Paul and I do not just write from an ivory tower, making statements about either physiology or philosophy that have no practical value. Neither do we make suggestions or offer opinions based on those scientific principles and/or fundamental ideas that we do not ourselves practice where applicable. As a real personal example to illustrate the kind of disclosure to which I refer to in my Anonymity essay at the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, I'm providing here the type of information that many would limit to only a few, even though that concealment will likely prevent them from attaining a much desired objective. However, the major reason for this disclosure is to increase the likelihood of success in a search, rather than its value as an illustrative example.
From: Kitty Antonik Wakfer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 9:56 PM
To: [restricted group]@yahoogroups.com [an adoptee/birthparent search group]
Subject: Newcomer Self-Intro
I think I'm this group's newest member - yesterday - and so will introduce myself. I am a 59 year old birthmother ISO (new acronym to learn :) of son born 1/24/68 at St Clares Hospital Manhattan and placed through Catholic Charities in Paterson NJ within a couple of weeks. In thinking about the requested info on the forms that came to me as part of group membership, I realize that a foster home must have been used in those first couple of weeks as I did not take Matthew Paul home at all. It was only the day I signed the surrender papers that I saw him after the 5 days in the hospital (fed him each time) - I had been asked if I wished to see him this last time and I definitely did, painful as it was.
I have been passive in the years since Matthew Paul turned 21, only registering with ALMA for about 5 years early on and more recently with Adoption.com website. Unlike the birthmothers who usually are written about or are interviewed in articles, I have not anguished these many years over my decision. While I would greatly welcome hearing that my birthson wanted to meet me I have never felt a pressing need to fill an "empty part of my being". I am more interested in letting myself be found or providing information for him - and then let him decide if he wants to know me even better. Since I am a very public person and can be easily read on the Internet, all I need to do is make known the facts of his birth and maybe someone will make the connection - if it were that easy :>) right?!
I read an earlier post with the helpful information that a Nancy at Catholic Charities in Trenton is responsible for NY births adopted in NJ. Is there an email address available for her? I find written communication much better for certain detailed information and besides there's then a record of it instead of hastily scribbled notes. I am interested in placing a written message into their records for Matthew Paul that provides him with my name, email address, URL, and encouragement to contact me if he so desires. My personal health info is available at our website and brief mention of my parent's causes of death but nothing about the birth father. Actually, I've not written anything at MoreLife about having had a son at age 22 who was placed for adoption. Knowledge of Matthew Paul so far has not gone beyond my first husband (who I met less than a month after Matthew's birth and adoption), my subsequent son, my current husband, my two sisters, and a small hand full of very close friends. The birthfather was well aware of Matthew - I refused to go through with a planned marriage to him when he hit me in a drunken state. His later wife - a former longtime friend of mine - also knows as well I think at least their daughter, Matthew's younger half-sister.
The last several months I have had more interest in finding ways of placing linkable information about me where my birthson could access it. This is probably because my second son has for the past 2 years refused to communicate with me, having distanced himself considerably when I dissolved the marriage with his father. I am sure that this has been a significant factor in my being less passive in my "search" than I was for 15 years previously.
I wasn't sure how much I would write about myself until I actually got started with this message. However, it spilled quite naturally as it goes along with an essay I'm writing (and nearing completion) regarding the drawbacks and hazards of anonymity in a society free of current government intrusion and coercion. (Such a society is the goal of our philosophical writings - mostly my husband Paul's. It's a very interesting coincidence that my current husband's name is Paul - actually it is his middle name, but he was never called David after his mother decided she didn't like the idea that he might be called "Dave." It's even more coincidental that Paul used as an Internet handle for several years the name Tom Matthews. Thought everyone might like to read that :>)
Changing the subject a bit... A few days ago I signed the online petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/NJFOAR/ but could not find any information at that site on the current status of this bill described: "Assembly Bill Number A2310 in New Jersey. Sponsored by Assemblyman Leroy J. Jones, Jr. and Richard Bagger." Does anyone here know anything more re. this attempt to get open adoption records in NJ? My comments on the petition included my birthson's statistics and then the statement: "He should not be prevented by *anyone* from obtaining the facts of his birth and his biological parents."
