Where's my health history at?
Taking care of my physical well-being as an adoptee
Welcome back for another week — if you’re joining us for the very first time, thank you so much 🙏🏼 we aren’t doing this work without y’all, and the community we’ve been building together continues to uplift me every day. With that being said, let’s get into it.
The past two weeks have had me focusing a lot on my physical health. I won’t lie to y’all, I have not been great about taking care of my body. In fact, I’ve taken my health and ability for granted far more often than I should. And in these last two weeks, I’ve felt that catch up to me.
I finally went to the doctor after like, 10 years, to establish care. I really enjoyed the service I received from the team at the office. One thing that really stood out to me, though, was the intake form. When I got to the medical history question, I saw an option that I’ve personally never seen before:
It was really nice to see that, because the truth is like many adoptees (especially those adopted internationally), I don’t know anything about my medical history. I have my file (or, a file) that lists a few things about my health as an infant. What it doesn’t list? My first parents medical history. Or their parents. Or their parents.
Essentially we’re flying in the dark with a blindfold on.
It also got me thinking about how this, right here, should be cause for concern when it comes to adoption. It had me asking questions like,
Should we not be privy to our family’s medical history?
Why can’t we have access to our full adoption files?
Why would agencies destroy records?
The onus is always on us, isn‘t it?
Those are just some of the things that filled my head, and the math does not math in this situation. And the only way for us to get answers to our health history would be to execute a birth investigation, find our first family, alive, and are lucky enough that they are willing and able to provide that type of information to us.
That’s asking a lot of us, just to know if there are any health concerns we should have as we age.
These are the types of things we don’t talk about with adoption. Obviously our adoptive families will have the best insurance and be able to take us to the doctor’s office whenever necessary and they’ll easily be able to figure out what’s going on with us when those things occur (this is sarcasm).
This serves as another example of how adoptees must navigate disadvantages specifically due to adoption. This is why we must bring balance to the narrative of adoption. This is why the current narrative about adoption is so damn harmful.
It assumes everything is fine, that all needs are met, that love will overcome.
But the reality is there are certain things love can’t overcome. Like our lost biological health history.
I’m mad at myself for taking so long to get serious about my physical health, so I’m holding myself accountable by actually doing it. I’m also giving myself grace for the fact that I already started this journey with my feet tied together. And while love can’t overcome that, I can.
👉🏼 if you’re reading this, I see you. Wherever you are on your journey to being the person you want to be, I’m rooting for you. You got this, and you have community here.
This week on Conversation Piece…
On this week’s episode of Conversation Piece, fellow Korean adoptee Grace Foster joins Patrick to discuss creating opportunities for adoptees and former foster youth that haven’t always been available or accessible. Grace shares a bit of her personal journey, the lack of professional networks available to adoptees and former foster youth, and the work she’s doing to address this via The Inclusion Initiative.
If you’ve been following along on social media, last week I announced that we officially launched a website for the show! It is the one stop shop for everything Conversation Piece: audio, video, reviews, direct messaging, how to share, how to support, and much more! Shout out to Podpage for hosting us!
Today is Juneteenth
In honor of Juneteenth, I’m sharing 5 lessons from Britt Hawthorne, antiracist educator and author:
The Emancipation Proclamation did not "free the slaves."
The 13th Amendment abolished slavery.
Black people freed themselves.
Praise Black Texans in your narrative of Juneteenth.
Black people are still owed acknowledgment, compensation, restitution, and rehabilitation.
Can we high five ourselves for continuing to just exist? How about for holding ourselves accountable? And for the ways we thrive and survive and live?
We are all so deserving of life, and I am really, really honored to be able to walk this path alongside so many incredible people. Y’all honor me with your presence here, and it means a lot to be able to do this work week after week knowing y’all are here with me.
I hope this weekend was everything you needed it to be, and I hope the coming week is the same.
Happy Juneteenth 🌟
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