Secrets, Lies and ADOPTION…

LoggerheadsHere’s the deal, I just got done watching a movie called “Loggerheads” and I need to share some things with you. Right now there are so many thoughts that are circling in my head, I have to try and make sense of them or I will never get to sleep tonight. First, I can’t think of any other movie that has effected me more other than Brokeback Mountain. As a side note, since it is an “Independent” movie, you may not find it at the corner video store. My interest was piqued so I got my copy at Amazon.com after reading some reviews. Anyway…

This movie has hit me on so many levels I just can’t figure out where to begin. Basically it is about the adoption triad, and the people that comprise it. As an adoptee, I have been very involved in the issues, secrets and lies that surround adoption. As well trying to make a change in some of the laws (esp NY State), I even marched for adoptee’s rights to Open Records in Washington DC several years ago with a group of “adoption triad activists” which is what we were referred to as in the newspaper.

“Loggerheads” confronts many of the secrets and lies that surround adoption and the devastating consequences that they sometimes cause. The adoptee, (who happens to be gay and studying Loggerhead turtles) at one time did inquire at the agency about his birth mother, but was only given non-identifying information, and doesn’t pursue it after that, although it is brought out that he still has issues with his adoption. He left home years before around the time he came out to his adoptive parents. His adoptive father who is a minister writes him off, because of his “sin” and his adoptive mother is the typical minister’s wife who meekly submits to her husbands wishes. Meanwhile, his birth mother has not had the best of life; she never married, had no other children and has had several mental health issues as a result. (Believe it or not I have found this to be true for a number of birth mothers that I have spoken with over the years). That is the movie in a nutshell. But, I will tell you although the movie is slow in spots and appears to be choppy, it all comes together and makes sense at the end, which will leave you in tears. If you are involved in adoption or not they will be not only tears of joy, but also tears of sadness and anger. To say that it’s you’re run of the mill adoption, search and reunion story is a major understatement and I’ll just leave it at that.

Now that you have the premise of the movie, you don’t necessarily have to know the history behind adoption. The writers did an excellent job of hitting all the hot buttons and personalized them so that everyone who sees this movie comes away with a better understanding of the secrets and lies of adoption (as well as the pain caused by societies attitudes towards gays). To me this movie does what Brokeback Mountain did to show the world the damage that is caused when love has to be hidden and secrets and lies rule the way we think and act towards others who don’t fit the “normal” mold.

Here’s a little background for those who aren’t familiar with adoption. Closed adoptions, were basically set up to protect adoptees from having the word bastard stamped on their birth certificate and later on to protect adoptive parents from being contacted by birth mothers. As a result, adoption then became and “industrial” cash cow for lawyers, agencies and many Catholic churches. So by keeping records sealed it makes adoptive parents more comfortable in the fact that they have the assurance they will never receive that knock on the door from a birth mother and that their child will only love them. (Funny, even though a parent can love more than one child, and adoptee is not allowed to love more than one parent. But that’s another story…)

Many of these sealed records laws were put into effect during the 1930’s and 40’s. Before then, out of wedlock pregnancies, although “shameful” were handled much differently and in many cases the child stayed with the birth family and was raised by either the grandparents (as a “change of life” baby) or given to a relative or close friend who was unable to have their own children. There were some instances where children were placed in orphanages such as when the family was wealthy or the mother died during childbirth and there was no family per se to take the child or it would have caused embarrassment as in the case of the birth mother being a nun or the father a priest, or some other public figure or the child was removed for protective reasons. As a side note, those unfortunate enough to be placed in orphanages were usually made to work in sweat shops for their keep or sent out west in what was known as “Orphan Trains” to be taken in by farm families either to be adopted or for extra hands to help out on the farm.

Anyway, as you can see, other than my “issue” of being gay and coming out, my adoption and it’s consequences, has been THE largest issue that I have had to come to terms with. Not because I resent my adoption, but rather the shame, guilt and embarrassment of not “fitting in” with my adoptive family. I always felt like a square peg forced into a round whole until I was reunited with my birth family. It was then that a major portion of my being was restored to me and I finally fit in. It was the first time in my life that I felt whole. Many of the pieces in my life’s puzzle fell into place and it was then that I was able to concentrate on some of my other issues. Hence the reason behind this whole blog.

Now in so far as some people trying to connect my adoption issues being intertwined with me being gay. THINK AGAIN! I firmly believe I was born gay and whether I was put up for adoption or not, I would still be gay. Part of the reason why I knew I was different wasn’t because I was adopted. I had those feelings of being “different” before I was told or even thought that I was adopted, not to mention the fact that other kids saw something different in me to as far back as 2nd grade! Also as I mentioned before, I have a lesbian sister, 2 lesbian nieces and a gay nephew. Guess perhaps it could be in the genes???

Anyway, my thoughts are finally starting to settle in for the night and it’s about time so do I!

K

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About Kevin

I am 58 and I have finally decided to open the closet door and venture out.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Adoption History, Coming Out, Gay Theme, Growing up, Life, Musings, Religion, Self Discovery. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Secrets, Lies and ADOPTION…

  1. mom2one says:

    Thanks for the review. I was thinking about purchasing this too. I’m on my campus’ LGBT Committee and wondered if it might be a good movie to show for our film festival this coming fall — I didn’t know how much the gay issues are prominent in the movie.

    I think I’ll go ahead and buy it from your positive review and an adoptive mom’s positive review.

  2. Theresa says:

    This is a great review. I’ve had a post about why I can’t write a review about it sitting in my drafts folder for a while. I’ve had a hard time putting it into words. I did love this movie very much and was very lucky to catch it on the Sundance Channel. There was a tiny snip in the movie that got me right in the gut. It’s that scene under the pier and the emotions that go across Kip Pardue’s face. Maybe I’m projecting my memories of a twenty-something year old onto him, but just those few seconds for me captured all the emotions of the black hole of not-knowing.

  3. dirkmancuso says:

    I’ve almost bought this over at Amazon a few times, but wasn’t sure.

    Now I am.

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