My name was Helenea June Colvin when I was born in 1960 in Boston. I didn’t even find out the proper spelling of my first name until several weeks ago when I obtained my original “birth record,” which is not an actual birth certificate at all.

To this day in many states, adoptees do not have access to their original birth records and they have to petition a court to find out any basic information about their existence. Considering the fact that my biological mother died of some form of cancer at age 62, one can certainly see why I would be seriously concerned.

On All Hallows Eve, 1963, a judge’s gavel came down (spooky thought) and I was given a whole new name and identity after kicking around foster care. I certainly understand the last name being changed. However, the whole name being changed was nothing but the result of my adopted mother’s ego and entirely unnecessary.

Either my adopted parents never assimilated with me or vice versa; however, I knew from the get-go I didn’t belong. Every time someone would approach me I would freeze up. After several years, it became very evident to me I was never to measure up to the phantom child they never could conceive.

Being a “closed” or “sealed adoptee” I have found myself the brunt of numerous, needless guilt trips, either from society or my adopted mother. Common comments were, “They didn’t have to adopt you,” “You should be grateful,” and this very caustic one — “You’d better be glad abortion was not legal. You could have been aborted.”

My adopted mother never validated my feelings when it came to some basic facts about my existence. That ignorant attitude eventually led to me being horrifically beaten and abused, psychologically as well as physically, for many years. Furthermore, the maltreatment I received led to eating disorders, stomach ailments, panic attacks, chronic anxiety, learning disorders and P.T.S.D.

Because abuse was all I ever knew, the husbands and boyfriends in my life wound up treating me just the way my adopted mother had.

Now, I have an adopted family that I am sealed off from and when I located my biological mother in 1997, she told me to remain a “secret.”

Well, I am not going to be some dark, dirty little secret anymore. I lost my whole heritage the day I was born and given some name three years later that had nothing to do with who I really am.

I can give my children no heritage. I will never know any facts concerning the paternal side of my family because his name does not appear on the birth record.

It is blatantly wrong to treat people in this backward manner. Let’s start treating “sealed adoptees” like the humans they are and give them some answers to their existence.

There are some critical, key points to make in regard to “closed adoptions.” Stop calling amended birth certificates a “birth certificate.” That is a blatant lie. An “amended birth certificate” has absolutely nothing to do with the adoptee’s birth except the date of birth (in some cases that, too, is a lie) and the doctor’s name.

An “amended birth certificate” should be named an “adoption certificate.” Let’s call the document what it really is.

A mandated file concerning both biological parents should be at the adoption agency containing information such as family religion, height and weight, any mental illnesses, diseases, hair and eye color, and family hobbies and interests. These facts are critical for an adoptee to have closure, even if the person decides not to seek her biological parents.

There needs to be validation of an adoptee having a sense of heritage. Without any heritage, there is no identity and, consequently, no sense of self-worth.

Every special-interest group’s issues have been discussed. However, when the matter comes to “closed adoptions,” the subject is barely deemed newsworthy.

Not surprisingly, there is a higher-than-average suicide rate among “closed adoptees.”

I do not want a pity party but some human understanding and a sense of decency would be deeply appreciated. After all, this is 2016. However, when it comes to this subject, one would swear we were still in the Dark Ages.

I am forever a walking question mark. After more than four years of therapy, I have come to realize that my mind was seriously tampered with. It has affected me horrifically. All my life, I have been made to feel that I had to prove my self-worth as a human.

I am not going to prove anything to anyone anymore. I am just going to prove it to myself.

Margaret Helenea Hunter lives in Lewiston.

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