An Adoptee’s Medical History and Medical Attitudes

Amyadoptee

How many adoptees have faced medical misconceptions in regards to adoption?  Many of us have grumbled about this issue for decades.  We want to hear our medical history from our parents.  We do not want to hear it from the state.

When I write these posts, I write them from a domestic American adoptee’s point of view.  I was adopted from infancy.  From the beginning of my teenage years to now, my adoptive mother has always pushed me to find my truth.  In doing so, I have learned other things along the way.  

I know several adoptees including myself who have complained about the visits to the doctor’s office.  We always have to fill out the unknown  for the medical history portion.  We usually have to write down adopted -unknown.   Although I have accepted that as my fate, I never realized that this could also affect my children.  They are missing half of their medical information.  

We moved to North Texas about five years ago.  Shortly after moving here, my youngest child had an issue with sleeping.  She was not sleeping through the night.  She was three years old at the time.  I was working for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier in a town 75 miles away from our home.  It required early morning hours for me to travel to work.  It required that I be in bed by nine o’clock every evening.  It was also a demanding schedule for them as well.

I would wake up at four thirty to find a trail of food running from the kitchen to her bedroom.  We tried changing the rooms.  We tried separating the girls into their own rooms.  I finally took her to a pediatrician who gave us some sleep medicine that sometimes worked.  He recommended seeing a psychologist who specialized in ADHD.  I spoke with our day care provider who said that my daughter was NOT ADHD.  I also spoke with my family and my friends about this issue.  All of these folks had been around her.  They said the same things.  

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After many a night with these kinds of food raids and late night walks, I would often find her sleeping in odd positions.  We had plastic milk crates for my crochet and swedish weave yarn crafts.  She would put her pillow in one of them and fall asleep in them.  So I scheduled an appointment with a local psychologist to have her tested.   

My daughter does not like doctors period.  It takes a lot for her to warm up to them.  She was no different with this psychologist.  She would not participate in his testing.  He began to ask me my background.  Of course, I could not tell him as I was adopted.  As soon as he heard those words, he made some harsh commentary.  All adoptees, according to him, are bipolar.  He wanted my daughter to go to a neurologist in Dallas.   Being an adoptee, this commentary infuriated me.  That is a huge blanket statement about a class of individuals who had no choice or say in this decision.  I replied to him nicely that I would find a local neurologist to help me.  I never went back.  I still owed him money for testing that was never completed.  Because of that blanket statement, there was no way in hell that I was going to pay him either.

I am so glad that I made that decision.  I am so grateful that I trusted my own instincts.  I scheduled an appointment with the local neurologist.  We waited for hours to be seen.  It was well worth the wait.  My daughter took to him like he was grandpa.  She enjoyed his company and his physical exam.   He looked at me and told me point blank that she does not have ADHD.  He said that she was perfectly normal but her problem was tonsils and adenoids.  He then checked my oldest daughter.  He said the same thing with her.  He said that she is sleeping in these odd positions because she can not breath.

Since I am adopted, I did not think about my past medical history.  I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was eight years of age.  Of course, they would have some of my genetics.  It was a thump on the head for me.  There is so much that I do not know about my medical history.  I do not want to use this as a reason to access the original birth certificate.  Access to that document is a right that must be restored to the adoptees of this country.  Most of the birth parents past want to give adoptees their medical history but they want to do it in person.  They do not want to do this through a government agency or an adoption agency.  It also should not be a requirement for a mother to sign up on the registries in each state.  Adoption affects not just me but also the generations that follow me.

How many other adoptees have had to deal with the myths and misconceptions about adoption with their medical history?

News Sexual Health

State with Nation’s Highest Chlamydia Rate Enacts New Restrictions on Sex Ed

Nicole Knight Shine

By requiring sexual education instructors to be certified teachers, the Alaska legislature is targeting Planned Parenthood, which is the largest nonprofit provider of such educational services in the state.

Alaska is imposing a new hurdle on comprehensive sexual health education with a law restricting schools to only hiring certificated school teachers to teach or supervise sex ed classes.

The broad and controversial education bill, HB 156, became law Thursday night without the signature of Gov. Bill Walker, a former Republican who switched his party affiliation to Independent in 2014. HB 156 requires school boards to vet and approve sex ed materials and instructors, making sex ed the “most scrutinized subject in the state,” according to reproductive health advocates.

Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers of Alaska’s legislature.

Championing the restrictions was state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), who called sexuality a “new concept” during a Senate Education Committee meeting in April. Dunleavy added the restrictions to HB 156 after the failure of an earlier measure that barred abortion providers—meaning Planned Parenthood—from teaching sex ed.

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Dunleavy has long targeted Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest nonprofit provider of sexual health education, calling its instruction “indoctrination.”

Meanwhile, advocates argue that evidence-based health education is sorely needed in a state that reported 787.5 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people in 2014—the nation’s highest rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Surveillance Survey for that year.

Alaska’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the national average.

The governor in a statement described his decision as a “very close call.”

“Given that this bill will have a broad and wide-ranging effect on education statewide, I have decided to allow HB 156 to become law without my signature,” Walker said.

