English 101,College Composition
December 7, 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
When I started to think of what subject I may write about for this paper I knew it had to be something close to my heart. I quickly started to consider the subject of adoption. I was adopted in the state of Missouri in 1976.As one might imagine a million questions arise for adopted children. As a youngster I wondered who I may look like act like or where I may have lived if I'd not been adopted. In 1992 I was in high school and discovered I was pregnant. Although; it broke my heart and I cried daily about my decision I knew I must place this beautiful unborn child up for adoption. I wanted this baby to have all I had been given and offered. I knew that I at the age of seventeen with no job and not yet a high school diploma I could never give my birth child what was deserved of her. So I chose this subject of adoption because I am on both sides of the coin because I have a lot of questions still and because I love my birth family (although I don't know them) and I love my birth daughter with all my heart and soul. To learn more for myself and for her and to maybe just maybe open other people's eyes to a view of adoption they may not know about.
My story of adoption began in Harrisonville, Missouri in December of 1973.I was a newly born baby and at three days old was placed in a foster family. It was the home of Ann and John Lozano. They had a biological son named Alex and had fostered many babies before. At the age of three they had officially adopted me and I was there for good. I noticed from a very young age, I believe I was about 4, that I looked and acted differently than the rest of my adopted family. I was blond with pale skin and green eyes and a huge open personality. In contrast my biological father was 100% blooded Mexican with black hair brown eyes and darker skin. I even asked him at four years old what a black guy like him was doing in a white family like ours. Lucky, I suppose for me, he thought this was hysterical and laughed wildly. My adoptive mother is tall thin with brown hair and big brown eyes. So even at a very young age the physical differences were noticed by me. The personalities were noticeably just as different. I was very open talkative and optimistic. My adoptive mother was very reserved and quiet always choosing words carefully. My adoptive brother was also quiet and reserved but seemed to enjoy his little sister's big look at life. All these differences made me very curious about my birth parents early on. From around pre-school I remember asking questions about who they were where I came from and how I ended up here. My adoptive mother was very open and honest but being that adoptions in that day were closed there was not much she could tell me. Being that I was a happy well loved kid this was okay when I was that young. As I grew though the questions nagged at me more.
"Curiosity killed the cat." I use this saying because I think it's more curiosity than anything else that makes me research and write about this topic. Curiosity about who I am on a deeper biological level. Where I truly began before the adoption.
- If I looked at a photo of my birth family who would I resemble?
- Would I laugh like one of my birth grand parents or sound like a birth parent?
- Where they all hushed adoptions closed to everyone?
- How were the birth mothers of 1973 treated compared to now?
- What were the ramifications for young unwed mothers in the 1970's? And have they change?
- Did the legalization of abortion affect adoption rates?
- Was it at all common for birth mothers to leave letters for their babies for when they grew up?
- Are open adoptions more common today compared to the 1970's?
WHAT I KNOW:
- I know that adoptions in the state of Missouri in the 1970's were very closed deals. Even in the case of serious medical issues it was near to impossible to get a judge to grant opening the sealed records.
- I know that emotions ran and still run high not matter what side you're on.
- I know that years ago orphanages were common practice, over crowed and the children were often not loved the way they deserved to be.(Babe Ruth grew up in one)
- I know that there was much desperation on both sides of the fence.
- I know that love is such a complicated and needed feeling that people do not always think clearly.
The true search of this began many years ago in my bedroom growing up in Missouri. Back then all I had were questions and imagination. Never did I think that over thirty years later I would be writing about this in a paper for an English class. Once I started the search for this paper it lead me down many a road. Some of the search was very emotional on a personal level. And some was more than a little infuriating. I began by looking into the laws of Missouri adoption in 1973 up to 1992 while staying within Missouri law only.(Kansas City Adoption Law FAQ) I found it to be very helpful with laws of that time for that area. I really needed to find something that was more informative about the personal issues from both birth sides and adoptive ones. For this I found a very helpful website.(Adoption Network Law Center) The name of the site is a bit deceiving because it makes it sound like a center for laws. And although it did have some it was mainly personal stories from both birth parents and adoptive parents as well as adopted children. It was heart wrenching and over whelming at times but very helpful. I had intended to get some personal view from my own birth daughter however when researching and writing this she was going through some personal issues and wasn't very keen on speaking to me so I didn't ask. My adoptive mother was very kind and helpful. She had more of an emotional input of course. I was in need of more general factual information also so I could get a broader over view of adoption as a whole.(Wikipedia- The Free Encyclopedia) All these references combined made for good information and a open paper.
