then again, maybe not
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November 30, 2005

Adoption: It's Great! It sucks!

Ok, I sat down this morning and made a list in 2 minutes of three things I like and three things I hate about being adopted. I figured whatever came to mind first would be the most honest. You be the judge.

Things I like:

  1. When surrounded by the crazies in my family, it is somewhat reassuring that I'm at least not genetically predisposed to act like them.
  2. My mom knows she picked me, and is therefor completely responsible for all the headaches I cause.
  3. I've always felt that family is the people you choose to love, not just the people you look like. That is awesome.

Things I don't like:

  1. Wondering if I might accidentally commit incest with my biological brother (I know, I'm a freak, but it could happen).
  2. The occasional awkwardness of people when they find out. Even now I get "Oh, you don't look anything like your mom," "Well, I wouldn't. I'm adopted." "Oh, I'm so sorry. I had no idea [looks away]." Seriously people. It's not like I told you I've got 6 months to live.
  3. No knowledge of my biological family's medical history. This is the big one, folks.

There are all kinds of exciting diseases and conditions that I could have, and could pass on to my children without ever knowing it. For all I know every single woman on both sides of my family died at 43 from a heart attack. Who knows what exotic little surprises are lurking around in my DNA. I am fine with not knowing if I smile like my materal grandmother, but I'm not fine not knowing if I should be expecting to get breast cancer from her too. That's why I'm a big ball of worry everytime I go to the doctor. And it's why I'm also a big supporter of the work done by people like Bastard Nation.

Bastard Nation advocates for the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children. Millions of North Americans are prohibited by law from accessing personal records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities. Such records are held by their governments in secret and without accountability, due solely to the fact that they were adopted.

Go check them out. The site? Not good. The mission? Very good. Also? It says bastard all over. What's better than that?

November 28, 2005

About adoption

Over the weekend I had a conversation with someone who reads this blog. And mentioned something about being adopted. He was surprised, and I was surprised. Why? Well, he was surprised that I hadn't mentioned it before, and that in all my ranting (he was more diplomatic and called it "discussion") about abortion, I never mentioned adoption. And I was surprised because I forget that people don't know I'm adopted. Not that I have it on my business card, but just because I forget. It's like how I forget that all of my friends don't know each other. I'm dumb and self-centered, leave me alone.


We ended up talking about adoption for a while (I'm such a fun date), and how it influences my pro-choiceness. That's not something I've spent a lot of time thinking about. At this stage in my life (with one exception that I'll get to eventually) being adopted is not a big part of who I am. It's an anecdote, like how when I was in first grade I told the class I lived in a "condom" instead of a "condo." My mom had to take the next morning off from work to discuss this with my teacher. Heh.

But, I'm always up for a little reflecting on things, so I'm going to try and talk a little about being adopted, being pro-choice, and being pro-abortion.

First, a little story...

A couple of years ago I was tabling for Planned Parenthood or someone at a music concert. We had some asshole anti-choice shitbird stalking the table, waiting to start some trouble. He finally came over right before we started packing up to leave. He blah blah blahed for a long time, nothing special. But then he told us that he was adopted, and that he was so glad his biological mother chose to give birth to him. Well, ok. I'm glad my biological mother gave birth to me to. Because I've had a nice life. But then he points a finger at me and says "how would you feel if your mother aborted you?" Uh, I wouldn't feel anything. I'd never have been born. But, in this impossible hypothetical I'd say I was glad she was able to make whatever the right decision was for her. Not for me, because I wasn't around yet, but for her. He sputtered for a while and then stomped away, muttering as he went about whores and murderers.

I thought it was a pretty funny encounter. He was just sure he "had me" with the "how would you feel" question. But that's where he's missing the point. The right to choose what to do about a pregnancy isn't about looking backward years later, once you have an unchangeable outcome. That's why the whole "you would have aborted Beethoven" argument is bullshit. Making a choice is about making a decision based on all of the facts and circumstances at the time. Which is why I'm not against "options counseling" and "informed consent" in theory. I am against the way they're actually used, to provide a barrier to women who are seeking abortions. But I think we should provide resources for people making any important decision about their health. I wonder if it's harder to get through the roadblocks to have an abortion or a boob job.

Uh, I kind of got off track here, so I'll stop now. More later about adoption.