Conflicted

My birth name was Theresa Anne Bailly.

For 22 years, I fought to meet my biological family and be included in their lives.

Finally, at age 25, I was able to reconnect with them.

Both my biological parents were from wealthy families. I was given away for adoption because my parents weren't married: My 22-year-old father was fighting the war in Vietnam, and my 20-year-old mother was a college student when they learned she was pregnant. This was before the 1972 Title IX protections were enacted to prevent discrimination against women for pregnancy in school.

But, discrimination was rampant everywhere else - and unwed wealthy women did not raise bastard babies, so I was given away to strangers and raised on a farm in central New Jersey. 

My paternal side was all from California. My great grandfather was a renowned Hollywood film editor who worked for Selznick Studios, the biggest film studio in Hollywood’s early days. He won an Oscar as Chief Editor of one of the most famous movies of all time: Gone With The Wind, and was nominated for two more films: Rebecca and Since You Went Away.

Meanwhile, I was raised on a farm in central New Jersey by mentally ill hoarders who died penniless with their house in foreclosure. My parents meant well, but were neglectful. My siblings and I went unattended, did drugs in our teens, and my oldest adopted sibling became an abusive alcoholic. He was depressed and self-destructive. He eventually died at age 47, a victim of his own vices.  

My experience with adoption in the 1960s was awful. I saw adoption as child trafficking, gross control of women, forced abduction of their babies as a means of social and moral control.

Thou shalt not fornicate before marriage! And if you do? Repent by relinquishing the child to good Christians who are more deserving of it. Birth control and abortion were nonexistent. Women were held hostage by the government’s control over their reproduction. 

How to survive all that manipulation? One day at a time. Take control of it. Understand it. Fight for rights. Educate others. Stand with others who are marginalized and discriminated against. Work to stay healthy and whole, spiritually and physically. Practice gratitude. Give to others.

Adoption is complicated. It is life-long and misunderstood as always being positive.

In some cases, adoption is the cause of family separation, while in others it is a cure for it.

Whatever the adoptee's reflections and experiences with adoption may be, it stems from losses and this needs to be validated.