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Inside my plastic mailbox in front of my house, with the little red flag sticking up, is my application for a Confidential Intermediary.  Since I was born in Michigan, and my birth mother never signed a form to allow me access to my information, it is assumed she didn’t want me to be able to look into my own file.  It is important to point out that she never signed anything period but the courts have decided that the absence of any form translates into no access.  This ruling has already denied me the right to meet my birth mother.  When I located her, on my own, I was 6 years too late.  She died before I could find her.

She also died without ever telling who my father was so my only option at this point is to play by the rules of the Michigan court system.

The rules are simple.  I first must request a confidential intermediary via the application that sits in my mailbox waiting to be picked up.  The filing fee is $20.00.  Once  the Wayne County clerk gets my application they will then assign my case to a confidential intermediary(CI).  The CI will then contact me and this person has been authorized by the courts to charge me $250.00 plus expenses.  Once I send the CI my check, the CI will then go in to my file, get the name of my birth father and their search begins.  The CI will locate and contact my birth father.   If my birth father says he isn’t interested the process is over.  I lose my $250.00 and I get nothing in return.  The identity of my father remains a secret and the right that every other US Citizens has; to know their birth parents, is denied.

The frustration that fuels that last sentence is indescribable.  The fact that I have been denied what so many take for granted makes me want to march up to Lansing Michigan and sit on the capital steps and scream until I am heard.  The futility of doing that stops my march before it begins.

If my birth father is interested in meeting me then he gets my contact information and I get his.  In this process, I have to be willing to go all-in.  I have to push my poker chips to the center of the table and surrender to the process.  There is no option to just get the information on my birth father.   This is a decision I struggle with off and on.  There are days when I want to meet, and there are days when I don’t.  But there is never a day I don’t want to know his name and  know something about him.  Taking the leap to know him is terrifying.

The last scenario I am faced with is that my birth father may be deceased.  If this is the case, then I am awarded his name and from that I can order  his death certificate which can lead me to an obituary where I can find additional information  regarding other  relatives.  The freedom in doing that at my own pace is attractive.  The fact that I gain from such a great loss is unjust.

As each adoptee searches, there is the chance that we could be rejected again and the thought of that compresses my mind in my skull.  I have weighed this process and the many outcomes over and over and I am sick of being held captive by it.  My hope is that any answer will bring some relief.  Playing the what-if-game has gotten to be torturous.

It is time to go all-in.

Photo credit

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Don’t for get about the Webinar on April 28, 2011–THE TRANSCULTURAL TEN.  See link at the top of the column on the right.

*Feel free to reprint this post on your own blog. I’ll be happy to e-mail you the HTML, so all you have to do is copy & paste, and the formatting will remain intact. If you reprint it, please include the following byline:

Kevin D. Hofmann, author of  Growing Up Black In White, Consultant in Adoption, and creator of  MY MIND ON PAPER;  a blog written to adoptive parents from an adoptee’s point of view.

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