Music from the adopted heart
by Corey Whelan
Posted on March 10, 2011
We as human beings, universally, seem to share so many commonalities. We all bleed, both literally and figuratively. We all need to feel a solidarity of some kind in order to get through our lives. For many, it is country. For others, love. But for most, it is not only love, but also love of family. And if the number of ipods that accompany people to work are any indication, we also all seem to be moved, viscerally, by music. We experience music more than we hear it; we all share that need, to feel and to take in the stories told through song. Music searches us out and touches us in a way that we all seem to long for. And so, we are also touched by the story tellers who are willing to bleed for us through song, who share their lives with us, because their words so often give voice to what is in our own lives or our own hearts.
Today was an unusual day. I don't always get to have breakfast with a famous rapper, or to hear him sing. In this case, the very handsome (and muscular) Run DMC (aka Daryl McDaniels), shared his voice and his story of being an adult adoptee with a number of us at the Hard Rock Cafe. Along with the British singer Zara Phillips, also an adult adoptee, the two of them spun a powerful tale. Daryl said he always knew something was wrong. And at 35 years of age he was contemplating suicide when his adopted parents finally told him the truth.
Daryl's and Zara's were not the only voices. Not everyone can educate through song! Others educate through spoken passion. There were so many of that ilk today. But first among them was Adam Pertman.
Adam was today's host. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I walked in the room. I wound up hearing countless stories, and testimony about the need for adult adoptees to have the right to their original birth certificates. Today was a call to arms about this issue. Although this right is being contested by a number of groups, legislation allowing adult adoptees to access their OBC's is being passed through hard won legislation in a number of states. And that is the fight that today was about. Getting the word out. Letting people know. Two and 1/2 years in the making, this event was led by Adam and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. EBD is committed to research, data, and proof, things which are close to my writer's heart. According to EBD, the arguments being utilized to support the continued consealment of adoptee's original identities are flawed. Birth certificates were never sealed to protect birthparents, anonymity could never be guaranteed and birthparents overwhelmingly support contact. In addition, access to original birth certificates does not decrease adoption rates or spike abortion rates. Adam can tell this story better than I, you can read him here, and you should. Adam is a smart man. He may not be a rap star but he is a solid thinker and a coalition builder.
Many of his universal team, as well as many dissenting voices, were in residence at the Hard Rock this a.m. to sound the charge, or to silence it, for opening up original birth certificates for all adoptees nationwide. Year by year, state by state, inch by inch, passionate people reported on their progress or lack of it. Working to pass imperfect bills in order to begin this process of creating wholeness.
I was moved beyond words. I have said many times about so many things, that the one thing we as human beings deserve above all else, is our own personal truth. What I learned today is that we as human beings not only deserve, but require, that same thing. I don't think I knew that before, at least not the way I know it now.
I have always known however that music can teach. And yes, the willingness of individuals to bring their pain, their lives, their experiences to the fore can also teach. Via film today I saw individuals ripping open their unsealed birth certificates to view them for the first time. You know, I never realized before that most babies surrendered for adoption are named by their birth parents. Can you imagine seeing your original name, on paper, for the first time? What that would feel like?
Ok. Here comes the hard part. Those of you who have read my words over the years may remember a quandary I have mentioned before. I have a cousin who I know is adopted. I have kept this secret, given to me by her mother and my own, for my whole life long. My cousin has never spoken of it to me and I don't know if she knows this secret that I know, that I have held. Yes, in earlier writings I said my cousin was a he. She is not. My quandary? Her parents, my parents, that whole generalion of secret keepers, have all passed. The only person left to ask if she knows, is herself. I don't know if she knows and I have battled with talking to her about it forever. What right do I have to talk to her about it? What right do I have to not talk to her about it?
My dear girl, I know you read my blog. If you have ever had a thought, a doubt, a feeling, that something was wrong. If you want to talk about it, call me. I am here for you, I love you, I am your family. I love you.