Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adoption Series Part 2: An Adoptee's Story

Today's post is another guest writer. The author is a dear friend of mine, Lori. Lori and I met back in college in the late 1980's as we both pursued degree's in Social Work. When I got this idea of bringing to light some adoption issues, I asked Lori if she would tell us her story. And she said yes!

Lori's Story:

I always knew I was adopted. I was cool with that. I never had any issues with it.  However, as I got older, I became more curious about my background; particularly where my naturally curly hair came from.  I realize this is a pretty silly concern, but having grown up in the 70’s and 80’s where straight feathered hair was the norm, I fought with and hated my hair with a passion. I really wanted to know where I got this mop! 

I had the best parents a kid could ask for and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings so it took me a while to get the nerve to bring it up the idea of searching for my birth mom.  But with the help from my Mom, who gave me my adoption papers, the search was on!  It turned out to be frighteningly easy for me, and I located my birth mom in 1995.  Not wanting to infringe on her privacy in case she didn’t want anything to do with me, I asked a co-worker to call her on my behalf.  She was very excited to meet me, and we talked on the phone prior to meeting in person and my first question was to ask about my hair.  Turns out my hair comes from her father, my biological grandfather, and most of my cousins have hair similar to mine.  Thankfully I’ve learned how to style my hair, and of course there is a whole market of products now specifically designed to make my hair cooperative, if not beautiful on occasion. 

Meeting my birth mom Sharon was a great experience for me and my Mom both I believe.  My Mom has been supportive from the beginning even though it was probably only for my benefit.  She has always been strong and awesome in that way.   I’d like to believe though that the wonderful relationship that we all share is enjoyed and appreciated by all of us equally.  I love that all of us get together to celebrate Mother’s Day, and attend our children’s’ events.  My in-laws, my Mom, and my birth mom Sharon and her husband all get along great and it makes for warm family gatherings.

It certainly helped the situation that I had a wonderful upbringing and didn't feeling as though I was ‘missing’ something or longing to fill emptiness; I was primarily curious about my hair.  The fact that it was so easy to locate her I’m sure helped a lot.  I was placed for adoption in Kansas, which has open records.  Some of the documents my (adoptive) Mom gave me had my birth moms’ last name on them.  It was an unusual name that she had not changed when I was looking for her so she was easy to find. 
I am really excited to see so many people now using Facebook to search for their biological relatives.  I can only hope the positive reunions outweigh any negative experiences even though I know both will happen.   During the early years of our reunion Sharon contacted my biological father who still, to this day does not want any contact with me.  I view it as his loss as I never wanted anything more than medical information from him, and certainly never meant any harm.

The end result of our experience is now a published book.  My birth mother, Sharon Fieker Cummins wrote a book about how our reunion has changed her life.  It is titled I Choose This Day: Mournings and Miracles of Adoption.  It tells of the transformation that occurred when I found her, and the roller coaster ride of emotions she experiences as a birth mother.  It has been an interesting experience for me as well.  A friend asked how I felt about being the topic of a book.  I told her that my opinion is pretty simple, if someone finds comfort after reading about our experience, regardless of what their own experience might have been, it will have been worth it.  I must admit that it is an awkward and unusual feeling to read about yourself and know that others will now be able to know such intimate details of your life, but at the same time I am proud of Sharon for pursuing this dream that I am simply happy to support her efforts to share our story.  

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