ADOPTION TALES

My name is Amy K. Burt. I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was adopted through the Suemma Coleman Home for Unwed Mothers. I really can’t remember when I was told that I was adopted. It was obvious that I was. I am the only brunette in a household full of blonds. Where my adoptive family was strong in language and English, I was strong in mathematics and science. I am the only one to wear glasses. Up until about a year ago I never thought my adoption affected me. It was never concentrated on. In fact my differences were accentuated and praised. I did know that I was always different. I just never concentrated on it. When I began my search, I had the full support of my family and a majority of my friends.

I don’t really remember discussing adoption with anyone until I was in college. My friends and family did not treat me any differently. At that time in my life I was facing other problems. I was experiencing growing pains typical in some respects and not so typical in others. My family has always been open about it. My adoptive mother and I discussed it over the years. She usually approached the subject. I for many years was not really ready to look at that first chapter of my life. It scared me too much to face that much truth. I am glad I waited this long to search. I do not think that I would have been strong enough to handle my truth.

About four and half years ago, my stepfather (second adoptive father) died. It was then my mother began actively asking me to search. I decided that as soon as I had enough funds that I would search via the adoption agency. We had both called to get information. We got some but it just left more questions. When I resigned from the United States Postal Service, I used my retirement funds to purchase a computer. That started the process for me. I started with chatrooms. I found one that I fell in love with. I joined many search and support groups. I spoke with birth mothers across the internet. I felt it was time for me to take the jump. I had spoken with the search specialist with the agency. She wanted to make sure that I had support just in case. I sent a money order for $325 to the agency on January 20th. Katrina, the search specialist, began the following Monday morning. She found and contacted her on the 25th of January. My roller coaster ride began. I thought that I covered all my bases. I had all the support that I thought I would need. I established friendships with both adoptees and birthparents. Katrina told me her percentage rate of reunions. The odds were in my favor. Unfortunately things did not go in my favor. It seems that I have that fate quite often. She refused contact. It took everything that Katrina had to keep her on the line. She absolutely freaked. She would not open the records. She would call back about a week later. She wanted to know if this could be kept private. Katrina said that I could not find via the agency but I could very well hire a private investigator. She has not called since. It was shortly after that I had all the records read to me minus identifying information. I found out that I have two younger brothers. My youngest brother is a medical student, a valedictorian, and an athlete. Funny — I was a medical technology major. I was also a medical laboratory technician in the United States Army. I did the first Desert Storm thing. She was told that I had two daughters and a husband. I lived on a huge ranch in Texas. All my birthmother wanted to know is whether or not I completed my education. None of my accomplishments mattered to her

This past year has been an awakening for me. I have done so much research on adoption, adoptees, the reasons for privacy, the court cases that have opened records. I have read books about how birthmothers in my era were treated. I have learned how money affects adoption and it needs to be desparately reformed. I have lost friends in this process. I nearly destroyed my family with my search. I became obsessed with it. I was so prepared for her but I did not take time for myself. Lot of good it did me. There are days when I cry rivers. I hurt so badly. It fuels my anger at the system that still continues to shame mothers of the past. It fuels my anger at the system that still keeps adoptees as property. I write letters to everyone in the public arena to educate. I help others search. I do everything that I can to keep myself sane and free from pain.

Her refusal has stunned me. Since I am a mother of two daughters, I have a hard time understanding it. My adoptive mother can not understand either. She is the mother of four daughters. On a core level, I feel painfully rejected not just once but twice. I am her dirty little secret. I feel that she thinks women/girls have no value at all to society. I have a great support group that doesn’t allow me to go too much into a pity party. I have been told that it is a reflection of her not me. The sad part is that because she won’t open the records, my birth father is not being allowed the choice either. He wanted to adopt me but she would not let that happen. He went back to his wife and told her of the affair. He told her about my birth. They both wanted to adopt. They had lost three children at birth. I have only one sister alive on his side. He is now 79-80 years of age. I feel he deserves to know that I am alive and well. Her fear has hurt several people. My brothers do not know of me. Her husband does. My father, his wife, and their daughter are not allowed to know me. I am not allowed to know them. Right now adoption makes me angry. It does not make me against adoption just the laws that protect its secrets and its harm.

It has affected my personal relationships. With friends, it brought me closer to some. It also distanced others. Some of the reasons were because I became obsessed. I still am but more about activism. Some friends think it is a win-win situation. They did not want to hear the negativity associated with it. I feel that it threatened my marriage but in the long run, it has made my marriage even stronger and closer. Since I have searched, it has changed my views on adoption. It is not the pretty little picture. It does indeed have a dark side. It targets the weak and the poor. I hate injustice done in the name of adoption. It creates pain for many involved. It makes me hate lies, deception, and manipulation even more so. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I am a product of those very things.

