Under the Halo – Thoughts and Impressions from an Angel
Written By: Kelly Grace
Today’s ponderings are brought to you by my non lime-green hoodie wearing day-job. I’m a family law paralegal. Have been for ten (10) years now. Sometimes it is reflected in my writing; the excessive use of the semi-colon, the compulsion to write numbers as words with the numerals in parentheses, using words others wouldn’t like “compulsion”…
Just like every Angel at DNAngels has a type of case they will tend to gravitate towards, so family paralegals tend to have things they are “good” at and like to do. For me, it was always adoptions. Bringing families together – or so I thought. It never dawned on me when I was preparing those forms to change a person’s birth certificate what kind of impact – good and bad – I could be having on their life.
Granted MOST of the adoptions I do are stepparent and the parent whose rights are terminated (generally the father) was never involved in the child’s life either. The only parent he ever knew, as I have heard so many times is the man who was adopting him and giving him his name. I’m probably using male pronouns because I have a final hearing coming up Tuesday for an adoption for a little boy. I’ve even gotten the family my customary Christmas Ornament with all their names on it.
Part of me wonders if I’ll see this child in a little over 15 or so years as a client looking for his Biologicalus Paternus. Most of us, NPE, Adoptees, donor-conceived or anyone who hasn’t known a biological parent have some sort of curiosity and drive to find out what we can about that unknown parent. Those of you who know both biological parents can’t understand what it’s like to look in a mirror and see the same face you always see, but suddenly not KNOW the person staring back at you. Doesn’t matter if your experiences as a child were good or bad, you’re still left with a void where half of your identity – or maybe all of your identity if you’re a late discovery adoption (LDA) – used to rest. You wonder who you are and people say “you’re still YOU”. Well yes, and no.
So here I am, a person who as part of one job, finds your biological identity. But, as part of another job, takes away your biological identity. Holy Conflict Batman!!
But that’s me. I live inside one of the biggest paradoxes. I used to say there were several different Kelly Grace’s and no one knew the whole me. I realize now, that they are the same person, but just different facets, and people chose to see what they want to see; and some see more than others.
It has taken me awhile to reconcile my love of handling adoption cases to my “guilt” over erasing a part of a person’s identity. I have had some frank conversations with clients of smaller children who won’t remember the part of their life I am taking from them and asked them to please make sure they know there is more to their story. Because for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have traded my Dad for my biological father. He wasn’t perfect, but he was mine and I learned some important lessons from him. Always have dessert. Red, right, return. Never go fishing if the sky is red in the morning. Always take a jacket with you. Ice cream heals all boo-boos. And finally, you can love Beethoven AND Gordon Lightfoot.