Monday, August 13, 2007

GOTTA LOVE THIS SNARKY BASTARD ~ MS. CHARLOTTE LAWS

I don't mean any offense to this woman. I love what she says. It gets to the bone of the matter. I wasn't gonna write any thing more because I have just got so much to do in a short time. So here is the link. Below is the article. Enjoy!!!!!!! I sure did. I got a good giggle out of it.


Confessions of an Adopted Child
By Charlotte Laws,
Aug 13, 2007
The writer's search for her birth parents triggers many questions: Can a person have a genetic predisposition toward particular moral values and favored activities? Can DNA be a factor in a person's distaste for vintage automobiles or her attraction to sports? And where did the love for sequined evening gowns come from?

I was born in the backseat of an Oldsmobile. My mother was in labor for 15 minutes, not long enough for my father to drive us to Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta. I popped out during the Drifters’ song “There Goes My Baby,” and moments later, there I went.
In the emergency room parking lot, I was whisked away by a nurse, complying with a prearranged adoption pact that operated under the assumption – supported by most adoption “experts” in 1960 – that cutting ties should be done in an abrupt and swift fashion, like pulling off an old Band-Aid. I would never see my natural parents again. At least that’s what everyone thought.
My adoptive family always had the appropriate number of cars, boats, housekeepers and country club parties; they were skilled at complying with “old money” standards. Those who had “new money” – such as show business folk or overnight get-rich schemers – were naturally inferior to us, or so I was told. By adopting me, my parents were on track for procuring a suitable number of children for a respectable family: two. My brother was adopted a couple of years later.
To the neighbors, everything looked primed and painted, but I was well acquainted with the wood filler and industrious termites beneath the surface. Partly, my negativity stemmed from a perception that I was an outsider with an entirely different value system. I did not qualify as the black sheep of the family for only one reason: sheep tend to be followers. I was more like the independent black cat who went my own way.
From grade school to high school, my classmates regularly criticized me for supporting the civil rights movement, for rejecting communism conspiracy theories, for failing to be enamored with all Republican candidates, and for not accepting Jesus as my Redeemer, despite the fact that I attended religious services six days a week.
It galled my friends when I lusted over the flashy, sequined evening gowns that the “new money” movie stars would wear to the latest premiere. Then I’d show up at the school dance wearing one and hear the whispers percolate throughout the room.
I felt ideologically out of place regardless of whether I was at home, school or the local mall and wondered why. Many studies point to a connection between biology and criminal behavior, but what about biology in relation to simple run-of-the-mill beliefs? Could a person have a genetic predisposition toward particular moral values and favored activities? Could “nature” make a person more likely to support universal healthcare, gay marriage, educational vouchers or the National Rifle Association? Could DNA be a factor in a person’s distaste for vintage automobiles or her attraction to sports?
The answer seems to be yes. British and Australian researchers determined that twins who are reared apart think similarly on subjects ranging from sex, religion, politics, divorce, apartheid and tough-mindedness; and twin research at the University of Minnesota confirmed the finding. “Nurture” has little influence on a child’s personality. In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker makes the case that as much as 70 percent of the variation between individuals in areas such as political leanings, personal philosophy, intelligence and personality are derived from genes.
According to the Washington Monthly, a study conducted by Bruce Sacerdote found that biology rather than environment correlates with income. He learned that “being raised (as an adoptee) in a high-earning family doesn’t seem to have much effect (on the income of the child when she grows up), while being born (as a natural child) to a high-earning family does.” Did this mean I might have to give up those big-ticket gowns and go from being “old money” to “no money?”
Adult children often seek out their natural parents in order to address health concerns, such as to determine whether cancer or heart disease runs in the family. But I wondered if it could help a person better understand herself. I aimed to find out and started the search for my natural parents at the age of 25.
The process was jammed with roadblocks. Adoption records were closed; in other words, I was not supposed to gain access to names or identifying information. Although the bulk of my detective work took place by phone from my home in Los Angeles, at one point I traveled to the Atlanta adoption agency that had placed me and persuaded an employee to divulge the names of my mother and father.
When I was told “Wilson,” I anticipated a needle-in-the-haystack search and realized I had not even arrived at the farm. Today, there are 2.5 million listings on Google with my father’s exact first and last name.
As I sleuthed after data, I picked up helpers along the way. Amiable strangers in Georgia, Maryland and Virginia – most of who lived in residences that were once occupied by my mother or father – volunteered to devote investigative hours and legwork to my pressing mission. I made calls. They made calls. In the end, I found my father’s former college and got his contact number from alumni records. I located my mother via a Baltimore school that had employed my grandmother.
I learned one parent is a university professor and author, and the other works for the U.S. government in Washington D.C. They gave me up for adoption because they were in graduate school and did not plan to stay together. They didn’t.
In the end, I found parents – as well as aunts, cousins and a grandmother – who have values and interests akin to my own. They study philosophy, are environmental advocates, teach aerobics, have similar taste in art and suffer from the migraine headaches that have plagued me since I was a child.
My mother’s religious path detoured in the same way as mine. We were both raised Christian, then attended a Unitarian church for a while, and eventually converted to Reform Judaism.
Although my natural family is rich in heart, their pockets are not totally bare; so genetically speaking, it looks like I may be able to feed my “frock habit” for a few more years.
The ongoing connection with my kin has taught me why I am the way I am, and why I am unlike those who raised me. I appreciate my adoptive parents’ efforts, but have learned that one can never have too many parents