Teachers, parents, and advocates had urged Walker to veto HB 156. Alaska’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Amy Jo Meiners, took to Twitter following Walker’s announcement, writing, as reported by Juneau Empire, “This will cause such a burden on teachers [and] our partners in health education, including parents [and] health [professionals].”

An Anchorage parent and grandparent described her opposition to the bill in an op-ed, writing, “There is no doubt that HB 156 is designed to make it harder to access real sexual health education …. Although our state faces its largest budget crisis in history, certain members of the Legislature spent a lot of time worrying that teenagers are receiving information about their own bodies.”

Jessica Cler, Alaska public affairs manager with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, called Walker’s decision a “crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education” in a statement.

She added that Walker’s “lack of action today has put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk. This is designed to do one thing: Block students from accessing the sex education they need on safe sex and healthy relationships.”

The law follows the 2016 Legislative Round-up released this week by advocacy group Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. The report found that 63 percent of bills this year sought to improve sex ed, but more than a quarter undermined student rights or the quality of instruction by various means, including “promoting misinformation and an anti-abortion agenda.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: ‘If You Don’t Vote … You Are Trifling’

Ally Boguhn

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party's convention.

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party’s convention.

DNC Chair Marcia Fudge: “If You Don’t Vote, You Are Ungrateful, You Are Lazy, and You Are Trifling”

The chair of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), criticized those who choose to sit out the election while speaking on the final day of the convention.

“If you want a decent education for your children, you had better vote,” Fudge told the party’s women’s caucus, which had convened to discuss what is at stake for women and reproductive health and rights this election season.

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“If you want to make sure that hungry children are fed, you had better vote,” said Fudge. “If you want to be sure that all the women who survive solely on Social Security will not go into poverty immediately, you had better vote.”

“And if you don’t vote, let me tell you something, there is no excuse for you. If you don’t vote, you don’t count,” she said.

“So as I leave, I’m just going to say this to you. You tell them I said it, and I’m not hesitant about it. If you don’t vote, you are ungrateful, you are lazy, and you are trifling.”

The congresswoman’s website notes that she represents a state where some legislators have “attempted to suppress voting by certain populations” by pushing voting restrictions that “hit vulnerable communities the hardest.”

Ohio has recently made headlines for enacting changes that would make it harder to vote, including rolling back the state’s early voting period and purging its voter rolls of those who have not voted for six years.

Fudge, however, has worked to expand access to voting by co-sponsoring the federal Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were stripped by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.

“Mothers of the Movement” Take the National Spotlight

In July 2015, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had been found dead in her jail cell that morning due to “what appears to be self-asphyxiation.” Though police attempted to paint the death a suicide, Bland’s family has denied that she would have ended her own life given that she had just secured a new job and had not displayed any suicidal tendencies.

Bland’s death sparked national outcry from activists who demanded an investigation, and inspired the hashtag #SayHerName to draw attention to the deaths of Black women who died at the hands of police.

Tuesday night at the DNC, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, and a group of other Black women who have lost children to gun violence, in police custody, or at the hands of police—the “Mothers of the Movement”—told the country why the deaths of their children should matter to voters. They offered their support to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a speech at the convention.

“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter was lowered into the ground in a coffin,” said Geneva Reed-Veal.

“Six other women have died in custody that same month: Kindra Chapman, Alexis McGovern, Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Raynette Turner, Ralkina Jones, and Joyce Curnell. So many of our children are gone, but they are not forgotten,” she continued. 

“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. “His life ended the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.” 

McBath said that though she had lost her son, she continued to work to protect his legacy. “We’re going to keep telling our children’s stories and we’re urging you to say their names,” she said. “And we’re also going to keep using our voices and our votes to support leaders, like Hillary Clinton, who will help us protect one another so that this club of heartbroken mothers stops growing.” 

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, called herself “an unwilling participant in this movement,” noting that she “would not have signed up for this, [nor would] any other mother that’s standing here with me today.” 

“But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven, and … his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who is still here on Earth,” Fulton said. “I did not want this spotlight. But I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain of a path out of the darkness.”

What Else We’re Reading

Renee Bracey Sherman explained in Glamour why Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s position on abortion scares her.

NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue told Cosmopolitan why she shared her abortion story on stage at the DNC.

Lilly Workneh, the Huffington Post’s Black Voices senior editor, explained how the DNC was “powered by a bevy of remarkable black women.”

Rebecca Traister wrote about how Clinton’s historic nomination puts the Democratic nominee “one step closer to making the impossible possible.”

Rewire attended a Democrats for Life of America event while in Philadelphia for the convention and fact-checked the group’s executive director.

A woman may have finally clinched the nomination for a major political party, but Judith Warner in Politico Magazine took on whether the “glass ceiling” has really been cracked for women in politics.

With Clinton’s nomination, “Dozens of other women across the country, in interviews at their offices or alongside their children, also said they felt on the cusp of a major, collective step forward,” reported Jodi Kantor for the New York Times.

According to Philly.com, Philadelphia’s Maternity Care Coalition staffed “eight curtained breast-feeding stalls on site [at the DNC], complete with comfy chairs, side tables, and electrical outlets.” Republicans reportedly offered similar accommodations at their convention the week before.