Secret Sons & Daughters launched one month ago, and we’ve been deeply moved to see so many people connecting through stories.
Over the past few weeks, friends, family, and even a few reporters, have asked us: “Why? Why create something like Secret Sons & Daughters?” Usually we answer that (as we do on our “About” page) by talking about the estimated four million adoptees who have restricted access to their origins, ancestry, and in many cases, important medical histories that could help adoptees and their children; and we mention how we hope Secret Sons & Daughters’ stories can help shine a light on that fact, and put a human face on those numbers.
But it’s more than that, the reason why is something comments like these show best:
“You put into words what I have experienced my entire life. I was always afraid to tell people that I was adopted. I am going to write something to add here…but I wanted to thank you for creating a site where adult adoptees can go to see that we’re not alone!” —Molly
“I did learn one thing in life though, family does not have to be blood because my mom and dad loved my sister and I enough to take us in and raise us as their own with unconditional love. I feel if they told us [about our adoptions] from the start they may have thought we would not love them the same. Oh how wrong they were.” —David
“. . . a website where adopted people can share their stories of searching – or not searching – for their first families. Honest, untidy, raw, moving, the pieces I’ve read so far give me – a parent by adoption – more insight into the complex feelings of birth parents and of adoptees.” —Amy, an adoptive mom who shared our link on Facebook.
Several stories are responsible for that feedback. The Adoption Domino Effect, by Joanne Currao, was our second Late Discovery Tale, and it poignantly shows the impact secrecy in adoption can have on an adoptee and her children.
More than a thousand people read Joanne’s story within its first 24 hours on our site. It stirred quite a response in the comments section that follows it. Many people wrote to say how much they related to her story and shared details of their own tales, whether they learned they were adopted at age 2, 17, 36, or older.
Joanne responded to each person and one response in particular beautifully captures what is was like for her to share her story: “The more we speak up about it, the better it will be for all who come after us. I am glad that this story validated you. It is good for me to see that and to feel validated by all of you who read this as well. We are a soothing salve to each other.”
Singing to Christine, An Adoptee’s Song, written by Amy Christine Lukas, an adoptee/singer-songwriter, shows how her curiosity about whether her birth parents are “Somewhere out There,” grew after the births of her children.
Thanksgiving Day Reunion ’95, was inspired by Daryn Watson’s reunion with his birth mother.
An Adult Adoptee’s Dilemma: To Search or Not to Search, is my co-founder, Heather Katz’s reflection on a question many adoptees face.
In addition, a few therapists weighed in on 10 Questions to Ask When Searching for an Adoption Competent Therapist with opinions regarding open adoption. The questions were provided by adoption therapist, Leslie Pate Mackinnon, who recently appeared on Katie Couric’s show as the “American Philomena.” Leslie weighed in in the comments section as well, saying in part:
A child needs their story, in as much living color as possible, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the best cases, the child actually feels love emanating, is not merely told ‘she loved you so much she gave you up.’ The statement that adult adoptees often loathe. In the worst cases, the child can see for themselves why adoption was necessary and may be lucky enough to recognize at least a few good attributes of the person whose DNA they carry.
I encourage you to read her full comment at the end of that post. I wholeheartedly agree that adoptees should be entitled to their stories, especially as adults, and in whatever detail is possible.
Many thanks to four organizations for helping us spread the word about Secret Sons & Daughters. Each of them make a big difference in the lives of adoptees: Donaldson Adoption Institute, Adoption Network Cleveland, C.A.S.E.—the Center for Adoption Support and Education, and St. Catherine’s Center for Children in Albany, New York.
I spent my first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s in St. Catherine’s care and I’m very touched and grateful for their wonderful mention of SS&D and our support and advocacy for open records, as well as for the work they do to help sustain families. Any other St. Catherine’s adoptees out there?
We look forward to sharing three new Secret Son stories in the coming weeks and an Irish adoptee tale too. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to subscribe (here on the sidebar) to receive the latest Tales and News, and please “Like” us on Facebook. Many thanks for reading our tales. We hope to hear yours too!
All my best,