Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm not a stalker

Today I plan to be on the phone, finding out exactly what I’m going to have to do to get my birth certificate. It’s so frustrating to be told that things are not going to work as promised, but, as several of you have pointed out, it’s a lot better finding out now rather than later. What a horrible feeling it would have been on January 2nd, walking into the town office, expecting to be handed my birth certificate, and being turned away.

Evidently, any adult adoptee that wants his or her original birth certificate must apply for it by filling out some forms, which have not yet been released. Once they turn in the forms to the state, someone at the Bureau of Vital Statistics locates the records and, one assumes, sends them to the person.

Gee, that sounds simple, doesn’t it? Of course, they admit they’re not sure where the records are, and they don’t have the forms ready yet, and they have no idea how long this process will take. I did find out that if we notify someone at BVS that we are going to be applying to get the records, they might start looking for them now, so that it will be quicker to match them to the request after January 2nd. So, that’s another thing I plan to do today.

One of the other things that the state is working on is a form for birth parents to fill out. If they choose, they may file a form saying that they do not wish to be contacted. The good news is that, if they file this form, they are also required to provide a complete medical history form. Get lost, but here’s your medical background.

If I stop and think about this very long, I go nuts. Imagine how it would feel to finally get the names you’ve waited for all your life, and they are accompanied by a note that says, PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM US. Talk about abandonment issues. Geez.

When we were fighting to get this law passed, the opposition often talked about how this would RUIN THE LIVES of so many birth mothers. They painted a picture of a peaceful woman with her peaceful family in their peaceful home SHATTERED by the appearance of the child she gave up for adoption. Maybe she never told them about me. Maybe the shame of it all will kill her. Maybe their oldest child finds out he’s not really the oldest child and ends up hating her. Maybe their happy family will never be the same and it will be all my fault.

Well, this is what I have to say about that: I’m not a stalker. I have absolutely no desire to shatter anyone’s happiness. What I want is some information – information that I think I deserve to have. I want to know where I came from. I want to know what scary diseases might be waiting to get me. I want my children to have all the medical history they can have. I want to know if I have siblings.

Would I like to talk to them? Sure. If my birth parents are still alive, I’d love to get to know them a little bit, but I don’t need parenting. I think one good set of parents is all anybody really needs – and I had a set already, thanks - but I’m not against having some kind of relationship with them. I’d love to get some answers to questions I’ve pondered since I was a child.

But, I don’t want to cause any trouble. I hate to think that my very existence causes anyone pain, and I don’t appreciate the implication that I would go storming off to ruin my birth mother’s life. I would never do that.

What I would tell her, if I got the chance, is simple:

You did the right thing. Thank you.

15 comments:

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

When we finally got John's birth mom's name, the courts sent along a letter saying that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES could he be the one to contact her. It clearly stated that someone else had to make first contact, in order to give her the option to say she was not interested.

I remember thinking, as I made that first phone call, that life was about to suck big time if the woman on the other end of the phone said "thanks, but no thanks." Instead she said she'd been waiting for this phone call for 25+ years.

I don't think I've ever felt so relieved....

Hallie

AirmanMom said...

ME...All I can say is that my prayers are with you as you go through this process.
Stay Strong!
Pray Hard!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

justlori2day said...

And what happens if those birth parents that "say" they dont want to be contacted change their minds?

I pray she will be as excited as you to meet for the first time.

Still counting!!

Abby Reed said...

Oh my gosh, I totally understand where you are coming from -- you already have parents, you just need a history! Really hit home for me.

Good luck -- stay productive :)

Stephanie said...

Best of luck with this whole process. I think we all know how efficient government programs and paperwork are. I hope it doesn't take too long for you to get the answers you need and I hope it's a really positive experience for you!

Reddirt Woman said...

Back even not so many years ago, people did not realize how important medical history would be to a child when they grew up and had children. I think now a much more detailed medical history is being provided and often times the adoptive parents and the birth mother have met. I can't imagine what it is like for you to have to persevere through all this crap and jump through all the hoops. I can only be here to lend support and try to help to prop you up at times when you get knocked back.

I really feel that the trip you are taking will end up being worth the potholes in the road.

Helen

Laura ~Peach~ said...

Facinating hoops... I can not imagine them giving identifying information (names) if the parents specifically request not to be identified...I like you made it abundantly clear that i did not need a mommy or daddy in my search I needed to know whoa nd where I came from and medical history but I have parents even thought they were not the best as parents go there are STILL the ones who were and are there now. I am grown with kids and Even more that wanting to know them I KNEW I had siblings and I wanted to know how many and where they were and that alone was worth the agony of the search.
hugssssssss Laura

Becca said...

Ah, ya gotta love bureaucracy. On the locating your records thing,I worked in children's services and I know what a mess old files were, many with original BCs for wards of the state, they were just showed in file boxes, poorly labeled, in a warehouse. We used to use summer interns to dig through and find stuff. I have a friend who got in contact with her birth mother and started to get to know her and then the woman panicked because she had never told anyone but her immediate family she had had a baby and, weird as it was, my friend's husband's extended family was in the same town (on the other side of the country, it was a weird coincidence) and she was afraid they would find out and her grandmother would disown her.it was heartbreaking for Staci.
I pray that either of these things happen to you but I am glad you are considering the possibilities to avoid devastation at the unexpected

Shellie said...

Oh, I agree with you on all counts! You just have a right to know some things. How many people have to have a question as to how they came to exist and how they ended up where they did? That being said, there should be some kind of education available to prepare people before contacting their birth parents as to the range of experiences they might encounter and how to reach out discreetly for that info. My husband had to go through a go between to contact the birth mother and the go between was highly insensitive and caused just such a hullabaloo with her family. If we had to do it over again, we would have insisted on the contact info and reached her ourselves. Tactfully and discreetly. If you want to read the story I posted about a year ago in 7-8 parts. the link to the first one is http://little-but-loud.blogspot.com/2007/12/story-for-sunday.html I posted every Sunday after that post. Hoping you find out all you need to know in your case!

Alice said...

How wonderful you put that! I have a friend who was adopted and now has a relationship with her birth-mom, but she is CLEAR that her real mom is the one who raised her all these years.

I hope you get the answers you're looking for. And I think it's wonderful you're sharing this journey with all of us. We're rooting for you!

Vegas Princess said...

The process you are going through is daunting to me. I can not even imagine how you must be feeling. Excited, nervous, scared, apprehensive. The idea that you would wish to "upset" anyone's life is preposterious. You are entitled to know where you came from and what the future may hold for you. This is not an absurd necessity. I wish the government would understand that things are not always done with malicious intent in mind.

jojo said...

Oh how your words touched me today...I can't explain it. It seems so simple to just want some answers and so comoplicated. I wish I had some answers for you but since I don't please know I hold you in my heart, that I will be here with you on this journey to support you and send up a few good prayers for your strength and courage no matter the outcome. Take care...

kimmy said...

I'll be thinking of you...

Kimmy

knittergran said...

This is a lovely post. Maybe you could include it in any file that your birth parents might see. It would relieve them of any worries, and perhaps make them really want to "find" you.

knittergran said...

That did not come out right. Sorry. I just meant that they would realize what a lovely person you are and not be nervous about meeting you, if that turns out to be possible.