I'm a gifted adult survivor of child abuse by my adopted parents, who left me with chronic depression, PTSD, and a touch of autism for good measure. Here I examine the fragments of my past. It's enlightening but not pleasant. You've been warned.

If you want to see my lighter sides, here's a list of my other blogs:

We Have Always Lived in a Homeschool my blog about homeschooling my three gifted children

Lioness' Fandom

My Pinterest Boards where I express myself without words

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Woozy, but still here.

I seem to have stabilized a bit.  My despair's hit an all-new rock bottom, which while lower than ever before looks like it'll hold steady for a bit.  It shouldn't collapse for, oh, a few months at least, and that will give me time to do some infrastructure repair above it.  Most of my physical ailments are gone, with the worst of the remainder being a migraine that's lasted three weeks.  If I don't start phasing soon I'm going to be PISSED.  :P

Sunday, November 24, 2013

11/24 Update: The Psychosomatic Fireworks Get Annoying

Still alive, and rolling my eyes at the psychosomatic fireworks going on inside me.  Ever since this nervous breakdown triggered in the spring my ailments have all turned into blooming drama queens.  My illnesses have become incredibly intense and exaggerated, pushing the definition of "sub-clinical" to the limits.  Suffice to say that the current round of seeing how far complications from the flu can really mess up your period has left me with plenty of source material to write some spectacular gory first person body horror in the incredibly unlikely event that I should get a yen to write such a thing.

It would be a hypochondriac's wet dream, but since I'm not a hypochondriac it's just incredibly irritating.  All the recently uncovered pain and trauma of my childhood is seeping up, out, and looking for ways to manifest.

"All?"  Well, I hope so.  Of course it's quite likely to be just "most" or even "some".  I can hope it's "all" at any rate.

Anyway, blogging will resume when my guts calm down a bit.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Came down with the flu, stumbled around blearily, and broke my toe.

(In spite of this, can't convince my family I'm sick.  Get pulled out on junking expeditions, talked into massive Autumnal cooking projects, and monologued while lying in bed trying to sleep.  Grrrr!)

Blogging will resume when I'm feeling better.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Purchased: Bought, Sold, and Treated Like Toxic Waste

 One of the reasons for blogging about my adoption is to turn over long-buried nuggets that I hadn't examined closely before.  Last week this bit floated to the surface:

You weren't just adopted.  In the 1960s era (or the modern era either) no apparently healthy white baby girl was ever "just" adopted; there's too much demand for them.  You were purchased.  You were bought and sold.


Extremely capitalist society.  Should have expected that.

My adopted mother no doubt felt like she didn't get her money's worth.  She wanted a Prom Queen, not a nerd.  Shouldn't there have been a discount?

(Geez woman, you knew my natural mother was a college student in 1966 when most girls didn't go to college.  What did you expect?)

I went looking up prices.  Adoption agencies in the 1960s would charge up to $10,000 to the parents of the pregnant woman for her care, something only the well-off could afford. Then they told the adopters the girls were poor and had no money and the adopters would have to pay $10,000 to cover her expenses.  And then they would do fundraisers to raise money from the public on the basis of al the good they were doing for poor people.

What a racket!  If that isn't the slimiest con job of all time, it  comes close.  $20,000+ for each baby in 1960s money.  No wonder they would do anything to coerce the women into giving up their babies.

But being bought and sold only made me uncomfortable.  This is America, Americans don't know any other way to behave.  The rich must be more decent than the rest of us, so whatever they do is automatically more decent, irrespective of actual consequences.

I was bought by my adoptive parents.  I was sold by the adoption agency.  As a white girl baby I possessed a defined positive value, a "price" as it were.  And for the 1960s it was a fairly high price.  But.... that wasn't the whole story.   The other shoe dropped this morning.

You didn't merely possess a defined positive value, but also a defined negative value.  Your grandparents were willing to pay goddamn $10,000 to have a professional "cleanup crew" haul you off like toxic waste so they never had to see your face again.

Somewhere out there lives (or lived, she'd be in her 80s at least by now if she's still alive) my maternal grandmother, a woman who paid a princely sum of $10,000 for the privilege of not being my Grammy.

Ah, yeah.  Um....


How the fuck is that supposed to NOT fuck your head up?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Housecleaning Today

I've done a ton of Googling recently.  I need to stay off the computer and let the dust settle from all the things I've learned.  Also do something about the dust that's settled around the house while I've been online; it's becoming a health hazard.

You hear that self?  Stay off the computer!

