Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I babble about adoption...

Why do I write? Good question. I spent almost 17 years not venting or writing or dictating what I have lived. I told some, but not until the question "Do you have any kids?" opened the door for The Conversation. Other than that, I did not write about anything until I tried to FINALLY write my book. I always thought I would write a biography, my unique adoption story of living life without my children. (To my surprise, I really had a children's book in me.) My time on the Internet before my book consisted of watching old videos of bands I like, kids and animals doing funny things, emails from family and friends and the occasional research on a trip that was being planned. I did not look for adoption on the Internet because in my life, there was not a need for it.

You see, I have always known where my children are. I have been in contact through the US MAIL for their entire lives so I have been blessed with the good fortune of seeing them grow, knowing what they looked like, knowing what their interests were, hearing of how they were doing well in school and were also well liked. There was not much talk about the adoption in those writings, there was no need to. With every letter I wrote, I told them exactly how I was doing. If the time was hard I told them so. Just a "I am missing them a lot lately, but am so fortunate to know how and who they are." If the times were good, I always expressed my peace and my knowing that I did the right thing. I really had no fear of telling them where I was moving to, what profession I was exploring, what was going on in my personal life because I never wanted my children to ask them a question and them say..."I don't know." I was trying to make sure that the parents felt comfortable with me, knew me and felt reassured that I was not going to live life sad or regretful. They reciprocated in their letters with detail of how they were a complete family, how much joy they had in their lives. This was the key to my sanity.

They were the ones that I wrote to. Them and only them. Until August of 2009. That is when I released the book and began the one woman marketing campaign to get my voice to the world. A suggestion was made (Thanks Sheppard!) that I start a blog, tell my story my way in the new medium of life, the Internet. Blogger looked good, so I signed up there and my voice found a platform. Fantastic! I was having a ball just getting it all out. Thinking about thoughts that I have not visited in over a decade. I loved it. Then I started finding some voices that were not like mine. Voices that were not so pleased with their lives after placement, their lives as adoptees, their lives of waiting to have a child and struggling to understand the mind of a birth mother. The more I read, the deeper I fell into the dark side, the pitfalls of adoption. I knew full well the corruption that happens in the industry having lived in a not-so-birth-mother-friendly state where I was treated like a criminal, but I also knew the complete opposite of the industry when I went to a we-know-you-are-human adoption friendly state and was treated entirely different. I argued my points. They argued theirs, then proceeded to tell me that I did not know the journey. They were right, I did not know their journey. But I listened, I learned their stories, I learned their issues. There is no learning unless you listen.

So in the end, I am left with still telling my story and keeping the positives in there so people know that open adoption with clear communication and compassion can produce healthy relationships. But it is also good to know the other stories out there, the not so happy ones. The travesties that live in our society today that tear lives apart in the name of commerce. The injustices that happen in our country to step on birth mothers in the name of privacy. The sickening scams that leave parents not only heartbroken but vulnerable to fear of all birth parents in the name of I have no idea what! The worst, most sickening fact is that there are adoptees out there that have no access to their original birth certificates which is a fundamental right as an American citizen, just not for them. There is trust broken everywhere in adoption. There is fear everywhere in adoption. It will not go away overnight, but the more that is written, the more that is examined, the more we write to tell those stories ... well the better the chance that it will change. Change for the better.

I write to tell my story but I also have come to advocate for the positives in adoption as I know them. I will continue to tell people how I was able to keep hope alive, keep my heart courageous, keep communication going and keep trying to be open to my children and the difference it has made in all of our lives. I write because I have something to say. I write to make a change. I write to make sure that if someone out there needs to hear a positive story about adoption, they will find it here and know that someone was able to make it through living happily.

4 comments:

LeMira said...

Kelsey,

I really needed this post this morning. Recently, I started finding all of those negative voices and started thinking that adoption must be negative for everyone in some way. That we're doomed to have a sad story. Then I wake up to this, and you remind me that everyone's experiences are their own. They are not mine. I can learn from them and go into this with my eyes wide open. Adoption can be a miracle; it can be happy; it can be healthy. No one is saying it isn't hard and painful, but it can be positive. Thanks!

I'm sharing this link this morning.

Michael D. Lockhart said...

Thank you for having the courage and honesty to share.

I can't remember a time when I didn't know I was adopted. Although my adopted family turned out to be no less a mess than my birth family might have been, I've never regretted a minute, always appreciated my adopted parent's honesty, and thanks to them, have always appreciated the spirit in which my birth mother gave me up.

When I met my bio-mom (and two half-brothers) in my twenties it was a best-case scenario. I'm grateful for that too because I know others for whom it was less positive. But there are plenty of us, touched by adoption, that need to hear all the stories, embrace an honest understanding of how adoption can affect us all, and learn how positive a place it can hold in our understanding of ourselves.

That can't happen unless people like you tell the stories. So yeah, thanks. Keep listening, learning and writing. It's appreciated.

Kelsey Stewart, Author said...

LeMira, thank you for sharing my thoughts with your readers!

Michael, I thank you for telling ME your thougths about adoption. What a wonderful and healthy attitude you have towards adoption. I will keep listening, and writing if you promise to keep me up to date with how you feel...I really enjoyed hearing your voice!

Karin Katherine said...

It means so much to me to find a POSITIVE adoption story here on your blog. I really do want to do right by our future child and his/her birth mother.

I believe in doing whatever it takes to help promote healing. Even if it makes me uncomfortable, because what a small price is my discomfort for the blessing of a child---and we really feel called. We know God has this child out there for us. I am so desperate to hold this child. So desperate to move on to the next phase.

Adoption is so scary sometimes. Thanks for this blog.