I have just finished reading Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston’s new book “The Declassified Adoptee-Essays of an Adoption Activist”. Twice in fact.
I’m sure most of you know her as “The Declassified Adoptee” through her website, blog or The Lost Daughters network.
Amanda is the founder and editor of Lost Daughters as well as being a Social Worker, Author, Speaker, Award winning blogger, Feminist and Adoption Activist.
I’m sorry, I don’t know who to credit for that description of what being an Activist means. I felt it important to let people know just how important it is we all take this stance and learn from Amanda how important it is to speak our truth.
When I found Lost Daughters it was like finding my home. Finally, a place where i belonged, where I fit in and knew I would be understood. Having followed their blogs for some time I have been fortunate to experience the essence of what it means to be part of a sisterhood (and brother), to be with “those who get it”.
In JaeRan Kim’s foreword she puts it so eloquently in stating that Amanda, through these essays “calls for a more equitable and humane conceptualization of adoption.”
We, as adoptees are the last to speak. Because of people like Amanda, others have found their voices in blogs, rallies, memoirs, and groups. Because of this, CHANGE WILL HAPPEN.
That’s what being an activist means. Creating a better future for those in the world of adoption.
When she was born, I was 33. Having participated in the Vietnam War Protests back in the early 70’s I considered myself, at the time to be quite the activist. In my 30’s I was an R.N. working in Psychiatry fighting for the wounded, yet I was unable to find “my truth.”
Amanda, in 2009 at age 24, the age I would have walked in protest navigated the maze of government requirements and obtained her birth certificate and adoption file, thus eliminating the “secret information”.
The Declassified Adoptee came into being.
I share my timeframe because it’s important for everyone to be included no matter what age. This is a book of inclusion.
The essays within the covers of this book were born from her blog and cover the topics we all wish someone had spoken to us about before we began navigation and maneuvering around adoption land mines. It holds information that is helpful to everyone touched by adoption.
I spent my life searching, finding my biological family when I was 50. For myself, attempting to join, merge with a family already well established in how they functioned, was nothing I could have anticipated. Perhaps, if we all had been better prepared in knowing what to expect, how to navigate the emotional roller coaster reunion is known for, our chances would have been better. Having Amanda’s book would have shed some light on what has been a forbidden topic for years, especially in my era.
There are no wasting of words in this book. I turn the page and the title is How to Listen to an Adoptee without getting offended. I was tempted right then to scan the pages and send them out to the world. It’s not an easy journey, this life as an adoptee, nor is it easy to unite with the family you were first born to. This dialogue is needed between all of us, sooner rather than later.
Page after page I could feel the Love and Compassion in between the lines as she spoke about her adoptive parents and her first mother and family.
I was moved to tears in the essay “A Letter to my Prospective Adoptive Mother. What that little baby might have wanted to say.” She had a wonderful mother of adoption. I know, despite the different environments we all grow up in that deeply ingrained beliefs lie in the tangled web of the limbic system. It’s how and what we choose to do with them that makes the difference.
The need to know is there. We search faces, countries, records..anything that will prove, that yes, we do in fact…exist. Yes, we have a right to be here and yes…we do belong.
We need to feel empowered, not silenced in our search for self. We need more Amanda’s in our world. Each one of us must find our voice and let it be heard.
Tough topics are embraced in these essays. From Abortion, Children of Rape, to Mother-Daughter-Mother Connection. Her words are clear, concise and relative to each and everyone of us.
Adoptees live in a world of secrets. From the lack of access to our own history and heritage to the amended birth certificates that so many of us still carry. Secrets and Lies…How can we know who we are…when we don’t know who we were?
Amanda states she was around 11-12 when she first saw her amended birth certificate. I was around that age as well. It is, of course nothing more than a piece of paper with a lie written down, stating that your adoptive parents are in fact the ones who gave birth to you. Like Amanda, I felt as though the wind had been knocked right out of me. How could this be? How could they lie about something so important. As Amanda states, “the lies need to stop.” I was intrigued with this essay and the research Amanda had done, because I, at 61 still do not have “a real birth certificate.”
Nearing the end of the book, I was left wanting more. To read such a moving, yet provocative book of essays that apply to all of us, no matter what colour, what circumstances, what age, is inspiring and at the same time reassuring and comforting. You are not alone.
For adoptees who have lived with secrets and silence for so long, these essays bring to light the many tough subjects that need to be discussed, written about and discussed some more.
I was so moved by the last couple of essays for many reasons. Honouring each other’s stories with love and compassion and truth is vital to healing. As Amanda is a Social Worker, she is acutely aware of all aspects of self disclosure.
To listen, truly, completely listen is a gift as well as an honour and so greatly appreciated.
To be heard, really heard and to be held in the hands of truth and love is where healing lives.
I feel honoured to be writing about this book and bear witness to Amanda’s story.
The Declassified Adoptee Essays of an Adoption Activist is a book I believe should be on everyone’s coffee table, out in the open, where everyone involved can pick it up and ask questions, discuss the hard topics. It needs to be in book cases in houses where adoption has touched lives in any way.
From the words in between this cover you will find your voice and you will be held with such compassion you will speak your truth.
Book available on Amazon.com