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Your Adoption Journey

Carla's Story
Dear DMC:

First, I want to say congratulations on the Emmy!  I loved the story of your adoption journey, and cried throughout most of it!  You deserve the award!  Also, I love DMC "Deliver My Children"!  While I wish there had been a voice to speak for me, I'm so happy that there are now voices out there for adoptees.

My Journey started on May 7, 1967 in Orlando, Florida.  That was the day I was born to a 16 year old unwed mother.  I've never been able to obtain her last name, only non-identifying information from the State of Florida.  The Social Worker assigned to my case attempted to contact my birth mother after my birth to find out how she felt about the adoption, etc., but her whereabouts were unknown.  HRS (social services) was alerted to the adoption in 1967 only after my placement in the adoptive home by the attorney.  They investigated the suitability of the home, but because both the attorney and the doctor involved did not cooperate, their attempts to locate my birth mom were unsuccessful.  I have to wonder how thoroughly they investigated the home, because I suffered severe emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of my adopted parents for the majority of the time I lived with them -- my earliest memory of the sexual abuse is at three years old.

Three days after my birth, my adopted dad supposedly flew down to Lantana, Florida, then drove to the attorney's office in Orlando with his natural daughter, who was already living in Florida, and picked me up.  Then they flew me across state lines (without notifying anyone at HRS) to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he was stationed.  Within six months, my adoptive dad retired and my adoptive parents moved to Florida for good.  This is the story I've been told anyway.  I have been told a lot of stories - none have been shown to be the truth yet.

I've been searching for my birth mother since the late 1980s.  I even contacted the attorney in my adoption case, but he first told me 1991 he remembered the case, but that the files had been destroyed, "burned" by his office since they were so old.  The second story I received this year, when I called him and he denied even practicing law in the State of Florida at the time of my birth.  However, the record does show he was the attorney involved.   

Florida has an adoptee's reunion registry (FARR), and I joined it in 1989.  Recently, I called them again to check on obtaining any more non-identifying information (the only info Florida is required to give me) and I was told my records were "inadvertently" destroyed - even what they had on the computer system just two months ago, when I contacted them to update my address.  The manager of FARR literally told me last Thursday that I had no rights that "your birth mother signed away those rights when you were born".  I've grown accustomed to this attitude within the bureaucratic system, however, I was pretty upset at her boldness, especially given the fact that my file has disappeared. 

I had actually given up on the search for my birth parents about 10 years' ago, and only recently started searching again.  It's really hard on me - Florida is one of, if not the, worst state in the union to try to get any info.  The records are sealed, and when you start dealing with individuals in the system, even those supposed to be designed to help, like FARR, the attitude is always one of contempt and callousness. I can't even tell you how many times I've been told I have no right to know where I come from and who I am.  Many times I feel like I was sold and bought.  The anger and grief I feel on a daily basis is sometimes almost too much to bear.  It's funny, because I don't feel anger at my birthmom - I never have.  I have felt a sense of rejection, though.  Also, once I became an adult and confronted my adopted family about the abuse I went through, they denied it, called me a liar, and disowned me from the family, which only added to my feelings of rejection.  My adopted mom even wrote me out of her will, and when she died, I attended the reading of it, and had to listen to the attorney tell me what she wrote.  It was humiliating.  For so long I lived with a deep sense of depression, and it's affected me in all aspects of my life.  I feel disconnected, like I don't belong anywhere.  It's only my faith in Jesus Christ that has given me any sense of belonging and strength at all. 

I've come to realize I'm obviously not the only one who has suffered behind an antiquated, unjust social service system, which abuses the very people they are given charge over - and the most vulnerable, fragile people at that.  I believe it is a system that not only needs reformation but in many cases, needs to just straight up be shaken down and transformed. I don't know how or if that's going to happen, but I do believe everyone who lifts their voice to tell the truth will eventually help in that transformation.  I know I will never stop searching for the truth of where I came from and I can only hope that one day I will know. 


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