4 comments:

iris eyes said...

Bouchard's research on separated identical twins has shown genetic similarities to be much greater than chance.

Genetics is more powerful than nurture. But,of course, Bouchard pointed out, the twins were all raised in the USA, and so there were similarities in national culture there to begin with.

But, our thinking patterns, logic, intelligence, preferences and tastes, and temperment, as well as talents and even politics and religious views...do seem to be affected by genetics.

This would seem to mean that adoption would be a confusing situation....the 'stranger in a strange land' scenario.The child grows up, unknown and unknowing..with no one to mirror.

In life, we can choose our friends.If friendship does not work out, we can end it. We do not choose our blood family, but if they are our own blood, at least they usually can relate to us somehow....and we to them. We always have our heritage and ancestors in common.We can find answers, if we have the people available to us.

In adoption, the adoptive "parents" ''choose'' to adopt, but they don't know who are are 'choosing'...and the baby has no choice at all.

And the heritage, the clan, the tribe, the family stories, and answers ...are unavailable to the adopted child, and far out of reach.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I loved this! I am an adoptive mom, that is blessed to know her son's first mom (and be in contact with her). One of the joys of raising my son has been seeing the areas where he takes after his first mom and where he has picked up things from me and my husband. My son's first mom and I are very alike in temperment, beliefs, and interests (yes, I chose to adopt...but she picked my husband and I), so sometimes it's hard to guess which he got it from (not that it matters to us it's just fun to watch). I regret that we don't know enough to share with our son the areas where he takes after his first father (besides a bit in looks). My absolute favorite part of the article was the statement about there being nothing wrong with having lots of parents. I agree! Thanks for sharing this.

Julie said...

This is a very good illustration of how (and why) adopted children can grow up feeling so alienated. Even if the adopters are chosen by the natural parent(s), these choices tend to be more along the lines of who they would choose as friends vs who they might recognize as being most like them.

I think it is common knowledge that we tend to like people just like us the least often (we see in them what we don't like in ourselves). So, any argument that the natural parent(s) may have chosen people like them is... a bit weak. Perhaps they are choosing people who are the kinds of people they wish their own parents had been.

In my day, unfortunately, adoptive parents believed in the "blank slate" theory and the power of nurture over nature. This, in many cases, led to profound disappointment in the outcome, adding insult to the adoptee's injury of being separated from their mother, losing their extended natural family and genetic mirroring.

There are many (if not most) who still blindly believe that the baby will not notice the switcheroo and, because the switch was made prior to the maturation of their conscious memory, the child will not be affected by it. It's one of the most damaging assumptions still made in adoption today.

Even if the child's differences are respected, the alienation still exists, as the differences are there every day in every way. It's an unnatural way to function as a "family." Family is what humans are supposed to be a part of, family is what humans, at their very core, belong to.

iris eyes said...

The natural family, based on genetics/biology, exists throughout the world and in other species as well.

As a rule, it has worked. Life goes on.

But humans have gotten the idea that the family needs 'fixing'..and are destroying the family that they claim to want to protect.Adoption erases heritage, disconnects normal family ties, and interferes with bonding and natural development.

Enough of human tinkering.Adoption is NOT just another way to "form" a family.