Posted on June 3rd, 2011 by David R. Ford
Father’s Day can be a strange time for adopted kids. Even those of us who were raised by wonderful adoptive parents may still harbor strong feelings—even if it’s just curiosity—about our unseen birth fathers. In my case I found my birth mother later in life and had a long, complicated relationship with her. And yet her husband of more than 50 years (who was my biological father) steadfastly refused to have any contact with me or the other three children they gave up for adoption. He died without giving us the chance to understand him, and the shadow that hangs permanently over him leaves me with bittersweet thoughts on Father’s Day.
Posted on May 3rd, 2011 by David R. Ford
As an advocate for adoptees’ rights to access their original birth certificates (the ones that show the names of the birth parents), I’ve had the chance to talk to birth mothers and learn more about organizations that support them in their efforts to connect with their birth children. My informal study of the issue tells me that most birth mothers have a strong interest in knowing how things turned out for the kids they gave up, and would encourage some level of contact with their adult birth children. That’s not to say that they are looking for a full relationship with the adoptees, but that they would at least welcome contact from their birth children.
Posted on March 28th, 2011 by David R. Ford
The last time I saw my birth mother before she died, we talked about the circumstances of my birth. I was the last of the four children she had given up for adoption. She candidly described the various methods she and our birth father had used to avoid all of those unwanted pregnancies. My birth mother laughed as she told me that I was the “Diaphragm Baby.” I tried to laugh along with her, saying that the sperm that made me must have been a tough guy. But I thought to myself how lucky I was that she hadn’t been very skilled at using her diaphragm.
Posted on March 25th, 2011 by David R. Ford
One of the strange things about the modern move toward “open” adoptions is that adoptions really only became “closed”—treated almost as a dirty little secret—in the early Twentieth Century. Before that time adoptions often happened within a fairly close community, with everyone knowing (but perhaps not talking about) whose child was adopted by which other relative or friend of the family.
Posted on March 23rd, 2011 by David R. Ford
One of the great things about writing Blind in One Eye: A Story About Seeing the Possibilities, or just talking to people about finding my birth family, is that the intimacy and emotion of it seems to encourage people to tell me their stories. Often the stories relate to adoption, but sometimes they’re about variations on the theme of “family secrets.” I’ve learned not to be too surprised by the reactions I get to my story, and have learned much about the complexities of families.
Posted on March 20th, 2011 by David R. Ford
When people hear (or read) the story of my birth parents—a married, middle-class couple who secretly gave up four of their seven children for adoption at birth—they often ask me, Why?” As in: why would my birth parents have so many children that they weren’t going to keep? It’s hard to imagine how difficult it would have been for a woman to be pregnant for a big part of seven years with four children she would serially give up for adoption.
The second half of my book explores the “why” question. But my adoptive mother has a touching answer of her own: “Your birth parents kept having those babies until they created you for us.”