I remain a subjective, at times compulsive, narrator in this story.
Unlike a true non-fiction book, by its very nature my story is somewhat fictionalized. I myself reside as an identity infictively resonating within a governmental institutional practice – my status is functionally different than that of the non-adopted, and as with other closed-file adoptees I have more in common with those in the Federal Witness Protection program. I do not know for sure that these memories are not all of the same thing, or metaphors for some completely different experience altogether. And for many people who are adoptees, that positioning can be much more problematic than my own.
Adoption becomes increasingly fragile as more and more aspects complicate the positioning of the adoptee. International adoptees, for example, are not automatically citizens, much to many adoptees dismay upon deportation.
Such was the deeply disturbing case of Philip Clay, adopted in 1983 by an American family, then deported in 2012 to South Korea, where he ultimately committed suicide. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/02/world/asia/south-korea-adoptions-phillip-clay-adam-crapser.html) Many adoptees commit suicide, at four times the rate of the rest of the population.
There’s a reason so many adoptees commit suicide, and until that is acknowledged, nothing will change within the systems that are in place, because the systems that are in place are there as a panacea for the anxious adoptive family, and the often frightened, often coerced birthmother. This industry grows in the shadow of abortion trap laws and the evangelical quiverful attitudes about conversion. It has aspects of genocide, rooted in the history and premise of the legal foundation of adoption laws.
Bringing that to the forefront, how we as adoptees got here – and why discussion about adoptee restrictions around original birth certificates is doomed to failure without a federal ruling – is why I write this.