WHAT I LEARNED:
I think I could write and endless paper on just what I learned alone. I began this search believing that the internet and people were going to be my prime sources. And they were for the majority. Emotion and people played a greater role in the shape than even I had expected. I found invaluable information and more than one heart breaking story. I learned that even in the 1970's it was still "unbecoming" for and un married pregnant woman to be seen in public. And in the case of adoption she often was sent to "homes for unwed mother's."(I thought those were way back not in the 70's for sure!) Thankfully in today's society they have done away with this.( In other country's women can still be killed for un married pregnancies and adoption's are still only within families) I really thought when I started this search that I would find that abortion rates would be lower later in the decades such as 1980's and 1990's just due to the fact that adoption was by that time more accepted. I found that I was wrong in my thought. Abortion rates actually sky rocketed in the early 1990's. I found this shocking. I'm not a naïve woman but I truly thought that because there wasn't so much judgement on adoption that more young people would choose this over abortion. I found it really came more down to emotions and what people considered easier.(I don't see that either would be easy but?) Also I found what I thought was an interesting fact : I n Missouri in 1973 a family was only allowed to adopt one child per family. My adoptive mother informed me that in fact yes that was true. For after she adopted me she had wanted to adopt a baby boy she had cared for as a foster child in our home for three years and was denied. Denied because my parents had adopted me already. I remember him. His name was Brian. The day he was adopted and left my mother cried her eyes out and wailed on our front lawn. And then Brian cried. It was really really awful. I firmly believe that is why my mother never fostered another child. I was six years old and even I knew my mommy's heart was broken. So much of what I found related to my own adoption. The fact that there was no information on my own adoption was a direct result of the laws of that time. The fact that you could only adopt one child directly affected my own adopted family. As the years went on and the laws changed it affected my own adoption as a birth mother. I believe I was fortunate during my adoption process with my own birth daughter. I was able to have an open adoption choose the adoptive parents and keep in contact without over burdening my birth daughters life. I wanted her to have open access to me whenever she was ready for that, while still letting her live her own life. Adoption is complicated and ever changing and ever in the name of love.
For adoption as a whole I hope the future holds even more openness and care. I hope that society continues to become more accepting and helpful for the people that are in a difficult position. I also hope that for the sake of all medical records will be a given at every adoption both open and closed. The medical side of adoption is very important and would certainly help with the raising of a child for the adoptive parents. On a personal note I hope that my birth daughter comes back around and wants to continue a relationship. We have always had a relationship and I want that to grow and continue. I want her to feel always loved and accepted by me. I will be here when she's ready.For adoptive parent's including my own mother I hope they realize more and more what a huge impact they make. How very much people like them are needed for children that just need love. Adoptive parents are brave people. They dare to love deeply for children they have no biological connection to because they have the good since to realize that blood does not make a family- love does. I hope I have made it very clear to my own adoptive mother throughout my life- I so appreciate her unconditional love for me and all she's done for me. From being a ward of the state to a loved child there really is no greater un-selfish gift. Thank you to all adoptive parents you have made a positive impact to the world that will last forever. And for birth parents you're heart breaking decision changed the lives of more than one- you are never forgotten.
Wikipedia- The Free Encyclopedia- website- www.wikipedia.com 11/13/2012
The site gives in depth history from middle ages to contemporary times on many forms of adoption.
Kansas City Adoption Law FAQ- PA Kenney W; - website- www.kansascityadoptionlawfaq.com 11/13/2012
This site has lists of the most asked questions concerning all forms of adoption
Adoption Network Law Center- Adopting.org- www.adoptionnetwork.com 11/13/2012
This site is mostly a site leaned towards birth parents and the emotional impact of adoption
Ann Lozano-adopted mother and foster mother to many-personal interview- over several days and times
Had great personal insight and information concerning feelings of adopted parents. Also insight into the children's point of view. And with much love I say my deepest thanks and forever all my love.