Transracial Adoption from one black girl’s perspective

Archive for July, 2005

Family Tradition

Just as a side note – here is a link to my adoptive family. If you scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page you'll see my name. Its an interesting page, that covers my mother's side of the family.
*****removed this link for protection of my family.

Been online lookin for plane tickets. I'm also setting up a list of things I need to do while in washington. As i mentioned before, one of the main things i'm doing is heading to the King County Courthouse to look through divorce records. I dont know why people keep telling me that its too big of a task – but I've got a 10 month period I'm looking within. It shouldnt be that big of a deal. I havent had any luck with finding someone who will just go and print the stuff out for me!

I'm also going to go to the library in Renton and do some work there. I'm not sure what story I'll be telling librarians, but it will probably be directly connected to something about the fact that I'm a PhD student at UC Berkeley and I'm doing research on a family in that area and some names are missing or something.

I'm also going to check out the high schools in the area, get names, addresses and find out if they have a school library so i can find out if the birth father went to a high school in the area.

One question – why does it seem like most search groups are fixated on the birth mother? I have not quite been able to understand that. Perhaps because its the birth mother who has to fill out so much of the paperwork and the clues come from that information.

I'm not sure if i should wait the 8 months before I get the new non-id from Olympia. I'm sure it would narrow some stuff down, but – i cant help it. I need to do some work on this!

ciao


Non-identifying Information

So today I send off for what is called "non-identifying information" that the state of washington allows adoptee's to obtain. Here's the information I'm looking for. Its more information than the law actually stipulates – but most search helpers mention that you always ask for more, and you're likely to get most of it.

Dear Adoption Facilitator,

I was born March 9, 1970 in Renton Washington at ********* Hospital. I was adopted though DSHS in Washington state in 1970. My adoptive parents remember my final decree of adoption taking place in June or July 1971, but this could be incorrect.

I am writing to request any non-identifying information regarding the circumstances of my adoption. I understand I am entitled to as much information concerning birth parents “as will not endanger the anonymity of the natural parents." I am therefore requesting copies of all original documents with identifying info whited out. Additionally, I request answers to the following information: Please note that all items listed below, unless otherwise indicated, refer to both my birth mother and my birth father. Please make copies of the original documents and mark out any information I am not allowed to see.

1. Date and time of child’s Birth
2. Name of Hospital of child’s Birth
3. Length of labor
4. Name of Child at birth
5. Name of Court where/when adoption was finalized
6. Name of Court where /when relinquishment occurred
7. Name of foster care agency
8. Date of foster care stay
9. Name and City of Foster care family (families)
10. Information on baptism, if child was baptized
11. Information on any court actions affecting child
12. What court, county was marriage/ divorce between birth parents finalized?
13. Name of Attorney who finalized adoption decree
14. Grandparents first names
15. Any record of medical history?
16. Full physical description of birth parents:
a. color of eyes
b. color of hair
c. age at my birth
d. height
e. weight
f. complexion
g. any birthmarks, scars, tattoos
17. First child?
18. Any full siblings? If so, how many?
19. Any half siblings? If so, how many?
20. The first name of each birth parent:
21. Where was each birth parent born?
22. Did they reside in King County at the time of birth?
23. If no, did they reside in Washington State? Were they from another state or country and came to King County for delivery and adoption?
24. What is the reason given for relinquishment?
25. Were birth parents married at the time of birth?
26. How long a time span between relinquishment and placement?
27. Was I named by my birth mother? My height? My weight? Any difficulties with my birth?
28. Are any other family members names listed in my records?
29. Social workers name?
30. Birth date of each parent
31. Occupation of each birth parent?
32. What hobbies were known for each birth parent?
33. What level of education was attained for each birth parent?
34. Any clubs or organizations?
35. What county and city was adoption finalized?
36. Please provide me a copy of the Final Order to Adopt, with last names whitened or blackened out.
37. Please provide me a copy of the Original Entrustment, Relinquish Form, with all identifying information names blackened or whitened out.
38. Was birth mother or father present in final court proceedings with an attorney, or was child represented by an attorney only?
39. Please list any/all childhood diseases or surgeries known for each birth parent:
40. Please list any/all genetic disorders known for each birth parent:
41. Were any or all of these diseases or illnesses experienced during my birth mother’s pregnancy?
42. At the time of birth and adoption, were birth grandparents still living? If not, what did they die from? What were their names?
43. At the time of birth and adoption, were birth great-grandparents still living? If not, what did they die from? What were their names?
44. Please include any medical records and/or information known for each birth parent.
45. Please include any medical records, birth records, nursery log records of birth and any known subsequent medical treatment prior to adoption.
a. Name and address of the medical facility where treatment was administered
b. Name and address of my delivery doctor
c. Name and address of the attending pediatrician

———————

yeah so that's the letter. I heard it take 8-9 months to get the information back. UGH!

I'm planning a trip to Seattle/Renton area in the next few weeks to do some of the work I've been wanting to do in the King County courthouse archives. I've got some divorce records to look through!

more soon..


Crazy Dream

i just woke up from the craziest dream!

I was at my childhood home in washington (the house I grew up in, not the house my parents moved to in 2000) and my parents sit me down finally to talk more about the adoption and it is revealed to me that my adoptive mother is my real mother, and she shows me pictures of my birth father. There pictures of this light skinned black man who is really handsome and looks my age. Shes got like 10 of them and tells me that she was just ashamed and couldnt tell anyone so they told everyone, including me that I was adopted. My dad played along because he didnt want anyone to know my mom had slept with anyone else. The pictures were black and white and all i remember is being totally hurt because of all the conversations we had had in the past 3 years about what they remember in terms of the adoption, and them continuing to lie to me about what they knew! I kept trying to use the phone to call Kwasi to tell him that he was right about them having a big secret, but they wouldnt let me use the phone.

it was crazy!

