THE INVISIBLE MINORITY
How have you been touched by adoption?
I’m collecting stories for a book I’m creating called The Invisible Minority. Children of adoption are often called ‘the invisible minority’ because there’s no way to visibly tell whether or not someone was adopted. I want to showcase the breadth of experiences our society has with adoption in an attempt to demystify and normalize non-nuclear families.
Please share your story with me.
Use as many or as few words as you want. Write in letter format. Write in first-person or in third-person, whatever you feel comfortable with. Write it anonymously if you don’t feel comfortable signing your name. I would also love to know what city you’re from.
These stories will be collated together and displayed at the NYMF production and all subsequent productions of My Real Mother, as well as possibly made available to the public at some point down the line.
Thank you for your bravery and your openness. I know these stories will make each of us feel more connected, more inspired, and more confident about our places in the world. To give you a sense of what I’m looking for - below is an excerpt from Susan Larkin, the woman who inspired this project.
Share your responses with RileyThomasWriter@gmail.com - I look forward to hearing from you.
How have you been touched by adoption?
I suppose being adopted opens the quest for personal identity at a much earlier stage in life. The question ‘where do we come from’ has further implications and deeper perceptions of what ‘origin unknown’ might imply. My adoptive parents told me early that they chose me; and that they had waited a long time for me. That I was loved. And that they had no information about my birth parents. It wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I learned I was what used to be called a “foundling child.”(Today’s term: a safe haven baby.) I was found in the emergency alcove of Southtown Hospital in Chicago around 2 a.m. on January 1st, 1950. 12 hours old. No other information.
I was initially found wearing a blue slip, a white dress and wrapped in a pink blanket. Moments after I was discovered, the story goes, a woman called and asked the nurse on duty, “Did you find the baby?” Hearing a “yes” the call ended. I was pictured in the Chicago papers the next day as the first waif of the decade, and in another, as a foundling child. Baptised as Genevieve Towne at Holy Name Cathedral, I was then brought to St. Vincent’s Infant Home until my adoption, less than a year later. When I was in early grade school I encountered the term ‘illegitimate’ -- which was confounding. Not real? Not fully something that other people were? Something to defend against? This early concept was why I think I began writing journals before middle school. I wanted to prove that I was here. I was real. There would be a record. Perhaps someday, I surmised, my writings would validate the journey I came here to live.
The mother who brought me up had a difficult mental time of it, that came to full bloom before I was 2 years old. Because of her condition (that lasted for the rest of her life) I was quite open about telling people that she wasn’t my ‘real mom’. I loved her though. It was just tricky. Her situation however, and my father’s unending love and compassion and faith -- journeyed us through a life where I was constantly interested in the human mind, and the context of this woman’s life. We always hoped and prayed that Mommy would get better someday. (As an adult I would study psychology and creativity and personal growth and development.)
My adult belief system is that the soul’s purposeful journey provides the carpet that life rests upon. I believe at some level we are meant to live the lives we grow through. Guided and nurtured along the way to make the best learning out of the paths between birth and death.
This saga of mine continues into the story of my own daughter . . . who I gave up for adoption when she was born. I met her in her early 30s, my early 50s. That’s an amazing journey of its own. When she and I first met, I felt a soul level weave of lost and found. There was an uncanny match of traits and energy. (I’ve invited her to share her own adoption story.)
I have since discovered the identity perhaps of the nurse who very well may have been the one who dressed me in the blue slip and the white dress and called SouthTown Hospital to ask, “Did you find the baby”.
Mine is a layered story. Not over.