Every time I meet someone in my natural family for the first time, I learn something new. New information about my family specifically or generally, or something about myself sudden comes into focus. It makes me angry because it shines a harsh light on the lies I was told growing up adopted. I was not supposed to question or miss what I had lost when I was taken from my mother. None of the things she could give me where considered consequential in any way, and I have come to discover as the years roll by that nothing could be further from the truth.

The basic lie of adopted families is that they are no different at all from families of origin. Taking someone else’s child to raise as your own is the same thing as giving birth to a child. It’s not a win-win. It’s not harmless solution for solving the infertility issues of one couple or the single parenthood issues of the mother. Harm is done, and I would argue just as much to the infertile couple as to the birth mother who is being asked to abandon her child for some nebulous greater good.

Why do I say that infertile couples are harmed by adoption?

First, adoption allowed them to pretend they aren’t infertile. At least publicly. It doesn’t erase the damage that infertility as wrought on them personally or on their relationship. In fact, it might make both those things worse as it gives them an excuse to not deal with the issues.

I know my adoptive parents did not deal with the damage done to their relationship because my adoptive mother couldn’t have children. He blamed her. Blamed her mother. Was quite angry for the majority of my life about being denied a biological child. He thought we didn’t notice, but he wasn’t subtle about his disappointment. Every time we didn’t live up to his expectations, it was there, an elephant lumbering about the room, trampling us children.

Second, adopted families aren’t viewed as “the same” by societies in general. I have lost count of the number of people who praised my adoptive parents for “taking those children in” as though we’d been left on doorsteps. Adopted children are less than. Adopted families are “better than nothing”. That’s the harsh truth.

Finally, it never gives the couple proper space to mourn and heal from their infertility. Everything they went through trying to get pregnant. Treatments. Miscarriages. An adopted baby is a band-aid for a gaping wound. It’s not the job of a child, suffering their own separation trauma, to fix the adults who’ve acquired them like one would rescue a kitten or puppy.

I don’t bother to discuss this with my adopted mother anymore. She is too deep in her own feelings to see mine. She’s too old to really have the in depth conversations we needed to have decades ago in any case. It’s unfortunate but reality can’t be amended to suit my needs at this point.

I do not support non-familial placement of infants and children. Reunification is best. Keeping children with extended biological family is next best. There should be a concerted effort by the government to make sure all efforts are made and that includes financial support if necessary.

What can be done for infertile couples? The obvious financial support for assisted reproductive health measures for one. Mental health support for those who cannot because parents if medical intervention fails. Finally, society supporting the idea that having children is something not everyone does. The absence of children is not a personal failure and should never be sold as such by anyone or any institution.


People don’t actually hate socialism, which is the foundation of what we call the social safety net. In Canada that is things like Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Medicare, provincial and federal disability benefits, the Child Care Benefit, GST and climate rebates, Daycare benefits, parental leave, and now the beginnings of dental-care. In the US, it includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal benefits for those with disabilities and their families. It is also federal funding for schools in various forms, and recently, a program to eliminate the crippling student debt problem that is hobbling their economy because adults have decades worth of loans they can never fully pay off.

Everyone likes it when the government benefits them in some way whether it is a big or small. The problem comes from that minority of people who like benefits for themselves but rage when people they don’t approve of also have access to those benefits. It’s never been about the benefits at all but about the universality of those benefits.

Wealthy people pay a pittance into the social safety net in practical terms. It’s barely noticeable to them at all. What they receive from it is pocket change, but they know how beneficial it is to others. How those benefits empower people. Free them in some ways. They don’t like that and would like to undermine it in any way they can.

An example of that close to my home, is the UCP govt in Alberta right now. The Premier has decided to try and pull people’s retirement savings out of the federal plan, CPP, and create a provincial system. She wants to do this so the govt will have access to people’s retirement savings. They want to use that money for investments in carbon based energy, a dumb idea for reasons that deserve another post on another day. Currently, CPP is fully funded and completely solvent for the next 70 years. It’s safe and important for most Albertans if they have any aspirations of retiring. The Alberta UCP government isn’t terribly interested in people being able to retire or creating a safe way for them to do it. They are wealthy and well-connected people. The people of Albertan are largely people who are not rich, not well-connected, and need a protected retirement program. They will be disadvantaged and that’s what people in the UCP want because it benefits them.

Socialism is the foundation of the safety nets in our society. Most people will benefit from them at some point in their lives. The tiny bit we pay in, comes back to us and then some. Rich people understand this. Everyone else needs to understand this so we quit helping the rich undermine and eliminate them.


For almost all my life, I didn’t know who my real mother was. I didn’t know what she looked like. What her hobbies and passions were. If we shared any common likes, dislikes, quirks. And I didn’t know when her birthday was.

Her birthday is coming up at the end of the month. My half-brother makes a xmas wreath to hang on her gravestone. Very Christmas Carol if you ask me. This year, I asked him if I could contribute decorations for it.

Generally, Bro’s wreaths are pretty standard wreaths. Very colour-coordinated and indistinguishable from a wreath you might see on a door in your neighbourhood.

I went to Michael’s and found a wooden heart, which I wrote a personal message to her on, and I found a packaged of cute animal themed ornaments at IKEA, which I choose for two reasons. Cute animals. But also very durable plastic that should be able to stand up to most anything an Iowa winter might hurl at them.

I mailed them to Bro and when they arrived, I asked him if they were okay for the wreath.

“We’ll get creative,” he replied.

I told my youngest daughter later that had Bro and I grown up together, he would have been the one to painstakingly plan something and I would have been the one to come along after and blow it up with “creativity”.

But cemetery decor aside, I don’t really know what else to do for her birthday. I don’t really like the idea of birthday cakes for the dead. However, she loved cake and having a cake would be a fitting observance.

I want to flood my FB with pictures of her because I will get the most response there but my adoptive mom will be hurt by this. She will put on a brave face publicly but she will cry to my sister and brother about in private and they will tell me, which is the point.

I hate that I have to temper my feelings to spare Mom’s feelings. Had she not lied to me about knowing who my real mom was, I’d have been able to meet her before she died. Got some semblance of closure.

As the death of Twitter looms, I have started a Tumblr account I could use but it would be somewhat like this blog. Just putting words and thoughts out into a void to echo until it fades away.

Maybe Instagram?

I really don’t know. There are no handbooks on best practices for adoptees and reunionification.

I wonder what it was like for her on that only birthday we spent together. She was very pregnant. And alone except for me though I was probably not much consolation as I was just weeks from being born and whisked away for what turned out to be forever. It must have been horrible.

I am going to need to give this more thought. Get creative. As my Bro would say.