After 22 years and 100’s of adoptions, they are coming back for answers. I started leading ASC’s post placement team in January this year. Once I dug in, I realized how much of a need there is. We have only just began to scratch the surface of my dreams for this project. I believe this is the most important work we do.
The adoptions of my past, of the agency’s past, shhhh, our mistakes, is what keeps me digging in. I feel somewhat responsible. I did nothing intentionally wrong, ASC and other adoption agency’s did nothing intentionally wrong. We did not know any better. Just like my mom threw me in the station wagon without a child seat, as she took country roads at 70 miles an hour. She did not know any better.
We have evolved as humans. We are committed to doing better, because darn it, these are people’s lives, and we feel they are important.
This happens to be Lynn and her important story.
Lynn’s post placement plan with the adoptive family was like most of its era in the late 90’s. Lynn was portrayed as a young, teen mom, age 16, who was involved in a relationship with a “much older” man. There was no real “medical history” that was shared. The plan was that after Lynn signed the adoption papers, pictures of her son and letters were to be sent to Lynn, to keep her updated. They were sent to ASC and the agency would send them on, taking away any identifying information. After just a few years, Lynn stopped requesting and no one kept sending them.
Lynn had moved and her life became hectic and traumatic. You would expect nothing else from her family of origin. In 2009 and again in 2011 Lynn gave birth and tried to parent her children. But addiction grabbed Lynn and wrapped her in its devastating grip. She lost custody of her children to the state and has no idea where they are or if they are even together as siblings.
In 2018, Lynn got sober and the feelings started to well, “feel” like they do. Lynn reached out to the post placement team this month and asked for an update. It took us a while to find her son’s family after so many years. But when we did the adoptive parents said, “He has never asked about her”. Adoptive mom continued to say, Andrew has always known his story and that he is adopted. He never seemed to need to know any more.
This is not okay anymore at ASC!
These adoptees need to be prompted. They need to see positive body language, have a safe space to show emotion, grief and loss of their first family.
Now I have not spoken to Andrew personally about his feelings, but I have spoken to many other adoptees who all said. “I never talked about it, as I didn’t want to hurt my parents feelings, but I always wanted to know more”.
Every single time I hear this statement from past adoptive parents, “He has never asked”. I count to three and and remind myself, this is our mistake, the mistake as adoption agencies. No one did anything intentionally wrong, but a lot of harm has been done. Enough is enough at ASC.