It’s interesting from a larger perspective – adoption laws are different from state to state, and Bastard Nation is dedicated to making records available to adoptees. For example, I can’t have my real birth certificate, but at least it is on file somewhere in Idaho and if the law in idaho were changed, I could hold my own birth certificate legally. But this is not just about my own birth certificate, it’s about how poorly adoptees as a class of citizen are treated by these laws that hide and wash away identity and lack oversight into the situations adoptees find themselves in as they grow up. Not all adoptive parents should be parents.
Creating a dialog around individual accounts is essential – when accounts are isolated they become easily dismissed, quickly diminished, but when a collection voices, each with a unique take on a greater social injustice, can be presented, the possibility for a conversation to extend into the public sphere increases.
It, in this case, being the impact of adoption on an infant, a child. Why should the impact of adoption not be weighed against the alternative, whatever that may be? I am conditioned to picture the alternative being a series of horrors, a spectrum from the neglectful to that of murderous parents, slavery, a life of poverty and crime from the moment of birth. We all are, in some sense – and the rising anti-abortion laws further the narrative of adoption-first approaches throughout certain regions within the United States. That central myth is a preservative narrative shielding a poorly regulated confederacy of institutions and private interests that facilitate an enormous industry that trades in human life.
An industry ruled by special interests, worth billions, and incentivized by religious pressure to provide children to homes for conversion. Read “The Child Catchers” by Kathryn Joyce to get caught up on how we got to this point. Continue reading →
We are all individuals, and our interests and desires are formed as much by our biology as our experiences. Those who are raised with their biological parents find corresponding interests driven by genetic similarities, something often completely missing from the equation within an adoptive family setting.
When there are no shared interests within a family dynamic, there is no support to develop those interests.
At best, I would be left on my own to engage with those things I found interesting. In many cases, I was punished for my interests, or actively prevented from pursuing them. I learned to hide what I was reading, I developed speed-reading unintentionally along the way, my constant state of near panic, a adolescent-long hyper-vigilant state of mind, drove this adaptation.
But it also left me convinced that I was inherently flawed, broken, and unvalued. My inner world was awash in self-erasure, fantasies of some distant rescue operation underway to recover me from my life and bring me back to my true parents. And when that rescue never came, the feelings of hopelessness grew ever stronger- Continue reading →
The real drugging began in a mental hospital, where I had been brought by my parents, against my will.
I cannot recall the precise timeline of events. I do know specific dates, because I spent specific amount of time in the hospital setting, and I know I celebrated my 17th birthday behind its walls.
I believe the issues began earlier, with the prescription of doxycycline and a summer of heavy exposure to sunlight. Continue reading →
I remember the LA Riots as the thing that was happening when I was locked up.
I only recall the newspaper headline, and half a photo, seen through the grill of a vending machine outside the mental hospital, a Meier-affiliated Christian mental hospital my adoptive parents had driven me to in Plano, Texas.
I was sixteen, nearly seventeen, and they were frightened out of their minds. I was signed over to the institution, and that was it for a while. I was alone. Continue reading →
(Or, That First Whirling Scar)
I have post-traumatic stress disorder. It is this complicated notion of trauma that is central to my desire to write, in part for my own process of coming to terms with my PTSD, but also in an attempt to provide a voice, albeit one among many, to call for a cultural shift in understanding both adoption and PTSD.
My trauma was not centralized in the moment of the adopting – although it was my first traumatic moment after birth. If that had been the only traumatic incident, though, there is still certainly enough research to support that as a possible causal factor in the onset of what Nancy Verrier terms “the primal wound” in her 1993 book of that name. The other trauma is detailed as much as I am able to recount it, and consists of incidents and physical abuses. Continue reading →
In the abstract, the adoptee is positioned across two tensions of the state – the assumption and legitimation of identity, and the power of the State to maintain an arbitrary secret indefinitely. When an identity is held tenuously, when identity is the first injury, individuals will find challenges to identity and authority re-traumatization, and suffer accordingly. Continue reading →