Edgar Allan Poe: Disinherited adoptee

I came across this in a tiny book published in 1905, The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Volume II, handed down to me by my father. Published by the New Century Library in New York, the book starts with an introduction by one James Russell Lowell. The introduction is entitled, “The Life of Edgar A. Poe”, and it contains the following:

Remarkable experiences are usually confined to the inner life of imaginative men, but Mr. Poe’s biography displays a vicissitude and peculiarity of interest such as is rarely met with. The offspring of a romantic marriage, and left an orphan at an early age, he was adopted by Mr. Allan, a wealthy Virginian, whose barren marriage-bed seemed the warranty of a large estate to the young poet.

Having received a classical education in England, he returned home and entered the University of Virginia, where, after an extravagant course, followed by reformation at the last extremity, he was graduated with the highest honors of his class. Then came a boyish attempt to join the fortunes of the insurgent Greeks, which ended at St. Petersburg, where he got into difficulties through want of a passport, from which he was rescued by the American consul and sent home.

He now entered the military academy at West Point, from which he obtained a dismissal on hearing of the birth of a son to his adopted father, by a second marriage, an event which cut off his expectations as an heir. The death of Mr. Allan, in whose will his name was not mentioned, soon after relieved him of all doubt in this regard, and he committed himself at once to authorship for support.

This practice of establishing an heir or scion via adoption is still practiced in Japan. At the very least, it strikes me as a much more valid transaction, stripped of romantic mythology. I have to wonder whether this played into the later accusations that he was a dope fiend, or insane [link].

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DNA ‘R’ Us™ III

Ever since I registered my DNA kit, I’ve gone daily to the testing web site and changed my profile. I’m currently oscillating between being completely open (“I am an adoptee looking for my biological family”) and being less open (“I am looking for DNA relatives in Lebanon”).

It has been suggested I take this latter route, so as not to scare off anyone searching. I understand this logic, but I also know (and have written about) how all discussions in Lebanon eventually lead to the Two Questions: “What is your family name?” and “What town is your family from?”

So much sooner rather than later, these questions will come up. And so much sooner rather than later, I will have to lower the boom on anyone I might match with. I’m trying to decide whether it is any benefit “holding on” to the reasons for my search, as opposed to being completely honest.
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DNA ‘R’ Us™ II

This past September marks ten years spent in Lebanon.

This is both hardly enough time and far too long.

Hardly enough time to truly feel a sense of belonging.

And far too long to spend in the place of one’s birth without finding familial roots.

The more one attempts connection to place the harder becomes disconnection from family.

They go hand in hand.

I’m at my limit for being able to stand this, frankly.

Especially when I know that at any given time I am talking to someone just a few steps removed from me on the Lebanese genealogical tree.
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DNA ‘R’ Us™: Genetic testing, etc.

Daniel Ibn Zayd:

More thoughts in a follow-up post….

Originally posted on Transracialeyes:

Have you ever used or contemplated using one of the DNA services that promises to find ancestors/relatives, such as 23AndMe? Why or why not? What changes in terms of your own understanding of adoption when you think about yourself on this, the genetic level? Expand at will….

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On adoption resistance: bridging false divides.

This is my first piece for Land of Gazillion Adoptees [link to article]; I am quite honored to be a contributing editor in the “Research” rubrik there.

Excerpt:

Adoption mythology, aimed at counteracting these omnipresent cultural tropes, seeks to eradicate an implicitly understood connection to family. The normal interpretation is thus “children with their families”; not “children with a(ny) family”. At the end of World War II, adoption as a process of sourcing indentured labor shifted to serve the economic requirements of burgeoning nuclear families and suburban expanse. It necessitated that contrary popular voice be censored, quieted, and stifled. It demanded that former references to the children of the poor and indigenous as “feral” and “beastly”, as needing “conversion” and “work therapy”, be changed to allusions of “salvation” and “a better life”.
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A Lebanese proverb: On adoption.

I came across a Lebanese proverb:

.إلي ما بيربى ع سفرة أبوه ما بيشبع

Translation: “He who is not brought up at his father’s table shall not be satisfied.”

Note: Reference to the hard life which orphans and adopted children often meet with.

Source: A Dictionary of Modern Lebanese Proverbs; Anis Freyha. Librairie du Liban, 1974.

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On adoption, kinship, and gender. (VII)

This series of posts is based on an interview conducted with Romy Lynn Attieh. The interview was conducted for a paper that Romy wrote entitled: “Exploring Kinship and Gender in the Return Narratives of Transnational Adoptees Born in Lebanon” for a class with Dr. Rosemary Sayegh called “Oral History and Gender”, in the Anthropology department at AUB.


RL: Two more questions? It’s 8:30 and I don’t know if you want to go?

DD: Let’s finish our questions.

RL: Ok. They’re pretty brief and pretty straightforward. I just wanted to know when you do obtain your citizenship, can you choose your sect?

DD: Yes!
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On adoption, kinship, and gender. (VI)

This series of posts is based on an interview conducted with Romy Lynn Attieh. The interview was conducted for a paper that Romy wrote entitled: “Exploring Kinship and Gender in the Return Narratives of Transnational Adoptees Born in Lebanon” for a class with Dr. Rosemary Sayegh called “Oral History and Gender”, in the Anthropology department at AUB. The first entry to the series can be found here: [link to entry].


RL: You were also telling me you were flabbergasted by things you’ve heard women do here by means of, kind of, confronting…I don’t know, I think you know what I mean, just in terms of sticking up for themselves, pointing at something and saying “no”. Could you give me an example?
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On adoption, kinship, and gender. (V–postscript)

This series of posts is based on an interview conducted with Romy Lynn Attieh. The interview was conducted for a paper that Romy wrote entitled: “Exploring Kinship and Gender in the Return Narratives of Transnational Adoptees Born in Lebanon” for a class with Dr. Rosemary Sayegh called “Oral History and Gender”, in the Anthropology department at AUB. The first entry to the series can be found here: [link to entry].


This postscript to the previous post is based on a dialogue with Snow Leopard, who had written a thought-provoking treatise on transcultural adoption, asking for a discussion on this subject. I agree with much of what was said in the original post, and the points brought up are well taken. I think I might only differ in terms of framework, and so add this to perhaps finetune and clarify things from a shifted viewpoint, in the hope of contributing to and advancing the requested dialogue.
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On adoption, kinship, and gender. (V)

This series of posts is based on an interview conducted with Romy Lynn Attieh. The interview was conducted for a paper that Romy wrote entitled: “Exploring Kinship and Gender in the Return Narratives of Transnational Adoptees Born in Lebanon” for a class with Dr. Rosemary Sayegh called “Oral History and Gender”, in the Anthropology department at AUB. The first entry to the series can be found here: [link to entry].


RL: I want to know, for you, how has your perspective on gender constructs shifted and changed since you’ve been here? Personally and just general observations as well. You own experiences, your own observations…I know it is thick but…
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