Let’s imagine for a moment.
You are a young child watching life unfold with innocence and curiosity. Each day brings excitement, your eagerness to learn blossoms. Suddenly, however, you find yourself experiencing an event that is out of your control. It’s completely taken away everything you know to be normal and it has thrown you into a new and strange environment. This event’s impact is life changing and your child brain is unable to sort fact from fiction. You feel confused and scared.
Now you’re an adult and you have questions; questions about the event, why it happened and how it happened. You reach out to others, voicing your inquiries hoping their responses will provide some conclusions. But instead of receiving any concrete answers, you are met with a mix of theories and opinions. You turn to research; scouring the internet, making phone calls, searching for any direction to answers.
Eventually, you find out that the answers you are searching for are out there, all held together in a file. This file is available with all the missing information you’ve been searching for; records of facts and events, proceedings and conversations. All you need to do is get the file in your possession.
But that file is untouchable. Out of your grasp. For 100 years.
One. Hundred. Years.
This is what it’s like to be adopted.
Where I live, after an adoption takes place, all the records are sealed. Adoptees cannot access these records and are left without knowing exactly what happened to them as a child. With no direction, they remain trying to fill in the blanks of their life, with no sure and solid answer.
It’s infuriating being denied information regarding my own life. It feels as though our stories are so shameful they should be kept a secret. It’s as if anything before or during our adoption process doesn’t matter because our stories aren’t worth remembering.
Except, our stories do matter.
Everyone’s story matters. Our stories affect how we live our lives, how we interact with our world and how we see others around us. We use our stories to grow and to heal, to learn and to understand.
No one’s story should ever be a secret, nor should it be withheld.
I will continue to write and advocate, continue to be a voice for adoptees. I will not stop pushing for change in the way adoption is done.
Even if it takes 100 years.