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Adoption

They’re looking into it … Christmas is coming, the check’s the mail. Oh hell, insert your cliche here

Got a letter from Albany this week. Yes, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Oh, not because I think Gov. Cuomo himself actually read my letter and its enclosed copy of my April 6 blog post urging passage of the adoptees’ rights legislation.

I suspect some poorly paid intern plugged my name, address and “adoptee rights” into the appropriate parts of the “reply from Governor” template, slapped a digital signature on it and ran it through the postage meter. Still, someone somewhere opened the note and actually read its contents.

The letter thanks me for writing, and assures me that New York‘s lawmakers are “evaluating” the bill that would allow adoptees to have their original birth certificates.

Changing this law would allow many thousands of adoptees to finally get clues about their roots.

People like me. At 46 I have scant little information about my background gathered from the non-identifying information New York says I may have: Born in Yonkers, NY, on Feb. 15, 1966; English and German ancestry; born to unmarried teenagers — a high school dropout and a young woman who hoped to go on to college. Only with additional digging have I been able to find her name — Patricia Clark. The whole search process makes me feel like a sneak, and yet I’m just trying to learn the same information that most other people know as a matter of course.

My original birth certificate undoubtedly holds lots of other details, but it’s illegal for me to see it.

Just as it’s illegal for Ray, the 73-year-old man who commented on my recent post: “It seems that no matter what adoptees feel is not important. It is only important that antiquated laws are upheld even when they don’t make sense.” This fellow learned he was adopted two years ago. Imagine how he is sorting out a lifetime of lies and half-truths.

So is Larry, who also commented on my blog. At 59, he learned he was adopted four years ago. His non-id has unearthed just a handful of details.

I’ll bet you anything that Ray and Larry always knew something was different for them.

Too many secrets for far too long. Too many years of wondering, wishing and hoping.

We each deserve to know who we are and to understand our beginnings. It is unfair to treat us adoptees as perpetual children, relegated to the shadows, our true identities forever hidden away.

Says Cuomo’s letter to me: “Please be assured that we will keep your thoughts in mind during any discussions on the matter.”

Uh huh.

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “They’re looking into it … Christmas is coming, the check’s the mail. Oh hell, insert your cliche here

  1. Since I’ve been writing to the legislators including Gov. Cuomo and Speaker Silver, similar salvos have been sent my way. One wonders how many hundreds of our letters have passed by their assistants desks…to no avail. You’re right, Michael Shoer, and Terri, we can’t give up saying it like it is. What reason lies behind the hold-up? How can a few be spoilers for the majority of lawmakers and citizens who want this bill to move to the floor of New York’s representative government? Hmmm. I’m a birth mom who gave birth to a little girl at Yonkers Hospital on February 22, 1966. Terri’s Mom and I were at St. Faith’s house at the same time, and I wish, to God, that I could remember her. Many tales without endings unless …. Yes. There is hope.
    Cynthia
    Kennebunk, ME

    Posted by Cynthia Crider Doolittle | April 16, 2012, 8:45 pm
    • I wish you could remember her, too. Thanks for your support.

      Posted by terrisv15 | April 16, 2012, 9:47 pm
      • Cynthia and I are working on remembering Patricia. I also gave birth to a daughter at St John’s Riverside in Yonkers and stayed at St. Faith’s. Fortunately, my daughter and I have been reunited to some level.

        What we need is more birthmothers to come out of the closet and tell legislators “no, thank you, I don’t wish to be protected. See, the door is open. I want to be found!”

        Hugs, karen

        Posted by Karen Waggoner | May 24, 2012, 12:25 pm
  2. I just received a very similar response letter from Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver. I just wish I really knew that the person the letter was addressed to actually read my letters / emails. Regardless, we all NEED to continue our letter, email, fax and if you live in the elected officials district, calls. I feel like this is like pushing water uphill. The minute you stop pushing, ALL your efforts vanish and you have to start over. We cant give up and have to push harder with whatever we can do to get this legislation passed.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Schoer
    Brooklyn, NY

    Posted by Michael Schoer | April 14, 2012, 4:27 pm

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