Monday, November 4, 2013

When I Grow Up I Want to Be an Angry Adoptee

It would be good to remove enough layers of "self discipline" and repression that I could actually feel anger instead of simply grief.  Maybe it will come someday if I keep working at it.  That would be a sign that I finally felt safe enough to feel angry, and that's something to look forward to.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Adoption Story Part 2: Cindy

My Adoption Story Part 1

Any forensic examination of the process my adoptive parents went through when they decided to adopt has to ask, "What the Hell was up with Cindy?"

After deciding to adopt, the first decision my FAPs made was to eschew Catholic Charities in favor of a private adoption.  This is atypical behavior on their part.  Private adoption was the most expensive option, and they were cheapskates.  Also private adoption involved a lawyer, and this is the only time I can ever remember my adoptive father paying for a lawyer.  That just wasn't his M.O.

But there's another problem with not going with the cheap-and-popular option.  Dad said Mom told him about that time that she wanted nothing to do with Catholics.  Now Mom hated a lot of people and wasn't shy about proclaiming it:  blacks, Jews, women, gays, and basically anyone the least bit happy, successful, or respected.  But I never remember her ever saying she hated Catholics.  There had to be some other reason.  I wonder if she and her first husband tried to go through Catholic Charities, and they rejected her?

 So I was told that after this there were character references, home visits, and Mom spent three years teaching a Sunday School class to get certified as "good with children" (Mom never taught a Sunday School class or anything else AGAIN until Dad died and she had to make nice with the church to use their free labor) but I'm not sure who did the certifying since they went with a private adoption.  Someone whose seal of approval would presumably look good on some document somewhere.  Were there private companies that would certify PAPs for a fee?  I must look into that.

But the really screwy part of this story was Cindy.  In order to prove to the certification people that they were competent to handle a baby my adoptive parents-to-be got a dog.  Now what kind of dog would make the best impression on the certification people?  A golden retriever, with it's proven child-friendliness?  No.   A collie, intelligent and loyal?  Nope.  How about a beagle with it's small size, amiable nature, and gentle disposition?  Nuh-uh, not good enough.  They had to go and get a chihuahua, the perennial front-runner in the Least Baby-Friendly Dog in the Universe competition.

But not just any chihuahua.  When they went to the puppy farm to pick out a dog, there was one little puppy who had been dropped by a great height by a little girl and was now deathly terrified of all little children, and as a result aggressive towards all little children.  They were assured that she would be a fine dog -- AS LONG AS SHE WAS KEPT AWAY FROM ALL BABIES AND SMALL CHILDREN.

And that's the way Cindy was.  She was a fine dog -- around adults.  Around any child including me she would growl, bark, and otherwise act like she was about to start a fight to the death.  Cindy stayed in the house with us, but as far away from my adoptive younger sister and I as space would allow.  If we were even in the same half of a room with her she would go spastic.

So, you're thinking, that's a sad story but what else were they going to do with the little dog after they (foolishly) brought her home?  Well, they could have given her to my adoptive paternal grandmother, who already had a chihuahua, was known to dogsit for people who traveled abroad for years, lived in the same town, and repeatedly offered to take Cindy in.  No deal.

Now, what's wrong with this picture?

Wrestling With Searching

I've got so many thoughts racing so far ahead, so many posts started, so many links and quotes I'm trying to keep track of that it can be hard to actually decide what to do next.  But I need to get this post out before I do anything else.

So, people wonder, you're 47.  You've known you were adopted your entire life.  You're friends with other adoptees who've successfully found their birthparents.  Why have you never searched?

Because I was convinced that doing so would be unethical, immoral, selfish, and self-destructive.  I believed it was the most awful and irresponsible thing I could possibly do.

Why would I believe that?

For starters I have chronic depression, low self esteem and PTSD.  At first why I had these conditions seemed a mystery to all involved, possibly caused by some internal defect on my part (my adoptive mom favored that theory).  While these problems are endemic with child abuse survivors it wasn't until I was 24 that I could bring myself to admit that I had been abused.  (In my defense I tried to tell many adults what my parents did to us as a child, but none of them believed me -- or at least been willing to admit they believed me.)  And while I'd always known I was adopted, it wasn't until I was in my forties that science could bring itself to admit that the vast majority of adoptees suffer from depression and low self esteem.

