Hi, I’m Mary Ellen, and I want to welcome you to my new blog. Let me tell you a little bit about me and what brought me to begin a blog, and then you can decide if you’d like to come along for the ride.
I’m in my late 40’s and I’m adopted. I was adopted as an infant by a terrific couple who turned out to be the best parents I could have ever wanted. You’ll hear a lot more about them as time goes on because they were both quite the characters, and were completely responsible for the fun-yet-slightly-twisted human being I turned out to be. Unfortunately, both of my folks are dead. I still miss them a lot.
Maybe because I was lucky enough to have such great parents, I was late in getting to that place a lot of adoptees get to – wanting to find out about my birth family. Of course, I had wondered occasionally from the time I was quite small, mostly about my birth mother. What does she look like? Does she ever think about me? And of course the big question: Why did she give me up?
Even though I wondered, I didn’t do anything about it for many, many years. Part of this was because I didn’t want to hurt my mom and dad’s feelings, but part of me just didn’t dare. It’s amazing how complex these feelings can be.
Anyway, when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s, I was having some problems and suffered a number of miscarriages. My Ob/Gyn at the time said, as every doctor I’d ever seen had said, “I wish we had some medical history on you.” Me, too. Around this time, it seemed like every week scientists were discovering another serious medical condition, disease or cancer that was genetic. If only you knew what scary stuff was in your genes, you could protect yourself, get screened early, take preventative measures. It didn’t seem fair that I couldn’t have that.
So I started looking into it, and found that in the state that I live in, adoption records are sealed. If you were born between 1953 and 1977, they are completely sealed and unobtainable. Your original birth certificate, with your birth parents’ names on it, is removed from the town records where you were born, and it’s like it never existed. The state prints you up a new thing, called a birth registration card, that has your adoptive parents’ names on it, and that’s that. There are several other states with similar restricted access to records by law, some states with recently opened records, and other states that never sealed the records in the first place.
Well, I tried a lot of avenues, which I will talk about as time goes on, but the bottom line is that I couldn’t get any information, no matter what I did, or who I talked to, until recently. A group of people, many of them like me, formed about 5 years ago with the sole purpose of passing legislation granting access for adult adoptees to their original birth certificates. It was a long, hard battle with many starts and stops, but the legislation finally passed in June of 2007, with an effective date of January 1, 2009.
This means that on January 2, 2009 (the first business day after the law takes effect) I will be able to go to the town in which I was born, and request a copy of my original birth certificate. I still get chills just thinking about it. What this will mean to me is hard to put into words, but I think about it all the time. What’s her name? It will be right there, on a piece of paper in my hand. Something I’ve waited my whole life to find out.
I find myself counting the days and weeks until January 2nd. I think about things in terms of before I get my birth certificate or after I get my birth certificate. And then I wonder what it is I’ll do once I have the name. Will I try to find her? What if my birth father’s name isn’t listed? Do I have siblings? There are a lot of things to think about, and talk about, which brings me to the reason for this blog.
I want to talk through this experience. I want to talk about what it was like to grow up adopted and how it has affected me, my personality and my parenting style. I want to tell someone all about this journey I’m on to find out about my birth family.
I’m an extravert, and I like to discuss everything. My friend Hallie over at Wonderful World of Wieners has shown me how therapeutic blogging can be. And how much it can reduce pressure on friends and family who otherwise would have to listen to me. And Hallie, like me, thinks everything you do in life is better with some company! So, I’m inviting you all to be my company. Hang on, it might be a wild ride.
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