You don’t know us, dear Katie Pladl. However, the most intimate details of your life are quickly spreading across the global media, so we feel like we know you, and we figure you could probably use some support about now.
(Note to readers: this blog was published prior to the tragedy which cost Katie, her father and her infant son their lives at the hands of her birthdad.)
You wrote on your blog a while ago that you hoped to gain attention and make a name for yourself, but we’re guessing you probably wouldn’t have wanted the notoriety that comes with all the publicity you’re currently getting.
You may not be woke enough yet to understand why people are in an uproar over what you did. You probably don’t see yourself as a victim in what happened. You’re young enough that “love is love” may seem like a reasonable explanation. You may be scoffing at your parents’ disapproval, and you’re probably angry at your birthmother for tipping off the authorities.
(Ironically, it seems you were born in San Antonio in 1998, which leads us to suspect your adoption may have been done through a notorious agency here that has since closed down, one that sent thousands of babies to East Coast couples in closed and semi-closed adoptions?)
Given that you reportedly had to search for and find your birthparents via social media, we’re guessing you did not grow up with the benefits of open adoption.
So we understand how excited you must have been to reunite with them. We don’t know what your circumstances at home were, that you took off and moved in with your birthfamily after graduating from high school. But we do know how exhilarating it must have been, to finally connect with your birthmom and birthdad, and to get to know your birthsiblings.
Birthparents often feel that same exhilaration, especially when they’ve finally reconnected with a child lost to a closed adoption, at long last. There’s a flood of emotions, and a sense of urgency to make up for lost time. Feeling an overwhelming sense of familiarity with someone about whom you know so little can be totally confusing– especially if there’s been no counseling in advance to help prepare everyone for the adoption reunion.
Your birthfather reportedly felt so protective of you, Katie, that he slept on the floor of your bedroom. This must have seemed endearing to you, but we’re guessing it didn’t help his relationship with his wife (your birthmom) since they subsequently parted ways, three months after your reunion. Then your birthmother learned via a diary entry months later that you were pregnant, and then she discovered that your birthfather was the father of your baby, and that’s when the wheels really came off. You claim to have married your birthfather last summer; your son was born in September; and now, you both are facing legal charges for incest, adultery and contributing to delinquency.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare (no matter how they became a parent.) The world’s peanut gallery finds it all too easy to condemn you both, labeling your love perverted, and proponents of closed adoptions are all-too-happy to fan the flames by claiming that these stories are why secrecy and shame are healthier for adoptees.
However, GSA (genetic sexual attraction) is a predictable risk that results from the scars of closed adoptions, and without any counseling, you and your birthparents were likely woefully unprepared for all the complex emotions of adoption reunion. We imagine that your adoptive parents were probably bewildered by your moves, and assumed letting you ‘go it alone’ was probably for the best, or maybe you insisted? Still, this tragedy stands as a reminder that the parents who began an adoption together should always remain equally involved in all the transitions that follow, whenever possible.
Now, there is an innocent baby boy caught in the mire of this forbidden love, who will grow up bearing the stigma of a well-publicized incest case. Given the criminal charges that you and his father/birthgrandfather face, he will likely be unable to be raised by either of his parents, thereby necessitating substitute care. This can only duplicate the primal wound that drove you, dear Katie, to search for the parents you never knew but always needed.
Closed adoption is just not healthy. Not for adoptees. Not for parents who adopt. And not for parents that place.
We can offer no solutions to your dilemma, sadly. We will send you this letter in jail, however, along with a more personal note, to let you know that there are people whose hearts go out to you, and that you are not alone. We hope that your adoptive parents are similarly there for you, despite all that has happened. Because if there’s one thing every adoptee deserves to know, it’s that their parents love them and support them, no matter what.
We hope that you are provided with the counseling you need, to process how and why all of this happened, and to help you cope with the consequences. And we hope that you have skilled legal representation, so that all of your potential is not wasted behind bars. Your blog beautifully displays your artistic and written talents, and we hope that you will be able to use both in the future, whatever becomes of the legal charges currently facing you.
You chose a famous artist’s quote for the home page of your blog. It contains what is perhaps the best advice we can offer, given your situation:
“AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE CAN ENDURE MUCH MORE
THAN WE THINK WE CAN.” -FRIDA KAHLO
We are lifting you, our child and all of your parents in our thoughts and prayers, dear Katie Pladl, and hope our efforts to promote open adoption helps eliminate such crises in the lives of our adoptees and their families.