Imagine with me for a moment.
You, as a child, experienced an event that was out of your control; one that completely shifted the course of your upbringing and guaranteed lasting effects on your life. You knew little of this event, your childhood mind unable to sort out fact or fiction. As you grew, so did your curiosities, and you began to ask questions. But, rarely were they answered with a concrete answer, rather they were met with a mix of theories and opinions.
Now you’re a grown adult and are still searching for answers. Finally, you find out they really are out there, all held together in a file. One available with all the missing information; records of facts and events, proceedings, conversations. Pieces of paper filling in all the blanks.
But that file, although all information pertaining to you, is untouchable. For 100 years.
One. Hundred. Years.
This is what it’s like to be adopted.
In my state, records discussing any and all details of an adoption are subsequently sealed after the adoption has taken place. Adoptees are not allowed to access these records and are left without knowing exactly what happened to them as a child.
Being denied information about my own life is infuriating. It’s as if adoptees’ stories are so shameful they are to be kept a secret. That, in essence, anything before or during the adoption process doesn’t matter; the stories aren’t worth remembering.
Except, our stories do matter. Everyone’s story matters. They affect how we live our lives; how we interact with our world and 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. I will continue to be a voice for adoptees. I will continue to pursue a change in the way adoption is done.
Even if it takes 100 years.