Adoption has made me into an activist. I fight for open records across the country. I write letters. I talk to people. I let people know that adoption is not the fuzzy warm win-win thing that society has created it to be. Adoptees and their stories are being made public. The shame is slowly being lifted from adoption. Sex in my mind is a natural function. Having a child is a natural function. I do not want my children, my sisters, my mothers, my friends, and the other millions of women to be hurt by something with this kind of pain.

I hope this is what you want. Please feel free to use my name. I also have a blog. Http://amyadoptee.blogspot.com/

Sincerely,
Amy K. Burt
aka amyadoptee
aka Michelin Unknown

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11 Responses to “ADOPTION TALES”

  1. elizabeth Says:

    That is a very powerful post. Who are you sending the letter to?

    I hope you can find your father.

    Your mother’s refusal of contact makes me sick.

    Well, most things about adoption make me sick, but anyway.

  2. AMYADOPTEE Says:

    I received an email wanting adoptee stories and adoption’s effect on me. It was called the Voice Of Adoption. Time will tell if my story gets told.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    if your birthmother had reacted differently, would you still be angry at adoption? if not, then aren’t you really just angry at your birthmother, and the choices she made in the past, and the choices she is making now? while it hurts to be “rejected twice” would you still have felt that rejection even if you had been adopted by your birthfather and his wife? and what if he and his wife did not treat you as well as your family? it’s fun to think about all the whatifs in life, but really there is no way to determine which would have been better and which ones would have been worse. we have what we have.

  4. iris eyes Says:

    Amy,
    I am sorry that your mother won’t talk to you.I do understand the fear and terror that mothers were subjected to, as I am one, but I always wanted to be reunited with my child and nothing would have stopped me.
    As far as being raised by your father and his wife…that situation would have been very difficult in its own way…and extramarital affairs carry a different kind of stigma. I grew up in a neighborhood with a girl born in those exact circumstances..she lived 3 doors up the street from me.Her father had an affair with his secretary and got her pregnant. He and his wife raised the little girl..and the child’s life was hell. The whole neighborhood knew the story and she became the neighborhood scapegoat.She also was abused and neglected.Her father became alcoholic. It was a mess.She finally escaped and got married but the marriage didn’t last and I don’t know what became of her..I hope she has found some happiness because her childhood was anything but happy.

    It is hard to second guess the past..some might say she would have been better off adopted..I don’t know..and I don’t know what became of her mother..surely she must have suffered from the loss as well.
    It is very unfair that you are not able to contact your father and sister.One person should not have the ability to control everyone else.

  5. AMYADOPTEE Says:

    I have thought about that and always wondered but it was a choice taken away from all of us. Now though I feel that he does deserve to know me. It is a shame Indiana Law doesn’t allow that.

  6. Mia Says:

    I don’t know if I would call the “what if’s” of life FUN to think about?!?!?

    Amy you are not alone. You are going through the very same process that I am. Nothing profound here but you are NOT alone.

  7. Mia Says:

    PS Would you like to talk some time on the phone? I think it would be very healing for the two of us to talk. Your email is not listed. If you would like to just email me and I will send you my number or I can call you if you send me yours. I have unlimited long distance.

    Hugs.

  8. elizabeth Says:

    Amy I hope your story gets told.

    Mia I totally agree thinking about the “what if’s” definitely is not fun. That was a really ignorant comment by the anon poster.

    I may no my history (mother lies constantly so there’s no tellin’ whats true or not), but yeah I do struggle with the “what if’s”. It is gut wrenching.

  9. AMYADOPTEE Says:

    Mia I can’t find the link on your blog to email you either. My email addy is amyburt40@yahoo.com. I will send you my phone number

  10. mia Says:

    I sent you an email. I look forward to talking with you Amy!

  11. AMYADOPTEE Says:

    Am I angry with her? Yes to an extent. I am also very disgusted with the way adoption is to this day. Yes I would have fought just as hard to open records. I think she would have told me the same story that I hear from thousands of birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. It would have set me on fire to do just exactly what I am doing now.

    Anyway, I don’t believe in entertaining what ifs. Just one of my quirks. That is all make believe. You can’t change the facts. Things could change but I would still fight just as hard. I owe to myself, my sisters, my daughters, my mothers, my girl friends, and the millions of other women and children who do suffer at the hands of the adoption industry. What do you do to fight back? I owe it to them to fight back. This is my legacy.

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