Well, that's plenty for a first post - more than most probably. But then I'm a "More" type of person ;>) I hope my presence on this group will help others as well as myself. Reading many of the old posts has been quite interesting and I welcome hearing from others - birthparents, adoptees and adoptive parents.
**Kitty Antonik Wakfer
BM ISO bson DOB 1/24/68 NYC adopted thru Cath Ch Paterson NJ
MoreLife for the rational - http://morelife.org
Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
Self-Sovereign Individual Project - http://selfsip.org
Rational freedom by self-sovereignty & social contracting
I posted 12 messages on various threads at the Adoption.com Forums over a week's time - 3 were pure search threads in different forums for Agency, Year, and State each with very brief messages and titled with the line "BM ISO bson..." Most of the remaining posts were to encourage other birthmoms who were searching or to add my perspective in response to questions/comments from adoptees. The remaining 2 - the last I made - were in a thread I started asking the question whether male adoptees searched less often the females; the 6 responses I had received were very well presented and informative equally from adoptees and birthmoms. All of my 12 messages were signed with siglines seen above and included my photo. Unlike most of the members of that adoptiveparent/adoptee/birthparent search group and all others on the web (whether public, open membership or restricted), I wanted to be fully open in my identity so as to improve my chances for getting information about and to my oldest son.
On the afternoon of 5/26 after making two posts earlier in the day, I could no longer access forums.adoption.com, getting instead a message that I had not activated my account. Following the instructions merely resulted in the same message appearing. Querying the Forums administrator resulted in the following reply:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Forums Administrator [mailto:Admin@adoptionmedia.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 8:04 PM
> To: Kitty Antonik Wakfer
> Subject: RE: Access denied [was: RE: Password Problems
> > > I'm not sure what the issue is with the registry, but on the forums you were
> banned due to posting a website which asked for donations. That is
> considered soliciting on the forums.
I was crushed! I had put great thought into the posts I'd made, wanting to be helpful with both my experiences and years of thinking and reading on psychology and human nature in general. My messages had been well received by the responders to that point. In rereading the "fine print" of that website's Use Rules, I found that they utilize "monitors" (reminds me of hall monitors as a child) who do nothing but go around their many forums looking for posts that don't meet various "rules" and remove messages, whole threads and posters as they decide. Apparently one followed my sigline link(s) and saw our Value for Value message and page and judged that its contents was *soliciting* (boo, bah humbug!). (Those who don't get value from our website should not feel compelled to return value to us; and those who do but don't return value can't be harmed by Paul and me in anyway - unless we close MoreLife. Last time I looked, I had no power to reach out through the Internet and take anyone's money - and wouldn't even if that were technically possible. Just a reading of our philosophical writings should make that blatantly clear.) In any case, everyone is "soliciting" some kind of value every time that she or he makes any connection with anyone else, otherwise she or he would not try to make contact. Soliciting is simply "a request for an exchange of value".
It looks like this site - among many others dedicated to adoptee/birthparent searches (and other subjects) - take the attitude that they need to "protect" their members from the content of other sites. (And I'm not talking about protecting from email address harvesting, which is done by just being a closed group.) This paternalistic attitude is an obvious contradiction to the stand which Adoption.com takes against the many states (and countries) which maintain closed birth records "to protect the adoptive family". It appears that the maintainers of this website (and others who do likewise) do not see their own contradictory practices.
So, this entry has been a disclosure of a significant occurrence in my past in the hopes of achieving a reunion that might not otherwise occur, by making others aware of my search. It is being done as a personal implementation of the philosophy expressed in my essay on the drawbacks of anonymity - my personal passage through a portal leaving the shadows of "privacy" behind. I will also make public here the results of my efforts and my experiences along the way. Hopefully, they will be more encouraging in respect to human interactions than those I had with Adoption.com this week.