Also, as was common for closed adoptions of the Baby Scoop Era, I was told my natural mother had "gotten on with her life" and wanted no contact with me.  But why did I believe it?  I'm good at questioning what I'm told, why did this come across as true?  Because a good case could be made that no one else wanted contact with me either.  I had poor social skills, didn't know how to make or keep friends, and was very good at driving away anyone who may have wanted to be a friend while simultaneously being desperately lonely and yearning for companionship.  (Understand that I didn't fully realize I was driving people away; that only came about recently.  Like, last month.)  The fact that this lack of social skills is also endemic among adoptees is something I didn't know until last week.

 But the biggest reasonS came from a book I found in my early 20s at the Mobile library around 1990-1991.  Up at the checkout desk I found a YA book for teenage adoptees on adoption.  The YA category had only been created a few years before, and I was a little too old for it when it came along so I tended to look down my nose at it.  And with all the arrogance of a 20-something I was sure that as an adult adoptee I knew everything there was to know about adoption.  Still, I was curious to see what they were teaching the young folks these days, so with a curl of the lip I checked it out.

There were only two significant facts in the book I didn't already know, but they were doozies.  The first of  these was the bald statement that a far greater percentage of adoptees are abused than are children living with their biological parents.  I was completely blown away by that fact.  All these years of being treated as an utter weirdo, and I was really in the norm?  Why hadn't someone mentioned this earlier?  I walked around in a daze for over a week after that, so out of it I didn't even note the title or writer of the book, an unthinkable lapse for a hardcore bibliophiliac like myself.  This lack of provenance would prove annoying later on, as a number of people I told that fact to would go on to call me a bald-faced liar.  Adopted children had to be well-loved and well-treated by their adopted parents, they just had to!  The vehemence with which that statement was defended always made me wonder how much of a stake the defender had in believing it.

The second revelation concerned reunions.  Reunions were dangerous, full of emotional time bombs as long-repressed pain and anger worked it's way to the surface.  That sounded more like something you would do to a sworn enemy than to someone you might like, let alone someone you owed your life to.

Worse was the tendency of adoptees upon reunion to revert to the age they were when adopted.  Since I was adopted at six days old the very notion of reverting to infancy was absolutely terrifying.  I had waited too long and fought too hard for my newly won legal maturity to give it up so easily.

That fragility fed into the final fear:  rejection.  I had endured nearly universal rejection in my life up to that point, leaving me with.  Acceptance by anyone was still new and strange.  The very idea of searching for someone who had already walked away from me once and who might well reject me again at such a fundamental level was insanity itself.  It was an unthinkable madness to subject my tenuous sense of self to such a devastating blow.

Clearly there was only one ethical position for me to take.  This woman had given me life, and in good faith turned me over to people who were supposed to take care of me.  The fact that they hadn't wasn't an indictment of her intent but of the system.  She was getting on fine with her life without me.  There was nothing inherent in knowing me that had ever made anyone's life better, or so I had been taught at every step.  My finding her would only cause her pain.  That would be a reprehensible thing to do to a person to whom I owed my life.

Clearly the only ethical thing to do was to not cause her pain by not searching for her.  Indeed, to allow my selfish desires to lead me to hurt someone who had never intentionally hurt me would only reveal to the world that I really was the self-centered monster my adoptive mother accused me of being.

It didn't matter how I felt.  I  had to put my feelings aside and think of the feelings of others.

It was the only right thing to do.

So I thought for many years.  But gradually I began hearing that not all natural mothers were getting on with their lives.  Some were searching for their sundered children.  Some suffered from depression, PTSD, and low self esteem as a result of their experience.

My first reaction was consternation.  I'm good with the "empathy based on similar experiences" route, but this pain was still too raw to step away from far enough to compare it to anyone else's pain.  All it took was for my therapist to bring it up to reduce me from an articulate, middle-aged woman to a mute child with a face frozen in a paroxysm of grief.

Gradually, repeated exposure to the idea engaged my reason, or at least my conscience.  There might be someone out there who was suffering.  I might be the only one who could relieve her suffering.  This person had never intentionally done me harm and had  given me life.  If my reaching out to her was the only thing that could end her pain, then I had an obligation to do that.  It didn't matter how it made me feel.

Of course that resolution segued straight into the whole question of  "does the other party want contact or solitude, and how to deal with the different responses with grace and sensitivity."  But let's resist the easy distraction and stay on the path to the next hard question.  What do you feel?

I want my Mommy.

I know it's impractical.  I know it's presumptuous.  I know it's setting myself and others up for a potential world of grief.  I know all that.  But at this late stage in my life there is one thing I can do.  I can own the wanting.