I'm a firm beliver in dreams and that they have meaning for your awake world. I'm not sure what this means, it could just be a manifestation of my frustration that my parents dont remember more. At times I feel like they are totally supportive. My mom is very supportive, my dad always gets a bit uncomfortable and seems like he's tired of me looking. I always let them know I love them, but its that thing of seeming ungrateful – yes? I've read a few places that adoptees are good at being grateful because everyone keeps letting them know how lucky they are. So even if they arent completely comfortable, they dont wanna rock the boat because they dont want to seem like they arent thankful for being 'rescued' from whatever horrors their lives could have been. Imagined horrors are the worst – yes?

just like stereotypes about people. imagined and powerful.


So where do i begin?

Because I am a “trans-racial” adoptee, I have always known I am adopted. I have technically been searching since 1993, but I’ve always get into these patterns where I obsess for a while and then stop. I work diligently – write letters, call people and email like mad for about a month or two but then it seems like the intensity dies down for about two years. But as I get older, the times inbetween have been getting closer and closer. And this past year, its gotten to where its when i get any moment free, i’m attending to the search.

I was born at ******Hospital in Renton, WA. King County, March 9, 1970. (or March 8th.. I’ll get to that later)

I already mentioned washington state laws regarding adoption files. Basically, even as an adult, I have no access to my adoption files. There apparently are two copies – One at the Department of Children Services at Remann Hall in Tacoma Washington. The other is in Olympia in the state archives. Because i was adopted through public services, I am fortunate to have both of these files. The state of washington holds these files and will not allow me to see them except under two circumstances. The first, is a court order from a judge. The reasons could be medical or whatever. The second is if I hire the services of what is called a “Confidential Intermeidary” (or a CI). The CI would then go to the court where my files are held, open them up, find my birth families names and do a search for them. Once they find my birth parents, they contact them, and ask them if they want to meet me. The birth parents say yes/no and that’s that.

What happens if I decide that I dont want a CI to handle my search for me? What if i would like the responsibility of calling my birth family MYSELF? What if i want to be the person on the phone who gets hung up on or told never to call back? Well, even if i would like to make this decision – the state of WA has made it for me.

I choose NOT to hire a total stranger to handle my business!

now – dont get me wrong – on many levels I can sympathize and identify with birth parents who dont want to be found, who never told anyone about their relinquishment, or who were shamed into thinking that having a kid back then was bad. There is a level of pain, sorrow and guilt that i’m sure i know nothing about!

but if thats the way it is and the family wants nothing to do with me – say for example the birth father or mother never told thier new families or they never told ANYONE – its going to be a disruption in their lives. Yes, truely – im sympathetic. But I dont care. If they dont want to see me or talk to me – let them tell ME.

In my particular situation however, it was my birth father who did not want to give me up. My adoptive parents told me that I came to them in June 1970. I wasnt adopted until June 1971 because the birth father refused to sign the relingushment papers. If he didn’t want to sign – why did he? Was he forced? I’m interested to know. So the possibility of someone actually being interesting in knowing who and where I am is certainly there.

The lawyer who finalized the adoption on my adoptive parents side is Davies Pearson in Tacoma. In 1970, however they were called, Vincent Gadbow and Pearson or something. My adoptive parents and I drove over to Davies Pearson one day i think it was around Summer 2000, and we ran into a lawyer there who offered help, but never came through. Eventually I think it came to some bullshit like “the files are in storage somewhere”. I recently wrote them to ask how much it would cost to hire someone to go freakin find them. (of course i was much more polite :) ) I havent heard back.

I have two documents from 1970. One is a medical release from King County DHCS (now called something else) and the other is medical information from a visit to the doctor in March 1970. The doctor visit is a 6 week checkup that has the most information I have. It has some racial information.

birth mother is “Filipino-Caucasian”
birth father is “Mexican-Irish”

There’s no information about me being black (african) but you can make that call – (check the photo —>)  
LOL! My theory on that one is that in the 70’s there was a large number of Asian adoptions, both legally and on the black market. And since my adoptive parents asked for an “Asian mix” (wince) I was packaged just for them!

In 1999, I recieved what is called “non-identifying information” from Remann Hall. This information was insightful, but conflicted with that previous document from 1970. More soon!


Welcome to the Birth Project!

Greetings all! This blog will do nothing but attend to the work of finding my birth parents. Its a bit self-indulgent, I admit, but I wanted people who were also searching to watch, get tips and ideas about how a search happens. This blog will not only talk about the details, but will attempt to interrogate the emotional leaps and falls that will inevitably be a part of this process.

For those of you that are unaware – for folks who are adopted before 1991 in washington state – no matter how old you are – you cant access your real birth certificate. While I realize this is a sensitive issue for birth mothers who do not want to be found, I find it appaling that it is actually against the LAW for adults to know their origins.

I have always said one of the best things about my life is that i have the power to write my story in almost any way i wish. True – but lately things like this image – have been bothering me. Notice anything interesting about that? My feet are there . . . but there’s nothing in the family history sections. hmmmm

 

the forest is magic, but it
hides secrets of me
blank family history
lost identity

Other things have come to my attention – the large number of Korean adoptees by whites in the US during the late 1960’s and early 70’s. And the current disgusting movements by well-meaning americans wanting to adopt those ‘poor’ kids from the tsunami – someone called the americans ‘vultures’. I agree.

why do I agree? when i seem like such a nice gurl? when i come from such a good family? didn’t i have a good life? Lets research that together.. shall we?

i look forward to our time together! :)


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