A happy adoptee is one with all the facts.
My life is great , I thank fate for that. Choices made for me have been instrumental in making me who I am on the surface.
As I get older I have more questions more uncertainty about whether she had a choice. She said she had no choice. Said with one tot to raise she couldn’t cope with two. Then she met someone new and had another boy who she kept alongside my biological brother. A further girl was given up.
This was news to me and was a serious head fuck when I learned this..but I had a semi reunion with this other sister who was adopted too.
Let me tell you we didn’t hit it off so I don’t regret whatever decision separated us in life.To be kind I’d say she carries her demons on her sleeve. As she felt the need to somehow blame me for her less than perfect adoption and subsequently was an absolute bitch to me. I struggle to be kind. Right royal fucking horror she was in fairness 🤪
Anyway amongst my papers were parts of my early life that no one felt worthy of disclosure. For instance, why would I possibly care whether my birth mother’s child, who she chose to keep, was not two and a half by a different father? He was in fact less than a year old and the son of my biological father
Making the myth of a half-sibling from a mystery one-night stand ,in fact my full blood sibling sharing 100% DNA. Why would the facts matter? Because they fucking do that’s why.
Every time I raised it after learning the facts. My AM dismissed it as if the truth were lies.. simply because “that’s what we were told!” so therefore it’s a lie and the murky tale of promiscuity fits the ideal for my adopters. Paint the picture as less than the middle class and savioury and we can all sleep better? Alrighty then 👌
But it wasn’t a lie. She wasn’t a slag. She was very much driven by her faith and madly in love with the handsome charmer whose DNA I share. Nothing more, nothing less. She fell in love with him…As it seems did several other young women around the same time. She has since told me that he was the love of her life. But she knew she wasn’t prepared to share him..so he broke her heart. It happens. We’ve all been there… Difference is we don’t all have to seek out the facts because someone’s redacted them for “our own good”.
Amongst other things I learned about my early days was one piece of news I still find myself struggling with.
Only almost 6 years ago my birth file revealed that my BM who named me… a name relating to my birthday, had held me close for the first 6 weeks from my birth.
My understanding and the “facts” as told me by my AP (and how they knew this still beats me), were that I was placed straight into foster care before going to live with them at three months young
For convenience the first 6 weeks of my life were conveniently erased.
So I was cuddled, maybe breastfed and held tight to the bosom of my BM for the first 6 weeks of my life…
Yet someone somewhere decided that was unimportant and irrelevant to me. Those who had the control..That information is massive to me now that I’ve got a relationship with her.
Isn’t it funny how titbits of information, unimportant to most have a profound effect on an adoptee in later life?
It makes me cry thinking of how she had to make the gut-wrenching decision to hand me over..I wasn’t a stranger to her. I was her flesh and blood and on paper would never see her gaze into my face ever again.
The language used back then has changed very little. How many non-adopted adults have birth paperwork with huge black squares covering pertinent facts. How is it they are less precious and able to cope with what is considered unpleasantries.
The older I get the more I think I don’t need protection from those who should have shown the same courtesy to my Birth Mother
I recall her telling me she was disowned by her own mother when she became pregnant with me. The second time in the same year. Abandonment by my birth father, her own mother, and brother and by the system too?
And here we are at nearly 50. My fellow Adoptees and I, a generation of 60s babies still trying to fit together the complex jigsaw puzzle pieces scattered across five decades. Some of us believe in the fairytales we were handed by the well-meaning folk who saw our curiosity as fragility. However for others, like me, we continue to seek a truth that lets us rest and accept.
In reunion, we have some answers but the truth is we will never get all of them. And do you know why not?
Because even armed with all the redacted documents in the world, we don’t know all of the questions we need to ask…
Thanks for reading
Much love Black Sheep xxx