Monday, March 2, 2009

The Adoption Story Board

I'd like to invite every member of the Adoption Triad to participate in The Adoption Story Board. It is your opportunity to put a human face on a situation, an injustice that has existed far too long.

It is an opportunity for everyone to read the words of those touched by adoption in some way and to see their faces. We all look at faces; birth parents and adoptees alike have walked down the street or stood in line at the grocery store wondering if the person near them once belonged to them.

The reader of the Adoption Story Board can see the face of a child, now an adult, that someone had to surrender to adoption and read about their search; they can see the face of a birth mother who has searched for her child for many years and seeing that face will help to erase the stigma associated with unwed mothers and the mindset that so many people had and still have about women who give up their children. I hope it will encourage more birth mothers to search as they read her story.

Birth fathers may write their stories too. Not all of them walked away and left the mother to carry the burden alone. We know many of them were never allowed to participate in the decision; some were never told about the child until years later.

Each person who adds their story to the Adoption Story Board is given an entire webpage to tell their story. It can be as long or as short as you wish. In addition to sharing your search information, I hope some will also talk about the brick walls you have hit along the way and what it feels like to wonder about your heritage, your medical background, where you came from and who you look like. Do you have siblings, grandparents and aunts and uncles? I encourage everyone to include photos - those are the faces people need to see. It is your story and you will not have to share the webpage with anyone else. It can be edited if you find someone you are searching for and are still looking for others.

As a search angel, I have read through thousands of database entries. I have to admit that I am hard pressed to always remember where I saw pieces on information that may be relevant to a search I'm working on now. I do, however, remember a story and where I read it. I remember a face and I always remember the vivid pictures that someone's words create in my mind.

For those who may not have been touched by adoption, it gives them an opportunity to know those who have and to see their faces. These are the folks who phone their congressmen and senators when legislation is in committee; their phone calls and letters can make a difference. They have never had to tell a physician they have no medical background information and they have never been without their original birth certificate. It is an opportunity to share knowledge, to teach.

Readers will also have a chance to see the faces of adoptive parents too. There are many adoptive parents who have helped and supported their grown children in their search. The have seen first hand that in the end, it didn't result in them being set aside and it didn't result in anyone taking their place. Such stories can be an encouragement to other adoptive parents.

I also don't mind if some of you wish to get political as long as you include your basic search information. Very few states support adoptee's rights and it's time the average person hears about the hoops we have to jump through just to get minimal non-identifying information and the medical issues we have to face when knowledge before hand might have prevented them.

Reunion stories are welcome too. Someone's successful search will hold keys that others may well be able to use. It will also give others HOPE!

The Adoption Story Board is not intended to replace any of the other wonderful databases that we use on a regular basis as they are critical and important to all searches. There is no mailing list associated with it and it is not a search and support group. We have many wonderful groups and I hope those who write their stories will include the places where they have registered so that others who are considering a search may join.

The Adoption Story Board is an enhancement, a tool we can all use in seeking the same goal - reuniting our families. It's a place for information and pictures to be located on one page; a place where a human face and the words they write will stick in someone's mind. A reader will know who you are looking for, possibly what you've been through if you wish to write about that and what you look like. They might even think you look like someone they know who gave up a son or daughter years ago and is afraid to search, afraid of being rejected.

The Adoption Story Board is a branch of my genealogy web site which has been on the internet for 11 years and attracts thousands of visitors each day. I anticipate the Adoption Story Board will also get some of that traffic and that can translate into more exposure for everyone's search. Anyone will be able to search it by date or place. They don't have to join a group or a mailing list, they can just look and read. And, it's free!

As to the specifics, you write your story and send it to me along with photos. I have set up an email account for this on aol because it is easier to retrieve pictures using aol. Please send the photos as an attachment in their original size and I will resize them to fit your page. I will format the story and send you the link to it before it is published on the internet. You will have a chance to view the page before it goes public so you can make any changes you want to make.

If you blog or post anywhere on the internet, you are free to use the link to draw people to your story. I will use keywords specific to your search; the keywords are hidden in the html formatting behind the story so no one can see them but the search engines will pick up those keywords within a couple of weeks.

If you are worried about spam, I can take precautions to help eliminate that just as we have done on the genealogy side of the site. Your email address is not visible but is a direct link off your name. If someone clicks on your name, it opens up an email to you. If you want to post confidentially, that link can be set to open an email to me and and correspondence will be forwarded to you.

If you would like to participate, all you need to do is:
Please write your story in notepad not MSWord or you can write it in the email.
Send your story and your photos to Aunt Patty
Send me your contact information in the same email.

For your protection, I will not publish birth certificate numbers, phone numbers or addresses. Your contact information is confidential; just a way for me to reach you and it will never be given out to anyone without your written permission.

This project is in its infancy. I am open to all suggestions and your ideas. I have two stories posted so you can see what your story can look like. You can find them at these two urls:

Birgitta Sjoholm (this story captions the adoptee's birth
name at her request)

Cherie's Continuing Search

If you need more information, please contact me.

Peace to you and those you love,
Aunt Patty

2 comments:

the need for a father? said...

Dear Patty,

You amy be interested to read this link >

http://about-orphans.blogpot.com

Aunt Patty said...

The Adoption Story Board accepts stories from members of the adoption triad in all countries.

Please pass it on.
Peace,
Aunt Patty
contact at ISTGadoption@aol.com