I like the letter format. It helps me organize my thoughts. This one I probably will not send, but you never know.
I should say I hope this letter finds you well, but I really don’t. Your health means nothing to me. Let’s start again then.
Hi Dad. How are you?
I don’t even know if you’re still alive, or if you can speak or read. I don’t know if you still live in your own home, or are in an institution. I know nothing about your day to day life. Do you still drive? The last communication I got from you, I think 4 years or more ago said that you were ill and not able to leave the house much. I don’t know if you have recovered, or if the illness has gotten worse. I hope it’s not a heredity illness, but you have chosen to keep that a secret. Maybe it’s a result of your past drug use, like the liver disease that killed my mother.
Our little family is well. A’s 20 now and in Copenhagen, doing a semester abroad. I can’t imagine living her life. I did not go to college, and have never been to Europe. I’m proud that I can provide this experience for my child.
C is 25, and in graduate school, getting her teaching degree. She lives at home with us. K is 30, and a practicing court reporter. She travels around with her machine, taking depositions for several court reporting agencies. She goes all over, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. She’s living at home for now too, but saving up to get her own place.
Your oldest grandchild, P is 31 and still working for the county. He’s been there for 10 years, and is a supervisor. He has his own place a few miles away.
I just got promoted to supervisor at the DMV! It’s scary and exciting.
I write letters to you all the time in my head, so I decided to write one down. There is so much I must say, but no one really wants to hear it.
Being an adopted adult is a very strange experience. There are not that many of us out there. Closed infant adoption is rare. Everyone knows someone who is adopted, but not many people know how it feels to be one of us.
We are told how to feel, by everyone. Our bio and adopted families both see us as “different”. We do not fit anywhere. We face things every day, that most people have no idea about. We seem normal on the outside, but we suffer on the inside.
I am part of a dying breed. Infant adoption is not as popular as it used to be. Women are keeping their babies. It’s not as shameful as it was in the old days. Closed adoption is rare now. Society has seen the pain and problems that it caused, and the trend is for more openness in infant adoption.
I, personally think all types of adoption are abusive to children. Babies need their mothers, not strangers, and every effort should be made to keep children and their mothers together. If that’s not possible, family care should always be considered next. Stranger adoption should be an absolute last resort.
Growing up with strangers is a bewildering experience. I knew that I was adopted from before I could speak or understand. I cannot remember the terrible moment when I learned the truth about my sad beginnings. It was always there. I always knew that my own mother gave me away, and I could never understand why. Even after we met, her reasons were never clear.
She blamed you, but she had to sign those papers too. I know she wanted me to have a better life than she did, but why she thought giving me to random strangers was the way to do that confuses me. How can you be sure your child has a good life, if you have no idea where they are, or what’s happening to them?
I faced many harsh realities as a child. I could never be the biological child my adoptive parents wanted, and I could never go back to my real family. I was stuck in a nightmare world, with no way out.
When I found my family, I was dismayed to find that you had a stable upbringing. I was upset, because it went against what the agency told my adoptive parents, that you were too poor to take care of me. You were not.
I quickly realized that there was a reason that you did not want your family to help raise me. I’m still not sure what that reason is. I can only suspect that it had to do with my mother’s race. I feel strongly that your father knew what was going on, and he was aware of the adoption. I think other family members knew too.
When my mother had her third pregnancy, she called my brother’s grandmother, and told her that she had my brother. My brother’s father’s family helped my mother raise her son. She finally got to keep one of her children.
So, why couldn’t your family do the same? Why did I have to be given to strangers? I don’t think there is an answer that will make sense to me.
Well, that’s it for now.