I never imagined I’d start a series on adoptee rights, but alas, here I am writing part one.
As an older adoptee, what I knew of adoptee rights, mine never seemed relevant. I know who my birth parents are, though my birth certificate was altered and I was angry about it I still have a copy of my original, I know my mental and medical history, and I’ve always had the choice to have contact with my birth family. In the way of rights, I was lucky. Well, really, in the way of adoption I was lucky because most kids are deemed unadoptable once they hit their teen years. In any case, the most commonly debated of my rights, I already had.
As I enter into the end stage of this adoption my eyes are being opened to how few rights we as adoptees actually have. Though in a perfect world it would make sense that adoptees not have the right to reverse an adoption, in the world we live in, it doesn’t. In a perfect world, adoptees would blend into their new family and the family, as a whole, would accept the child and treat them as their own and vice versa. There would be no separation in support offered. In a perfect world, parents and adoptees would continue to receive support after adoption to ensure that the adoption is continuously running within the “normal family” range. Well, in a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t actually be necessary. But we live in a not so perfect world and unfortunately there are adoptions that fail every single day. Often times, it’s pinned on the child for not being able to adapt into family life. Sometimes for not enough support or services. Sometimes because the parents aren’t actually suited to be a parent and the children are taken. However, sometimes they fail and no one knows. Sometimes they fail and it’s kept a secret from the rest of the extended family and world. The relationship remains a toxic mess where neither the child nor the parent is happy or healthy.
Queue my and many other adoptees issue: reversing the adoption. As adoptees, we don’t have the right to do that. I have contacted lawyers and adoption agencies and the only answers I have been given are that either another family has to adopt me or my adoptive parents have to reverse it. It doesn’t matter that I am an adult, or that I was only a part of their family for a little over a year before I was sent out to live on my own, with no support. It doesn’t matter that things weren’t good for the majority of the time I was there, due to issues on both my end and theirs. All that matters is that when I was 17.5 the state changed my records to reflect that I was born to people who didn’t know I existed until I was 16. And as I wait for their response to my request for reversal, I know that if they say no then I have one other option, and it’s not an option. And when I fight it, from those who’ve never been adopted I get, “well a biological child doesn’t have the right to just divorce their parents. “ And they are right…but a biological child never had the issue of being adopted thrust upon them. They didn’t live not knowing.
As I move forward, I hope to connect with more adoptees searching to do the same thing as I. Not out of hate or anger, but out of necessity. I hope to connect with other adoptees who not only want access to their befores, but access to their afters without this huge barrier hanging over their heads. I want adoptees to feel like they aren’t less than or like they have no power. I want to empower other adoptees that are afraid to take their personal power and their life back.